A week ago, April 28th, was the three year anniversary of my mastectomy. When I am feeling good that seems like the day I became a unicorn. In those times I am filled with the miracle of being granted the all clear pathology report and what feels like a new more sparkly cancer free future. And then there are the moments where I remember that the fall out from that surgery has altered the course of my life in some significant ways. It has made me realize that the spring, always a potent time of year for me, has taken on a new sense of emotional saturation. This week I’ve been struck down with the first bad cold since this whole thing went down. How can all the snot not be connected to my strong feelings of late?
Everywhere I look I see others filled with their own version of emotional over saturation. These are such intense times we are in. At least I am not alone.
My newish understanding of my emotional/physical tipping point – that moment of overwhelm in which I am no longer making the best possible choices for myself – has been reached. Unfortunately awareness of it does not always mean I am able to course correct. If I am honest I can see that I have been over extending myself for over a month. The tipping point is usually reached after I have bypassed several warnings.
A thing that I am dancing with is the simultaneous awareness of how grateful I am to be alive, how precious life is, while at the same time feeling really crappy. And also being aware that crappy from a cold is really no where near the crappy of cancer treatments, or the crappy of grief, or the crappy of a broken leg, or the crappy of oppression, or the crappy of all the infinite ways there are to feel crappy. for instance I am truly blessed that I am not struggling with some sort of serious addiction issue. Resorting to being sort of weepy and pathetic is much lower stakes than resorting to binge drinking in a time of woe. Like the awareness that I am on the left side of functioning, being aware that it isn’t so bad for me as it may be for others, does not change things much. Regardless, or perhaps because of my awareness of the pain present in the world, I am basically weepy and pathetic right now. Even Unicorns have bad days.
That the last few days have been so beautiful is ironically not helpful. You might think that having consecutive days of sun after this year’s rather epic winter weather that I would be happier. For the record 171 out of the 212 days between October and April had rainfall here in Astoria. Rainfall which resulted in 85.11 inches of rain ~ that’s 7 feet 1.11 inches. So sun really ought to create more bunnies and rainbows, not so.
The good news is that I do know that I will likely come out of this within a few days. The good news is that I have been able to lounge in the sun on the back deck these last few days. The good news is that I have clean sheets on my bed. The good news is that my family is by and large healthy. The good news is that my life is filled with much loveliness. I am blessed with beloved friends that I have been able to connect with etc. etc. etc.
That having a cold seems so disproportionally horrid points to the unearthing of other deeper things. It is of course probably ridiculous to be depressed about having a head cold, though probably less ridiculous to feel depressed about the anniversary of a life changing surgery. Around here we say that when someone is having a really hard time over something seemingly small, that it is really never about the cookie. This is a thing our boys taught us when they were toddlers. That freak out? Not really about the cookie. Not that the cookie doesn’t matter, mind you.
At such times, when I am freaking about whatever my current cookie is, the toxic sentiment that comes to mind goes a bit like this, “Buck up.” “Get over yourself.” Those puppets talking, well they love to come out and play whenever some cookie drama is playing out. Those puppets believe that feelings are only permissible under specific guidelines, for instance no one else in the world has it as bad as you.
I think the cookie dramas plays out so fiercely when they do because of all of the suppressed sadnesses of the past have found a crack in the armor to come on out. The cookie is just a way to let it go. Perhaps by letting all these feelings come out over something small, I am cleaning out the psychic skeletons from my mental closet.
By writing this sort of stuff down I might help others who have their own version of crappy going on. In that hope let me just say it really clearly:
It is okay to have feelings. You are still a unicorn even if you cry sometimes.
Sing it Rosie Grier!