I've crossed lines of words and wire, and both have cut me deep (personal)
In exactly one month and three days I turn 30 years old. This is significant because:
Yes, you read that right. A woman is actually somewhat content with the impending rollover of the ol' odometer. Except not...really, because there's still that whole 'I wasted my life and all I got was this lousy neurosis' thing, not to mention at least 80% of my favourite pastimes will become 25% more pathetic. Whatever, I'm the Mistress of Guilty Pleasures. In the meantime, however, I still have many years' worth of damage to undo. Except once again not really, because I cling to that old adage that no experience is wasted if you learn something from it. I have to catch myself often when I say I lost the entirety of my youth to addiction and mental illness. Yes, these things have greatly hindered my quality of life. Yes, I've done a lot of dumb, dangerous, pointless shit. And some of it cannot be undone, and for now I'm taking it on faith that there is a reason for this.
I have actually begun praying on the regular. Not to the point where I won't still call myself an atheist for the sake of brevity when conversing with assholes, but enough that I may seriously want to do a major overhaul on my entire personal philosophy. After all, it's not just the bad shit that has me contemplating the possible existence of a Higher Power.
Now I know for a fact I've spouted that tripe before, but this time it's different. No, really. There's another old saying I like: "a true friend knows all your faults and likes you anyway." That's pretty much Kendra and I in a nutshell. Of course we've been angry with each other; she has thought more than once that she'd reached the end of her rope, and I can empathize. But she saw fit to wait for a better day. And like me, she doesn't want to earn that day with anger and threats. Ultimatums are the devil's Terms of Service.
That being said, I consider my story to be a cautionary one for people with mental health problems, both for the sufferer and their partners. The former should not pursue a serious relationship while still in the fray. Likewise, someone thinking of pursuing a relationship with a mentally ill person must take emotional inventory to assure their presence wouldn't actually make things worse. Long story short: if your loved one is struggling with any problem, be it addiction, mental illness, or anything in between, your relationship will be strained.
Note I said strained, not suffer. "Change your ways or else" is a sure path to the latter. A closet full of demons is hard enough to contain without some holier-than-thou Nora Negative prodding at them. You don't have to be passive-aggressive to revolt against this kind of motivation. As for Kendra, well, she has motivated me in an entirely different way. I want to be what she deserves. I want to deserve her. And I want to earn my stripes, my right to say "they beat me down but they couldn't keep me down." And forgiveness doesn't come with a debt. Kendra has assuaged my devastating, gnawing, perpetual guilt by telling me this over and over again. Maybe I will pay them off someday. Maybe then I'll finally forgive myself.
We are so getting Maria McKee to sing at the wedding.