Wednesday, February 23, 2011

If only we could heal ourselves; We wouldn't need to be hooked up to these machines

It was a very late night during high school when I fell in love with writing. Back then it was always fiction, 'roleplaying' (yes, nerdy) with a couple of good friends and basically escaping my life. 

Back then, I didn't really realize how therapeutic it was. How easy it was to let my character feel what I felt, mold them, develop flaws (shockingly, similar to my own) and get the happily ever after I was always dreaming of--or at least to a better semblance than what I currently was experiencing. I wove stories with other people, picked up an ever developing vocabulary and it wasn't long until my short paragraphs slowly developed in pages and pages of text. My novice descriptions became lines of beautiful words, painting pictures, creating scenes, harvesting emotions.  I saw myself grow up through those pages, I saw myself improve, twist a phrase, rattle off a verse and generally fall in love with writing. 

It has been one of the few things that I am 100% proud of. 

It was probably with my first break up and subsequent... misjudgements and mistakes that lasted a lot longer than I'd like to say, that I really realized how much writing meant to me. I was able to put my thoughts, feelings, self hatred and toxic feelings down on a page. I was able to turn this dark, twisted piece of myself and turn it into something beautiful. It was a lot easier to focus on the right adjective than to focus on the stupid mistakes my seventeen year old self made, time and time again. 

Yes, parts of me felt raw afterwards. I put myself on display, to a certain extent. Obviously my writing wasn't exactly something I was showing my best friend or my mother, but to the people who I did trust with it, I felt very naked. However, that in itself could also provide comfort. 
These were people who didn't focus on what the character was feeling. Any tips were pointed towards adjectives or phrases. No one judged, everyone was supportive. It was one of the few communities that you could feel 100% comfortable with. There were no mean girls, no caste systems, no tiers of writers. We embellished on each other's work, we were possibly a little over generous with our compliments. We fed each other pieces of compassion that most of us felt we did not receive in real life. 

It wasn't long after that, that I somehow lost my--for lack of a better term, my muse. I wrote very little in the years following that and that that was put to page was often discarded. I couldn't find anything that was appealing in those works. I soon became discouraged and anxious, wishing desperately to be able to return to my old glory. I had often said to S that I would suffer through all the pain, all the negative thoughts, the depression, the anxiety if only to get back that ability to write. 

Fast forward several years, I've found another outlet to write. Sure, it's not exactly fiction--sadly my life really IS this boring. However, I find myself once again turning to the written word in order to bring myself comfort. 

My surgery is scheduled for Friday. 

People have remarked how calm I seem. How I don't seem to be freaking out and I've been going through the motions, focusing on one day at a time. I don't discuss it often and when I do it's always very to the point. I'm practical. I make requests. I prepare those around me.

The truth of the matter? 

I'm scared.

I can't talk about it for very long because anxiety creeps up. I can feel the panic in my chest and it's tendrils twisting along my throat. I've pushed aside the thought of surgery as a weird surreal universe. That someone else in my life is being prepared for being cut open. That I need to be there for someone else. 

Yes, since my hospital stay back in September this has generally been the road that was laid out for me. It wasn't exactly a surprise that this was the course. Most of the work until now has been more hoop jumping and waiting. Fortunately it's always been months away. Weeks away. 

Now I'm left with days away and that fear is settling in. The familiar feeling of anxiety has curled up in my stomach and with only two days left---I'm doing what any self respecting person can do: I distract myself. 

I tell various people of it. I try to make it seem normal and obvious. It's only a minor surgery. It's a day at best. There's nothing to worry about. But those sentiments, they seem more for myself rather than other's. I reassure myself of all the things I've been told by various people. 

"You'll be fine."

"Oh, it's just a small thing."

"It's not like you're having heart surgery or anything."

I can spew off all the logical thoughts with the air of someone who's been through this a million times before. I can shove it aside like an unwanted pair of socks at Christmas. I can fill my schedule, I can meditate, I can 'live in the moment.'

But Friday, I'm being cut open. I'm having people remove a piece of me--quite literally. I'm having strangers look after my well being and I'm going to be set up in a sterile, cold and unloving environment to be 'fixed'. I'll be another slot on a white board, another patient to visit, another set of pills and instructions to say, a way to pass the 12 hours before the end of the work day. 

I become a chart. 

A surgery.

A piece of meat. 

But what's there to be scared of? I mean, it's only a minor surgery. A day at best. It's not like I'm having heart surgery or anything...

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