Lately, I’ve been using the following phrase a little too freely: “They are their own worst enemy.”
I was really talking to myself. It took a slump and an illness for me to confront that and I’m still trying to sidestep the reality just a little. Looking into a mirror and knowing that the person looking back doesn’t always act in your best interests is a little unsettling. Okay, a lot unsettling.
For years, I have not done a good job taking care of myself. I don’t get enough exercise. I eat too much and often the wrong things. This last year all this neglect has really caught up to me. I’ve lost a lot of my spunk not to mention my groove. It is a wake-up call, I will answer.
The shower is my favorite place for inspiration and prayers of desperation. This morning is no exception. I am home from work another day, hoping to heal, hoping to feel more like getting in the game and giving life a shot. My mind is way too busy finding all my flaws. It’s an expert at coming up with excuses which have begun to really annoy me. Coughing, I bend over and hold my side. I feel ridiculous and tell myself so.
As to be expected, I hear a strong voice in my head say, “Woooooh girl!” (I like this ‘girl’ especially since I’m feeling so old.) “You are amazing. Don’t forget it!”
Who am I to argue with the morning shower voice? I try anyway. I throw out some flimsy evidence to the contrary. “What about . . . ? and . . . ? I’m a mess!”
The shower voice smiles even when it’s invisible. I know a smile by it’s feel. The smile stops me. Water drips off my nose and lands on my stomach.
“Considering what you’ve been through, what you are going through and what lies ahead, you are doing an amazing job. Others have been broken by much less.” The smile says.
I like what I’m hearing. I want to crawl into this statement and take up residence. It can be my new home especially when the residency in the old physical home will have an end before the passage of too many moons. Closure is a vague and distant concept. Uncertainty is not.
Uncertainty is the boundary around most of my life. Exhaustion licks at my wet heels.
Yesterday, I read an interesting statistic. It said that 85% of the marriages in families with special needs children fail. Statistics need to be approached with skepticism. I could survey two or three people and make some claim but this numbers fascinates me because it feels true. Compared to many families, our special needs child is a walk in the park but we don’t live in other families. We have only our own.
Our son wears sadness like a shirt that desperately needs to be laundered. When he was three he wore a Superman t-shirt for months. He’d would enter a room, throw open his arms and announce that “Superman was here.” He no longer feels like Superman. I want Superman back.
Setting a positive example seems the only sensible alternative. Each day is a new opportunity to try again. Look for the silver lining. Rebound from disappointment. Focus on the now. Some days are just harder than others. Some times the tears are very close.
On top of this challenge, layer financial challenges, job loss, underemployment, health issues. It is amazing that we survive at all. Laughing in the face of all this is a triumph. At this point, Gloria Gaynor starts to sing, “I will survive.” (Check out the red spanky pants and roller skate segment.)
The shower smile/voice says, “See! this is what I’m talking about. You are doing an amazing job.”
Ah, the wisdom of the shower. I sigh long and hard as I towel dry my hair.
There is the mirror. Here I am, naked and a little broken. The raw and vulnerable parts of my life are exposed. I am uncomfortable.
“I will survive. I will survive.”