Tag Archives: love

Unknown strength to change.

10 Nov

Habits, according to Merriam-Webster, are acquired modes of behavior that have become nearly or completely involuntary.  Some can be deemed good habits, some bad.  Some easy to break, some ingrained in us forever.  Each one of our now intrinsic routines can be mapped back to both positive and negative experiences in our past, each experience shaping our behavior, our outlook.  Time passing only further solidifies our actions, and our justifications for our mindset.  Just like Webster said, these actions essentially move beyond our control, we act without conviction or thought.

As I enter a new phase of my life, I move past my soul-searching mindset to self-identification.  I don’t mean identifying who I am as an individual.  I mean understanding the base of my soul, the base of my heart, to identify the very foundation of how I react and more importantly, the why.  Self realization is a funny beast though.  Without the help from someone other than myself, I’m not sure I even posses the ability to consciously library my habits, both good and bad.  I’m not sure if anyone has the ability to do this on their own…

I am lucky to have an open and honest support group around me.  Not only do they point out my strengths, but they also deliver my weaknesses to my attention.  Thankfully, the serving platter is usually delicately etched.  However, even on the most carefully planned approach, self-identification doesn’t always come with a sugar-coating making the pill easier to swallow.  I think we have all felt that gut-wrenching bottomless pit of guilt that can quickly move right into our hearts when we realize our faults, especially when we come to find we have hurt someone we hold dear.  However, if we take the opportunity to show our weakness to ourselves, really unveil it, and not only catalog it but work to understand its origin, we can morph our bad behavior into new and positive reactions.  After all, we cannot change anyone other than ourselves.

I recently found myself in a situation that allowed me to play the other side of the exchange, and though I cannot claim my actions as smooth or graceful, I was truly blessed to see and feel both sides of the issue.  In finding the courage to initiate and follow through on a hard conversation, I found the courage to practice a new approach myself!

As a child who grew up in a deceptive and unsound environment, my inherent gut-reaction is to shut down, crawl into myself and walk away.  As much as I am uncomfortable saying this, it was not instilled within me to stand up tall, take a deep breath and face a situation head-on. Although I have had moments of brilliance in my past, it has not been my normal response to stressful or unstable situations.  The instinctive walls to my heart would have been immediately built and my true emotions barricaded.

This time, something was different.  After the walls were already built and my arms were already crossed, somehow the walls crumbled away and I opened my arms up with trust.  Trust that an apology was sincere.  Trust that we would never again find ourselves in the same situation.  Still at a loss for what was so different, I look back on this moment in awe of myself.  Where did this strength come from, what made me so courageous?  How did I let go of the pain and distrust so easily?  How did I change my actions and reactions so quickly and easily?  How do I have so much faith in my decision to open my arms instead of crossing them even tighter and turning away?

I am not sure I’ll ever truly understand this moment.  However, I am somehow more at peace with myself over letting go of past pain – realizing that I was not in the same environment as I was in my past.  I have faith it was the right way to move forward, and I am thankful for whoever or whatever gave me the strength to change my own ways.

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Worse than Hallelujah – honestly…

15 Jan

It’s no surprise that I’ve found myself at a loss of words lately. After my trip to the ER two nights ago, I am again, left with an overwhelming sense of uncertainty in my life. Yes, it was a productive trip in that a new, additional diagnosis was made – which honestly comes with little to no comfort behind it. Although the news was not terminal, that I had zero support system beside me to reach out and hold my hand through it left me my own yet again to push through it “realistically”. Fuck. I am so exhausted of “being realistic”, “being the champ”, “being the inspiration”, “being the strongest person you know.” Let’s be clear here. I’m no one’s champ. I’m not strong now. And if I were an inspiration, it would be for what you should NOT to do, or feel or say…

My latest trip to the ER stared… Well truth be told, it was several weeks in the making, as my doctor deflected my repeated cries for help with honestly valid answers such as “it’s side effects of the extremely high dosage of prednisone”, “we tapered you too fast”, “you are going through withdrawal” etc. I can’t fault him. I was going through so much. This amazing man who I look up to (who is usually sarcastic to get you through the really hard days) has transitioned his care-taking strategy with me by now taking me by the hands and hugged me on more than one occasion over the last few months while I simply cry and break down at every single appointment for no reason at all.  Sure, it was obvious that the prednisone really was affecting me negatively. So I get his linkage and can’t even say he was deflecting my cries for help. He did encouraged me to use the pain management available to me. Telling me not to be worried about looking like an addict, I clearly needed it. But then when the call came in to him that I was bleeding, it was clear that the pills were to blame for slowing down my system a little too much… I just couldn’t win!

