...is really lame. But for the longest time I couldn't help it, really I couldn't. I've been trying to shed massive boulders of guilt for years now, to no avail. Guilt I got sick, guilt I kept getting sick, guilt because I can't work and my husband carries the entirety of our financial situation on his shoulders. Guilt I can't be who I was with my family, guilt because the reality of my illnesses has cost my husband his, guilt I'm not who I am supposed to, or more realistically, expected to be. Guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt! So much damn guilt. I started to feel like I was the bearer of nothing but profound disappointment. It's made me more than a little crazy. The reality of what repetitive and severe illness does to a person is tragic. How each individual finds the strength to overcome an onslaught of tidal waves that keep wiping out their life is truly a miracle. I searched for that strength. Some days I could find it but more often than not I couldn't and lay weeping under the pile of stress and misery and disappointment my life had become. Oh the mournful wailing of regret!
But I have a lot to live for and believe I can do better, so I kept trying. I guess something happened recently that served to effectively shatter this mountain of oppression I was living under. I'm not quite sure what it was, though. Because one day I woke up and looked around objectively and decided I didn't want this life anymore. Not the life with chronic illness, I've known since it started I didn't want that. But the life my crazy guilt cycle kept me chained in, that's the one I felt I just might be able to do something about. My first realization was how stupid a very prevalent behavior pattern is. See the second I'm not hacking on flare's dark door I fling myself back into the expectations of others to "make up" for how awful their lives must have been without me. Today that seems self-absorbed and useless, but it's something I did for many years. And of course that would push me right back into the flare, and around the mulberry bush we go! But one day not too long past I couldn't figure out for the life of me why I didn't deserve to feel good? The people I was inflicting this grand disappointment on are not sick. They feel good all the time. Yet I take the little precious bit of lilac I fight so hard for and fling it at their feet, all but begging them to crush it under their dancing shoes.
Maybe that was the first step, to put my needs ahead of other's expectations. Perhaps that is what made me wake up on a different morning and decide to stop giving my energy and stress to things I can't do anything about. It was only serving to oppress my present. So I consciously redirected my thought patterns. When I would feel helpless or mad about stuff from before I'd remind myself the only thing worrying did was make me crazy now. Then I'd go give the dogs a bath or catch up on General Hospital, depending on my pain and energy for the day. Lo and behold after a few weeks of this I started rolling those negative feelings of victimhood off my back without even realizing it. My present was actually a nice place to be and I wasn't giving it away for anything!
But what happened next is the big one. See I was no longer giving away my lilacs to the first person who wanted something from me, and I wasn't stressing about things I can't control, and before I knew it that monster monkey on my back, that gazillion pound ape of guilt I was hauling around with me everywhere I went, well I got the strength to turn around real fast, strangle it and leave it there to die in the middle of the room. I no longer felt guilty for being sick, disappointing, burdensome or basically just existing, as I did for so many years. I found peace through a new realization and felt a freedom and lightness I don't know if I'd ever had. It is this place I keep returning when my habits from the past threaten to sneak in and steal my joy, and boy do they ever. But I am a big girl and my life is my responsibility, I take it and own it with pride. And the other adults I know, well their life and happiness is their responsibility to find and create for themselves too, certainly not mine.
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