Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 1: The Consequence of Taking Responsibility

Last week a woman came into my store freaking out because she needed something to even out the tan lines on her shoulders. She's a swimmer, and was wearing a strapless dress to a wedding that weekend. When five different employees explained she could either use makeup or self-tanner, but we couldn't guarantee they wouldn't rub off on her pale-blue dress, this woman descended into a full-on meltdown tantrum and left the store in a fit of rage. While this wasn't the first display of utter ridiculousness I've encountered at my job, it left an impression because I later found out she'd been coming into the store for two months trying to fix her tan-line problem. For two months my co-workers had been telling her to get a spray tan or go sit in the sun. For two months she ignored reality, then went ballistic (in public, mind you) when the cosmetics department couldn't fix her very important problem. For reals, yo?

I'm a firm believer in taking responsibility for myself. It's the only way I've moved forward and out of the mire of quicksand sucking up my life. I've taken full responsibility for my health-- both losing it and finding it again. I've taken responsibility for the two strokes that left my brain scrambled, the toll all my sickness has taken on my husband, my lack of personal relationships because I'm so unstable and can't reciprocate in any consistent manner, the financial impact of not being able to earn a decent income for over a decade, bla bla bla the list goes on. You name it, I've taken responsibility for it, owned it, and am actively trying to overcome. 

But all this responsibility taking, in a world where people blame others for not being able to erase their flippin' tan lines, is wearing me out. It's incredibly hard, psychologically, to rise up over constant and pervasive illness and pretend everything is fine in order to accomplish anything in life. Especially on days like today, when the flare gets so bad I become hysterical over the prospect of losing all my progress and descending into the free fall of never-ending sickness. So just for today I didn't pretend everything was fine. I had what I call a "yesterday" day and allowed myself to wallow in the full-blown misery of my past. I skipped the gym, indulged my fear, and accomplished absolutely nothing. While it totally sucked, I do have to say I am immensely looking forward to tomorrow.  

Thanks for joining,


  1. Leah,
    I'm in a specialize therapy in hopes of moving forward. While I'm still ill with Fibromyalgia, I decided to take pain medication which was life changing for me. I'm still in a good deal of pain, but my head is clearer, I have much more energy and the damn muscle aches are gone.
    I could so relate to what you are saying here. I'm in that therapy so I can take responsibility, even when it's not my fault,in order to live with less emotional pain. So imagine sitting in a session called "Radical Acceptance" (this program is so hard). I'm quietly crying, thinking how that hell do I accept that I've lost everything, financially, personally, I'm just not the person I was. And I had a blessed life, I really liked my life and who I was. Anyway, as I'm contemplating the enormity of the work ahead, I hear a gal practically out of her mind because the SF Giants did not make it into the world series. Then the woman who can't accept that her husband won't take out the trash. I should have laughed, but instead I had an impulse to tell them to shut the "F" up, did they know what I had to try to accept?! I made it through the session and was exhausted when I got home. You're right, take responsibility for the consequences of your illness is exhausting. I mean, it's not even my fault! I had a year of horrible surgeries and cancer and I just never recovered. But I know without doing this work I will never move forward. So I will continue to accept responsibility and apologize for consequences even when I know the person who is the recipient of my grace has now clue.

  2. I wish I could edit, sorry for all the typos!

  3. I would like to know more about how you got out of that yesterday place for the first time.

    1. Because for me right now everyday is yesterday. I earn a good living because I can work out of my home. But I also have many other issues in addition to fibromyalgia including things that require surgery on my shoulder and head that make it difficult exercise. And then on top of that there is post traumatic stress disorder, depression, attention deficit disorder, formerly endometriosis, and painful bladder that used to be called interstitial cystitis. My mother used to tell me that I was a bunch of shit, and it's very difficult for me not to isolate myself and not get out of the house, especially during the winter and the job that I have, which I'm trying to get out of, involves staying at home and it involves dealing with mental health issues and I have to get out but I don't know what to do. And on top of that I need it to get a divorce from my husband who is pretty much the only family I have. Maybe when you think of all those people who are worse off than you maybe you can add me to the list. Also obviously people are worse off than me. Also, my mother just died a few hours ago. No shit I'm telling the truth.

    2. Leah: I really believe that every once in a while we NEED to wallow, cry, scream, and cry some more and that doing so is actually good for the soul and makes it easier to then move on again.

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