Coming out of the ‘crazy time’, per the book I was reading and have referenced in previous blogs, I thought perhaps I was finally ready to try out relationships again. By that I mean relationships now that I’ve gotten past … Continue reading
I have a very painful boo boo today.
Okay wait, let me back up here a bit first. Every 2 weeks I am prepping and throwing my Avon brochures. At least 500, sometimes up to 1000 depending on a number of things. This is a process of stamping each one on the space on the back with my name, phone number and website for my store. I also hand date each and every one. Then if there is an insert, and there nearly always is, I stuff them all. Then I put each in a plastic bag, roll it like a newspaper and rubber band it. Needless to say this takes a number of hours to accomplish, anywhere form 4-8 depending on the number I am processing for distribution. My hands are SO sore by the time I am finished that I look forward to the day I am making enough to hire students to do this task.
Often the process of preparing these books is done along with my mom and sister. We gather, stack up our boxes of catalogs, then go through the prep process while watching our favorite TV shows a few nights a week. It is much more pleasant a task in the company of others.
On distribution day I load up my car with 6-10 large boxes of the rolled brochures and head out. These boxes weigh a LOT and I am out of shape and never properly lift so add a back ache to the hands. I drive along through various neighborhoods with my driver’s window down (this ought to be a treat come winter) and I go slow, tossing a brochure onto each driveway. I have some streets that I frequent due to gaining customers on them, others I pick that I’ve never thrown on before. I don’t come home until all of the brochures are distributed. This takes only an hour to an hour and a half. There are many reps that think this method is wrong, that I should hang them on the door handles or even knock on doors and meet the potential clients. I say that this method works just fine, and besides I know what it is like to be in the middle of something and have the doorbell ring. If they want Avon they will call and we will meet!
So, today I loaded the car and headed out on my rounds. About half way through I received my severe ouchie. I was pulling the rolled books from the box, in a hurry, and depositing them in my lap. I have very long nails (yep you see where this is going) that are acrylic as I cannot grow them myself. I wasn’t being careful and jammed my hand into the box. I’ve done this hundreds of times without issue, but this time I did it at just the WRONG angle. I snapped the nail on my birdie finger (that one we so like to use to inform other drivers when they are #1). Not only did it snap but it tore the real nail beneath it, off the nail bed, about a quarter of the way down my natural nail. I uttered quite the string of obscenities that would have made a trucker blush. Sadly the nail was still hanging on by a piece of the nail bed and now was bleeding.
I stopped the car and pulled off the broken piece, followed by a few more choice, not-family-friendly words. Thankfully I had a band-aid in my purse (I have everything in there, once winning a contest for the most items on a given list, in my purse, including an unidentifiable object). So now I am typing with the injured digit wrapped in a bandage, which is very awkward with mostly a stub and the other fingers having rather long nails. I’m so ticked at myself, as it will be weeks before that finger can have a nail on it again. SIGH….
Oh well, the day wasn’t a loss, all 600 books were distributed, already have one new customer from this toss round, and signed up a new recruit for my team.
By the way, if you’d like to start living the life of an Avon Lady yourself, join my team. Doesn’t matter where you live I can sign you up, train you (live video etc) and help you make a nice living (decide what that is and you can earn it). Just go to Start Avon and enter the code: BREDESTEGE-GARD and for $20 you too can make money and have some interesting stories to write about! You will also receive top notch support from me, as your upline, as I take good care of my recruits.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
I would want the power to heal….a healing touch.
But not to heal the physical wounds like broken bones, or illness such as colds and flu.
I have often wished I had to power to heal broken hearts…
Our hearts…not the ones pumping blood through our bodies, but the ones that feel emotions. We cannot find them when we open up the physical body, they are not something that can be held in the hand and examined. They have no substance that can be viewed, and yet they are very real and can hurt more, and deeper, and take longer to heal than any part of our physical bodies.
