Friday, March 10, 2017

The Challenge

When you have schitzoaffective disorder, it makes it hard to go anywhere, to travel, to see the world.  It makes it hard to make friends.  When you have schitzoaffective disorder and are a single parent with a child with Nonverbal Autism, it makes it impossible to travel, to see the world, to make new friends.

Every time I am put in a situation where there is the potential to meet a new friend or go on a first date, it feels like I have this hard lump of fear in my stomach because I have to worry about choosing D day, the day where I break it to that person what I have.  I have to worry about their reaction.  I have to worry if I will scare them away.  I have to worry if they are just being nice to my face and making fun of me or talking to me in a derogatory manner behind my back.  I have to worry if they're just being nice because they pity me.

But there's this place I can go to where I can escape.

It's this TV show on MTV called "The Challenge".

I have been watching this show since the very first season.

The Challenge is where I go when I want to disappear.  The Challenge is the place I go when I need help getting out of my head.  The Challenge is where I go to when I need to make the abusive narrative voices caused by my schitzoaffective disorder leave my head so I can feel human again.

Every year I watch a rag-tag group of outcasts come together on MTV's chosen Misfit Island to duke it out for the amusement of millions of viewers.

The Challenge is more than that to me.

I see myself in almost every one of the ones that are my age (34).  We're a part of the same generation.  The generation raised on lies.  The generation that had a government and monopolies deciding it is a good idea to shove endless advertisements in the name of sex, violence, drinking, smoking cigarettes, and capitalism.

The generation who read the book (or most likely watched the movie) Fight Club and realized by the time they were done reading that they had a particularly bad taste in their mouths.  The generation that was taught to be themselves, to be unique, by Mr. Rodgers and Sesame Street yet at the same time forced to conform or else, like prisoners in our public school systems.  The generation that could go twice as high as a butterfly through books at home but Heaven forbid if you are smarter than the teacher at such a young, tender age.

I relate to these people.  These people get to go to places I will probably never see in my lifetime.  I chose to be a mother.  I did not realize it would be decided that I would not only be a mother but a caretaker for a beautiful girl who has only ever said one world her whole life and who lives in her own world and wants to invite everyone to play with her in it.

They get to quench their wanderlust, and I do not.  I am not, however, bitter about it.  Giving up a life of being single with no strings attached to anyone for the amazing daughter I have the honor to raise?

Trust me, it's a fair trade.

The one pure thing in my life, my Lexi

And I thank all of you for being part of my escape when my mental illness decides it wants to pull me under its violent waves, as it does, time after time, forever.  Living vicariously through all of you is better than not having you at all.

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