Every year in my life has a theme or a motto.
2016 was Demolish. My world was shattered and all that I knew to be safe and whole was destroyed.
2017 was Renew. I grew, I grieved, I started a blog. I got my feet underneath me again.
2018 was Shenanigans. I started a couple of relationships, had some fun, went on a lot of dates, learned a lot.
2019 has been Surrender. Two major surgeries in 5 months. A lot of down time and a lot of being forced to ask for help. It has been humbling and more than a little scary.
I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. We often don’t know what that reason is until we are through it and can reflect. Sometimes we can see the reason while we’re in it if we pay close enough attention. I thought through the hip replacement that my lesson to get comfortable asking for help. I did learn how to do that, then I thought I was done with that lesson, but God/The Universe/The Big Kahuna had other plans and more lessons to show me and one week out of physical therapy I not only broke my knee cap, but I tore my meniscus in my left knee in two places. More surgery, more down time, but this time because it was my left knee and I drive a standard transmission (yes, they still make those…or at least they did 10 years ago when my car was new) I found myself unable to drive for a good portion of my down time. That was the biggest source of heart burn for me.
I am nothing if not fiercely independent. I pride myself on living my life on my own terms, living a responsible, self sufficient life and being of service to others. Not the other way around. I dislike having to depend on other people, at least I used to. The last year has created a perfect storm to make asking or help and accepting help a necessity. My family and friends have tried their best to ease the sting of accepting help. My Dad jokes when he’s had to drive me places that he’ll just add it to my tab. My sister reassured me that she loved driving me places, she’s self employed and she reframed our ride share exercises as “quality sister time” that she was grateful to have. I’ve had coworkers who have had to drive me places, run errands for me, come to my office so I didn’t have to walk across the building to theirs. Each of them, it appeared saw the struggle I was having with accepting help and tried to make jokes about it, ease my ruffled feathers by reminding me that I’m always there for everyone else in both my work as a Victim Advocate and as a friend, sister, daughter, mother, so it’s simply my turn to allow others to be there for me. Quid Pro Quo.
Some of you may have noticed it’s been a while since I’ve posted content here. It’s been about a month since I’ve written anything. I haven’t even been able to journal – something I do every day, at least writing three things I’m grateful for – and I haven’t been able to do that for a month.
Writing is, however, my super power. It’s how I release things. It’s my pressure valve and by letting it get backed up, my stress and lack of managing it has come out in other ways. I’ve been self soothing with food and alcohol lately – not anything crazy like drunken benders or midnight binge eating, but just a little less restraint on what I put into my body. The stress is effecting my physical body as well, my right shoulder has been in painful knots for over a week. I equate the left side of my body with family, home, self, creativity, love, the feminine. I equate the right side of my body with work, responsibility, money, tasks, the masculine. So the fact that the right shoulder is practically up around my ear and full of painful knots is a telling sign for me. I’m holding onto stress about being alone, single, responsible for keeping the lights on, the fridge filled, gas in the car and a job. All the while, being painfully aware that the balance is teetering akimbo, ready to tip out of control at any moment.
I need to be writing. I need to get the circling thoughts and fears out of my head and onto the page where I can see them in print and face the monster under the bed and see that it really isn’t that big. It’s not all that scary and in the grand scheme of things it’s not all sharp teeth and talons, rather it’s a little fuzzy gremlin that just needs a little tending to and then things will get back to normal.
In just a few days, the stitches in my knee will come out and I will likely be able to return to work and return to my life. Things will slowly go back to normal and I will resume feeling a little bit more in control of things. All the while, slightly less trusting of my body and it’s ability to support my lifestyle. Once again, like I felt when I had breast cancer, I feel as though my body turned on me, let me down, didn’t hold up it’s part of the bargain. I know this isn’t necessarily the case, but I feel a distinct disconnect between my mind and body. It’s hard to understand if you haven’t been there. I feel like my body is no longer willing to reliably able to do what I expect it to do.
Or perhaps it’s time to accept that I’m going to be 49 on my next birthday and maybe I need to accept that my body doesn’t bounce back like it used to and I need to be a little more careful with it. I don’t like that scenario. I don’t like it at all. I don’t like restrictions and I want to be able to go and do when I want to.
Maybe this whole post should have been a journal entry and not for public consumption. Then again, perhaps it will help someone reading and feeling a little less than in control of their environment. Is control really realistic? Or is control of our lives a pipe dream of ideation?
Either way, it feels good to have my fingers tapping across the keyboard again. I’ve missed my laptop. I’ve missed posting on the blog – even though I didn’t have a single exciting thing to write about.
I wonder what the theme or motto for 2020 will be? Hopefully it will be engagement. Not the ring kind – but the type of engagement where I become more social and get out into my community and make new friends, go to museum and art openings, attend free concerts in the park and public art markets and get inspired. Maybe I’ll take a class at the local Art League. Maybe I’ll go on a bunch of photography trips with my sister and discover some new subject in the lens. I’m mobile now, pain free, able to keep up with my big sister and ready to get back on the trails.