Anyway, my amazing dr stopped answering his cell this weekend, so I had to call the oncall DR this Saturday who was quick to simply put me on me on more prednisone. Ok. Great. He promised relief by morning. And guess what! I had relief… For the first time in almost 3 months I enjoyed my morning walk with the dog, I caffeinated up, ate and went to work decorating the craft nook and office walls!

Then the pain started to creep in and creep in some more. Shit.. Called the oncall DR again. He said to get to the ER, he had no advice. And click he was gone… Ok. Now it was time to try everything in my arsenal as the thought of the ER and another hospital admittance scared the living shit out me!  Out came the yoga mat, and some seriously earthy crunchy music. Nope. Ouch. Ballet stretches from my 15 years at the barre… Ouch. Hot bath.. The negative energy just intensified. Added Epsom salts. Stupid idea. Polish off the Dilaudid I had left (only 4mg) with some yummy hot tea, fluffy blanket, pillows and my entire petting zoo with music. Pain just got worse as the minutes ticked by.

Ok now that was all stupid . Now I am loopy and dizzy from drugs, it’s foggy and I need to get to the ER.. My pain has only intensified in the last 3 hours, and I am now in no shape to drive. Thankfully, a local friend agrees to take me with the promise he can drop me off at the door and avoid watching me fall apart inside.  Score.

Just as I expected, they immediately treated me as if I were a drug addict simply looking to score some pain meds for the night – even though I clearly had a bag packed with me ready to be admitted to the hospital.  I took my begging for a bucket to throw up into it, and bleeding out of the IV they started to take blood samples.  Don’t forget, they don’t actually GIVE drug addicts the drugs they so crave… So I was left with a dangling IV starter dripping blood all over me and my bed… awesome. .. I’ll spare you the real image… 3 hours later, a doctor finally comes in who seems to get it.  She states that my inflammation levels are indeed all over the charts as are other markers, so an IV is finally started – drains almost immediately.  Clearly I was dehydrated – couldn’t they have figured that one out by all the water I was asking for?  40MG of Prednisone administered moving me up to my dreaded 60MG (I’ll get into this within a different post).  Finally in comes the Dilaudid and anti-nausea meds.  Neither work.  They inject me 2 more times with Dilaudid… STILL NO RELIEF. You have to be kidding me.  I’m trying to walk around, trying to do stretches, crying… the nurses keep looking at me like I’m an idiot… I’m asking for them for recommendations to make the pain go away – they said to quit moving and lay still.  Oh sweet nurses, you have NO idea what this pain feels like!  Finally around 2am, the DR comes in and suggests a muscle relaxer.  I said OK – whatever you’ve got, I’m happy to try.  RELIEF!  I actually fell asleep sitting up!  It relieved the pressure around my joints enough to actually let the pain pills do their job!

They then checked me for the flu – since I was healthy, they decided the hospital was not a safe place for me (oh yes, then came a long lecture of why in the hell I would subject myself to the hospital during a flu epidemic… excuse me, did we not just go through HOURS worth of pain management trial and error and clearly my pain had risen from a 7.5 to a 15 in a matter of those hours?  Did they not see what had transpired in front of them?  Anyway, we agreed to send me home with all the medication they would have kept me on for a few days in the hospital… only guess what… she didn’t give me the one that was the key to it all… Valium, the muscle relaxer… honestly…

A dramatic taxi ride home (the taxi driver refused to take me to an ATM to get him cash then cussed me out in some language I do not know for not having cash when we got home – mind you after he drove past my house THREE TIMES, I eventually just got out of the taxi and said goodbye and walked home). I was finally home…

Then, onto the radio comes Amy Grant’s, Better than a Hallelujah… you have GOT to be kidding me…

“We pour out of miseries, God just hears a melody, beautiful, the mess we are.  The honest cries of broken hearts are better than a Hallelujah.”… Well… I guess God must just LOVE Crohn’s patients, because we sure are NOT out rejoicing.  We sure do give Him some pretty awesome melodies of miseries… Hope he enjoyed this one… Because I wasn’t enjoying singing this song.

