Some days I have a pity party! Just me, by myself, really having a great time playing with the voices in my head! Some of them are super awesome and tell me things like, “you’ll never make it”, “this is the worst it has ever been”, “the tides are changing just enough to drown you”, “you deserve to cry, you’re sick”, “you always…..”. I have days where I really let those amazing comments let me believe it is true. The only thing missing from my pity party is vodka and cigarettes, both of which I used to love more than anything!! I don’t blow up balloons or wear my hot pink tutu, but I have a heck of a party. Once in awhile in the depths of the party, I get a phone call, and on the other end of the line is my friend, Mary. We will talk and I will lie and tell her that I am feeling awesome and things are great, yadda yadda, and then five minutes later, she says, “you really need to get up everyday and show your gratitude! Say thank you for all of your blessings and thank you for your ability to help others!” What??? She’s right!! I have, for a better part of my life, been a pessimist. The glass is half empty and shit is going to get worse. In my head I am Eyore. UGH!! In my outward life, I am everyone’s cheerleader!! I am a horrible cheerleader in my head.
I was thinking today about the last four years of my life. In 2014 I had my first surgery to “feel better.” Six months pass and I don’t feel amazing, better, or even that good, so I fake it!! My Dad dies December 22, 2014, leading me into a less than stellar emotional wreck of a Happy New Year! Shortly after that in 2015 we had a rash of bad luck, bad people in our lives, bad people working for us, and I believed that everyone was good at heart. I have since decided that everyone is a liar and a thief until proven otherwise. Hard lesson learned. Continuing on the chronological track I had a few months of trying to feel better when 2016 brought me another surgery at the first of the year, which surely would make me feel better. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and I ended up with a diagnosis that would change my life forever. (insert public service announcement, if you are curious about how I finally found someone to save my life, send me a message. Many of us are struggling to find healthcare where you matter. Most especially if you are fat and your doctor blames every single symptom on weight, I will happily help!) I had surgery number three on Valentine’s Day 2017, and that would do the trick! Nope. When I went back for my six month check up in Cleveland, I said to my surgeon, “I don’t feel better. I wake up every single day thinking ‘this is the DAY!! I am going to feel amazing, like other normal 49 year old, fat women feel, then nope. I don’t feel better.’ ” Serious as a heart attack she replied, “Mrs. Harvey, you have a chronic/terminal disease, you are never going to feel great, but you are alive.” OK OK OK. I get it. For some strange reason the relief of knowing that would be as good as it gets, is like some weird mental thing that allows me to keep moving without beating myself up with that amazing internal dialogue. I recently had to have another surgery, and it has set me back a llllllooooonnnnnnggggg way. I have struggled with depression and feeling like the worlds biggest loser. I am unable to go to work for hours on end, or pick my grandson up from the floor very easy, or walk for long distances, or even go out to eat if I have done too much the day before, or be at my kids stuff, or be the wife I think my husband misses. My life is different, I am different. The only consolation prize is when people say, “Wow, you don’t look sick!” By the way, never say that to people if you can avoid it. Seriously, no one wants to look sick. If I looked like I feel you would call the local mortician to pick me up!! If you think they look nice that particular day, say just that. Leave out the sick part. We don’t need reminded, we live it.
Today, I was beautifully reminded of my blessings. I had committed to 10 days of recognizing my blessings and saying “thank you” for each one. I sit silently and meditate on the things in my life that are amazing. If you want to hear some of them, read on…. or skip to the last paragraph! Here is a shortened list……God, family, pets, friends, the sun, the water, the rain, my flowers, a few bug infested tomatoes, my brothers, my church, my pink office, tutus, cold drinks, blue skies, dragon flies, cardinals, unexpected hugs, hugs, (you need 12 a day to grow and only 8 to survive), forgiveness, the right people around me, old friends, new friends, iced tea, beer, an adjustable bed, good doctors, grass to mow, dirty clothes, being able to get out of bed…….you see how it goes. I did the 10 day commitment, then I went back to the old habit of the shitty dialogue. I don’t feel as good. I needed to be reminded of the gratitude. I was really anxious today about all the things that weigh heavy on my mind, work, kids going to college and things I can’t control. When I got to work, Mike handed me a card from a friend from church, I opened it only to find the best message ever. I have long doubted my ability to write or entertain with the mundane stories of this ridiculous journey. I wondered if anyone really read the stuff I wrote. I wondered if I should just quit. But today, today changed some perspective, so I am showing my gratitude. Thank you Susan for your kindness and the wonderful reminder. XO
Until then….gratitude…love and gratitude