Lately, I have been on auto-pilot for a lot of things. From drowning in noise on Facebook, to not reaching out to my real friends. I have let others and other things determine my days. I have let too many things to lead me rather than me grabbing life by its throat, and getting things done. This year has started out rough. A few days after my 41st birthday, I suffered a relatively serious illness due to my condition. I have Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome conveniently called APS syndrome (what is it with doctors and their long ass disease names?!). Simply, I have an auto immune disease where my blood thickens and creates clots. It was discovered several years back when I woke and could not talk out of the side of my mouth, and drove myself to my primary who immediately saw the signs of a stroke (surprise, now I am a stroke survivor! Who would have thunk it!), and admitted me into the hospital. So I am sick.
Now I have had two choices. I could either roll around and moan that I am sick, or I could keep moving. Anyone that knows me knows what I picked up. Yet, it hasn’t been easy. I cannot take my days for granted anymore. It is something that I have to remind myself that although I look and mostly feel 100%, I am not. That’s hard to take for me. Each morning, I have to wake up and be reminded that I have to work towards being well. Not just physically, but in my thoughts and actions. There is too much I have allowed to build up. Too many thoughts and feelings towards people and myself that I have left unsaid.
Yet, it is not easy starting over. In fact, it sucks. I hate the fact that I cannot work out or that I tire easily after 6 to 8 hours. I hate that I have to parcel out myself to others because I have a nasty habit of blowing up at inconvenient times. I have to relearn a lot of things. The main thing I have to work on is the word “I.” I am constantly struggling between just focusing on my pain and being there for others. I have failed many recently because I have been too caught up with myself. The word “I” rules my world and while some days it is justified, it does not make it OK to NOT see others and their pain. I know I am better than that. I have to be better than that because there is no point in life if you cannot contribute to others. So each day starts with a TO-DO list. A list of things I need to do, and be. A list of reminders that there is more to the world than just me.
So each day starts with the reminder that I am sick. But each day also starts with “I can be better.” I will be better. There is no middle ground.
I read somewhere the best way to spring clean is one small area or cupboard at a time. Yesterday, I started with my medicine cabinet, one of the smallest in my house. It took me an hour to get rid of expired medications, open packets of various sorts and 15 different kind of pain patches (both wife and I have had at one point or another back spasms), and try to coordinate what medications go on which shelf. One hour. And I still wasn’t quite happy with it. It wasn’t as clean as I wanted it to be. It wasn’t shining or perfect the way I wanted it to be, but I finally let it go because I was tempted to go on to another cabinet. All the while, I could not believe how much crap I had stored in the house ( I can’t blame my wife since I lived at this house by myself for a long time). I wanted at that moment to clean it all!
Feb Challenge Day 24_inside your bathroom cabinet 6 (Photo credit: raganmd)
It kind reminded me of my writing. I start with a blog post, and the next thing I know I want to write a novel. Yet I know, it’s a step by step by process but somewhere I fall off. I can’t seem to figure out between doing too much, too little or nothing at all. I don’t know how to be steady. I don’t know how to take it step by step. It’s as if I am hardwired to either sprint a marathon or sit on the stand and watch others go by me. I have always been the type to need the recipe or manual on how to do things. Well, guess what, life doesn’t come with one (no shit Sherlock), and so I flounder. I don’t look at what I have accomplished: a clean drawer and a blog post, but more at what I did not get to. I read somewhere that you have to acknowledge your successes no matter how small. I think I am more afraid that I will become content with just that, and that is something I am just not willing to accept. So I push myself. I will spring clean the whole house, and I will be a writer. There is no middle ground!
Today, I drove in silence from Artesia to Torrance because the cacophony in my head just wouldn’t allow for any outside noise? A sample: When should I do www.lumosity.com and www.babbel.com? When should I edit my final essay for UCLA Extension writing class? What should we do this week (I really want to take my wife somewhere nice, new and romantic)? How can I save more money? Why won’t XYZ take my advice, and on and on the noise went until I realized that this internal dialogue I was having was only making me feel inadequate. As much as I want to accomplish more in my life, and be better for the ones around me. I have to take pause and congratulate myself for the things I do accomplish. Take today for example. I had a friend call me and thank for me supporting him while he was unemployed. Now he had a job. That’s a real cause for celebration, and shows that people do care.
I had another friend whose mom passed away from cancer. He was with her when she took her last breath. I cannot love this guy enough for his selflessness, and the genuine love he showed me recently when I was in the hospital. In fact, his entire family has shown me nothing but kindness, and love. I will never forget that. So I took a moment to thank both these friends for being in my life. And then I was blessed with a best friend who not only listens to me whine and complain, but also keeps giving me solid advice (which I normally fail to take). Finally. I have a dear friend whose wonderful father is fighting (and I know beating) pancreatic cancer. So what’s my point in all this? That instead of all the random worries I have, I need to take a moment and appreciate and thank for who and what I have in my life. It’s easy enough to say, but quite hard to do, so today I want to say THANK YOU to all those who have done so much for me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
Today starts my efforts to become a different me. Ok, maybe that’s a bit over dramatic. What I mean perhaps is today I begin the process of going back to who I was just a few months ago. I was working, working out, writing, and just all around doing the things that made me who I think I am. A few months ago, something happened to me that radically changed. I don’t mean to be secretive but it is the kind of thing that those close to me know, but is not really information you share with others unless you want sympathy. That’s exactly what I DON’T want so instead I will annoy you with this mini non-explanation. I can no longer work out due to medical reasons. I can walk. That’s about it. For someone like who has always ran ahead without thinking, this usually means torture. Yet, I realize that the universe is trying to teach me a lesson. All the directions and signposts I missed while racing, I now I have the time to stroll by to read and learn.
The one thing that did come back to me through this recent trauma. I missed writing. Like bad. The kind of missing that suddenly made me wonder why I stopped in the first place. I have always written when things are bothering me, but reading some of my old posts made me realize that a lot of them were almost vendetta-like. I was more interesting in hurting others or whining than really writing so hopefully that stops. Recently, I have been reading www.zenhabits.com, and one of the suggestions from the site is breathe, and let things flow through, and as my very wise best friend Jemal told me to be a rock and let the stream go through instead of fighting it. So today, I will begin the process of becoming a rock. To breathe. To stay calm. To not worry about the life lost, but celebrate the very wonderful life I do have. Here goes.
by Jemal Yarbrough
Sometimes words can do more damage to your soul and personality that it can take months to repair the person you thought you were. Recently, I inflicted serious emotional injuries on someone very close to me, not realizing that instead of being there as a person, I became an aloof prick . The change was not sudden, but sad to say it took me a few days to see how far I had drifted on the person I used to be. What is the point of growing up or having all the material wealth in the word when I managed to push people who fill my heart and soul with love?
In just a few minutes, I created a fence for that special someone who is now barbed with hurt, distrust but most of all disbelief that I could be this way. The excuses are many, but the reality is I forgot for a bit how incredibly lucky I am to have the people I do in my life. Sure, there are some new additions but I have been truly given gifts that I have not treated invaluable
In the end, words are easy to say and fling around but the journey back to love will take time, and I will need to once again prove why I am the best choice. It has not helped at all that what I did was in front of people who think very less of me now, and it definitely has taken away a lot of the privacy I desired (ironic, I know since I am blogging about it but here at least it’s in generalities). Now, I have to face some when all I want to do is wish I was invisible and never be seen again. But I deserve it so it shall be. The fence was created by me, and instead of keeping someone close to me, I managed to create a divide…
- Fenced in (lovelucysummers.wordpress.com)