Personal circumstance is weighing on my heart and soul. The genuine moments of happiness, though few, are deeply valued. It feels as though my strength and bravery reserves are gone. There’s nothing left besides hurt. The discomfort goes far beyond physical pain. My psyche is being comminuted by things so far out of my control that I’m struggling to understand what my lesson is to be learned. Where is the silver lining? We are never given more than we can handle? Are you sure? Honest to God, this is how I feel most of the day. I question everything. Everyone experiences defeat in a different way and yet, sometimes I feel like I am the only one.
Last week, after persistent, increasing discomfort in my lower back, I expressed concern to my surgeon who wanted x-rays. At 1:55pm Thursday afternoon, I received a phone call from the man who indisputably saved my legs back in May.
“Kristen, I am so sorry that you have had such a shitty year and I don’t love your most recent set of x-rays.”
As a man of consistent positivity and honesty, my heart sank. It isn’t good. If it was residual surgical pain, he would have told me to suck it up and move on. Not the case. As he continued to explain that he wasn’t exactly sure what is going on, and requested that I come to Florida next week for a CT scan, I looked up at the ceiling, blinking tears out of my eyes, wanting to sob, “WHY ME?!”
Hanging up the phone, I immediately crutched my way into the kitchen and snatched the 1/2 bottle of wine off the counter. Since it’s difficult to maneuver crutches with other objects in hand, I decided to forego a wineglass and I made my way back into the living room. This bottle didn’t stand a chance against my damaged ego anyway, the glass would just get in my way. Allowing myself to scream into a pillow, cry and feel everything was the healthiest option for me in that moment. All the while getting a dose of antioxidants and resveratrol as I drowned my sorrows. Now, there’s one silver lining.
That night, laying in bed, crying. I wondered if I could handle the unknown. What is coming my way next week? All I wanted was someone to listen. Scrolling through text threads in my phone I contemplated reaching out and imagined responses – ones I knew that I didn’t want to hear. Closing my eyes, I rested my hands on my heart and let out a ginormous sigh.
And in that very moment, a thought flashed through my mind. During a past phone conversation with a friend who I have a tremendous amount of respect and love for, she told me that if I ever needed to be heard, not to hesitate to reach out; sometimes what we need is to hear ourselves speak our fears or see them written out and have a witness to our darkness. The thought of taking her up on her offer continued to nag at my heart as I tossed and turned. I knew she meant what she said.
As a woman living with a different-ability, going through a rather tumultuous time, and continuously feeling weighted down by woe, I wanted someone to allow my declaration of how I felt and what I needed, instead of the other way around which tends to happen quite frequently. So I typed it out in a text.
With all that had transpired that afternoon and what has gone on since May, I am terrified. The unknown. Being stripped of my independence. The overwhelming emotional overload. Pouring my fear into words and tears onto my phone, I hit send. It was 1:15am and I did not expect a response. Simply putting my current thoughts and feelings into the Universe and letting another soul know how I felt brought lightness.
And then she responded. Half asleep, she paused long enough to see my strength through the obvious fear.
“I believe not only in you, but in the undeniable resilience of the human spirit to get to a point of falling to its knees before gathering the strength to rise high.”
And there she was: my silver lining. On the other end of the phone in Charleston. A woman, a friend, a confidant, someone who knows darkness and doesn’t judge, an authentic warrior who is part of MY circle.
Everyone needs to belong, somewhere, to someone, to something. Everyone needs to help and be helped. Everyone gets torn down and built up. And in this life, through the turmoil and tranquility, I have been surrounded by a community of people, young and old, to which I belong. Through brutal honesty we heal each other, no matter what.
Ashley, I am so grateful for you being on the other end that night. For accepting my weakness and knowing my courage. For not telling me that I was creating my story. For your love.
Come to find out, I am not alone in feeling the weight recently. Real life is messy. We have limitations. We make mistakes. We feel lost. We struggle to be heard. We have SO MUCH in common. With understanding and compassion we can support each other.
The most valuable people in my circle have come in through the darkness. Through the ugly, raw, fear driven shit that most are too scared to touch.
Be brave. Breathe. Reach out. Say how you feel without fear of judgment.
Side note: there’s more to my silver lining. Returning to West Palm Beach, I will be surrounded by some very special people. I’d be lying if I said I am not looking forward to squeezing them, very tightly.
Love. SO MUCH LOVE.