Sunday, July 15, 2018

7/16/18—Discovering Myself

Sometimes it feels like I woke up from a long sleep to discover that somebody new was driving the bus.

All those years I was sick, it didn't just affect my body. It affected my mind, too. The combination of sleep apnea, asthma and a bad heart valve limited the amount of rest—and oxygen—I got. The asthma diagnosis improved things. And getting sleep improved things. But while they were improving, that heart valve was deteriorating. I sometimes don't know how I managed it. It sounds dramatic, but I wouldn't have lived much longer without open heart surgery. Things got really bad last winter.

But even though I spent years in some degree of haze or exhaustion, I still grew and matured. I put most of my energy and clarity toward work during those years. Then after my deadlines were met, I shut down. There were years where all I could do was sleep, work and feed myself. But apparently something was happening beneath the surface in regard to my soul. Add to that the sobering and transformative effect of coming close to death—then recovering from having my sternum sawed open—I'm no longer the person I used to be. I won't ever be that person again.

After I emerged from the trauma of all that, it was as if a new me moved in while I was gone. And she's better in pretty much every way, except for maybe one or two things. It's strange. I'm still getting to know her, but she surprises me in many ways. Like she chats up strangers—primarily male ones—much more than ever before. And she has a greater sense of adventure. And ambition. She walks away from drama much more often. She cares less about whether or not people like or approve of her. And she's much more energetic and alive. In short, she's a much more dynamic version of the me I was before.

We all change without noticing, and we even have times where we pleasantly surprise ourselves. But this is like that on steroids. It's like I went to sleep one person and woke up another. More shocking...I kinda like this chick. And all it took was being brought to the brink.

Now that I'm on the other side of it, I'm forgetting a lot of the trauma. Some of it still revisits me. But we tend to forget pain. It's a gift the universe gave us. Forgetting emotional pain keeps us seeking relationship. And forgetting physical pain helps keep us propagating the species. Forgetting pain is integral to the survival of humanity. It's what humans do.

This new me is happy to move forward without rehashing the years I was sick. The old me still has places I need to revisit—a few traumas to work through—before I can fully catch up to the new me. Or maybe I already am the new me and I just need to let go of the old me once and for all. Both thoughts sound right to me. But even now I know that, soon, it won't matter. This unsettling struggle, too, will soon be forgotten.

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