When I was 18 years old, I was depressed. I was living with my grandmother, going to a community college part time and working full-time to save money so that I could go to the local university the next year.
I didn’t have any friends, my boyfriend (now Husband) was in another state attending college, and I was all alone.
I became obsessed with lists. I would make lists detailing my day from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed. Brush hair, brush teeth, wear clothes (jeans, black top, purple underwear, black socks, black tennis shoes)…
The lists would consume my life. The more I made them, the more I relied on them. If something forced me to deviate from my beloved lists, I would completely breakdown. I lived in a world of uncertainty, loneliness, and fear. I clung to those lists because I was afraid of what I would do if I let them go.
The list making continued until I became suicidal in college (because when you work two demanding jobs and take a full course load you get stressed, stop eating and start thinking about ending it). I saw a therapist, who put me on medication. The list making subsided. Never faded away, but just…eased up.
When I graduated, and began working two jobs again (see a pattern here?), I began making lists again. Detailed ones. I hid the more complex ones from Husband. Everyone in my family knew I did them though. They just thought I was neurotic. I never ever told them that I was walking a tightrope mentally and the OCD list making behavior made me feel slightly sane. And that behavior has continued up until I gave birth in 2014. As soon as my daughter was born, I was back at it. Steeped in post partum depression, I’d make lists upon lists upon lists of things needed to be done in the present and future. Even when I was put back on medication, the lists didn’t stop. They just subsided once again.
When I met my first Master this year, I stopped making lists. For the first time in almost 15 years. Didn’t even think about them. I just…went with the flow. My anxiety didn’t own me…someone else did. I felt free from stress and worry. It was intoxicating.
When ex-Sir asked me to be his submissive, the same thing happened. Although, with him, I had to make a rules sheet so I could remember what I had to do every day. That was it. No detailed lists outlining what I had to do. With ridiculous deadlines. And I pulled back from my duties at work, allowing others to pick up slack. Suddenly I wasn’t working 60 hour weeks. I would clock in my required 40 and go home, giddy to get through my domestic chores so that I could talk to him.
And ditto with JS. The need for lists simply wasn’t there.
Today I woke up bored. No good morning messages. No one to approve my outfit choice. No one to care that I looked nice or to comisserate with that it was Monday. No one to send silly memes to. Or to discuss coffee with. Husband, God bless him, and I have stopped making that small talk a long time ago.
He was already up and had informed me that he left a cheese danish in the car for my breakfast. I thanked him, said goodbye and trudged to work. While in the car, the enormity of me giving up my online doms hit me and I fought back the urge to cry. I realized that after living in a world of thrilling technicolor, I was back to the normal grey drudgery of every day life. With no kink. No one to submit to. No one to take away control. Just me and my thoughts.
My mind began to race. I’ll just fill my time! I told myself. I’ll write again. And paint! And meditate! And, and, and…I began to nod to myself in agreement. Yes. I’d keep myself busy. Super busy. So busy I wouldn’t be able to even think about what I was missing out on. I’d read a million books if I had to. Even parenting books. Hell, I’d read the bible again! Anything to pass the days. I’d redirect all of my attention on being a good wife and mother. My house would be spotless again. Lists of chores flittered through my mind. My daughter needed new clothes, didn’t she? Well, even more new clothes. I vowed to look at sweaters for her when I got home that night.
It’ll never be the same, a little familiar voice whispered in the back of my mind. You’re now back to feeling empty again. You might as well just give up and go back on medication. You’re a lifer anyway. I choked back tears and began to do what I usually do when that voice popped up.
I began to make an even more detailed list of things to do. Of new posts to draft. Of things to do around the house. Of packing to be done for the holidays. I downloaded a new passion planner. When I got to work, I asked my friends for ideas for their kids Christmas gifts, and then started working on a list for my own daughter. I asked Husband if there was anything that he needed done that I could help with. I checked our bills list and updated it. I had already finished off any work that needed to be done that night before (after I confessed to my Husband) so I didn’t have anything pressing job related. God, I hope that changes, I told myself. I could use some overtime.
I know some of you might be wondering why I don’t just stop. It’s like asking a cutter why they don’t just stop. Or someone addicted to drugs. It’s easier said than done. I’ve never learned how to stop. I can be heavily medicated and not do it as much. But list making has always been there.
Anyway, this is the Ariel that I know so well. This is what I was running away from. She’s back. And I’m not terrified…I’m simply resigned.