I haven't been a list maker of any kind for years and I don't miss the relentless measuring stick I made of those lists. So when I found myself journalling a list of 50 resolutions/goals for 2008 I knew I was headed for trouble. The day after my list making journal entry I wrote, "give your head a shake, girl!" With that I gave myself permission to disregard the list. Sure, there are things on there that I'd like to accomplish this year and the list is mostly made up of minor things like buy a pair of red shoes. But making the list was in itself a bell ringing wake up call. I couldn't shake a gut instinct that told me I must be feeling out of control in some areas of my life if that's how I was spending my spare time. Making unreasonable lists, as if they are the sanest option in the world, is my attempt at trying to control as much as I can outside myself in order to be at peace within.
Which is crazy making.
One thing that did make it on the list was a goal to go swimming twice a month. This past Saturday I did just that. And in my all or nothing thinking I had to make it worth my while, after all I'd paid 5 bucks to get in, and making it worth my while consisted of trying to dodge 15 teenagers while swimming laps across the pool. I way over did it physically. Occasionally I noticed that the bulk of the people around me were using pool time to socialize and that there was only one other person trying to swim laps.
When I was in treatment I told myself that the next time I was at the pool I was going to jump off the rope swing. It seems like such a little kid thing to do and I haven't done enough of that in my lifetime. I watched who was going off the swing (all Tarzan like) and not one middle aged woman was in sight. I weighed my options and decided that I really wanted someone important to me to witness (and take a picture of) my little kid moment so I'm saving that for next time.
I ended my time at the pool by spending a few minutes in the hot tub. As I sat down I recognized two people from recovery meetings and although I'd never talked to either of them before, I made my way over and introduced myself. While we were talking one of them spoke to a group of people who were from the treatment centre that I went to last summer. On my way out of the building the clients from that centre were waiting for the druggie bus as we called it, to take them back. I told them I'd gotten out of treatment in August. One of them asked me how it had been. I told him treatment had been life changing. He said he hoped it would be like that for him. I told him he would get out of it what he put into it. If he was willing to deal with his shit he'd have a better chance of making it outside treatment. He told me I was an inspiration and with that we went our separate ways.
By the time I got to the grocery store my chest was hurting from over doing it at the pool. Sunday morning I woke up with my heart racing over 100 and it did that for hours. Monday I had counseling at the childhood sexual abuse centre. Yesterday I got to a mid week AA meeting which helped me get my bearings. After that I had a session with my after treatment counselor where she helped me connect the dots as to some possible reasons for my lack of energy and how that was compelling me to grasp at control in other ways. It is so good to get another perspective. Left to my own devices I'd still be blaming myself for my current lack of spoons and beating myself up for not being able to bounce back at will.
I was able to trace my growing lack of energy back to when I started the counseling to deal with the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. Those have been exhausting, difficult-to-face sessions. So my counselor yesterday was able to stand back from the the situation and tell me that my body reacting with less energy was a clue that I was truly dealing with the baggage. That I was doing the hard work. That what looked like a negative was really more growth. She asked if the lack of energy continues as I journey, can I trust that I'm right where I need to be?
I looked at her and let the tears spill over.
Through my tears I told her I'd do just about anything not to go back to gauging my steps based on my spoon supply. Having no guarantee if tomorrow I'll wake up just as exhausted as I was this morning, or whether I'll feel normal makes me want to bang my head against the wall. I'm not back to square one health wise but I'm scared that's where I'm headed. I really thought my health issues were in the past.
I'm not God and I don't control it all.
And while I hate, hate, hate it, I can't experience serenity unless I accept that this is my reality for today. (my mindset has been: how dare you fucking betray me, body of mine, after all the hard work I'm doing.)
Yet my family doctor had told me that I might experience more physical symptoms when I started the counseling. The sexual abuse centre had also warned me that increased physical symptoms were a normal part of the process.
I was so sure I'd be exempt.
I don't know if it's sad or funny but picture a group of addicts together, who've forgotten they're human, and you'll find them tapping their chest (in unison, mind you) while emphasizing how they alone are special and not. like. other. people.
And since I'm finding out I'm more like those who've gone before me than not, here I am today. Attempting to deal with my shit. Praying to be willing to surrender it. Praying for the courage to trust the process. Shredding my application for God's job. And very grateful to recognize that crazy making lists and grasping for control are sick options for me when trying to deal with life on life's terms.
Will I trust or won't I? The choice is mine.
Earnie Larsen writes in Destination Joy
"Let go of the rope. Every day, every hour, one day at a time, stage by stage and step by step - let go of the rope."When I do, that's one picture that's going to get framed.