I am an Open Book

This is not a news flash to me.

Or to you, either, if you regularly read this blog.

It was however, a mild revelation as I nearly told my entire nerve block story to a clerk at my local resale shop.

It’s almost like I’ve lost my filter to a certain degree.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not seeking out people to narrate my life story to. In most cases, I have somehow stopped answering “fine” when things are not “fine.” I can still buck it up and, in appropriate situations, i.e., the office and other pertinent places, pull from my inner abilities to act the “part” and smile as I say, “I’m okay, and you?” All the while, barely under the surface of my skin, I am trembling in pain and fear and anguish praying I make it through the bold-face lie without breaking down into a sobbing pile of human flesh.

I don’t consider that a lie by omission. I consider that common courtesy to not inflict my wounds onto another’s being.

In some cases, I have taken that too far. This is where we return to the nerve block story.

I know I have written about my surgeries before, so I won’t regurgitate them now. I have mentioned that I was left with some chronic pain as a result. Unfortunately, about six months into the pain, I stopped keeping those closest to me abreast of the situation. Truthfully, I stopped listening to my own body and managed to lie to my own darn self.

Suddenly, an additional year had passed without me telling the truth about the level and/or consistency of the pain. It took a random excursion to the bowling alley which adversely impacted whatever previous surgical injury occurred, amping up the pain level to near “ripping-my-skin-off” on a scale of “hangnail” to “fourth-degree-laceration-labor-trauma.”

[May I interject here that for some I thought it would be a good idea to listen to the Rocky soundtrack while writing this. I spent a considerable amount of time trying to locate the tracks as they had been moved off to a DVD to save room on my computer. Honestly, with the exception to the Fanfare that we all know – there’s not much else about the album I like. Think I’ll switch to a tested and true stand by for motivational music – The Bourne Identity Soundtrack by John Powell. Also, a great addition to your iPod for a workout session. I lost fifty pounds to it a few years ago! See? No filter…]

Subsequent to the bowling incident, a cartoonish lightbulb went off in my head.

light-bulb

“I am only 41. My Nana is 96 and going strong. Do I really want to live another 55 years with this level of pain in the area of my body where I spend approximately 75% of my time – seated?”

The answer was a resounding, “hell no.”

I placed a few calls, had some much delayed second consultations by fresh doctors and the result was medication (which, honestly, only makes me not care as much that I am in pain, but does not take the pain away) and a nerve block in the pudendal nerve. (Google it. I dare ya. It’s a fun nerve to have f’d up for the rest of your life, huh?)

I won’t go into the TMI details of the procedure here only because I have rehashed all or parts of it more than even I care to – Best Friends, Sister, Mother, Co-workers, Cousin, Facebook followers, and nearly the innocent by-standing resale clerk.

(SHOUT OUT ALERT – Hubby was there through it all and, I must share – TOTALLY AWESOME for me. Couldn’t have asked for a better Man to help me through this. Thanks, babe!)

Why am I writing all of this?

Oh, yea – I’m an open book.

I am in a blessed place where I can no longer live multiple lives – co-workers see me one efficient, organized way; best friends see underbelly and internal organs; husband sees only the parts of me that I think won’t make him want to leave me; family of origin sees grownup, finally put together adult; and I get left with compartmentalized heart muscle and brain tissue that is getting increasingly difficult to keep track of without slipping and allowing some crossover.

It has taken quite some time to take action on this knowledge, yet I believe I am there.

Mostly.

Let’s just say that my filter used to be constructed with low-grade, gray granite. Now, it resembles tye-dyed mosquito netting.

Quite an improvement, I think.

Intimidation Dance

I know this incredibly beautiful woman. Her beauty is not in the stereotypical Helen of Troy sense as few wars have been waged over her, but she is pulchritudinous nonetheless. She has many friends ranging in levels from simple acquaintance to casual yet personal conversation to intimate know-nearly-everything-about-you. I cannot tell you how many times she has been complimented for her smile or honest charm or willingness to help when needed. She has a better relationship with her kids than she gives herself credit for and the same could be said of her relationship with her husband. They have a marriage based on equal partnership yet lived in the reality of give and take. It’s not perfect, and neither is she if you use Merriam-Webster’s definition, but there are times when I look at her and think, “Wow. She has a great life. Thank God.”

blessed art thou among women…

This woman I know works hard. Even though it is far from the dream she had for herself, she loves her job and is proud of the work she puts in each day. She tries to make the most of her time with her family and works with determination to accept the times when that is not possible for whatever reason. She has emotional struggles like many of us and she has worked diligently over the years to find paths to peace, gateways toward wisdom and layers of herself to love. Sometimes, when I hear her talk, I cannot imagine a time when she was afraid or didn’t believe in herself.

floating above you
I see with clear eyes your grace
clouds challenge within

Today’s woman I am writing about is also talented. She is a writer, has some solid, albeit dormant, acting chops and may have been an inventor in a past life, given her MacGyver-like skills. She loves her thesaurus (as evident by pulchritudinous) and is unashamed to use it. When she embarks on a project – whether it be a short poem, work related newsletter, Chekhovian drama, reparation of a small rocket launch pad, or configuring convoluted connections in a snow storm involving taxis, trains and planes to ensure arriving in Texas for a marriage license waiting period deadline – nine times out of ten, most dentists agree, she won’t quit until she has either reached a superlative solution or the heartbreaking realization that there is not one to be found.

but the tigers come at night…

And then I read posts like this and like this. I learn about the winner for the A Room of Her Own Foundation Grant, along with the finalists. I hear an old friend of mine that I didn’t even realize could sing, sing and write songs like these. Hell, even two of the people I love most in the world (next to my kids) have started a folk duo and every time I get to hear one of the songs they are working on, I get the hair-raised-on-the-back-of-my-neck-they’re-that-good feeling. (If I had a link to one of their songs, I’d post it, but they are currently “in development.”) I have many past friends who are continuing to make a go of it in the theatrical world – working either locally, regionally or in NYC. I could go on…

My stomach muscles tighten and my head begins to swim. Electrical impulses inside my brain begin to dance to an irregular arrhythmia pulsating from my weakening heart. Large, dark clouds of doubt flood my retina and my vocal cords begin to swell preventing spoken words. My lungs fill with cement pressing down hard on my diaphragm. Lastly, my fingers become thick and heavy with poisonous lead making it impossible to clack out the cacophony of angry voices yelling at me “Who do you think you are, anyway?!”

I close my eyes to await the inevitable implosion of my universe. When it doesn’t happen immediately, a small breath of air is able to seep through a tiny crack in my formidable fortress and a smidgen of light softens the darkness.

you are my child and I love you.

I wrest my lids open just enough to see a note I have placed under my makeshift laptop stand, given to me by someone too young to be able to not tell the truth.

You Rock

You Rock

And I go on, being me, remembering that I, too, rock…