I realized one day, last week, in the shower, that I was the healthiest I’d ever been in my life. Physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, the whole thing. Honestly couldn’t think of a time I’d had everything going well like that. It was hard enough to be healthy in one area of your life, but in all of them? Don’t get me wrong. Things could always improve. Things could get better. But that was simply the nature of life. Perfection exists only in the minds of men, after all. So I stood there in the shower, at first humming some Mac DeMarco song but then stopping once the thought hit me, just standing and letting the hot water pour over me. This is one of those things that only came to you when you least expected it, one of those shower thoughts that once it hit you could make you stop what you were doing, and well up, and not be able to tell whether the water on your face was coming from you or the shower.
I wasn’t the lightest I’d ever been, but I was definitely the fittest. I’d been skinny before–too skinny. Like 1,200 calories a day for an adult male skinny. Nearly passing out after a run just to squeeze a half pound off the scale. And there was of course being way heavier than that, heaviness that was the reason for the lightness, of watching your body float away from you in the mirror, from the core of who you were. But there was none of that now. There was a healthy carrying weight and plenty of muscle on the frame. There was doing MMA and having my striking, grappling, and submissions on point. There was waking up in the morning feeling refreshed instead of dead.
I wasn’t a saint, but I was more in touch with my spirituality than I’d ever been. No longer encumbered by a Catholocism that insisted I was going to hell no matter what I did, no longer chained by my aimless wandering, searching and fumbling and creating a hell for myself in place of the one I was given. There was Zen, but not the one I thought I’d found before. I was no longer sanctimonious, no longer pushing so hard for something that ran away faster the more you chased after it. It was waking up early in the morning and meditating, having breakfast, listening to some music and starting the day off right. Cuddling with my woman in the wee hours of the night, a tenderness coming from me that I’d never quite seen before. That old tension in my shoulders going away. Looking up in the night sky, seeing Orion’s Belt, and feeling like I was a part of it.
There were still times when the depression would flare up, moments when anxiety would creep in or PTSD would remind me of its insidious presence. But these were now minor nuisances, just quiet whining voices that I could smile at as I walked away. There was this feeling, something I’d never felt before: stability. That middle path I’d heard so much about suddenly seemed doable, because it was already happening. There was not getting too excited or too down, just kind of enjoying life as it came. There was medication and therapy, sure, but those were things I needed years before I got them. There was the feeling of ditching a heavy weight and bodily floating out of the pit I’d been living in all my life.
I could still get angry, or sad, or anything else, but it wasn’t some big production anymore. No more would I have those huge outbursts where I wouldn’t vent and so would set up the inevitable explosion down the road. I could get peeved, but I could just as easily take a breath and let things go. It was a choice to be made, not out of my control like I used to think it was. I realized that I had free will, and I was making the best of it.
When I was clean, I turned off the water and towelled myself off. It seemed like seven years of dirt had been cleansed from me, and that might as well have been the truth.