Sunday, September 16, 2018

9/17/18—Battling Myself

Tonight as I hopped in the shower, I realized I've been feeling frail lately. And, as the hot water poured down upon my head, I questioned myself, "Am I frail or am I stronger than I ever imagined?"

In my moment of fragility, I wanted to answer, "I am frail". But even then I couldn't. I am alive and better than I've been in years. I'm stronger than I ever imagined.

I can't count how many times I came close to death in the 2010s...times I was in significant trauma that I can only now see how serious it was. The first three months of this year was a festival of those moments, with multiple hospital visits and ambulance rides. I slept with the door unlocked in case I couldn't make it to the door in an emergency. Turning over in bed left me breathless. Crying fatigued me, so I couldn't cry. I waited while my heart valve told me I was dying and my doctors told me my valve wasn't as bad as I thought. When they finally looked at it when I was moving, they were literally horrified by what they saw (I know this because my cardiologist told me as much afterward) and scheduled surgery immediately. The horror they saw was the horror I had been living with for years while they considered me everything from a hypochondriac to overly dramatic.

Nobody heard me. Nobody seemed to care. Meanwhile, I was terrified all the time. It was like a waking version of that nightmare where you can't scream. No matter what I said or how bad I looked, nobody heard me screaming.

When you're sick like that, you learn to cope by being frail. By being aware of your frailty, you make choices to protect yourself. You avoid drains on your energy. You sleep a lot. You cocoon. If you refused to acknowledge your frailty, you'd overextend yourself and make yourself sick. It's more than just a state of health, it's a state of mind.

I suppose I have been feeling frail lately because I got some sort of chest cold or something and it's taking a long time to clear up. But I also realized I had become comfortable with frail. That frail had become one of the ways I saw myself. And I also realized it had become outdated.

On the other hand, when you've been defined by your limitation for so long, it's scary to come out of that. You have learned to live with your prison. And you believe in the prison because when you tried to go beyond your limits, your limits stopped you. So, even though I'm well, it intimidates me to go beyond those previous limits. I've done it, of course, but my brain hasn't been reprogrammed to "stronger than I ever knew" yet. 

It's not just the feeling of frailty that I'm confronting lately. I'm confronting a lot of things. My mindsets of feeling unloved, not worth spending time on, and like nobody cares has come into question. So many stepped up to the plate for me once they knew I needed help. And, of course, my dogs understood my situation and took good care of me. So I don't get to go through life thinking that anymore...not without my higher self reminding me it's not true. 

And I also gave my power over to we all are trained to do. The fact is, they can perform miracles and can save your life, but if you're feeling horrible and they're telling you you're fine, it's your duty to your body/self to tell them to go to hell until you find one that listens. I have definitely learned to trust myself over doctors through this ordeal. So another fallacy I am challenging is that I have to defer to others who are "smarter than me" about my body. Turns out, even overweight and out of shape, I'm more of knowledgeable about how my body is feeling than they are. 

And beneath these things are other truths I have to come to terms with. The world doesn't think I'm frail and vulnerable. I do. So I see the world through those eyes. And it's not necessarily the world that doesn't care about me or listen to me or see me unworthy (though those people do exist). It's me who does that. And I greet the world through those eyes, so it's no surprise I get that in return. In addition, I'm the one that enabled the doctors to tell me I was fine when I wasn't. They didn't trust my accounts and I didn't trust myself enough to make them. My lack of trust in myself supported their lack of trust in me.

Maybe it's what I've been through the last few years, or maybe it's just my age, but there is a reckoning of sorts going on within me now. I'm battling myself and it can be nothing but good for me, as painful as it is to abide in the short term. 

So consider the things you feel about your world right now. Maybe you feel insignificant. Or unloved. Or betrayed. Less than. Over the hill. Hopeless. Or incapable. Challenge those beliefs. Is it possible you're the one that perpetuates your insignificance? Do you actually betray yourself? Are you the one focusing on your limitations and not your possibilities? 

In all my many years of spiritual exploration and looking inward, I have yet to come across a problem anyone else could fix for me. Except for my heart valve. :D But I'm talking about my beliefs and my issues with others. All of those things can only be fixed and healed by myself. Even when it's clear someone else is to blame, I find that I played a role myself. And when I start to heal the reasons why I believed something or put up with something for so long, the problem disappears...or I move beyond the problem. 

So what's bugging you and what do you need to change to heal it? It may not be a fun process, but at least you can take comfort in knowing that I and many others are going through it alongside you.