Sunday, September 9, 2012
None of us are without wounds and scars. The scar on your knee/elbow/chin from the bicycle fall when you were racing home for dinner started out as a bloody cut; the one on your knee/elbow/chin from chicken pox was once a blistery-looking thing before it scabbed up; or the one on your foot from exploding Pyrex dishes when you were (ok, when *I* was) Thirty-Eight plus Three. Wounds to scars. Of course, those scars are the only ones visible to the eye. We are all wounded and scarred inside, as well, where nobody can see it or feel it or even know about it unless we allow them to. Sometimes we do allow it, but sometimes we don't and sometimes we just can’t. But when we do, it may be unknowingly or subconsciously. It's like when you're sad and you try to hide it, but only half-heartedly. Then when someone asks what's wrong and because you're so desperate and broken inside, the tears just come out because you're unable to be in so much pain all by yourself anymore. Not like you meant to cry, or meant to tell the guy in the coffee shop your problems, or even threw yourself into your bed while your ten year old sat down and pet your head and told you it was all going to be okay. (Guilty.) And then we realize how wounded we are - on the inside. How people and situations and even our own inability to change things causes all these wounds. I always told myself something would happen, something would be said, something would finally be my breaking point, because let's face it, we all have one. But what would cause it? Who would bring me to mine? When would it happen? The what: My back pain which resulted in leg pain and my inability to walk down the block without stopping ten times to rub the pains in my legs. Forty-Two wouldn't make it to Fifty-Two without a wheelchair. My body was breaking down. The who(s): A friend who stabbed me in the front and the back (in the eye, in my ribs and anywhere else that she could find)and who caused complete disarray, discontent, discomfort and distance between me and my loved ones; another friend who hurt me repeatedly and deeply, yet unintentionally; an utterly dysfunctional workplace where I have to go every day and walk on eggshells because the women refuse to like me, include me, teach me, and respect me no matter how kind and helpful I am, and a boss who ignores me and yells at me for things I wouldn't even yell at my dog for. Just to touch on a few. So, my heart was breaking down, too. The when: Well that was a building process. I can pinpoint a few times I just wanted to crawl into a ball and, well... bawl. For instance, when I could barely move at work but, like a trouper, I went in everyday without fail. An hour and a half in to one January day, I was in so much pain, I left crying and humiliated, barely able to make it out the door. Not one person offered to help me. NOT.ONE.PERSON. Then a week after that, my landlord suddenly needed me to vacate my piece of shit rental. The final straw was when I started feeling angry and sad all the time. I didn't want to speak to or see anyone except my kids. I didn't want to use the phone, which is like saying I didn't want air; I didn't want to go out; I didn't want to do anything but look at, talk to, feed and cuddle my kids. (For the record, Fifteen does not cuddle and Ten will allow it. On her terms.) I started to dislike me and it wasn't fair because I didn't want to dislike me. I happened to always think I was pretty likeable for the most part, but somehow now I didn't even like me. It wasn't even because I actually thought I was a horrible person, but because almost everyone around me -the liars, the selfish assholes, those who had a complete disregard for my health and well-being, and those who showed an utter disrespect for me - caused me to think I was somehow deserving of it all and if they thought I deserved it, then, hell, maybe I did. I mean, really...? Who looks at another person in major pain and just continues to type at their computer? What friend knowingly looks you in the face while she's secretly turning your life into a fucking disaster and she's OKAY with that? Why did my former gym-freak/aerobics instructor body start failing me so I couldn't even walk down the block to Ralph's Ices with my kid without wanting to saw my own leg off with the Stop and Shop card on my key chain? What did I do that was so horrible? Was this some sort of misfired karma? No, everyone said. But I was convinced. And because I was so convinced, so angry, and so sad that I hated seeing my reflection more than usual, I knew I hit my breaking point. Hard. No cushions, no soft falls. But when I hit it, it didn't hurt like I imagined it would because, really, I was already too broken inside and slowly breaking down on the outside so there was nothing left to damage. I had no self-esteem, no confidence, no back bone, no desire, no strength, no happiness, no love....nothing. Me. Hating life and ridiculously broken. I hated me for hating me because somehow I still knew that I wasn’t so deserving of that, and because I was aware that I didn't deserve it and wasn't stopping it, I hated me more. Vicious cycle. The only thing I did have was my love for my babies. I didn't want them to see their mom all broken and hopeless. How could I teach them lessons about being strong and not allowing others to shape who they were or what they thought about themselves if I, the tour guide of their youth, was allowing that myself and steering us all into a ditch? It was then, when I couldn't stand myself for another second, that I made a decision that started with major back surgery. Once I got the date for it, August 20th, I also decided that it was my date to start over, to find some strength somewhere, to take the risks that would, at the very least, start the ball of Forty-Two’s Single, Pain-Free, Happier Life rolling in some direction. I figured (prayed, actually) that nothing else would go wrong, but if the ball didn't roll forward into a positive direction, I was determined to make the effort to pull it in the direction I wanted it to go. The day of surgery I had two hours of sleep and I cried and worried I would die under anesthesia or I'd wake up with no feeling or that it wouldn't be successful. I told my sister where things were, what to throw out, my passwords and she knew, by default, she would get my clothes and anything cool I still owned. But I woke up from the surgery, wiggled my toes and cried with relief. The ball just rolled forward. Luckily, when I got home, I felt in my weary bones that I was going to be a quick healer. Maybe it was because I wasn't crying anymore and because my doctor ordered physical therapy only days after I got home. Even my therapist was amazed at what I was able to do so soon after surgery and I felt... confident. Another inch forward. I braced myself for my next move. I had to say goodbye to one friendship that was hurting me, and start letting go of another person who had once been a friend but who now made my heart race with anger at the mere mention of her name. As an added bonus, I made peace with another friend. That ball was really starting to roll now. Tomorrow is the three week mark since my surgery and since I decided to make positive changes in my life before I woke up one day and realized I wasted my life by living in anger, hurt, misery and by allowing other people to define my worthiness and who I was. It was three weeks ago that I took the (alleged) advice of Betty White and decided that I needed to (re)grow my vagina. So, now I have this large wound on my back that is healing into a scar. But it's not just a boo-boo wound on my skin from a physical fall or scrape; it’s bigger than that and certainly more significant. This newly-forming scar is significant because it’s the culmination of a very difficult year - physically and emotionally – and it represents my struggle, my determination and my strength to pick myself up and force myself to move forward. It represents all of my pain, inside and out. It’s proof that I can still make good decisions. It’s a reminder that no matter how bad I feel, no matter how hard my life gets, no matter how hurt I am, in the end, I will always heal.