Getting ready this morning, my hands shook so badly I accidentally shaved off my beard. Looking like a muscle built French painter, I gritted my teeth, angry with myself for not being more calm. I repeat the manta, “Keep it together WiL; you can’t let Barb know how scared you are”. Because today is the day my wife starts her first round of chemo at the Tunnel center. The 30 minute ride is mostly silent except for my sad attempts at levity resulting in my nervous laughter sounding like a hyena jacked on cocaine. I finally remember the most important thing I need to do. My lungs release the air pent up inside my chest as frustration, self-pity, and anxiety burst forth in a heavy exhalation. I didn't realize I was holding my breathe forgetting to breathe...
Sitting in the Tunnel Center I watch Barb slowly fall asleep, as the cool medicine flows into her veins. The nurses here are fantastic as they continue to ask me and Barb if we need anything. I smile thinking to myself, “Yeah can you help me accept not being in control!!!” My mind is a whirlwind of concerns and problems spinning through my cranium. I obsess over the upcoming bills that need to be paid, medicine that needs to be picked up, food that needs to be prepared, a house that needs to be cleaned all the while smiling, so Barb doesn't worry about me worrying. Feeling the air once again grow shallow in my lungs I gasp for air in tiny gulps. I laugh to myself thinking about Bootsie, Barb's cat at home. I make a mental note that I will have to apologize to the little furry animal, because she is on the bottom of the priority list.
But actually that isn't true. I'm at the bottom of the list, and I argue with my inner self recognizing how ironic that is, because I teach and preach self-care like a fanatical guru from the Himalayas. But like any good recovering alcoholic, I feel I'm the exception to the rule... “Wrong...” The internal battle clashing in my cerebellum is epic, as I rationalize and micromanage myself with a great abundance of responsibilities and criticism. I don't need to rest or eat I've got to get this, this and this done. I get a little light headed cynically realizing I'm already behind with the to do list from hell.
A small loving voice whispers from my soul telling me I have a huge support network here and likewise out of state and that I should start asking for more help. But the maniac driving my mental bus scoffs harshly reprimanding the child inside me saying we need to suck it up, quit whining and grow up. We don't need help. Instead we need to learn how to be more independent. That is precisely why you are in this situation, because you haven't learned to stand on your own two feet.
Does anyone else have a bully in their brain berating them when they are at their weakest? There is a verse in the Bible that says when we are weak, God is strong. I hate that verse, LOL because I want to be strong, smart, sexy, and invulnerable to pain, shame, fear, and heartbreak. I don't want to be broke, scared, lonely, fragile to the people, places and things we encounter in life. I don't want to feel my feelings sometimes but isn't that what makes us beautifully wondrously human? And today I am extraordinarily human.
My hands perspire as my fingers slip over the keys typing this article, and I realize that it's ok to be afraid. This is what makes this life an adventure. Besides we would be bored to death if we didn't have any mountains to climb. Who wants to ride a roller coaster with no hills? Who wants to surf in the kiddy pool? Who wants to ride their bike with training wheels?
There are no guarantees in life we can either risk living it the fullest or suffocate to death smothering our own dreams. If not for sacrifice, grief, and heartbreak we would not have the insight to be grateful for what we have, and how far we have come. Love, hope and laughter heals us, but pain, hurt and disappointment refine us. The trials of life burn away the fat of denial creating a rare and unique strength attuned to the survivor. And we are all survivors if we choose to truly live life cherishing every moment, and yes even the bad ones. Too many people fall victim to the cancer of the mind believing themselves to be a victim instead of a fighter.
Writing is good therapy for me as my hands stop sweating, and my heart slows to a normal beat. The air tastes so sweet when I stop trying to control everything. I quiet the maniac inside my mind screaming insecurities releasing myself to feel human. It's ok to laugh, to tremble, and to even cry, but through all of that we have to remember the most important thing. WE HAVE TO BREATHE...