Into the Wind

Piglet-goes-against-the-wind

As I left my office building today, the wind was blowing.  Not just a slight breeze, but a real guster.  My hair kept covering my eyes, forcing me to readjust my load to clear them so I could see my way.  As luck would have it, I had parked quite a bit farther from the entrance than normal this morning, which only extended my path.  As I made my way to my car, I found not only was my view compromised, I was actually fighting against the wind just to walk, as I was headed directly into it.  It just so happened that also, at that moment, I was anxiously hurrying to pick up my daughter due to an issue at her day care.  I tried to walk rapidly, but every step I took into that damn wind seemed more and more arduous, like I was fighting against everything just to reach my goal.  My goal of getting to my car, getting out of that parking lot, getting to my daughter.

Honestly, most of this week has felt like that; like walking into the wind.  For the most part, my husband and I often count our blessings when it comes to our daughter.  We have markedly few complaints; she is healthy, brilliant, and thriving.  But we have had a particular set of challenges this year we’ve been working on improving with her that occasionally rear their head.  And when they do, they leave me feeling – as a mother – short-handed, confused, deficient and heart-broken.  Like that wind is relentlessly battering against all of us as we fruitlessly try to walk directly in its path, once again.

I know, overall, we are making progress.  I can see it in her, in us.  I know the wind does not blow all the time.  And I will try to remind myself that during those times it is gusting, and we are staggering against it, those are the moments we are becoming stronger; we are learning to weather it, together.  And we will, eventually, reach our destination; as blustery a path as it may be.  We just have to keep moving forward, even if it is into the wind.

Reclaimed Self

ReclaimSudden loss of self.  I suppose that’s how I would describe it, though it’s not quite sufficient.  But I’m at a loss to explain, in any better capacity, the lack of identity I’ve been experiencing for close to a month, now.

Initially, I came down with the flu.  Two days later, I found myself in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy.  Only it wasn’t your textbook case of appendicitis; they found I also had an infection – my appendix were gangrene.  I was told that had it gone on much longer, the outcome could have been very different.  In other words, I very likely would not have been writing this today.  A slightly elongated (and entirely miserable) hospital stay followed the surgery, and I came home four long days later; shaken, weakened, in pain, and utterly changed.

Fear became my nemesis.  I was afraid to sleep, afraid to eat, afraid to move.  Afraid to fully face how tenuous and fragile life really was, perhaps.   I couldn’t help but feel I got lucky; I got a second chance, somehow.  Maybe I was afraid to really embrace what that meant.  In addition to the psychological delay, there was also a physical lag; my body simply did not respond the way I was used to.  The combination created quite the unexpected hurdle to climb as I stumbled through my recovery, bit by bit.  I slowly learned to check my expectations at the door, and start taking things one day at a time; a difficult thing to do when all I wanted was to feel even remotely like myself again.

Sometime later I went out in the world, literally, for the first time in three weeks.  I felt like an imposter in my own body.  Fifteen pounds lighter, not fully healed; my pants were too large, my rings loose, my frame moved differently.  I walked delicately, afraid to step wrongly, afraid to fall.  Fear rearing its head, again.  Sitting at a table in Panera, eating alone, I was exhausted.  I wanted nothing more than to be safe in the familiarity of my living room, on my couch, resting.  But that was my goal for the day, to venture.  To exist.  To be in the world.  Not only that, I had to start increasing my mobility.   So that day, my objective was to go out, even if it was only briefly.  Venture.  Be human.  Breathe air.  Move.  It required more effort than you might think…but I succeeded.

As I did the next day, and the day after that.  Although there have been small unexpected setbacks along the way to navigate through.  My body is still a bit of a foreigner to me.  It still looks different; my frame, and even my face, staring back at me in the mirror.  The woman I see is changed, sharper around the edges.  She is more cautious, less trusting, mostly of herself; not as brave.  Not yet fully reclaimed.

But she hasn’t given up; she is still moving forward.  Maybe she just needs a little more time to learn how to move in this new self; or maybe it’s more about learning who this new self really is.  I don’t think you can go through something like this and not really be changed by it, can you?  Maybe it’s less about reclaiming, and more about rediscovery.

I’m not sure yet, of the answer.  I’ll let you know when I figure it all out…but really, whoever does?