Scared of heights… Scared of the fall…

4 Nov

Recently it become clear to me just how afraid of heights I am.  I was on the Upper East Side and staying in a hotel with a very old elevator.  You know the kind, the ones the shake and shutter the entire ride up and down. Pausing just above the desired floor long enough to fall a few inches launching your heart into your throat.  Yes, that was my 3-day visit, white knuckles and a white face.  Even with my spray-on tan…

I have two fears in life… insects with more than six legs and a crashing to doom in an elevator (my recurring nightmare for over 20 years).

I then went directly to the French Quarter (good God I miss the food…) where I stayed in two more hotels that creek with every step.  And these elevators just took the cake.. It actually made me start rationalizing my fear of heights.  Sure, I adore the vantage point and view from above.  Who doesn’t find it relaxing to be on the top of the world?  But anyone who’s experienced heart-break or despair knows that the term “this too shall pass” also applies to the highs of life.  Perhaps its the pessimist in me, but its the crash that I’m scared of.

As much as I love my little happy pink bubble in the clouds, I have realized that I’m more guarded than I admit to be.  If my head is in the clouds and I’m dancing on cloud numbered nine, when is my nervous elevator going to just let go leaving me crash on the ground a million feet below me?  My realization turns out to be… maybe I’m not just afraid to die in an elevator… but maybe I’m now afraid of any fall… including the fall to love.. After all, a fall is fall.  When do we let go of the pain of the past and let the fall become something you can trust… something you can just slip into it with utter confidence that its all worth it?  Or is just the confidence in yourself that the risk will eventually be worth the reward.  Guess we’ll never know… but the fall is starting to become fun again…

Battle of Give and Take…

21 Apr

We have all heard that to achieve the perfectly balanced life, we must all give and take, right?  But do any of us really know the meaning of this phrase, or what it truly takes to achieve it?  I find myself struggling with this life lesson today, this week, this month…. And I am finding myself in a losing battle.

Only two words can completely sum up my feelings about myself today.  Burnt out.  I don’t know how else to describe it, but I am completely and utterly burnt out in every single aspect of my life.  As I was flipping through Facebook tonight (one of my bad habits to waste time that I can’t afford to waste) I found myself in tears.  I couldn’t figure out why at first – then it dawned on me.  I just don’t have the energy for it – to follow anyone else’s life when I can barely keep mine together now.  Every aspect of my life from personal to professional and back again feels like a sub-par version of how I expect my life to be.  This feeling prompted me to look at my life’s balance – or lack thereof in this case.

I realize that I am over-giving to every person and project in my life.  Or, in some cases, have already over-gave and just cannot give anymore.  I feel so close to the edge of that polarity that I worry about the what-if of not being able to re-balance my life altogether.  Then I realize that I am not in charge of what I get in return, and I am left with a few haunting questions.  Questions that I just cannot find the answers to.  Am I looking to the wrong outlets for the returned favors, attention and help?  Or is it just my turn to GIVE and not to GET in return?  Or do I simply rank things in a far different way than those I love?  That balance, too, shows a major deviance – the gap between priority lists feels far too large to justify today… Along those lines, do expect too much out of people?  Or am I too impatient or high maintenance?  After feeling this way for an entire month, I wonder – is it me?

The best relationship advice I ever received was simple: There will be times where one person gives more than the other, and sometimes will actually be doing all of the giving.  However, always keep in mind that there will be another timeframe where the other is doing all the giving.  It will never be a 50/50 split every single day, but more of a 50/50 split over the span of the successful relationship. 

This is certainly applicable to all aspects of life – not just romantic relationships.  I realized this a long time ago; however, I never realized there would be a time in my life where this “unbalanced relationship” is out of whack in all departments.  This where I find myself now… and I want to know, HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS?!?  This is NOT what I signed up for!

Will the scale of your life ever be balanced?  Or are some people just unbelievably blessed to be more on the receiving end of life?  OR, is it just fate to be on one side of the scale or the other – and never in the middle?  Is there really such a thing as the “perfect balance” in life after all?….

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