Before my diagnosis, I let fear control a lot of my decision making. If it wasn’t specifically fear, I’d call it insecurity. I have always had this humming in the back of my brain, an urgent vibration calling my attention in the more quiet moments. If left to its own devices, it does cartwheels and handstands and shouts and hops around until I pay it enough mind. Until I hear its horrible bleat: You are not enough.
I do not know where this bottom-feeding troll came from. Seemingly, it’s been there forever. Sometimes I feel like I am who I am because I had the sheer grit to overpower the doubt created in that vacuum of confidence. Sometimes, I feel like I am who I am on account of a softer, deeper well of power that whispers: Maybe so, but go forward anyway.
It would be lovely to cast that spoiled fruit out into the ocean and force it to take up solitary refuge on a forgotten island. I would relish in watching it grow smaller and smaller in the distance as I recline carelessly over the bow of a boat. Feeling instead of shame, the warm sun on my face and the rock of the waves as the pure quiet returns to me.
That is not where I am. But instead of believing in the sharp contrast of “all or nothing,” I fall more in line with the generous spectrum of living. Perhaps I don’t feel completely free from the fear and insecurity that peck at my self-esteem, but I am less affected by it these days.
These days, I don’t have to worry (much) about surviving. Most of what I will go through in the future encompasses efforts to rebuild, not destroy. I do not have to kill cells in my body anymore to hold on to life. I will not be stripped to my barest nerves, everyday serving as a test to my constitution and resolve. I will not labor under the weight of a thousand things heavier and more painful than I can carry. I have lived in the frozen, inhospitable tundra of deep suffering and those days are now behind me.
Now, I get to enjoy “less.” Less fear. Less doubt. Less uncertainty. In comparison to the deafening roar of that angry beast in my mind stirring up near constant feelings of hopelessness and rejection, I have now put the little monster in a box. With a lid. In the corner of a dark closet. Its screams are muted, its antics less visible now. The contrast has created context and that is serving me well.
Tonight, as I recover from a long day of benign events, I turn again to that well of courage. “This is exhausting. I am tired. It’s not working out quite right just yet.” I think to myself. “Maybe,” my soul answers, “but go forward anyway.”
Give ‘Em Hell
Note: Medical update to come shortly.