Loss of someone or something that is dear to us causes our hearts to hurt. We’ve all experienced this pain, wounds to a part of us that cannot be found, cannot be bandaged. Harsh and mean words or actions bruise that deep place within us. When death takes someone from our lives, it causes a tear in the tender flesh of our most fragile part. When someone we love walks out of our lives, they tear a piece of the fabric of that heart, sometimes ripping it apart completely. At times the loss is so intense our hearts are completely shattered.
There is no way to fix this delicate piece of us…no stitches can close the wounds, no glue can put the pieces back together, no medication can be applied to lessen the severity of the scars the injuries will leave behind. No antibiotic to keep out the infection of bitterness that can seep in making the wounds fester and ooze unattractiveness that others see. At least nothing medical science can supply will heal a broken heart.
So many times I’ve watched tears flow from the eyes and down the cheeks of a soul in agony and could only hold them while they suffered. I’ve listened to a friend talking of a loss, hearing the pain and confusion in their voice. And I felt so powerless, so incredibly helpless to ease that torment.
I’ve also been the one with the tears, pain and confusion, my heart destroyed and experiencing more hurt than I ever imagined possible. Pain so deep it hurt to breathe, to think, to even exist. And beyond the point of being able to receive comfort, so deep nothing could penetrate the pain to sooth the wounds. My heart laying in ICU on life support, deep in a coma of suffering with no ability to surface. I could hear those around me, what they said, in an effort to hold me here, keep me from slipping further into the darkness where I could remain numb and lifeless emotionally. No visitors permitted, and no way to know if or when recovery would begin, or how long it would take. When it was finally released, the scars had not even begun to heal, some wounds were still very raw, others open and only beginning to close. To say I was fragile would be greatly understating the reality.
So many times I have wished I possessed the power to sooth those that are so deep in their misery. That when touching those cheeks and drying the tears, I could pull the pain through my finger tips and replace it with peace and comfort. That when I hugged them close, the wounds would begin to close, the burning subside. That every touch…holding their hand, kissing their face, holding them in my arms, would be a soothing, healing balm to their hearts, extracting the torment, injecting warmth, cauterizing the emotional bleeding and pouring life and love back in to resuscitate their hearts.
But, would it be a good thing?
Throughout the transition from crushed to recuperated, we learn and grow. I’ve learned some hard lessons through the past 17 months. Somethings about myself weren’t pretty, in fact rather ugly. Those were pieces of my personality that were rotting flesh that had to be cut away, and grafts of change put in place to grow and heal with the other wounds.
I am not the woman that I was in January 2010 when my life and dreams imploded into a burning pile of debris around me. My heart is not the same as it was when it’s lifeless remains were on life support in the ICU unit struggling to continue beating. There were days I felt myself slipping further into that comatose state of pain and depression, and it took all I had to cling to the side of my sanity and not let go when the cold darkness beckoned so invitingly. I am not the person that sifted through the rubble of my life, salvaging what I could, discarding what could not be fixed, and reevaluating who I was, where I wanted to go, and plotting a new course in life.
The person that has emerged is more like the me I was before I fell in love and married even the first time. While there are deep and painful scars, and some are still tender and not all that attractive, I’m stronger in so many ways, and softer in others. I’m still learning to fly again, making short, sometimes less than graceful journeys to explore love again. I know that I want to love again, that intense, deep, life changing, fully and completely devoted kind of love. Trusting will come slowly, not only of allowing someone to hold my heart, but allowing myself to hold theirs. I don’t want mine broken again, and I do not wish to inflict damage on anyone else’s.
But could any of this come about without that long and difficult process of healing?
Perhaps we all potentially have that superpower already, when we reach out and touch someone in pain, the results are just not as immediate as we’d like…
Recently I came across Andy Rooney’s I’ve Learned – The Art Of Happiness. 2 things really stood out to me (okay the whole thing stands out to me but due to a personal, internal struggle, 2 of them really jumped out at me).
