I refuse to back down. It’s a strength. It’s a flaw. I’m grateful for both. Challenges inspire me.
Lately I’ve heard from several people that I inspire them. I am humbled. But I am not super human or special. We all have challenges. We all handle them the best way we can. I was reminded lately when I was poo pooing (I’m making up that word, yes) someone’s traumatic life. Oh, you have a cold? A hangnail? A bad day? I had a Stroke! But the reminder which was gently delivered poked me right in the self-righteous eye: Everyone’s trauma is still trauma. It’s not a competition. Trauma without compassion for others is a lesson wasted. And I hate to waste a good lesson!
But about challenges, and the point of this rambling: It has not been an easy 3 years. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had joy, I’ve had fun, but I’ve also lost many things with which I have used to define myself.
This is a hard post but I am counting on the unconditional love of my friends now. The stroke, and the deep, dark abyss in which I was sucked took a toll. I can admit this now. Going through it I was much too proud. I knew I was depressed. I knew I felt hopeless most of the time, but not caring about feeling hopeless, twisted as that sounds, was a convenient coping method. Convenient but not very productive. Finances became my nemesis. I couldn’t keep up, couldn’t bring myself to care. The result was loss of my house and safe place. As I started to crawl out of the abyss, I realized that losing the house meant losing the place where I could have my two dopey and terribly vicious dogs. With wrecked credit and dangerous dogs, Finding a place to land is nearly impossible. Not caring was easy but not productive.
Last summer, I returned temporarily to Pennsylvania to be with family and my dogs who have been graciously offered housing with my parents and my sister. Louis “this-is-why” has stolen the hearts of my parents, while simultaneously stretching them (literally) with his pathetic (my fault) leash manners. I realized that summer, despite years of insisting that, although I love my family, I don’t need to be in their backyard, I really do enjoy their company and love the east coast. (That part I never denied)
Hang in there, we are getting there…..
The stroke showed me that life is precarious: “Not securely held or in position; dangerously likely to fall or collapse., 1.1 Dependent on chance; uncertain.” And still I woke up for years after, dreading my days, longing for weekends, summers, Friday nights. While the longing brings sweetness of rewards of the time living fully, I fear we have it backwards. We trudge through our days, putting in weeks, days, hours, minutes, waiting for the short periods of time when we will enjoy our freedom from captivity. When I was not working, Fridays and weekends became like every other day, but now, they bring the ecstasy of reward for enduring the work week.
I’m not convinced. I desire to live each day fully, not with dread or regret. Alas, it has not been so for the last few years. So I am inclined to change that.
After much thought and consideration, listening to my logical grown up self and my adventuring, daring soul, to my family, friends and other minglers…
I have decided to return to the land of my childhood, to the place where my birth family lives and thrives, the place my canine family now calls home, to the safety and security of familiar.
I have given it a good run at being a Midwesterner. I have endured negative double digit temperatures in the winter, and that one day of summer. I’ve acknowledged a football team that wears green and yellow (not yellow and black) and I’ve tried to acclimate to bubblers. I’ve hung in there. I have not embraced the Midwest as fully or as gracefully as I wished but it has given me more than I expected or perhaps deserve.
I am, for the first time in a long while, excited, encouraged, hopeful. Shoofly pie and chicken Stolzfus call me. An ocean within a short drive. A real ocean with the smell of salt, not smelt, and the sound of waves crashing, seagulls laughing (at the gulls that think the great lakes are big…)
Mountains and actual hills. Uber drivers in horse drawn buggies. The air thick with cow and pig shit nourishing the dark black earth that will grow the farm to table vegetables on every corner country block.
Yes, it is time. My adventure is pawing at the gate like a thoroughbred on Derby day.
Let the Games begin!!!! I am coming Life. Save me a spot. I refuse to back down! I am Kim!!!!!
Any additional details can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org. Did I mention that I love all of you?!!!