Thursday, April 4, 2013

Earning a Check Mark

Living with chronic illness is like anything else.  There are good days and bad days.  You learn not to take anything for granted.  On those rare days when there is no pain, I feel so grateful.  Yesterday was one of those days.  And like so many of my days, filled with a gamut of emotions.

Like many people, I keep a to do list.  My list is long.  I constantly feel overwhelmed.  But some days I am able to give myself a check mark.  I've come to value those check marks.  I see each one as an accomplishment.  Yesterday I was actually able to fill out a form, and made it to the post office to mail it.  This may not sound like it, but for me it was huge.

As I walked to my destination, I thought back to a previous chapter my life where I arose at 6:00 a.m. every morning, went through a complex set of routines to make up my face, fix my hair and wear a suit including hose and heels!  Just thinking that makes me tired.  But it didn't stop there.  That was where it started.  I'd then rush out to the bus, sometimes in bitter cold Lake Erie weather.  On the bus, I'd have to stand and fight nausea while crowds of people fought and generally behaved loudly.  By the time I got to work, I felt like I'd been beat up!  But it only began there.  Now work, with so many details and things to do, never with a glimmer of hope of catching up, all the while holding my poor bladder until it was impossible to hold - thank God that never got ugly, it was close.  Ignoring the rumblings in my belly, the pain in my back and trying to ignore the meanness and yelling  from unhappy, stressed out (and sometimes drunk) lawyers.  I didn't do well with that - I've been told I'm too sensitive.  After 10-12 hours of this, again to the bus.  All day in the office I fought not to cry, so I cried on the bus on the way home.  Among the crowd of loud and performing citizens, no one ever noticed.  Then to the grocery store, maybe laundry, if I have any energy, maybe pick up the apartment, pay bills and collapse before getting up the next day to do it all over again.  How on earth did I do this and put myself through school?  How on earth do people do this and take care of children?  This insanity went on for years.  No wonder I almost died.  I knew that I could no longer do it when I began crying on the bus on the way to work.

These days I rarely put on makeup, do my nails or shave my legs.  No one seems to mind.  The freedom and anonymity are a gift.  I live simply, and drama free.  I am kinder to myself, no longer worrying about impressing god knows who or what.  The more simply I live, the happier I am.  I still love girly things, and when I do have the energy to put on make up or do my nails, it feels like a luxurious treat.  I suppose the point of all these words is that I'm okay, and I don't take anything for granted.

Yesterday, before heading to the post office I made the mistake of reading an illogical, poorly thought out and naive political argument on Facebook.  Ah, why did I read that?  Even though your opinion might be contrary to mine, I would still defend your right to it.  I walked in the beautiful breeze and lamented the lack of critical thinking, the need for education and why is it okay that no one takes grammar seriously?  Yes, I worry about some stupid shit sometimes.  While in line at the post office, a Rasta man shared a kind word and his loving energy.  I felt like God had spoken to me.  Never underestimate the power of a kind word, it can restore someone's faith in humanity.  I decided to focus on the good in people and began smiling at everyone I met.

At the dollar store, I waited in line and witnessed a man being extremely hostile to his wife.  I was biting my lip so hard it was bloody.  I feared for her safety.  Again, feeling sad that people are in America seem to be so unhappy.  I must think of a way to help.  Rather than letting my mind spin out of control and become overwhelmed, I tried to stay focused in love rather than fear.  I made my way home, proud that I had earned the right to another check mark in my notebook.


Jessie said...

Great post Peggy. I stay away from political arguments. I don't find it worth the anger it makes me feel inside. I find so many people let it consume their everyday lives to the point that they forget to breath and live. They just let time pass them by while they live in an unhappy state. That's not the life for me!! I'm sorry I haven't stopped by in a while. I was actually just visiting my family and friends in Ohio. I am so behind on my blog reading. I have missed stopping by your blog. I am also glad that you don't have to wear hose and heels everyday! That is something to be very thankful for! ;)

Peggy said...

Hi Jessie! Thanks for reading! Sometimes I think you are my only reader! I appreciate it so much. Yes, political arguments can be difficult, but discussion is so necessary.

Actually, everything is political. Your blog has gotten much more political (with your concern for the environment). That makes it interesting! We do need more tolerance and less violence. I agree that we shouldn't argue - but I also think we shouldn't shy away from discussion. Ahh, but like you I want to be happy. It's a delicate balance.


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