Friday, November 30, 2012

The Language of Recovery

"Life's circumstances are not always what you might wish them to be.  The pattern of life does not necessarily go as you plan.  Beyond any understanding, you may at times be led in different directions that you never imagined, dreamed or designed.  Yet if you had never put any effort into choosing a path, or tried to carry out your dream, then perhaps you would have no direction at all.
Rather than wondering about or questioning the direction your life has taken, accept the fact that there is a path before you now.  Shake off the 'why's' and 'what if's,' and rid yourself of confusion.  Whatever was - is in the past.  Whatever is - is what's important.  The past is a brief reflection.  The future is yet to be realized. Today is here.
Walk your path one step at a time - with courage, faith and determination.  Keep your head up, cast your dreams to the stars.  Soon your steps will become firm and your footing will be solid again.  A path that you never imagined will become the most comfortable direction you could have ever hoped to follow.
Keep your belief in yourself and walk into your new journey.  You will find it magnificent, spectacular, and beyond your wildest imaginings."  ~Vicki Silvers

Life's circumstances are not what I wished them to be.  And maybe life never would have been as I wished it to be but I was happy living in New York City living my life and trying to make my dreams come true.  And then a fateful day happened four and a half years ago and I have questioned my life's direction ever since.  I think in some way I have accepted the path that lies before me now.  I have accepted what life is now for me.  But what I haven't done is dream again.  I don't know where my life is going and that upsets me, frustrates me.  I still want to hold on to a dream that I've had since I was in 6th grade but that dream may have to change and that too upsets me.  I question all the time the direction my life has taken and I know I need to stop doing that cause it only makes me unhappy.  I need to learn to accept what is and open my eyes to the path before me now.  Learn to dream again and cast them to stars above.  I need to learn to adapt to what life has thrown at me.  Most importantly I need to believe in myself again and walk into my new journey with my head held high with courage.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Our Thanksgiving holiday was small this year.  Just me, mom and dad.  The table felt kinda empty.  But it was a nice relaxing day all in all.  We were all up early for some reason.  My eyes were wide open at five o'clock Thursday morning and so I went out to the living room where I continued on with my very complicated paint-by-numbers I got out yesterday evening.  I started this project awhile back but it's a very detailed one so it's been taking me awhile.  I thought this Thanksgiving weekend would be a good time to work at it again.  Not too much longer did my mom come out as well.  She found herself awake as I did and decided to not just lie in bed any longer.  So as I painted, she read and about thirty minutes later, my dad joined us.  Soon while my parents were taking intermittently taking care of the bird, we were all lazily watching the Macy's Day Parade on TV.  Which always makes me a little sad cause it makes me miss New York, especially the Broadway show parts.  I continued to paint and read through the morning and soon you could smell the turkey cooking in the oven.  The night before my mother had done some pre-turkey meal preparations like the homemade turkey noodles, the grape salad, and of course, the pumpkin pie.

Soon the turkey was ready for it's first baste.

(Dad basting the bird)

While stuff was going on in the kitchen off and on, I drank Sparkling Cider and acted like the paparazzi when my parents were in the kitchen cooking.  Also occasionally sneaking a couple olives off the table when my parents weren't looking.  Around 2:00 PM it was time to eat.  The bird was done.

 (Proud mom and dad of a job well done)

It was a small meal because it was just the three of us but oh so delicious, especially my mom's famous dressing.  Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  Along with a juicy turkey and delicious dressing we had homemade turkey noodles, a grape salad, sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top, olives, cranberry sauce, asparagus, and rolls.  After stuffing ourselves and cleaning up, nap time inevitably followed...

(My dad in a turkey slumber)

After we all took a little turkey induced snooze, we read, played some games and then later had turkey sandwiches (the best!) and watched a movie.  It was a peaceful Thanksgiving Day.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful For....

"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is Thanksgiving morning and I'm thinking about my life and what I am thankful for this year.  I am firstly thankful that my life wasn't taken from me four and half years ago.  That I am alive to glory in this so called life.  That I am alive to experience the possibilities life has to offer.  I am thankful for my more than supportive family who have been by my side every step of the way on this journey since the accident.  I am thankful for friends who let me be me without any kind of judgment and who encourage me to blossom into the person they believe I already am deep inside my soul.  I am thankful for doctors who don't give up on my difficult case.  I am thankful for the lessons I have learned and all the people who have come and gone and come and stayed in my life because they have all helped shape who I am.  As I sit here and list off my thanks, it is important to remember that I must not just list them, but live by them.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John F. Kennedy

Friday, November 16, 2012

Living and Dwelling in Suffering

I was watching a television show yesterday morning and there was a young woman on there that said something that hit home for me.  She was sold into slavery at a young age until an anonymous caller finally made a call that would save and change her life.  But when asked if the feeling of loneliness was still there or was just a memory for her, she replied, "In order to be happy with your life, bad things have to be a memory or you won't be able to move on."  Got me thinking.

