Time seems to be passing more quickly these days. I’ve been actually going out and choosing to live my life knowing how precious it can be and how quickly it can all be taken away. I’ve been saying “yes” more, and leaving the relative comfort of my bedroom to actively participate in “the real world”. (The “downside” to this, is that by actually doing things, I have less time to write about them, which is why my posts have been so sporadic lately.)
It’s as if I am finally pulling myself free of the viscous quagmire called grief. Prying its cold fingers from around my heart (and ankles) and escaping its paralyzing grip. Not that I can ever really be completely unburdened of it, but it seems that I have a bit more control over it all now.
I’m not foolish enough to think that it is something that I can put entirely behind me, no matter how long it has been since the day my heart was shattered. However, I’ve always been a curious blend of sensitive idealist, and resilient pragmatic. Although I have lofty goals and pie-in-the-sky dreams, I also have to live in the real world and know when and how to buckle down and get s#!t done.
I suppose this realistic sensibility comes naturally. You could say it’s in my DNA. As a true All-American Mutt, my veins run with the blood of many grounded nations. German, Irish, Cherokee – these are but a few examples of the ancestors I am privileged to call my own. Hardworking, tenacious, buoyantly resilient – these are but a few of the traits possessed by these communities and I like to think I embody them, as well.
But perhaps it has as much to do with my own quirky behaviors as it does with any genetic predisposition. I’m the type of person who has always wanted to feel the pain during healing. I don’t mean this in the mental illness self mutilation kind of way, but more in a curious fascination in feeling everything.
When I was growing up, I was a major tomboy. I was outdoors almost constantly, running barefoot, climbing trees, catching frogs. The bottoms of my feet were always black, my knees and elbows constantly in various stages of scabbing, and I had bruises everywhere. But when I had a bruise, I didn’t simply leave it alone to let it heal… no, I was the strange duck who constantly poked at it, trying to determine how much pressure was too much, and at what point the pain became unbearable. It isn’t normal that a kid wanted to feel that, is it?
It seemed I was always testing the limits of my pain, which perhaps strengthened (or lengthened..?) their boundaries. It was if I instinctively knew that to avoid the pain was to give it power over me.
It’s the same with grief. I have seen those who, like an ostrich, bury their heads in the sands of grief in an attempt to protect themselves. But all that seems to do is prolong the pain. It stagnates until it can become poisonous and infect their whole lives. At least that’s the way I look at it.
In any case, by forcing myself to feel everything as it happens (and although most days it is much easier to smile and laugh now, I’m still hit by devastating waves of sadness and anguish – this morning on my way to work, a series of random songs on the radio pummeled me out of the blue causing me to sob off the minimal makeup I had applied), I am addressing everything head on and dealing with it. It doesn’t do to hide myself from it.
Rather than protection, I believe doing so causes damage – much like a bone that was never set properly. Although it hurts to realign it before setting it, not adjusting it results in improper healing, which in turn, means that somewhere down the road, it would need to be rebroken and fixed right anyway, or be destined to live the rest of one’s life in constant pain.
I choose the temporary agony to prevent a lifetime of misery. I choose to feel the pain so I can heal and move forward. I choose to live.
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