Thursday, August 26, 2010

When What I Want Meets Reality... sucks! Its easy for me to sit in my cozy little apartment, tucked comfortably away in the air-conditioning from the 108 degree weather, the pain of life with Fibromyalgia not nearly as real since I am on steroids and off work, watching the puppies frolic and play and typing on my computer all day. It's easy to send my husband off to work to make all the money and treat myself as though I am "recovering" (from 2 strokes so I don't feel that guilty), knowing I am, but with such luxury! My only obligations are to cook (which I do a lot of since we eat only real food), keep the house up, dogs taken care of, pay the bills, do the laundry, etc. Easy house-wifey things that I can usually accomplish with ease. They used to take on a life of their own when I was oh-so-sick with CFS & Fibromyalgia, pulling me into a downward spiral of flare-ups and misery...but we all know what that is about. Its easy to concoct a fantasy life of the future in my head that I am hoping and praying for while I am sitting here in the now doing nothing but dreaming. And then it comes time to pay the bills...and the reality that my situation is still quite bleak hits me.

In April of this year my husband and I decided to slow down the ship of goals and ambitions we were sailing on and completely turn it around in the opposite direction. He is miserable working in corporate America. Stifled, constrained, bored, feeling dead where passion used to reside. I am sick of the rat-race, the never ending quest to keep up with the expectations and performance of the retail dollar. Something changed, something stirred inside me and simultaneously within my husband. My desire was to sell everything and high-tail it down to South America to get lost among the masses. I wanted to, needed to do something so dramatic and crazy and different it would change the course of our lives forever. It all happened the day I wrote "An Extraordinary Life". I had reached my max. I was done. Randomly enough after I wrote that blog my husband called me on his way home from work and before I even got a word out told me he was done trudging along on the hamster-wheel of life. Something had to give, something had to change. The future we had set our sights on and were working so hard for was not the future he wanted and he needed more. I sat there dumbfounded and told him we really needed to talk when he got home. So home he comes, I read him my blog, my written words mirroring his spoken desires, and both our eyes went wild with possibility. "But that's just not me, that's just too On The Road beatnik" he said. My spirits dampered a little. The reality of life in a foreign land with no money and health problems was not nearly as attractive as the fantasy.

We moved out of the office and I went to the kitchen to start cooking dinner. He went into the other room and emerged a few moments later, his eyeballs gleaming and his face full of pent-up excitement as he declared "I want to be an actor!". Oh shit, I thought to myself. I grew up in Los Angeles amidst the struggling musician set and knew what a fake and shallow existence it was. I wanted nothing to do with it and went out of my way to marry a business man so my adult life would not center around struggle and that illusive quest for fame. Oh the joke is on me, it had come full circle! As I looked at the most precious man in the world, declaring the deepest desire in his heart, I knew it was just...right. See this is a topic that has popped its ugly little head up and been hammered back down repetitively during the last 11 years. It started when we lived in LA and were just beginning our life together. He was working hard on his education but was constantly told he should act. He dismissed it for a variety of reasons. He needed to prove himself in a legitimate way, I was entirely too insecure to support it, he joked that there was no money in it, knowing for the majority of dream-seekers flocking to Hollywood that was true. So he moved on to a career that would grant him a life of wealth and excess, believing that's what would make him happy. He has now been out of college 5 years and is so unbelievably miserable, finally realizing a life without passion is not a life worth living.

I gave him my full support, 2 thumbs up, go ahead... I trust him enough to know he is not going to chuck our life away just to follow this dream, but that he had to at least start exploring the possibility of this deeply buried passion. The courage it took him to face his true desire gave me the strength to believe in myself as a writer. I began to explore career paths surrounding this genre and became enraptured with getting a masters in English Literature. We signed up for fall classes at the community college and resumed life, much more optimistic, hopeful and bewildered than we were before. And then my strokes hit, my income dried up and we were forced to once again re-evaluate life with all its brilliant complexities. I dropped my English Lit class and 2nd level Spanish, settling for 1st year conversation as a way to maintain what I had worked so hard for last semester. I was not approved for financial aid and had no way to pay for them. I also wanted to take it easy on myself after the strokes and knew how much dedication it took to get that "A" en espanol.

Yesterday his acting class started so I went onto the college website to verify time, location and book requirements. Low and behold I discovered I HAD BEEN APPROVED FOR FINANCIAL AID! Oh I saw red, green, blue, purple and orange! Why was I just finding this out right now, the week school had already started? I could so seriously use the cash and had just set my dream aside for another, more convenient time, as if they ever exist. I was prepared to get a part-time job through some temp or staffing agency in the next few months and get off these steroids and anti-depressants and really tackle life and wellness with a holistic fervor. But that "what if" door opened itself just a crack again and I ran away with the options. Should I scramble myself together and forget the job and salvage this semester, knowing it is within my reach? Or maybe I should consider the timing of this a blessing in disguise, knowing that flinging myself into school full-time is entirely too premature at this point in my post-stroke recovery.  I came to terms with this information and believe I am going to forge ahead as planned, accepting financial aid next semester and seeing where life takes me between now and then. I am happy to say his acting class is all he thought it would be and more. I am so proud of him, drudging through 12 hour work-days to then spend 4 hours in night class once a week, still trying to balance the gym, getting enough sleep to function productively on, our marriage and a little bit of fun and happiness. When he came home last night and was babbling on and on with such excitement and enthusiasm and pure confidence it became easier for me to accept that this is his time to shine, mine to heal, and once again we are going to be just fine.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Hi Leah
    I use to have a life too before fibro :)
    Have you found by cutting out alcohol and processed foods that you feel better .. less sore...less fibro fog?


  2. Wendy,
    I am lucky to say my fibro is pretty well managed. Alcohol is a joke. It makes me so sick. 3 day hangovers off 3 drinks. Forget it! I can't drink because of the strokes anyway. When I eat bad, lots of processed foods, that alone will create a flare-up. It makes all the difference in the world to cook everything I eat and ditch the packaged, prepared food. You?

  3. I prepare and cook all our food, eat wholegrains and fresh fruit and vege. Alcohol has become a problem this last month or so, feel drained and tired for days, it's just not worth it anymore.

    How did you have 2 strokes at such a young age?

  4. I am just lucky I guess!!! Ha Ha...okay I am being a little flip today. Its a rare subset of Vasculitius that has an unknown cause but the blood vessles in my brain freaked out. Its called RCVS, read my post "9 Lives and I Have Used 8".