I live nearly every day in suffering but I also live nearly every day dwelling in my suffering.  There's a difference between living in suffering and living in suffering.  Get what I'm trying to say?  Of course I'm going to suffer in some way every day.  That's just the nature of the accident and the way my body wants to work when healing.  I can't not suffer every day.  Every day is a challenge from the moment I wake up.  But I also tend to dwell in my suffering.  The things I have had to go through tend to stay with me every day instead of being a memory that I can move on from.  I don't dwell in my suffering for attention or to gain something.  I dwell in my suffering because I don't know how to make the bad things that have happened with the accident or since the accident become just a memory.  I don't know how to be happy because I'm constantly reminded of my suffering.  With every turn of my head the contractures pull and I'm reminded.  With every reach to try and get a glass or plate the contractures pull, restrict my movement and I'm reminded.  My right leg, where the free flap was taken and muscle with it, is weaker than my left and tires with every step and I'm reminded.  With every glance in the mirror I'm reminded.  With every surgery and with every pain, I'm reminded.  I feel like I can't escape it.  How do I make them a memory so that I can move on from dwelling in the suffering and just be happy?  Oh how I'd love to be happy again.  But the suffering gets in my way every day.  Maybe it's still just to soon for my suffering to be a memory.  But then how long must this go on until it does become a memory?  How much of my life must be wasted in the dwelling of my suffering before I can move on?  I'm getting really tired of being stuck in this dark maze where I can never seem to see the rays of light from the opening signifying that I'm even near getting out and letting all the bad just be a memory.  Instead it's just dark and I keep running into dead ends and the suffering continues on.  The accident and all that has come with it is lived every day for me and makes moving on evermore difficult.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Forgiving Myself

Again, yesterday, another movie line popped into my head as thoughts of the accident and my situation, my life, were ruminating in my mind (I live in films and theater, always have).  It's a line from an oldie but a real goodie - Medicine Man with the great Sean Connery and Lorraine Bracco.  Sean Connery is talking about why his wife left and he says, "No one is allowed to forgive me until I forgive myself."  That is exactly how I feel.  There are so many days where I just break down because even though it was an accident, I can't forgive myself for what happened.  And when my mother tells me she forgives me, that she's always forgiven me and never blamed me, I can't help but feel like Sean Connery in that moment.  That no one is allowed to forgive me until I forgive myself.  And I honestly don't know when I ever will, if ever.  I'm so angry at what happened, even though I have no control over what happened that forgiving myself is inconceivable and allowing someone else to forgive me is almost as inconceivable.  I know I should forgive myself and I know I should let others forgive me but this accident changed everything about my life and took so much from me.  So until I can forgive myself, no one else is allowed.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I had a therapy session this week.  My first since coming home from the hospital and afterwards, thinking back on the session, a movie line popped into my head.  It's a line from the remake of the movie, "Sabrina" with Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear.  It's been awhile since I've seen the 1954 original or read the play so I don't know if it's an original line but it goes like this:

Sabrina:  "I found myself in Paris."

Linus:  "You were missing?"

Sabrina:  "I was."

If you dig into those three lines, there's really a lot said in them and I can really relate to what she's truly saying.  She wasn't physically missing, of course.  But she was missing in an abstract sense.  That's how I feel many days.  Sabrina found herself in Paris.  For me, I was finding myself in New York, finding what my personality really was as well as an emotional self and a physical self.  But my journey to finding myself in New York got stunted by the accident when I came home for a little break.  Now it's proven to be even more difficult cause I'm not just dealing with continuing on the journey of finding myself, I'm having to deal with how the complications of the accident has changed and/or shaped all that is me.  More than four and a half years after my accident, I'm having difficulties finding myself so I do feel a little missing.  I think though that even despite the complications of finding myself because of the accident, I have discovered some very genuine attributes to myself that I may not have ever found in New York.  But it has been a much more difficult journey since having the accident.

So how does one go about finding oneself when they're "missing" like Sabrina was and kinda like how I feel now?  Especially dealing with complications from an accident like a change in how you identify with yourself physically?  How looking in the mirror isn't the same reflection anymore because of scars and a feeling of a different set of eyes, scrutinizing eyes, looking back at you?  I know I don't get out as much as I should.  I'm not around people, my friends, as much as I'd like for whatever reason and that's a big part of finding the missing self - who you are around people and your friends.  That can tell a lot.  There's also being out in the world and discovering what you like and don't like.  And then there's finding out who you are when things are going right, and who you are when things aren't going so right.  The latter is where I primarily find myself because of the accident.  I'm struggling to find who I am when things don't go so right in life.  And I'm struggling to get myself out of the house to find out who I am with people and my friends because it should balance who I am when I'm just with me.  I used to be a social butterfly.  Am I still?  I'm having difficulty answering that question because the accident has left me with a foreign body that makes me nervous to be around people so I don't know if I'm not a social butterfly now because of that, or if I just am not.  I have a feeling I am because I remember feeling comfortable and happy around people and friends before. But again, the accident has complicated things for me.  I envy those who have a solid idea of who they are.  

Being "missing" and trying to find yourself can be a difficult journey.  I feel like I'm on two parallel journeys.  One journey is the road to recovery from a life changing trauma and the other is finding myself again.  They have both been so very difficult for me and I feel no closer to any kind of success or truths on either journey than when I first awoke from that coma over four and a half years ago.  I do understand that either journey is not easy and can take a long time but patience is not my virtue, though I have had to find it in myself to get through some of the things I've been through.