Tonight I sat in a rocking chair, rocking furiously, and going absolutely nowhere… Which is ironic considering that is exactly where I feel like I’m getting while trying to figure out how to get my life together.
For those who may be unaware, I’ve lived for the last year plus at a hospital going through treatments and rehabilitation for complex autoimmune disease and the amputation of a leg. It hasn’t been a cakewalk. Not in the least. And now as it nears its end, I find myself trying to figure out where I am to go from here.
Where is home now?
Where do I go to start my life over?
What do I do to put food on the table and survive?
I have these rolling around so furiously inside my head all the time and I’ve found it difficult to keep my attitude in check as the weariness of all I’ve experienced and all that is happening in my life now weighs on me. This is a challenge beyond what I share here or with most people I know.
Like most people who face sudden disability, chronic illness, or some other trauma or life changing experience, I fear sharing too much of my truth with any one person because I’ve been told too many times that I was “just being dramatic” or was “making things out to be worse than they were” for reporting facts. Sharing my frustration or opinion on a health matter that immediately impacts me is met with gall and attacks even from those who should be my closest allies. That my truth was ignored by doctors, friends, and even family, that I’ve been told I was being a drama queen, that I had those who should have cared the most ignore my symptoms and my reality while telling me I was being an “emotional woman” and acting crazy has left me feeling less than enthusiastic about being completely forthcoming with anyone. One friend, who knows a great deal more than most told me last week that what I’m up against right now is probably more than most could handle…
I did say thank you but what I didn’t say is that I don’t feel like I’m handling it well at all at the moment.
I feel like I’m drowning.
(The ship… the ship… I’m going down with the Pequod.)
So after I reached my frustration level tonight, I found myself sitting in an oversized fluffy bathrobe in the dark on a rocking chair on the front porch watching the darkness advance by degrees, rocking furiously, and complaining to a friend on the phone about every dissatisfying aspect of my current situation. (Don’t worry, she could take it: she’s got the glow of a new crush and was barely distracted by my worries while she chattered on about the smell of his cologne in the shirt she was wearing like a hug while trying to convince me that I need a man-friend to send me a him-scented-fabric-hug too.)
Rock, rock, rock, rock… pause…
I swear the only people with the patience for this kind of paperwork are the ones who don’t need it! My medical file for the last 3 years is 4 paper boxes full and I can’t remember which doctor ordered which blood test last month let alone last year!
What am I going to do with myself? I’m an adult but I don’t feel like I know what to do except I should!!!
Rooooock rockrockrock roooooooock rockrock…
No one tells you that men are going to stare creepily at you when you walk around as an amputee, you know, but they do and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m an amputee or if it’s that I’m sexy but it really bothers me and I can’t ask them because that’s just a recipe for more disaster!
Rockrock rockrock rockrock…
So, the funny thing about complaining ~ one of those friends I mentioned a moment ago had a grandfather who used to say that complaining was like sitting on a rocker:
You can complain all day but just like that rocker, it won’t get you anywhere.
It’s true. I didn’t get anywhere. But I did get something, at least, and that was less angry. And as I sat there rocking away, going nowhere, I was reminded of a conversation from an old black and white movie (Christmas in Connecticut, 1945) about rocking chairs:
My old man was an expert with rocking chairs. He said he used to solve all his problems in one. But you have to know how to rock.
*Don’t you just rock?*
No. I’ll show you.
Suppose you’re tired and worried about a problem. Well, then you rock like this. Like you’re on a ship, away from everything…… rolling soft and smooth over the open sea. Well, then you get to thinking slow and calm. Get it? That’s the ocean rock.
*I never thought of that before.*
There’s the horseback rock. When you can’t sit still, you gotta be doing something…… and you rock like this, very fast.
Then the lazy rock. When there’s something across the room…… and you’re too lazy to get up and get it…… well, you just rock overand get it.
Only chair in the world you can cross the room without getting up.
*I never knew there was so muchto a rocking chair.*
I am pretty sure I tested all those rocks tonight and added a few new ones myself. I complained, I rocked, I didn’t solve all my problems…
I didn’t even solve one!
And I took that rocking chair with me to nowhere!
But at least I no longer want to hurt anyone and that is something.
Also, I somehow managed to get most of the cuss words out of my mouth. And that is saying something!