Eat your veggies! And take your vitamins!
This is not about how much I love my life and how grateful I am for my myriad blessings, although I do, and I am, very.
This is not about the sicknesses per se (chronic kidney disease, hypothyroidism, hypertension), nor is it about how I’ve embraced enumerable healing modalities to feel as well as I can, from great doctors and medications to juicing every morning, from meditation to supplements, from long bouts of stretching to walks in the woods, from maintaining a positive attitude to visualization, from re-vamping my already-clean diet to giant healing crystals I charge in the moonlight on my bedroom windowsill, from listening to healing frequency audios to prayer, to the Reiki master I’m about to contact, and the acupuncture I may give a second chance to, because what have I got to lose?
This is about what happens when you heal yourself to a certain level, but then you don’t get any better than that.
This is about walking the fine line between eternal positivity (I will feel better than this! I will! Woman, heal thyself!) and the grand disappointment that settles in eighteen months into your healing when you don’t feel any better, despite your best and varied efforts, and utmost belief and trust in yourself and the Universe that you will.
This is about feeling like a total failure because you can’t make yourself any better than you already have.
People you know may contribute to this feeling by telling you of a remedy, and then another remedy, and how, if you just BELIEVED enough, or did enough Bikram yoga, or drank enough wheat-grass concoction, or prayed enough to the right God, you WOULD feel better; like their cousin’s-boyfriend’s-co-worker does, who just so happens to have the exact same ailments as you and she gets coffee enemas once a month and right now she’s climbing Mt. Everest and baking her own sprouted bread every morning in a tiny tin oven she carries on her back the whole way up, (no Sherpa for this powerhouse!), while you’re home in bed by 8 o’clock most nights and turning down invites to parties because you don’t have the energy.
At my last doctor’s appointment I demanded he tell me that this was not as good as it gets. I wanted him to confirm that I could, and would, feel better if I just found the right magic combination of healing that I have yet to stumble upon. I will not settle for this, I told him. I am a warrior! Mind over matter! I am tired of putting my life on hold until I feel better; I want to feel better now! I’m doing everything right! When do I get better?
My doctor gave me a funny look and said, “I’m amazed at how well you are feeling. You’d get a lot more sympathy if you looked as crappy as you felt,” he laughed, “but how much would you hate looking as tired as you feel? The reason you look and feel as great as you do is because of everything you do to feel this good, beyond what I can do for you. That’s why you got this well to begin with. You are the healthiest unhealthy person I know! Maybe you should notice how far you’ve come and realize you’re in a great place and that you got yourself here. And settle into it! Maybe what you call ‘as good as it gets’ is pretty damned good, considering what you’re dealing with.”
The part of me who is enthusiastically grateful for my life, heard him loud and clear. The part of me who knows I nearly died in the summer of 2010 and remembers endless days of lying on the bathroom floor puking my guts up, is incredibly grateful those days are behind me. The part of me who got so skinny it hurt to sit, and couldn’t walk from the living room to the bedroom without laying down on the floor to rest, knows I’m infinitely lucky to have come so far.
But the part of me who mourns who I was every single minute of every single day since the day I started getting sick two years ago, wanted to smack him in the face. The part of me still waiting for the healthy me to show up again so that I can get on with my life, was pissed the fuck off. He was telling me this IS as good as it gets! He was saying I’m lucky to feel this good! He was suggesting I lower my standards and settle in! To this!? I can’t do that! I’m not a failure!
Or am I?
This is about failing.
Or, as I’m trying to re-phrase it, this is about who I am today, not who I used to be, nor who I want to be. This is about choosing to no longer wait for some miraculous day when I feel better, because that day might not arrive. This is about letting go of who I was, completely. She is gone and she’s not coming back. This is about continuing to do all I can to feel as well as I can. This is about saying, hey, wait, I’m still me and I’m still a warrior and just because I go to bed at 8 o’clock doesn’t make me any less of one.
This is what you do when you are still this side of accepting that this is as good as it gets, but have decided to live in today and give up the concept of waiting for “better”. You thank the powers that be that you woke up this morning, you turn your music on as you make your green juice, you shake your ass while you swallow your meds and a handful of supplements, and you get on with your day.
Allison Tyler sometimes writes on her blog An Enchanted Life. This year, she’ll also be writing with her BFF Susie at Yumyum Give Me Some.
This is also the year she figures out how to make a living off of something other than her administrative skills, has a gallery show of her photographic art, writes her second book, and plans a solo cross-country road trip; all while fixing up an old house with her Italian Stallion, planning their wedding, keeping the cookie jar filled with home-made, gluten-free cookies, and making sure she gets enough sleep.
She is, still, an interminable optimist.