“I’ve learned that…LOVE, not time heals all wounds.”
“I’ve learned that…under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.”
I’ve really been struggling lately regarding relationships and exactly what it is that I want in one. Friends with benefits works well in theory but there is no way that two people can spend time together as friends without some type of bond forming. We have control over our emotions to some degree, but I don’t believe that we can make ourselves love or not love someone else. Therefore we must chose wisely who we spend time with, flirt with, and share with knowing that the possibility is always there. How committed we are and how much we love someone has little bearing on what can happen with another that we get too close too. We can chose to walk away when we sense that feelings are developing but we cannot control the chemistry that happens between two people. Add sexual intimacy to the mix and I do not believe it will remain void of emotion.
I was never one to flirt around outside of my marriage beyond a surface level. I knew all too well that chemistry happens and when the right mix occurs between any man and woman, sparks can fly. I only flirted within safe boundaries, with those I didn’t feel a real attraction towards, that way I could keep it fun. Of course that too is playing with fire in that I had no way of knowing how the object of my attention might react. Attraction is often one sided. I also know that men rarely think with their hearts or their larger heads, so a little flirting can get a girl in a heap of trouble. Guys are weak, and thrive on female attention. Any female with half a brain picks up on this early in life and plays the flirt card to her advantage. It may get your tire changed on the road side, or free drinks all night at a bar. It is also a power game when you can persuade an otherwise faithful man to your bed for the night even though he may have a beautiful, adoring wife at home (trust me 26yrs ago I played this game). Men are just pigs enough that they never seem to catch on that they are being used by the flirty little tart as part of a game to make herself feel powerful. She might even play that game a long time before setting her prey free to face the consequences of his actions. For some such women it isn’t a win until he has left his wife and all that was important behind, only to be dumped soon after. Men are pigs, women are vicious she devils. Make no mistake about it.
Not all men are complete pigs and certainly not all women are demonic creatures, but we do carry those less desirable traits to our over all characters. For me, finding the man that was a more ‘cultured swine‘ was the goal in life. And for a long time I certainly believed I had found it. But even he fell victim too easily to the games of the more wicked of women now and then.
After such a long time and so much of me invested in my marriage, when the end came I encased my heart and determined I was NOT going to love anyone again. Friends with benefits was the answer to preventing pain from ever touching me. I honestly didn’t believe I could mentally stand that kind of hurt another time without landing in a padded cell wearing a straight jacket.
Enter Pixel Kitten. My sister’s birthday gift to me, an adorable, 5 week old, orphaned kitten that NEEDED someone to love her. I carried her around that first weekend from Friday afternoon until I had to leave for work on Monday morning, caring for her every need and doing something I didn’t even realize was happening….FEELING. My wounded, well protected heart was wrapping around this helpless little kitten that clung to me like I was her mama. She slept against my chest or my face, wasn’t happy unless she was being held, and began to breathe life back into my heart. In the first few weeks she gently helped my heart off of life support and out of ICU. I thought it was because time had passed since I found out my marriage was over, that I finally was HEALING. And then when I read the quote, “I’ve learned that…LOVE, not time heals all wounds.” I realized that in fact it was love the healed my heart. I poured all that pain into loving that little bundle and without even realizing it I was feeling again, thanks to my 4-legged heart band-aid. By allowing my heart to feel love again, it healed.
Even in my favorite movie, Always, the truth was right in front of me. It wasn’t until Dorinda allowed her heart to FEEL love again that she began to heal from the loss of Pete. The pain I carried wasn’t going to go away until I filled that void with love, first for Pixel, and now who knows, but loving is the healing balm on the wounds of my heart, no doubt about it.
