I like to begin my stories with a quote.
Perhaps we can begin here: season 6, episode 6 of Call the Midwife.
There are so many secret wounds.
So many types of hidden scars.
being stronger than we think,
can survive all mutilations.
And the marks upon it perfect and complete.
Failure isn’t fatal,
but hesitation might be.
It was a bold step and it took courage
like any new journey.
I had become sick in 2013. Placed on medications, I soon became someone I no longer recognized, yet it was simultaneously someone I had wanted to become. I was attentive and alert. I accomplished many things in timely ways. But it still surprised me.
As I picked up commitment after committment, my body, under the ticking clock of the medications, began to revolt. Breathing insulation-fiberglass air in my bedroom at night hurt my lungs. Having stress for deadlines and fearing failure, my emotions edged toward distress. They become even more intricate and complex while on medications, which were designed to overshadow them. It became difficult to speak to mentors and therapists because my emotions were fleeting, changing more quickly than could be addressed.
I went from a Lion’s mind, always focused and straightforward, to the skittishness of a dog, always turning my eyes from one distraction to the next. As a result, my therapy has centered on daily stressors rather than on long term healing.
So I left the medications. And now I’m afloat. Somewhere on this sea. The waters aren’t too choppy, it’s just that I’m not used to marine life just yet. My land legs need to gain fluidity for me to stand upright among these swells. I need to learn discretion for when to take a seat and just let this raft loll across there breakers.
Unlike any experience before now, I DO feel certain that I remember who I am…it’s just that my working memory of who I am has been buried beneath the stressors named above. The medications. The deadline. The faces. And the struggle. I need to come back. To where things began. I’m privileged to have this available to me.
Before deciding to leave school for the summer, it seemed that every decision and action to pursue success in school, left me grappling, fighting against the sands closing in on me. My lungs have felt the weight of the rising sand. And as the sand began to creep upward, it began to scratch at my throat and to silence my voice. I began to realize that I would need to leave.
As I’ve made one logistical move after another, to leave school, things have fallen into place. It’s like the people I love, who showed up without hesitation, have offered their hands to dig my lungs and legs out of this mess.
And instead of a desert, I find that I have been beside the sea all along. The sea of blessing and light. The sea of love and kindness. I will find healing and respite here. This salty air is where we convalesce from our heartbreak, our ever-evolving dreams and the shifts of our goals. The air, whipped across the surface of this liquid, brings insight and joy. It touches the cells of my body and creates new paths within me for peace and the assurance of my future.