When I was a little girl and someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up – easy answer.
I wanted to be a Mom and a writer. Clear shiny vision of the grown up me. It never wavered. I loved babies, and my life was lived within the pages of books. So many books.
I am neither. My body has so many flaws – too many to count – but the worst was it would not allow me to grow a little human that I could love with all my heart.
As for the writing – well this is about as close as I’ve gotten to that. I pursued numbers and order and planning and keeping everything running smoothly for other people’s businesses. I had a head for numbers. Who knew? Certainly not me. Accounting. Project management. Dry, real, black and white – no grey. No room for imagination or adventure. Just ensuring that things kept ticking along nicely behind the scenes. I was good at it, and I came to love it. I was proud of my work.
But then my brain broke. It just all came to a screeching halt. There was so much that led up to that moment, and I had come very close to that ledge many times prior to that….single moment….when I just couldn’t anymore.
There have been several “me’s”. Some I’m so proud of, some I hate, and some I wish I could comfort and repair.
And now, I’m standing on another ledge. I need to pull in all my resources and try to fashion a life for this new me that will make me feel safe, happy, and alive.
The me in the mirror is a total stranger. Menopause and years of depression, illness, surgeries, medical mistakes and a fatigue so heavy that I can’t stand up straight anymore has made me unrecognizable. My outside makes me want to cry. I used to take pride in my appearance. I knew what costumes to wear, what my hair and makeup should look like so the people around me were fooled into believing that I had it all under control. Pulled together. Real. Not the mess that I was in my head. I learned to fake it. I spent so much time waiting for people to realize I was an imposter. I didn’t belong there. And eventually it became too much and I had to stop and sit in a corner for a while.
I had so many wounds to heal – physical, emotional, mental…it just all got too crazy.
So there were tests and doctors and hospitals and surgeries and pills….so may pills. And mistakes.
I don’t know about everyone else, but for most of my life I trusted the “specialists”. I believed what they told me. I took their pills. I let them cut into me. I opened up my heart and soul and let them take a good look around. But they were all just people – just like me – trying their best to make it right, to be real.
I now know that the only person I can trust with me is me. I question everything. I look deep into the eyes of the people being paid to “fix” me – trying to see if there’s someone there who actually gives a damn about the creation of Me v. 4.6.
We all live our lives in blocks, in chapters. We live, we fail, we adapt, we love, we hurt, we fall, and at various points in our story, we have to rebuild. We have to make choices. Sometimes they’re easy and everything just sort of shifts into place, and sometimes we’re faced with a wall that is so dense and so high that a handful of pills seems like a pretty good choice.
I’ve been in this place before many times. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people who have been there. It’s so frightening, and yet so tempting.
The truth is that I am very much alone. I have to do this by myself. I have a wonderful partner, but he too has flaws and has difficulty with improvising and compromising and changing tracks. I can’t count on him to pick me up, fix me, make me happy, make me want to wake up in the morning. That is far too much to ask of one person.
The family I wanted, the family I thought I could create if I was good enough and worked hard enough, simply doesn’t exist. It never will. I have to try to be content with the slot that is waiting for me. I can’t make people love me unconditionally. It has taken me 57 years to figure this out. The “family” I have, the life I live looks nothing like it was meant to.
So, I can either take that handful of pills and close me eyes and disappear. Or, I can pull together whatever is left of me and build v. 4.6.
I know I can’t ask ML or all the specialists in my enormous medical file to build this new me. I have to pull myself as tall as I can, and start taking steps. One at a time. I know I will fail and fall, but I hope that if and when that happens, I can get back up and try something else. Something that works for me.
ML kissed me good night tonight. He hasn’t done that for a very long time. He kissed me like a lover would, not a bored husband, or a room mate. A “take my breath away kiss” that ignited a little spark in me. It was both wonderful and terrifying. I know now that I have to work with him to build that spark into a flame. I want to feel that “oh my” feeling again. He’s made his move.
And yes, I am so grateful.