Yesterday I taught a 5 hour gig in which all the 21 or so students were skilled, experienced and did a sensational job, thus making my job much easier. Delightful to teach, there were many laughs, very few questions, and overall a very nice day. Their finished products were all beautiful, something each and every one of these lovely and fun women should be proud of.
On my way home I stopped briefly at Michael’s in Holyoke, couldn’t believe what a dump it was, and then came home, within 10 minutes of being home,I fell into bed, my body depleted of any energy, pain levels so high that I laid in bed crying. This is the result of an 8 hour day, driving two, one hour lunch, teaching 5. I slugged down some meds that help with pain…No, not a cart of morphine, put ice on my head and neck, and slept solid for 5-6 hours, up for 15 minutes, back to sleep for another 6 hours, followed by the same. I was out of bed a total of 4 hours today, and that was in a chair outside, feeling the warmth and breeze on my sore body and tired soul.
Tomorrow I see the doctor prescribing the new meds. I also have pt for my hand. Sadly the thought of either of these is too much for me right now. Dinner out with friends is not going to happen, unless a miracle happens tonight while I sleep.
I think about my life and what I have seen, what I have done, what I have accomplished. Compared to most I suppose these things are minimal, perhaps even miniscule to some. One of the proudest days of my life was when I bought my own house. Having believed the only way I would ever own anything was by marrying. The day that I bought my house from my ex husband was a very proud day. There was no cosigners, there was no coowners, just a financial agreement between me and the bank. This happened in my mid 30’s. This wasn’t about a home as a possession, it was about being able to provide for myself.
I have worked for years with disabilities of depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome and debilitating migraine headaches, starting a business from scratch, doing all the research and hard work, and became a nationally known artist in the decorative arts industry. I have authored one book in this industry, and published many pamphlets and magazine articles in both this industry and needlecrafting.
I have loved with my entire heart, and have survived the loss of that love as well as the loss of that person. I have been in a room when one of the people I love and have loved most in this world was told there was nothing more they could do for her, and was given mere months to live. I have made the difficult decision(s) of euthenasia of sick pets, and have held them and stayed with them as they left this world. I have learned more about myself and come to appreciate myself, respect myself through the journey of serious illness. I have faced my own mortality, and am no longer fearful of it. I have had the pleasure of watching my nephews grow up, and enjoyed the many weeks and weekends they spent in my home. I am proud to be their aunt. I have silently dealt with physical, mental and verbal abuse and took responsibility for far too much and things that were not mine to own,and yet I forgave and still had and have the capacity to love. I have learned that forgiveness is as vital as breathing and gratitude is as refreshing as a perfectly ripe pear succulently oozing its sweet juice into your mouth as you softly bite into it. I have shared with others both the good and the bad of myself, not allowing shame or others attempts to mute or bind me to keep me from doing so. What have I to feel ashamed for if I accept myself as a child of God? As a human who was designed to be imperfect? If I share my humaness with others, with others who have an open mind and heart and willingness to grow, then have I not allowed others to see who I really am? I have learned that an angry heart is not capable of true love until it heals or begins to heal, and that the recipient of their “love” would be safer wearing leather.
I know that when I am at my darkest, doing for others is what frees me from these chains, and brings my heart and mind back to alignment. Perhaps I will find my way there once again. I know that the greatest gift we can give another is of our time, of our hearts, sometimes just our ears. Shiny cars and perfectly furnished homes filled with the “finer furnishings” do not make a house a home, nor do labels displaying popular and finer clothing makes a man “better or finer”. At least not in my eyes. But we are given choices, and free will to do with our life what we desire. If some desire this and this is right to them, so be it. It is not right for me.
The greatest accomplishment I have done in my life however, is to have, with the help of God and many other imperfect yet beautiful human beings, examined myself inside and out, my motives, and explored and delved into the abyss of self discovery without becoming selfish. I have not allowed the cruelty of life or others, or the hardships of life cast a bitter existence or aura on me. I still get out of bed in the mornings a kind caring person, even amidst physical or emotional pain. I believe this is the result of allowing myself to grief my losses, to feel the deepest pain, and in spite of it all, remain an optimist, with arms and ears open to help yet another who is in darkness or feeling their way through the pangs of loss. I am reminded of a time when I knew my kindness and good heartedness were being taken for granted. I begrudgingly stopped partaking in this, stopped enabling them to treat me like dog shit. And then within weeks if not months, I learned that deep within my healthy self is a woman who loves to give to others, who receives the most out of my life when doing so. So after setting firm boundaries with the person who took me for granted, I chose and opted to still give to them, in spite of who they were or how they once treated me. This was being true to myself. Once (a very long time ago, or what seems like 2 lifetimes ago) defining myself by my accomplishments, my self worth directly related to the jobs that I did or the money that I made. I feel today, even though my body can no longer be a means of gainful income, I still have great worth. Money can make your life easier, it can allow you to see places that others will only see through pictures, but does it make you wealthy in your heart? A wealthy man to me is one who willingly sacrifices and gives of himself for his family, and whose love for his family and friends is evident in their actions and the smile and joy that exudes from their eyes.
I will soon be back to sleep again. My tired and sore body will get relief from survival mode. I hope to wake up tomorrow feeling much less frustrated with what is happening with me. I hope my legs my arms will have regained strength. And I hope that in my vulnerability during these early morning hours, I have not sounded as desperate as I feel this moment. Dare I speak of the unspeakable? Dare I share that today I question my lifes purpose and meaning? What do you do when you reach this point? If you reach this point? When there is nothing left in you to push harder, and no energy to pull yourself up by your boot straps…when you are too weak to care? I still have dreams, I have things I want to do, accomplish…God willing. Tonight I wish I could bury my head into a mans chest, feel his arms wrapped around me securely, and his love abound. For now I will put my tired body and soul into the arms of God and let him take care of me for this night. He will give me all that I need, and I am placing my hopes in the palms of his hands.
Fear really isn’t even a factor anymore. Things are as they are, and I have done my best. I cannot ask any more of myself. My mind is at war with my thoughts. An optimist who is dealing with, or trying to cope with depression. Nothing quite like taking a rubber band and wrapping it around my brain so tightly that there is no room to be positive, no room to be anything or think anything beyond what is there right now….pain.
So many times I have judged others with invisible illnesses. Particularly because I was judging myself. “If I can do this, if I can work, then so can you”…. and yet which one of us had more quality in their life? Martyrdom is no longer for me. I may no longer be at my best physically, and I may struggle openly now and daily with depression, but I do know, I am the best person I have ever been and perhaps this depression, this anxiety will lift, making my life more manageable. What I have lost in mobility I have gained in my heart and head, and my hearts capacity to love.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake… I pray the Lord my soul to take