Things have settled down a bit over here. I mean life is still completely weird and every day I discovery a whole new level of insanity for every possible aspect of my life (a story for another time!), but on a whole I feel… settled.
I don’t know if it was winning my disability case afer fighting for 6 years, or if it’s because I now have a weekly segment on a Chicago radio station that makes me feel both accomplished and helpful, but lately I have felt more “myself” than I have in a very long time. The thought occurred to me that perhaps I just needed a 6 year long tantrum in order to get over my old job, my old hopes and dreams – basically my entire old life. Maybe. I mean it was a pretty awesome life, so I guess a 6 year long tantrum is pretty appropriate. But now my attitudes have shifted and I’ve begun to look at this new dysfunctional life as an opportunity as opposed to a crushing boulder sitting on my chest. I guess, basically… I’m moving on.
It feels odd to even say that. How do you move on from losing every bit of your identity and all of the capabilities that made you “you”? Honestly, I don’t really know how I did it myself. Maybe I just got tired of being miserable and pining for days gone by. Maybe I wanted to show my son that I can practice what I preach and truly make the best out of any situation thrown at me. Maybe I decided that my inner peace was worth more than my outer impression to the world. Perhaps I learned that I don’t always need to be absolutely outstanding every moment of the day in order to be worthy. Maybe.
I do know I learned to ask for help and lessen the unbearable load upon my shoulders. I know I learned to rest and proactively care for myself so as to cause myself as little pain as possible. I remember somewhere along the line coming to terms with what I could and could not control regarding my pain and overall health and abilities. And I distinctly remember thinking one day that if I were someone else looking in on my life, I could possibly see it as though I have been blessed with the chance to live two different lives – an opportunity most people will never recieve.
Yes everything I used to do and be is pretty much gone. But strangely enough none of those things were what made me “me”. Maybe I’m suddenly calm and pretty content because I finally know that life could place me in a ginorous mud puddle and eventually I would still find a way to shine as well as help others to shine; it’s my nature. I’d be writing songs in my head, telling great stories, making beautiful sculptures out of mud, and doing my best to care for everyone around me and enjoy what I have – even if it’s only wet dirt.
So while it has been a tortureous experience, one that almost killed me… I can see how I could one day be thankful that it all happened if only because I have learned lessons that most people don’t learn until they are upon their death bed. I already know what I want to do differently, what really matters, and exactly who I am and why I am here. Had I been allowed to live the life I was living before, as satisfying and comfortable as it was, I would have never understood these things so soon. Are they more important than how I envisioned my career? More important than the future I had designed in my head? I can honestly say yes. All the things I was wrapped up in weren’t real anyways. They were simply ideas, constructs of my imagination and desires projected onto myself and everything around me. Knowing the truth trumps that any day.
Even if it takes 6 years to realize it.
So lately I’ve been simply settling in to this “new” life, exploring what is truly possible while finding ways to meet my true needs. There isn’t anything easy about it in any way, but I’ve learned that it does not need to be easy in order for me to be happy and fulfilled.
Yes I still have moments nearly every month where my pain brings me to my knees. Yes I’m still cancelling plans and sometimes in bed for an entire week at a time. But in these darkest moments I can, with full confidence, tell myself that I have been here before and I will certainly be here again and again… and that it always eventually passes. And maybe, just maybe the reason why I’m so settled is because I’ve begun to apply what pain has taught me to my entire life – I’ve been here before and I’ll be here again and again… and it always passes.
Only time will tell if this is what’s happening. I’d like to think I’m the kind of person that could learn and grow from pain and devestation and turn tradegy into something beautiful in the end, but there is always the chance that I finally gone completely insane. I do consider my mental stability when things get rough and this cockiness pops up out of nowhere and says “That’s all you’ve got? I’ve seen worse…” Which in a way is kind of nice. I like thinking that maybe there is still an undiscovered part of me that is just now waking up.
I can’t wait to meet her.