The past few months I’ve been reminded of the concept of accepting “This too.” Most of us are eager and excited for the special moments and joyous occasions in life, but automatically avoid and push away the difficult and upsetting ones. It’s natural and in our basic human instinct to act in such a way.
However, as I learned, it seems that the more I push away and avoid acknowledging or even experiencing the more difficult moments, the more it hurts and often, new negative scenarios occur.
2016 did not bring the life I imagined for myself at all...my mother was suddenly diagnosed with a benign brain tumor just after New Years, which in turn, I became her responsible caretaker. Then during her recovery, my darling cat Kelso went missing for three long and worrisome days, only to thankfully return with a broken leg. (He is still recovering in a large “double-makeshift”, dog crate. I believe poor Kelso has succumbed to the idea that being confined to a crate is how he will live out rest of his life..little does he know, he’s about to be released next week)! After my mother’s surgery it was recommended by her wonderful surgeon that she receive radiation. Thankfully she received on 5 days of radiation versus the other possible option of 30 consecutive days of treatment.
On one of the first days that I actually meant to “treat” myself in order to further my “caretaker-burnout,” my car broke down before my massage appointment (a Christmas Gift from my sister).
As I house-sat and had a “mini-staycation” my boyfriend suffered from pancreatitis...again.
My mother’s visit with my sister was delayed due to a death in our family.
Then when my mother did visit with my sister, my cousin moved out early--something I didn’t expect, nor did I expect my strong emotional reaction. AND just an hour after his departure, my boyfriend received the upsetting and unexpected news that his mother’s fiance was rushed to the hospital after fatally suffering a heart attack and then was revived only to pass away just days later...all this has led up to my birthday...TODAY!!!
In no ways have I:
Sold a screenplay
Finished...better yet, begin to re-revise my screenplay
Apply for industry related jobs
Filmed anything...even for out “Watch” section for Pixie Chick Productions...sorry about that folks! I’m just as disappointed as you are!
Saved for a new car
Continued my health kick
Finished a new 30 days of Yoga challenge
Moved to NY, LA, or London
Week after week of crying to my (much-needed, and extremely helpful) therapist (let’s call her Jen), it seemed that my life couldn’t get any more difficult, only that it continually did in the following days…
The majority of last year Jen and I revisited the idea of “ This Too.” Taking on the enjoyable and troubling moments in life--allowing both to pass without judgement, without resistance (the best to my human abilities,) to experience them with openness, and that understanding, whatever I was feeling/experiences was merely temporary.
And that’s totally true. Many philosophical ideologies have the premise of temporary situations and feelings. And I’m somewhat familiar with these ways of thinking--ask my friends--in moments of comfort I will offer a similar statement that basically says, “you will get through it” and “it’s a temporary situation”…think friendship cheerleading...but WHY am I not able to cheerlead for myself...I mean, I know I’m NOT alone in that conundrum by any means. It’s all part of the human condition, honestly! But when you’re weekly hit with more and more overwhelming, emotional, and very heavy scenarios, it get very...what’s the word...words?
Lonely, discouraging, frustrating, exhausted, bitter, angry, resentful, avoid, protect, controlling, no control, toxic, internal judgment, overwhelmed, hide, silence, chaos, removed, chosen distance, undefined boundaries….well I could write more but I’m feeling a bit blah---which was not the point of the post…
I’m not asking for your sympathy, or letting me have a whine-fest or pity-party, don’t let me wallow actually! I’m writing because maybe you’ll have empathy or have a newer understanding of some of the crazy and continuously heavy sh** that I’ve overcome this year...YES, I’ve overcome and in most instances it’s still happening, but thankfully it’s coming to the end…(fingers crossed).
A few weeks ago I wrote an article about Star Wars and the dark and light in all of us...I lived in the darkness. I dwelled in it, I was scared of it, I was drowning in it. But slowly the dark waters began to reseed and I began to see shimmers of light. I didn’t turn to creativity to ease my pains. If anything it made me beat myself up even more for the constant reminder that I wasn’t where I wanted to be...I stopped having fun in my creative life...instead I gave it the burdensome responsibility to be my financial salvation, it was a struggle, it was upsetting and I resented my creative (or lack of) creative life...
While out for a walk the other day, I came to the conclusion that I may have missed out on some happier opportunities. “Light” moments probably have always been there but I was just too consumed by the “darkness” (and A LOT of it) to see the “light”. Something as simple as a friend’s phone call or offered tea time--somethings came up, but many times I just couldn’t face an escape. I was obviously (but subconsciously) thankful for things but it wasn’t a clearly defined state of mind to have gratitude...I couldn’t daily articulate my gratitudes...for example: My mom was alive and slowing healing. I was so consumed by fear, overwhelming responsibilities, family dysfunctions, medical visits, insurance calls, and financial struggles, to notice that Mom was there...and that there had been a time when she almost wouldn’t have been there….
There were always glimmers of light, opportunities of peace that I just couldn’t see. I look back, not judging myself, not mad (anymore) that I missed those opportunities…I was in a different place. The past few weeks I noticed as my mom’s health allowed her to be more independent, I began to notice little blessings: Snuggling with my cats (I actually get in Kelso’s crate and snuggle), the blossoming flowers, the songs of birds, my boyfriend’s smooth skin after he shaves, my Mom’s laughter, the loving and supportive family and friends that reach out to me..but also all that I’ve been through.
So, This Too...what does that mean for me now? I look back, just hours upon my 26th birthday and not irritated or blaming myself for the goals and expectation I had, but fell (very) short of. Instead I look back on this 25th year, all the courageous and good-scary things I did...Like leaving my dead-end and soul-sucking job, taking a few weeks to “nourish” myself before starting an amazing internship, and finally surviving the past four months with strength, (maybe not always with grace) but the determination to do what I can, the best that I can…
I tell my friends, 2016 has been a “doozy”, because what more can I say? I didn’t know, but I’m seeing that it’s a learning experience...I’ve grown in my courage, strength, and my place in my family has shifted. I’ve become a leader, a rock, more resourceful than I ever expected I’d be, compassionate, and still working on my patience. I learned that even in midsts of the deepest struggles there are always blessings to be grateful for...whether or not I have the awareness or ability to see them, is something I still am developing. I formed a stronger bond with my family and leaned on God for most of this, whether in actual prayer or in my inner divinity. I’ve learned that I can be open to the “good” and “bad” and that it’s just “This too”. I wouldn’t change my 25th year or even the first four months of 2016...it’s part of my story, it’s part of me...it’s all this too...and then some.
For Donations to assist my boyfriend’s mother Val and her late partner, Jack Cribbs, please donate to Jack and Val's GoFundMe Page Thank you!!!