All this time I had thought I would do better to NOT feel love again, that I’d heal from my wounds and move past the pain by shutting out any and all emotional involvement with anyone. And in my friends with benefits style relationships, it almost works. Except that in order to NOT feel for these so called friends, the only communication that could pass between us would be arranging for the hook up and the sex itself. No pillow talk, no sharing, just the sex and be gone. How cold. I’m not that type, I’m not inflatable. No that is not at all what I want, but in order to be truly friends with anyone there is sharing which leads to caring, which leaves the heart vulnerable. So the question is how far can I safely let down my protective walls around my heart? “I’ve learned that…under everyone’s hard shell is someone who wants to be appreciated and loved.” And this IS true, deep inside of every human is the basic need to be loved and with that love appreciated. But it means allowing someone to get inside the barriers we build when we’ve been hurt. Sometimes it is circumstances, life, fate, or people, but the pain inflicted is real and the protective walls mean to shield from future suffering. But without love we do not heal those wounds, they simply fester beneath the surface making us unable to trust or exist beyond our self imposed exile. We move about as an island in the world not allowing anyone close to us. This is NOT living, this is existing.
I know that I do not want to merely exist in this life, moving through it watching others but never letting anyone get close to me. Trusting someone to hold my heart means yes, I will hurt again, yes I will cry again, but it means I WILL be able to love again. And love will heal the past hurts. Not everyone I share my heart with is going to purposely hurt me, some will be unintentional. The one I chose to give it wholly to in the future will hurt me at times, it goes with being in a relationship. But that same person, can love the pain away and heal whatever harm is done. It will mean being willing to be vulnerable, and take a chance on LIVING again, not just going through the motions. Taking down the wall a brick at a time, and taking baby steps forward.
I want to walk the sandy beaches of life in a relationship again, allowing the waters of love to wash over me, feel the sun, breezes, and sometimes the necessary storms of emotions that come with opening up my heart again. I want to LIVE life.
Reaching up and grabbing the cord, I pull down the trap door that has the steps attached to the attic of my mind and heart. Unfolding the steps I climb up slowly, into the dark hole above. When I reach the top step I gently wave my arm above my head and locate the pull string to turn on the light. Just like the cobweb filled, dusty top level of the house, this attack contains memories, all boxed up, and stacked in rows. Many contain happy thoughts and mental images of life for the past 47 years, and some contain things that are not so pleasant and others will be down right painful to open. I scan the rows, fingers lightly running across the writing on the containers, bringing back snippets of days gone by. I don’t linger over these, today I am searching for a particular one, its contents difficult to face. Finally I spot it, there in the corner, away from all the other cartons.
I approach this particular trunk with much dread, as while the contents are usually few, they are not things that are happy, pretty or fun. These are things that fill me with regret, things waiting for me to face and let go of so that they can be placed in a different container for unpleasant memories somewhere else in my mental attic. The lid creeks as I lift it, and gently tip it back. Light shines forth from the inside of this trunk, as facing its contents is the key to moving on in life as a better person. But light can pierce into the darkness, and be painful to the eyes that have existed in the darkness for any period of time. But today I am ready… Peering inside I see it, the one lone item. It is that something I need to forgive myself for, just waiting there for me to face it head on. I’ve not been ignoring it, I do struggle with it and examine it from time to time, but in the past I’ve always placed it back in the trunk, closed the lid and moved on. Not today, today this needs to be faced.
For 24 years I was fortunate enough to be the significant other to a very special man, and for just shy of 23 years I bore his name as his wife. They were not always happy years, our marriage road the choppy waters of life’s storms, some that were of our own making, but most came out of no where and caught us off guard. Neither of us can claim to have been stellar sailors through those waves, we each fell short time and time again. But we weathered them and I always felt came through them better than we had been when the first dark clouds had approached. With each day and each crisis I loved him more, my heart embracing my Prince Charming. Oh I knew he was not a true Prince, in fact in many ways he fell far short of the mark, but he was mine and deep down to the core of my heart and soul I loved that man with every cell in me. It did not matter that he was not perfect, he was Pete, my soul mate, my knight in shining armor, and the dents and tarnished areas, though often what would annoy me about him, were also things I truly loved about him.
