It’s been a rough couple of weeks. So much for 2015 being the great comeback year. Well, I suppose there are still 343 days for that to get into gear. But, so far, suck city.
If you have known me for a while, you may remember my mentioning that I have, at times, had physical symptoms just before learning of bad news. Precognitive symptoms I call them. Do I really, truly, fully believe this is what goes down? I am not sure. But there have been some serious coincidences.
On Saturday, we ordered some food and after two weeks of strict dieting, I was super stoked to eat some carbs and red meat. Right before I started to eat I had some sharp odd pains in my abdomen. These weren’t familiar and not the usual scar tissue pains I have been having. I tried to eat a little but my stomach wasn’t having it. I took a bath and drank some peppermint tea. Still, yucky. So I decided to just go to bed. As I laid there listening to my audiobook, I received a text from my mother in law that her long-time and my new(er) friend, Sara, was in the hospital and may not make it through the night. She had been battling cancer. I told her I would meet her there, got dressed and left. My stomach then felt fine.
I later said to Charlie, “Maybe that is why I was having those weird pains.” He nodded. Cassidy asked what I meant. I kinda just told her it was hard to explain but that sometimes I think I feel icky right before something bad happens. She said, “Maybe it is a power.” I just smiled and said, “Maybe, hon.”
Though she was unconscious and finally (thankfully) free of pain, I was able to say goodbye to our friend that night. And she died minutes after we left. Needless to say, this is very sad and yet another in-your-face reminder of how short life really is. Her kindness, laughter and strength will be sincerely missed.
The next day, I decided to watch the movie Wild. I really didn’t have much desire to see it before and was never a big Reese Witherspoon fan. For whatever reason, the movie didn’t appeal to me until that moment. Something told me that Sara would like it, so I watched.
In the movie, she quoted Adrienne Rich:
…her wounds came from the same source as her power…
For some reason, this struck a chord. I am still not entirely certain why. But it occurred to me that this was the second time in 24 hours that the term ‘power’ caught my attention. Power. This is not a word I use to define myself…like…ever. In fact, it is usually quite the opposite. I often feel powerless against my health, my weight, my past, my future, the opinions of others, my regrets, my desires…I could go on. Feeling powerless sucks but it is like one of those blankets of thorns you get used to as it pierces your skin while still keeping you warm. Kinda pathetic, but real.
While I do have many moments of feeling weak or powerless – I still hold with me the knowledge that I try. You remember that horribly annoying song from the 90s…well wait…here it is…
Anyway, I remember a friend telling me that this song was like my anthem. Whether it was getting knocked down by my own dumb self or some other asshole or shitty situation – I always found a way to get back up. I may whine about it, but eventually, I stand. So, you can have your complaints about me and my demeanor…but don’t you dare tell me that I don’t try.
I received a diagnosis yesterday that I have seen coming for quite some time. I am not happy about it. I am quite angry, actually. And I am not going to get into it right now because I am still waiting on some tests. It isn’t anything life threatening – but it is life altering. Just, crappy really. And I will write about it later.
Along with this, I have been experiencing some pretty serious insomnia. On a very good night I will sleep 5 hours. But mostly, it is around 3 hours of actual sleep. This is seriously messing with my emotions, health, heart and mind. Along with other symptoms, I am in the pits lately. Could it be worse? Fuck yea. And I say that all of the time. But that doesn’t make my pain invalid.
What is another thing you can say to me that might get you a kick in the neck, aside from “Try harder”? “Cheer up” or “Relax” or “Turn that frown upside down” or any other motivational 80s poster platitude that was hanging in your high school counselor’s office. When a person has depression or an anxiety disorder or a chronic illness or anything else that you may not really understand…it would be best to keep the trite bullshit to yourself.
You really want to help? Listen. Validate. Or just offer a hug. Because saying things like I mentioned above implies that we do not have a right to feel the way that we do. It implies that we are choosing our pain. It implies that not only do we have to feel bad about our circumstances but that we are also doing it wrong. Do not deny me my feelings. And ya know what…if it were as simple as flipping a switch…I would have done that a long fucking time ago.
Just because a person is down or even severely depressed, that doesn’t mean they do not appreciate what they have. In fact, it is often true that we appreciate these things even more. So many of you take those beautiful moments and gifts for granted. We savor them and are thankful more than you could know. I see the wonderful things in my life and I am thankful for them every day. Some days I am more verbal about them than others. But that gratitude is most certainly there.
And one more thing, the fact that some of you view me as some kind of oddball isn’t news to me. I share a lot. I do not hide my sensitivity and my flaws. My Facebook wall won’t be full of cheery self congratulatory applause or exaggerated life descriptions. You get what you see and you see what you get – for the most part. I mean, there are some things I will not share, so no – you don’t get the FULL picture. But I am me, warts and all. And I won’t hide it because I think that is inauthentic and annoying. So you can think I am weird…but I know there are things hiding in your heads and closets too. The fact that you hide them doesn’t make you any specialer. (yes, I know that is not a word)
Today sucks. Tomorrow will probably not be any better. But I know things will lift eventually. In the meantime, allow me my sorrow, accept me for who I am or get off my lawn.