Friday, June 04, 2010
The truth is, I became very ill, and life escaped me for a while.
Sickness pulls you right out of the game, away from everything that you hold dear. It's a time stealing thief, holding you hostage while life around you begins to race by at what seems like an unnatural speed. Nothing matters anymore, and the longer you're in it's strangle hold, the further away you sink. It pulled me down so low that I no longer recognized myself. That's when I truly began to wake up.
It all started with a huge mistake. I placed my well-being in the hands of the wrong person. Someone who is blind to every reality accept their own. Someone who can't appreciate the value of another without a road map. In my most desperate hour, I realized that the only person who will ever come to my rescue is me.
Almost three months after my eye-opening event, I'm still fighting to get back all that I lost. Time, energy, trust, self-esteem, waking up pain-free, a feeling of normalcy. Sometimes it feels like I'm on a treadmill, going nowhere fast. I take one step forward, and three steps back.
More importantly though, are the things that I gained from the experience. I now have a renewed sense of urgency, no more delusions about relationships, an appreciation for the things that my body does on it's own-like breathing, and a deeper respect for those in pain.
Prior to this, I thought that I knew what pain was. I believed myself to be a sympathetic person, understanding, kind and patient. I thought I knew how to bring comfort to those who were suffering. But until you're flat on your back, unable to move and at the mercy of another, you can't really know pain.
It tests your strength, forcing you to push back when you have no fight left in you. It makes you lose your temper, and say things you don't mean. It makes you beg out loud and plead for it to stop, if only for a moment, so that your mind will stop screaming. It makes you weep constantly, even when your eyes ache and your head pounds. It vividly reminds you of the loved ones you've lost, as you ask them for strength and forgiveness for your ignorance. Unrelenting pain robs you until you give up, and learn acceptance.
For most people, pain becomes nothing more than a faded memory. The brain numbs it's intensity, and soon it's the equivalent of a skinned knee on the sidewalk. But I'm not like "most people", I'm a writer. Although the particulars of past events may become cloudy, the feelings will never leave me. They'll show up in the manuscripts waiting to be written, influencing the characters yet to be imagined. Every experience I've ever "felt" has remained with me, in all its intensity. It's a blessing and a curse.
What's next? Well, I've also learned that plans have a way of being changed without prior notice! Even so, as soon as the assignment is finished, I'm going to dive back into writing and get back to illustrating my own manuscripts. Perhaps better times are just around the corner...oh, and a little publishing success would be nice!