I was far from the perfect wife, mom and woman. In his eyes, at one time, he must have seen something in me that he wanted. I remember one time waking up from a deep sleep to find him sitting next to the bed just watching me sleep. I asked him what he was doing and he said just looking at me, marveling that I was all his. It is one of the most beautiful memories I have of him, a time when he looked past my faults and could see inside and see something and someone of value, someone he treasured. I was someone that he wanted to spend his life with, have children with, and grow old next too. I wonder how we got from those eyes looking at me in wonder and love, to the eyes that looked at me before we entered the court room for our divorce, now filled with such hatred and disdain, that tore at my heart leaving fresh and painful wounds.
I am a woman that feels all emotions deeply. My love is deep, my happiness runs deep, my pain runs to my core, as does my anger. I could go from zero to 120 in a split second, erupting like a volcano spewing destructive lava all over. At times I even took pride in the fact that when I was mad I went for the emotional and mental jugular on the target of my outbursts. I got angry over silly, small things to extremes that left folks around me scratching their heads as to why something so insignificant would make me SO upset, and other things would not. There was no pattern, no way to know what would set off the dynamite and bring forth a very ugly me. For years my Prince would tell me that I needed to get a grip on my anger, but I didn’t listen. Others around me helped me justify it, telling me that I was just overly tired and stressed out.
They were correct, I was often tired and under a lot of stress. For years I carried the financial weight of our family, while dealing with his medical issues that nearly killed him on 3 different occasions. The pain and sleep deprivation, combined with narcotics that made him a bear to tolerate. We went through a period where we were charging our groceries on credit cards just to feed our kids, anyone around me could understand me being stressed out and angry. SO many things year upon year that put much mental and emotional weight on me that were convenient excuses for my vicious moments. But all the while Pete was telling me that I needed to get control of my temper. He is not a great communicator, I’ve always known this about him, but if ONLY I had given more attention to what he was saying. He wasn’t able to put into words that I was ripping his heart apart at times, driving him away from me. And I wasn’t able to see it. After all he was one person with one view, and I had a lifetime of who I was, a family with 3 siblings with comparable tempers, and a host of folks telling me that I was just stressed out. Tempers are a given in my family, I always assumed it was the strong German blood lines with some Hungarian and Irish thrown in to add some sparks to our fires. My sister and both brothers can match me notch for notch in the outbursts, it was all I knew from childhood on! But if only I had listened.
In recent years I stepped across the lines and went beyond what my husband could forgive. On 2 separate occasions he lost 2 friends. One died around the time our marriage was hanging by threads due to indiscretions of Pete’s, things that hurt me deeply and broke my trust in him. One night I lashed out in anger, going for his heart, and told him I wished he had died and was rotting in hell like his friend, Tim. Tim died after suffering burns when a grill blew up that he was lighting. I drove a stake into Pete’s heart that time that he was unable to pull out. Then a little over 2 years ago, a fellow fire fighter, coworker and friend, perished fighting a fire, and that hit Pete harder than anything I had ever seen affect him. On 2 different nights, alcohol induced (a very bad mix with my temper), while in a rage so intense I didn’t even recall saying it the one time, I made the mistake of telling him that I wished it had been him, and not Brian, that had died that day. In those moments I finally drove the knife so deep in his heart that Pete was no longer able to forgive me and love me. For the next year and a half he went through the motions, pretending to love me, trying to love me, and unable to do handle it. What is sad is that during that time a friend made the comment that we were retarded in love with each other, the way he looked at me and I at him, never could anyone have guessed Pete was putting on an award winning performance, there was no longer any love there. So good was his act that I didn’t see it, in fact I had never been happier, never felt more adored and loved by him as I did during that time.
