I just came across the song, “Thank U”, by Alanis Morissette again after not hearing it for probably 20 years.
I was a huge Alanis fan back in the day but when this song first came out, I wasn’t that impressed with it. The lyrics didn’t make any sense, and I wasn’t really sure what she was saying “thank you” for. I remember thinking, “Why is Alanis riding the bus naked with a weird look on her face? Where was mad, raging Alanis that I rocked out to on the way to work every morning?”
It just struck me as weird and a bit “hippiesque” and I didn’t really care all that much for it.
Flash forward 20 years later.
That song came on the radio in the car not too long ago and I sat there mesmerized….. because I get it now.
I listened to the words….words that I knew by heart but had never “heard” before – not in that way. And tears of happiness came. I mean, I felt true happiness while listening to this song and it was quite possibly the first time I had ever felt any feeling in such a pure concentrated way, without a speck of anxiety tainting it.
While listening to the song, I realized that she is me. I am her. This song captures everything that is inside of me in the most perfect way.
I know exactly what she is saying.
I know why she is naked.
I know what those lights are all about.
I know why she has looks of awe and peace on her face and I feel every bit of the gratitude she is singing about.
I get it.
I think of the me I used to be, and the me I am now, and this song stirs up a pride in myself that is so damn strong I feel as if my heart could burst. This song is me holding my hand out to my former self saying “We did it. We saved us. We are going to be okay.”
Everybody should know what that feels like. Everybody.
Alanis wrote this song after going to India to escape the miserable life of anxiety and depression she was living after becoming a rich and famous singer who was supposed to be living “the perfect life”.
It was in India that she became “enlightened” and her whole outlook on life changed and she let go of all of the beliefs and thinking patterns that were adding to her unhappiness.
This song is about her gratitude to India, as well as her gratitude to all the bad things she had been through, because it all led to her finding her real self and living a happier more fulfilling life.
I never went to the real India in order to find myself after my own anxiety disorder began, but I had my own India of sorts – my self help books.
My plane was my couch and every day I would sit down and transport myself into one of my books where I would learn something new, or find a new way of seeing something – and slowly but surely I woke up. One day I realized that I was no longer the person I used to be…a girl who was so miserable and scared and dependent on others. I was now stronger and I will for every day of my life be grateful to my books for helping me through it all, and I will also be forever grateful for every miserable experience I have had in my life for bringing me one step closer to the person I am today.
It is with great purpose that I am always talking about my love and gratitude for my anxiety disorder.
It being such a foreign concept is the reason why I want to hammer the idea of it home to the point that it no longer seems “odd”. And because I am always talking about it, I often get asked what in the heck I am so “glad” about it and what is to possibly “love” about an anxiety disorder.
Every time, I just want to sit them down and say “How could you NOT love it? Not everybody gets an opportunity like that to completely turn their life around. It’s amazing!” And that is not me putting on a show to sell an idea. It’s how I genuinely feel. I am a cranky pessimist at heart. Very little in this world could make me use up energy “pretending” to love something.
People don’t buy into it when I say things like that though, and I understand why. That sort of thinking is not an easy concept to wrap your head around and it’s not an easy thing for me to explain to the point where people really “get it”. I mean, how do you explain to somebody that one of the worst things that every happened to you is also one of the greatest, most beautiful gifts you have ever been given.
I don’t think its possible to explain it in a way that people can full understand.
I think its something that people have to discover on their own and that is one of the reasons I write this blog…because I want every one of my readers to get to the point, on their own, where they feel that because they have an anxiety disorder, they are stronger, wiser, more mature, emotionally healthier and happier people. I want you all to look at your anxiety disorder as one of the bests thing that has ever happened to you. I want you to feel the enlightenment that only difficult times, a determined spirit and healthy self reflection and awareness can bring.
I want every one of my readers to find their “India”….that place, or person, or book or activity that unlocks the padlock to that dusty old room in your mind that you have been locked in for so long, and lets peaceful awareness and light shine in.
I can’t tell you how to find it, or what form it will take, but I am here to tell you that it exists. Keep your mind and your heart open , and continually explore new places and people and ideas until you find it.
Your future self is out there somewhere waiting to take you by the hand and say “We did it.”
Live your life for that moment.