I find it terribly ironic that while I have tried valiantly over the past four years NOT to allow myself to become the disease I have, I have more or less defined myself by exactly these parameters. I think in terms of how I will feel physically in any given situation, possible adventure, or any outing whatever. I have lost a good large chunk of who I am to what I have.
As a result, and I know this sounds ludicrous, but it's as if I have forgotten the things I love, and stopped being the curious person I am; I have stopped pursuing hobbies; love affairs with photography and globs of paint smeared over blank canvases, waiting to become whatever is in my heart right in that very serendipitous moment. My writing- here, in this space, short stories I have never published, poetry and research... I have even stopped writing my customary lists, so that when I jump in with both feet and all my crazy curly hair, I have something to guide me on to the next thing.
I've stopped enjoying, relishing and adoring a hot bath with yummy bath salts and essential oils and instead have taken them dutifully, trying to reduce my swelling. I've stopped chewing my food slowly and thoughtfully; really paying attention to the flavor, the texture, the joy of a wholesome, well-prepared meal.
I am almost debilitatingly introverted, but my tendency to stop encouraging myself to venture out, to keep those coffee dates, to invest in and learn about new people with all their special, intriguing idiosyncrasies, well... It's beginning to look and feel like I'm shut in, cloistered from the real world. Intuitively, I know this is not the best way for me to continue. But I have been afraid.
I think that for so long, I have used wit and sarcasm and confrontation as tools to protect myself. I have not ventured far into the world of peace, of gentleness, grace, and kindness because I am afraid of being overrun, being taken advantage of or ignored. Is it really okay, at thirty six years of age, to have a temperament overhaul?
Okay or not, that's where I think I am headed. It's as if I've stopped wringing my hands, and I've stopped balling them into angry fists; I've stopped holding them out to keep people at tolerable distances away from me... I've dropped them, relaxed them... And then I have taken my own hand and led myself to this new place. I am holding my own hand and walking gently; softly, yet determinedly in a whole new direction. Inside, down deep, I am a sensitive, kind person. I want to encourage that part of me to emerge. I want to be brave.
I may not be able to run a marathon, but I could probably walk one, and why shouldn't I, if I'm so inclined? I was recently overtaken with a wild notion that I would love to go kayaking. It looks positively lovely. If Trever and I can golf together, I see no reason we couldn't kayak as well. I've begun reading fiction. I've always leaned toward non-fiction, though I am unsure why. Now, I want to discover something new and different. I want to continue my search for truth, but in new places. Well-written fiction can drop a revelatory bomb, and I want to be there, at ground zero. I want to be brave.
I want to buy recycling bins and do what I know is right even though it is not required in my state. I want to do my own little social experiment about one girl's journey to using less. I want to burn more candles and find quiet places whenever I can and make myself just absorb it instead of ever feeling I must fill it. I want to learn about new ways to love others; I want my relationships to grow in all the best ways, me growing in my perception of how others receive love best, even when it is not the easiest or most comfortable way for me to show it. I want to be brave.
I want to get memberships to the museums and renew my library card; I want to learn French and braille and American Sign Language. I want to study the skies; books stacked along my windowsills with manuals on astronomy; I want to identify constellations and know the lore behind them. I want to save my pennies until I can afford a really good telescope and then I want to spend more time out at night than every before. ;)
I want to look every single one of my children in the face and smile, every day. I want them to know that they make me happy; that I look at them and instantly feel love and joy.
I want to research and study and investigate this disease I have, and I want to be prepared when I go to my appointments to give accurate updates on my medications, my progress, and to ask good questions. I don't want to loathe spending time in a doctor's office, to feel on the precipice of despair, to exit overwhelmed with a feeling of defeat and a sad recognition that my life will likely not change.
To choose to believe I can (and will) still live a life of joy, of love, and of hope just might be the biggest act of bravery I can exercise.
I do believe. I am a brave girl.
I am unleashing the curious, studious, research-nerd; the soft spoken, gentle and kind; adventurous and courageous version of me. It's the me I have decided I want to be.
Here goes nothing.
Yours most TRULY,