He told me in tears that he wanted out, on January 8th of this year. Regardless of what others tell me, and there are many sharing information, that there was another woman near the end, the bottom line is me. IF in fact he had someone else, which he still says is not the case, it is my fault, I had killed what was there for me and if he sought comfort and love else where I have no one to blame. I have been to the doctor, learned I have a serotonin imbalance. My brain releases more serotonin than needed, and the cells that should absorb it cannot take it all in, so the releasing cells re-uptake the excess, which they should not do, and this seems to be the root of the problem. That is where the intensity comes in to play. I take medication that is a re-uptake inhibitor and that keeps the balance. I am still angry, but can process the anger now. I’m relearning how to react to situations and people, and able to not get fixated on something and just blow off the steam until it is gone. I’m in control now.
For so many years in his imperfect ways he tried to tell me. I now give myself permission to forgive ME. I forgive myself for not hearing him, for not seeing that there really was a problem, for not listening to the person closest to me instead of others. I forgive myself for falling short of that woman he watched sleeping, the one he at one time adored. I forgive myself for not being perfect and not being able to be who he needed me to be. For being less than the mom I could have been. I forgive myself for not being the one he will grow old with because of my own stubbornness when at some point I could have fixed me. And I forgive myself for any pain I brought to him, me and our children over all these years when I could have sought help and made things better. I forgive me for my part in what should have been forever.
This has been a difficult thing to come too, but it is also freeing. The trunk is now empty again. It is painful, no doubt about it, facing and forgiving me. But it is done. I close the lid, walk to the steps, reach up and turn off the light….
****Disclaimer – this is very full of raw emotion, and may not sit well with many. Please do not judge me, I am venting and feel the need to put it all down in words.****
Regarding your uninvited visit to my home last night,
First, the next time you come storming out onto my deck ordering me around, “we need to talk” be forewarned that I very well may get out of my chair and slap you straight out of your shoes. You lost the right to tell me anything the day you announced you were filing for divorce, and especially the right to tell me what to do, or even what you think I should do. Feel free to call ahead and ask if we can talk, but be prepared for me to ignore you or tell you to go to hell. In other words do not expect a warm fuzzy reception to the idea of seeing you or talking to you.
You seemed so perplexed when you asked me why I have such hatred toward you, I guess you thought I’d be a sobbing mess wanting to work it out like I was the first few weeks after the big announcement? Perhaps you expected me to send you flowers and candy and be over joyed with my sudden freedom? Perhaps you really do need your head examined because you obviously are off your rails.
I never had the pleasure of being a stay at home mom though it was my dream and you knew that. You on the other hand were home a good portion of our childrens growing up years while I worked and supported our family. While many of those years it simply was the logical choice as I had a great paying job and medical insurance and could pull in a larger income than you. It also would have meant paying for daycare if you worked so it was silly for you not to be home. Then for many years while you were down and broken from, lets see I think it was about 15 surgeries, I continued to work and provide a roof over our family’s heads. Throughout those years you were sleep deprived from the pain you were in physically, and a flaming, wrap around grumpy asshole from the pain medications. They were far from happy years but when we took our vows, “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” well silly me I took those quite seriously. It was worse, poorer and sickness all rolled into one big miserable experience, but I loved you and hung in there.
At some point in the midst of that I decided that going to college and getting a degree would help me to pull in a better income so I left the house every day at 6am and didn’t get home until 10pm 4 days a week and sometimes was in class on Saturdays, trying to hold down a full time job and get my education. While I am busting my ass to improve our situation you are on Adult Friend Finder advertising for a daytime or evening playmate on days when your wife is in class, exchanging very graphic emails and meeting these ladies for lunch in search of a few booty buddies. Bad form, dear king of the swine, really bad form. And yet despite that, all uncovered while my mother is fighting breast cancer and my grandmother dies, I like a fool forgave you and tried to get past it all. Is it really any wonder, under that kind of stress, I went off one night in an angry rage and told you that I wished you like your friend, Tim, that had died and were rotting in hell? Seriously did you not grasp the pain I was in from your betrayal??? But I loved you and figured that we’d hit about as ‘worse’ as it could get.
