This I believe…The phrase sounds archaic to me. I’ve listened to many people talk about their beliefs on the NPR Radio piece “This I Believe”. Initially, I derided the pompous bravado of espousing a credo; yet, I began asking myself whether I believed in anything other than cynical scepticism. Mostly I’m nothing more than a miasma of facts: being a single father with two young children; being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia; being middle aged and socially isolated. Each facet of me is a stranger to every other facet of me. Mental illness has fractured my sense of self. I feel like one of those emaciated sculptures by Giacometti, ready to crack under it’s own weight. Still; mental illness has done something else, as well. Even though the bad times are far worse than they otherwise would be, the good times are far better. In both cases, it’s like the enhanced acuity of feverish skin: I feel so intensely that pain and pleasure get confused. The only time I’m at peace with the extremes is in that brief border town between the good and the bad times. That’s when I realize what I truly belief in. I’m usually so stretched and aggrandized that I no longer fit into the moment. But, the crescendo of self loathing eventually recedes like a tide. I swear I can taste the peace. I can’t wait to breathe my next breath; I believe that next breath is worth taking. It’s not a duty undertaken for my children, it’s not a heroic defiance against the shrill sensations of self awareness gone amok. As corny as it may sound: life has it’s own value. Breathing is the rhythm which ties one moment to the next. That’s when I hurry and spend time with my children, before the delicate balance gets lost in static. I realized that a credo needn’t be grandiloquent, just meaningful. And, what could be more meaningful than appreciating the simplicity of breathing in peace?
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