Collecting Body Parts

Zombies are the current monster du jour (sorry, Twilight fans).  From what I can remember, their last heyday was in the ’70’s when George Romero put out Night of the Living Dead.  Oh, and then there was Thriller in the early ’80’s.  Now they’re all over the place again—on TV, in new movies, the subject of horror fiction.  I  never liked zombies—too messy and too dumb to be scintillating bad guys—but I’m developing a little empathy for the moldy creatures.

Lately, I feel like I’ve been collecting body parts that fell off when bipolar disorder radically changed my life.  Like a year-end clearance sale, everything had to go.  Skills, interests, possessions, and people all sloughed off to leave the bare-bones of survival.  Now as I try to piece together a new life out of the ruins, some of those bits may come in handy (so to speak).

But, I’m not a Mr. Potato Head.  The parts don’t snap back into place.  Like other reanimated creatures, I find there’s been a lot of damage (rot, gnawing—you know…).  There’s also the memory of what those parts felt like incorporated into the whole in contrast to how they function now.  It’s an unsettling juxtaposition.

Case in point.  Today I was to lead the meditation at the Unitarian Universalists meeting.  That information didn’t get to the folks who had volunteered to run the service.  They already had the mediation planned, which was fine with me.  No big deal, no attachment.  But then, they handed me the sign-up sheet for future programs, and without thinking too much about it, I volunteered to lead a full service in May.

It wasn’t until the meeting was underway that I remembered my illness had chopped off that particular body part.  Once I led a service two or three times a month.  Then, I lost the ability to be consistent and follow through.  Anxiety and social phobia got in the way.  And depression overwhelmed the rest.

But, I didn’t scratch my name off the list for May.  I don’t know if this piece is going to fit again, but it feels important to at least pick it up and look at it.  The UU services are simple, the people accepting and generous.  Meditation and teaching meditation is a part of me that survived my zombification, so that piece is whole and functional.  I figure my chances of pulling this off are better than 50/50.

And like all the other pieces of my “old life” I’ve been scavenging, if it doesn’t fit anymore (or yet), then I’ll set it back down without regret or drama.  I’m getting used to trying on these old body parts and giving them a whirl to see if the stitches hold.  They are heavy, and sometimes the weight of them is too much.  But, sometimes they reanimate in a whole new way.

George Romero would be proud.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. minlit
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 01:25:27

    Fascinating analogy!


  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 08:37:13

    I know this feeling well–pieces of me lost, my effort to pick them back up again, the difficulty with follow through. Hang in there, my friend!


  3. pegoleg
    Feb 27, 2012 @ 10:15:10

    That movie scared the bejebus out of me – still does. I won’t say “you’ll be great”, because you probably will, but I don’t want to downplay your fears. Would it help to lessen the pressure to ask the schedulers to have a backup plan?


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