Over the summer, I began writing this post. I would open a new text file each time I sat at my computer, waiting for the right words to find me. I wrote words, lots and lots of words that I didn’t know what to do with. Do I share them? Do I compile them? Or do I ignore them? As the text files piled up on my desktop, I felt the weight of these words building. I needed to make a decision and move on. Without a decision, I felt stuck. And I’ve been stuck until now. Today I finally decided that I need to write more words, some similar to the words I wrote but never published over the summer. This decision feels safer right now because the world has given me a reality check (i.e., the tragic events in Boston). It’s interesting that so many of my own personal tragedies occurred in Boston. It’s a city I lived in for five years and grew to love, primarily for the pain it provided me (not the city itself, but my experiences while living in the city) to grow into the person I am today. This post, I wouldn’t be writing if it weren’t for those years in Boston.
Recently, I wrote about my confusion around the topic of blogging. My confusion still exists and feels greater now than ever before. While I maintain that this blog is personal (because it is), I also have clear boundaries about what I talk online about and what I leave offline. Today, a lot of my life is offline. And I’m struggling to determine how much to say, if anything at all, about what I’m currently processing and experiencing. I will say from the start that I don’t know the answer to this question. So this discussion will likely be a bit piecemeal, but to disappear from this space all together doesn’t feel right at all. And to post something unrelated and not say anything doesn’t feel right either. Because in a year when I look back at the posts from this time, I want to know what I was saying and how I was showing up online. I want some type of record.
So ultimately I decided to show up and begin writing the words for this post because I know other people, actually a lot of people, are in the same boat as me. We go through our lives with smiles on our faces even while navigating stormy waters. We try to fit everything into our day, sacrifice as little as possible, even when our schedules are a bit lopsided. We don’t want to make excuses or garner pity. We just need to make it all work. At least that is how I felt, until I told one of my research supervisors. And her compassion and understanding was and is truly remarkable. I know that most people don’t respond in the way she did when I told her about life, right now, and how I needed to make a few changes to my schedule. I’ve experienced callousness in the past that hardened me. To experience a compassionate response while in such a vulnerable state, I was able to release a huge weight of guilt and angst. And it allowed me to recognize the need to prioritize self-compassion which may look different now than it did 3 months ago. It freed me to think about myself first and others second. This shift needed to happen.
My “right now” consists of a lot of work, good work that feeds my soul, keeping me very busy and a tremendous amount of support offline. I feel so very grateful and nurtured.
When I enter the online sphere, I retreat to the other version of me—the version that wants to just pretend I can do it all with a smile on my face. This discrepancy is strange because it has always been the reverse. I started blogging because it allowed me to have a voice during a time when a lot of my vulnerability offline had to be kept hidden.
And I feel silly because I don’t even want to say what it is that I’m experiencing…because compared to what others are going through (and what has just happened in Boston) what I’m experiencing is a blip on the road. But since it is my road to travel alone, the blip seems bigger to me than others and I know that is just reality. We each have very different experiences and have to live life from our own perspective not someone else’s. I don’t want to minimize the worthiness of my feelings.
Over the summer, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune disease that is related to thyroid functioning—see these bloggers for more insight on this disorder). It took time to find the right endocrinologist and get my body into balance, something I’ll continue monitoring for the rest of my life. This is manageable and is just something that has become part of my regular life. Then, unrelated, a couple of months ago, my doctor found one or two growths that need to be surgically removed (from a female region). I’m having the surgery tomorrow (Wednesday). And I’m scared. I really just want it to be over. I’m ready to be on the other side of this experience moving forward, stronger and more resilient.
I’m forging ahead, living with the fear and anxiety and not letting it live for me. I’m being proactive and preparing lots of self-compassion for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I am going to use these days to be very kind to myself.
This is my right now. And I haven’t been talking about it online. And yikes it feels good to just say it and move forward. Wednesday should be a cakewalk after this blog post :).
p.s. the title of this post is inspired by one of my favorite blogs, a blog about love.
photo of magical heart by @bspoont (my husband)