When your friend, Brian, died fighting a fire, it rocked your foundation AND mine. My worst fear in this world was losing you in your chosen profession. It hit a bit close to home and it really messed with my head and I know it messed badly with yours. I’d hear sirens when you were on duty and sometimes get physically ill from the worry.
Then a few months later I lost my job. You are picking up the slack, working more hours than ever, and I’m growing very discouraged trying to find a new job. My stress level is on the ceiling and you wonder why, in a drunk rage I again said something I regretted and always will?
The one good thing in being jobless for 18 months was the amount of time I was able to finally spend with our daughter. I was at last given some time to be a stay at home mom and bond with my last child, and I treasured those days.
I loved our house, loved everything that was done to improve it. I often sat and looked around me counting my blessings, having such a neat house, and things like a pool and hot tub. It isn’t a palace but it was ours, and our home was so my haven. And I loved you more than you could ever know. It isn’t news, I told you that even after 22 years I still got butterflies in my stomach when I heard you come home, your touch still felt like electricity to me. I felt like the luckiest woman in the world to have you, our home and our kids.
Then out of no where you took all of that from me. I lost you, the single most important person in the world to me, lost living with my daughter before she finally is on her own with her own home, and lost MY home, my haven, and had to move out. My future and my dreams of US. Everything that was dear and priceless to me was taken away from me by you and destroyed, leaving me emotionally and mentally shattered. And you seriously have to ask me where all this anger and hatred towards you comes from? It is a fine line between love and hate I hear, and I can relate to that now. The love turns to hate because it is how the heart coats itself from the intense, pure, raw pain that burns deeper than anything I ever could have imagined experiencing. And seeing you parading around town with your 26yo girlfriend is salt in those open wounds.
That, oh you clueless fool, is why I am so angry and so full of rage toward you.
10 years ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She beat the disease and returned to leading an active life. During one of the annual breast cancer walks to raise money for research, she, my sister and I walked over to the tent set up to honor those women that were survivors. Mom made mention in passing that she didn’t like being called a survivor but really did not explain her reasons. Just that she didn’t care for the term.
Recently many of my friends have wrapped me in love with wonderfully supportive emails as I am going through this divorce mess. Many of them have known me a long time and are aware of the many struggles and trials that I’ve encountered in my life and know of the many breaks and scars in my heart. I’ve not had an easy life and admittedly some of the struggles were consequences of bad choices I had made, though many were just fate. The emails all carry encouragement and many have said “we know you, you are a survivor and will make it through this”. Reading through these emails has caused me to understand why mom does not care for the term ‘survivor’.
In my opinion that word, survivor, is very passive and implies helplessness. We survive a car accident or a plane crash, things that happen fast and sudden and for which there is not ability to really react to the circumstances. Strapped in the seat of car, when the other vehicle crosses the center line we either survive the impact or we don’t. Similar to an airplane crash you either survive or you don’t. Cancer on the other hand, while it may indeed kill the patient, usually involves a fight to live. Chemo, better eating, medications all combine with the efforts of the patient to win a battle, they are actively fighting for their life. They don’t survive cancer, they fight and beat it, they are in a war.
I don’t see overcoming the difficulties in my life as a matter of surviving. I fought battles that were both mental and emotional, even a few physical, with determination and a lot of hard work and I won. Sometimes the outcome was that I lost something but then no matter which side wins the war it is never without cost to the winner as well. I carry within me a lot of scars from those battles in my life but the fact that I land on my feet eventually after fighting through the hardships, actively pursuing the end, to me means I won. There is nothing passive about the journey through the dark valleys in my life, I don’t curl up in a ball and hope it ends well. I plan, act and work through it. I fight my way through it and emerge on the other side. I don’t survive, I fight to win.
No offense to those that reach out during the time of need. Encourage me please, keep letting me know you are there and supporting me, I very much appreciate and need it. But please, don’t call me a survivor.