Hello loves. It’s the middle of the night. It’s quiet. It’s dark. I’m awake because my head slumped a bit because I currently sleep on an incline to help my drains function properly. This causes my hands to go numb and my muscles to spasm. It’s temporary. I get up, I take meds, and it passes pretty quickly.
This is a common side effect that happens as part of the healing process but it’s a side effect with a huge upside! It means the swelling from my surgery is way down so now my muscles are aware that there is a lot of tubing in me that was not there a week ago.
Basically, I’ve got a network of tubes in me that’s similar in design to the NYC subway system in lower Manhattan around Fulton Street!藍藍藍 It’s all temporary and my great hope is that my plastic surgeon will take it out on Wednesday at my follow-up appointment.
Now, speaking of Wednesday…I know many of you (myself included!) have a lot of anxiety about this election. There is a lot on the line. More on the line than we’ve had in any other election in modern history. So I thought I’d tell you a little story that will maybe help ease your mind and heart.
No matter what happens on Tuesday, there is likely to be a period of time that will feel uncertain and frightening and unstable. We might feel hopeless or powerless or paralyzed.
When I went through my apartment building fire 11 years ago, I felt that way every moment of every day for over a year. But no one knew that except my wizard of a therapist. I was afraid all the time. But I had to go to work. I had to keep up the charade of strength because we were in the middle of a recession, I had $100K in student loans, and I had no one to help me financially. My life was a literal house of cards. And it was fucking terrifying.
At one therapy session, I broke down and I told my therapist how much I hated therapy because it felt like every session I was just tearing off a painful bandaid in the name of truth that was just giving me more pain.
In his wise and calm demeanor, he listened and simply said, “Well now we’re getting somewhere.” And as always, he was right. We were getting somewhere, even though it was somewhere I didn’t want go. It was a road I couldn’t avoid.
I was building emotional muscle. I was learning what hurts, being able to face it, name it, and not flinch. That practice took away my fear of pain and replaced it with curiosity, compassion, and gratitude. I learned that I could be scared and still take action to take care of myself one small step at a time.
For me, 2020 has been a version of my 2010 but this time I had tools and skills I didn’t have before. I know now that being soft and flexible and caring is a kind of strength that can withstand and grow under intense pressure, that it can absorb shock and make something meaningful and beautiful and joyful from it that helps me and helps others.
This is not an easy path but it’s one that’s given me confidence and courage to face anything and everything that I must face, even cancer, even death.
So if you find yourself today, or any day, struggling to breathe, struggling to even imagine how you will get from moment to moment, close your eyes and remember you are the light that illuminates your own path. The answers aren’t out there. They’re in you. They’ve always have been in you and they always will be. And know that as you close your eyes and breathe, I’m doing the same. I’m with you and you’re not alone. We fight together for each other as we heal.
My meds are kicking in now so I can get a few more hours of sleep before the dawn arrives. Whatever the day holds, I’m here.