My cat Louie is staring at me intensely while I write this on my couch. If I didn't know better it would feel like judgement, but coming from her I know it's love. Animals are amazing like that. She doesn't look at me and see that I didn't get to this post yesterday when I had scheduled to. She doesn't see that she's causing me terrible allergies as I sniff and try not to rub my eyes for fear of making things worse. She just sees me. And she knows that I'll take care of her. That I love her and feed her and pet her every day. And for that she's grateful. I could really take a cue from Louie.
I've been on this journey for the past few weeks after reading a self-help book about releasing your inner bad ass. I've honestly been feeling so positive and proactive and excited about my life. I've started scheduling my weekdays by the hour and half hour like when I was in high school to increase productivity. (That was all me, not a suggestion from the book.) I've been able to carve out time for work and hustle AND still have time in the evenings for reading and art projects and walks in the (finally) cool night air. I've been feeling like a champion. And with my newfound badass book reiterating that my positivity will propel me forward I feel unstoppable.
And then a bad day hits. The thing about self-help books is that they never really cover serious events like deaths and illness. They talk about moving past bad situations and letting go and believing in the greatness of your life, but when it comes to something serious that looms with actual weight it gets murky on how to proceed with that newfound outlook.
I've recently been diagnosed with some very unusual health defects. I found out after almost thirty three years that I was born with a ventricular septal defect in my heart--which is a fancy phrase for hole. I have a hole in my heart. It's tiny and has not been discovered until now, so chances are it really doesn't matter. And the doc also found a spontaneous pneumothorax, another fancy word, for air pocket in my lung. This is a little more pressing since it can cause my lung to collapse. Apparently this is very rare for a woman my age, and I have to have all these scans and such and can't strain myself (meaning exercise or get excited) at all. This is the hardest part for me because I am an active person. I have a ton of energy that I need to expel, or I go nuts. Until the docs figure out if I need surgery to remove a piece of my lung or if I can just go on like it never happened (aside from the hundreds and hundreds of dollars now absent from my unemployed-person's checking account) I have to watch myself. I have to walk around like something's different. I HATE feeling fragile. I hate feeling like something's chipped inside me, and I have to baby myself lest I break it completely. All I want to do is be Super Woman and fight baddies alongside Simon Pegg in an action movie.
I'm relatively certain that these diagnoses won't prove to be too serious. I know that things could be MUCH MUCH worse. I'm not writing to complain and be all "woe is me." I'm writing because I want to recognize and acknowledge how having negative thoughts or fears or doubts for a little bit doesn't change a positive attitude. I was about to beat myself up for "losing complete faith" in my newfound religion of me because something bad happened beyond a nasty friend or a lost job or a broken car.
My uncle passed away yesterday after a long battle with lung issues. It was inevitable and yet still troubling. I cried thinking about my dad and aunts and uncle losing their brother. I was so recently close to losing a sibling myself that I was as close as I could be to understanding how they feel. It broke my heart to see the first of that family pass on like that. The only solace is that his pain and suffering are over.
I was about to feel like a failure that I wasn't able to accomplish everything and more yesterday. I was about to feel disappointed that I couldn't feel buoyant and assertive despite the hardships. It's like I have this idea that if any negativity is present I've betrayed myself, and the universe will respond in kind. But guess what? It's okay to feel sad sometimes. It's actually impossible to be completely happy all the time. We all know that. But it's also possible to to positive and still be worried and scared every once in a while. I have faith that my life will be utterly fantastic even when it's not.
Failures are not failures. Every single event in life is good, even when it's bad because it teaches us something if we let it. Me beating myself up yesterday was not a failure of my new journey, it was a chance to feel deeply as a human and move forward today knowing that I still believe even when I feel that I don't.