This fairly empty blog has, unfortunately, up until today, fallen prey to my neurotic and overtly perfectionist tendencies. These unyielding tendencies have taken over the village of creative writing processes in my mind, like a deranged, murderous Viking. Births of eureka moments have been burned down unblinkingly like the thatched roofs of the innocent. Many nights I’ve frowned, and the super critical Viking of my consciousness screamed at the wheels that turned in my brain, “Not good enough!” Inspired eureka moments have been destroyed by swift blows of unrealistic axes wielded by the unmerciful slayers of the mediocre in my mind.
It wasn’t until today, in the bathtub no less, I happened upon an idea of what to write as a post that was not immediately slaughtered by my neurosis. Isn’t the bathtub where many greats in history had their genius moments? Anyway, although the right words eluded me, I’ve had an inner renaissance through art and in my life in general.
This renaissance was fueled by the fact that, for some time up to now, I was completely handicapped physically. I was wonder woman in almost every way before I was struck down with illness. Deadlines met! Calendar full of super important appointments! Errands done! Responsible dog mom, with doctor visits fulfilled! House cleaned for possible out of town guests! No energy? Coffee can fix it! The endless check list was checked obsessively. Opportunities hung on the walls of my future. I felt tired, but I thought oh, I need just a bit more iron in my diet. An hour or two more of sleep wouldn’t hurt either.
From all appearances, I portrayed an appearance of clear headedness, grace, and drive. All the while I felt clouded. I couldn’t concentrate. I pushed and pushed. I visited my boyfriend after one important appointment, and the look of concern on his face at the sight of me conveyed that I looked like one of the zombies from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” music video. I was so weary I almost couldn’t drive home. The next day or so, unbearable night sweats followed, and I was greeted by all over muscle pain and nausea.
I was handicapped by whatever it was I had. I went to the doctor and was shocked to find out I had mononucleosis. The doctor informed me I would be sick for a month or as early as 3 weeks if I was a good girl and rested. The doctor also said I would not have full stamina for a long time, and within the next 6 months I was going to catch every nasty bug that walked through my life. The doctor sent me home, with orders to rest, drink fluids and not to participate in contact sports. My tendency to be sarcastic almost jumped out when he mentioned no contact sports, “Yeah, sure doc. You’ll see me play football while I feel like this.”I was so sick that if the doctor had a window to jump out of to get away from me he would have. He stood so far away from me he needed binoculars to exam me. Then I got worse after I went home, which lead to a second appointment.
It spread to my liver, which was inflamed, and my lymph nodes were swollen. To eat a small salad felt like I ate an entire lasagna myself like one of my childhood heroes, snarky cartoon character cat Garfield. Steroids were thankfully prescribed. Ginger snaps eaten. I started to feel a smidge more human, but I still couldn’t do a lot of things myself. Fevers spiked all day, and to brush my teeth most days felt like the greatest accomplishment ever. I looked like big foot; my hair was a bird’s nest every day. To brush my hair hurt too much.
The timing could not have been worse. I had a slew of things that hung on my calendar over me like a dreadful mobile that mocked that moment in my life. I could not physically do what was asked of me, or be around anyone for 3 weeks while I exhibited symptoms for fear that others could contract it. I went out for only one appointment during my illness, which I physically paid for dearly afterward. After that appointment, I painfully made the decision to make it all stop until I recovered. The fear of nothing to replace my momentary ray of sunlight hovered over me like a darkened rain cloud until I stumped my fear cycle with these lessons. I still have my moments, but the following lessons help me.
To make a long story short, during my mononucleosis haze, I learned many lessons. The first lesson I learned was that if I didn’t have my health I did not have anything at all. Opportunities are great, but if I was not well enough to embrace those it didn’t matter. I needed to take care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually and I needed to have faith that God’s hand was at work in my life. I realized God wanted me to work for what I wanted, but He also wanted me to be balanced with trust in Him. He knew, just as my alarmed intuition told me, that what was presented to me was not right for me and would have lead me down the wrong road. I still have a journey ahead of me, one that my intuition, which is rarely wrong, tried to tell me.
I also learned that I could be a prisoner of my own body again later in my life. I came to the conclusion I need to be more adventurous, and take more risks in my life. Even the smallest leaps can bear great rewards. I don’t mean that in a Peter Pan, irresponsible kind of way, but from an optimistic place that desires more joy in her life. I realized that pain and anxiety can happen whether I’m cautious, play by the rules, play nice, do the right thing, or not. Anxiety and worry cannot change what is, what was, and what will be.
In my latest piece, which I will present soon as it is not yet finished, the past is shrouded by dreary daylight, which tries to haunt the biplane with drips that represent memories. The biplane flies toward the next stage, which is night. Night is uncertain and mysterious. In the middle of those stages, the biplane tries to be present where she is. If she does not stay in the moment, she will not be able to fly to where she needs to be.
The uncertainty of the future and the pain of the past are bookends of our lives we all deal with in our way. Hopefully, I can fly through to my next adventure peacefully and healthfully.