Okay, well the only point in really doing this is to speak the truth of my experience. And the truth is sometimes it sucks. Feel free to skip to the end of this post unless you want the shitty details. No hard feelings-- there are many, many times when I would fast forward to the other side of this particular experience if I could, and those are the times I am about to possibly "overshare" with you.
Here's the thing: Not only are there days when I feel like shit, ie, tired, overwhelmed, pissed off and sad-- along with strange, hard to isolate or describe physical complaints like "sloshiness", ie, the feeling that there is extra liquid sloshing around in my abdomen--a most disconcerting and uncomfortable sensation-- but there are days when even the thought of trying to tell another human being what it feels like to be me under these circumstances seems an insurmountable obstacle. Why would I try? How is that helpful-- to me or to anyone else?
The answer is, of course, that being able to share with other human beings makes us feel less alone. Even just putting words to our experience can help: 'The worst is not, So long as we can say, 'This is the worst'. ' (That's Shakespeare, yo, one of my top all-time go-to guys on the power of language.)
But sometimes I can't do that. It is just too much, language fails. And that makes me even sadder. And adds even more to my sense of isolation. Sometimes it sucks to be me, to have cancer, to have to navigate the tricky landscapes of health care, finances, relationships, and just unloading the fucking dishwasher when bending over makes me feel like shit. Acknowledging all this can make me feel like a big whiner. Which can really start the Ferris wheel of hatred spinning.
"Beware the unkind mind," my yoga teacher says.
Yes. But. How do you stop this Ferris wheel? Sometimes I feel like a cartoon character who falls through one awning after another, down, down, down the rabbit hole (to mix my metaphors shamelessly), one reality after another giving way beneath me. And I am supposed to embrace them all, as they shift, with equanimity, with grace, with open arms.
Well, "suppose" is a terrible choice of words... It implies "should", which anyone who's picked up a self-help book in the past 50 years knows is NOT helpful. But it is the language that springs to mind to talk about how I would "rather be" vs. how I am. But embracing how I am-- shittiness, suckiness, sadness and all-- is the only way out of this rabbit hole. And that kind of compassion takes all kind of grown-up-ness that I can barely muster on my good days.
Facing what I find unbearable-- in myself, in my life-- with tolerance, kindness, gentleness is the only way anything moves in this nasty little equation. It is the variable. And somedays I cannot find it. Other days, just being willing to try to find words for the experience helps. And that is another reason to commit to this blog, to encourage myself to try to find the words, hoping that will lead me to find compassion.