I don’t know what I want. This isn’t a bad thing, but it is a different thing. I spent the last year and a half spinning out of control. Now, as capacity and capablility return to me, I’m almost flooded with options. It’s a weird sensation.
On the one hand, it’s terribly exciting to have the rest of my life stretched out before me. What a gift! On the other, there is an acute awareness of the fragility of life. It’s feeling the pressure to hurry up and enjoy it all already while simultaneously wanting to slow down and soak it all in. It doesn’t feel very balanced. I feel like I lurch forward, then snap to a sudden halt- like a teenager learning to drive a manual transmission. Lunge forward…stop…lunge forward…stall…roll backwards…repeat.
This is to say that I haven’t yet hit my stride. That’s okay. There is a strange beauty in the awkwardness of learning. I watch my kids do it all day every day. They just aren’t in their heads enough to be self-conscious about the fascinating unfolding that occurs when someone is committed to growth.
The person I want to be right now is a person who is okay with not knowing. I ask myself so many questions: Will I have the opportunity to positively impact people’s lives? Will my life mean something? Will I have the kind of relationships I want with my husband and my children? What about with my family and friends? Will I have the courage to make the choices that bring me closer the person I know I can be? Will fear and insecurity keep me revolving around hollow fixes?
The person I want to be is a lot less desperate around these questions. The person I am hoping to become finds the strength to create healing instead of patching over hurt. If I am completely honest, there is absolutely still a part of me that is terrified to face my demons- to go into the fire and deal with the hurt. Even though I am so much stronger than I was before, there are parts of me that still cling to eggshell shields to protect me from vulnerability.
What happens if we commit to laying bare our most hurt, sensitive parts? Does the light that is cast on our deepest, darkest pain evaporate the hurt? Do we get washed clean from our shame? If we name it and set it free, does it leave us?
I honestly have no idea. Part of me (the part that just had my first sips of alcohol in the last 30 days) is all for the experiment. Another part of me is lucidly screaming, “No! No! Protect yourself at all costs!”
Fortunately, I have always leaned toward the daring. I did unpredictable, thrilling things when I was young. I pushed the limits to test what would happen. It seems every time I fell, the real hurt was less than the anticipated pain. So perhaps I will embark on this wild experiment. I will head down this path as part of Project Joy. I will see about pulling up the pain and facing it head on because I am nothing if not deeply and unabashedly passionate about testing the limits of this life. I will reach up and beyond, swinging with the stars. I will face my truth, my pain, my hate, and I will cut the ropes holding me back clear through.
Thank you, cancer and my dear friends, for allowing me to be who I am.
Give ‘Em Hell
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I have always admired you for leaning toward the daring, for lifting your chin and that smile that makes the world catch its breath to let us read the spark behind your eyes that says, “what else you got?” Maybe you were soaked, maybe you were bruised, maybe there was a voice calling that it was time to come in for the night, but behind your eyes was a stack of wood that said, “So what? I’ve got a match.”