Sunday, June 9, 2013

I Count.

The other day I was speaking with a friend and I was getting upset. I can't stop thinking about that conversation for a few reasons. One of them was her use of the words, "it's not about being right or wrong; it's about what works."

I have said that myself on many occasions. But that day it suddenly hit me that if something doesn't work, it is often deemed "wrong."

As I often do I started to look up words like wrong and judgment. It occurred to me that something could not be preferred as an option, but not have to carry the negative judgment of wrong. The thing that got me about that conversation - and I think the thing that bothered me the most about it - was that by HER saying it it felt as though she was making the judgment that what is in my life right now is wrong.

In my sharing of what was going on, I don't think I was doing more than just that - sharing. I never said my life wasn't working. I believe I was expressing what I was feeling and emotional about my frustrations. I was asking questions. But I never once said it was bad, nor did I say it was "wrong."

As I think about it, I talked about how others seem to get help that I can't seem to. It could seem perhaps that I was sounding like I was making people wrong for not helping me, or that it was wrong that I wasn't getting much help. (I don't know if it's wrong, but the overall situation certainly doesn't feel right to me.)

At one point I sobbed, "I count, too!"

That has also resonated in my brain since the other day. I feel like most of my life I haven't counted. I think about how my life has gone and I know I have done a lot to hide over the years. If someone hides, why would they count? Why would they matter? Why would anyone care about them and what they say and what they want?

And then there is the question of why count? Does it really matter if I count to other people? Does it really matter what they think? I have been posting so much stuff in the last couple of weeks as if to say "I was here," "I matter," "I mattered." In some ways it is "Look at ME," "Acknowledge ME."

I have said many times that I am doing it for myself. And I am. However deep down I know there is another piece because I want there to be something that matters to others - something that I said or did - something about ME - when my time is up. I don't want it to be like I was never here. For some reason that is a scary thought to me right now.

Is that my ego talking, or is it another part of me that knows that I was meant to do things while I am here and is now pushing me to declare my existence. To declare that I exist. To declare that I matter.

The fact is nothing is permanent. So few things last for long periods of time. So many people have walked through life impacting only their immediate world. They have come and gone and whatever stamp they had on the world has faded as those they knew have left the world, too.

It makes me think that while there may be a more public component to this, it really is about my own inner self. It is about it awakening and coming forward and claiming its space and place in the world. Through my interaction with the world I find myself.

Which takes me back to my conversation with my friend.

I have so many questions about what is right now. So freaking many. There is a lot I don't understand. I question as to whether I am missing something. I question the potential "brilliance" of how things are. I truly think there is something about this experience that can be helpful to others, but whatever I would have to offer could not exist without my going through it first.

Yesterday I was talking with someone who has had an MRI. It was not a pleasant experience for him, at all. I might have been able to help him prior to my own experience, however, having had had one myself now, I know what it is like. I know how it feels. I know the sounds. And as a result I can make an MP3 that can potentially be helpful for someone who has to have an MRI. He has listened to the recording and told me that he thought it was wonderful and knew that if he had to ever have another one, it would be a different experience - and that was after only one listen. :)

It is this kind of thing that makes my heart sing. But it is also the kind of thing that could not nearly have been as good, if I did not have the sense of it that I do. I could have probably still have helped without it, but it just wouldn't have been the same.

Much of my life has been like that. So much of my life is about having my own experience of something that allows me greater compassion and understanding for what another is going through. And for those pieces I am really grateful.

I sometimes think that a part of me knows this and that is why I have never asked, "Why me?" in regard to cancer. There are times I wonder if I have been in denial, and if there is more here than I realize. I certainly would not discount the possibility. But I also recognize that there is something that transcends what I believe I know or understand and it leads me to places I never knew I would have gone.

Before being diagnosed with cancer I had thought of helping those who were dealing with it. I probably could have helped, but nothing has me able to help more than now having my own experience. It is one thing to learn something and become aware, it is another for it to be a part of you and your life experience that you have no choice but to own because it becomes a part of the cumulative you.

I think it is up to people to decide what is right and wrong for themselves. While I don't like the labels, if anyone is going to do it, I believe it has to come from the person dealing with whatever it is, and not someone else. I think the minute it comes from someone else there is an inherent judgment attached. And I think that is what bothered me the most the other day. It felt like there was a judgment that my life is not working and I need to do something to fix it. And apparently I am not doing a very good job, and I must be missing something that someone else can help me with/help me find.

She even said something to the effect that another person said recently about how I need to do things differently. That pissed me off - especially coming from her. She has known me for years.  Do you know how much different I have been in the last year? Do you know how much I have been different about? A lot. I have been so different that I don't even know how to be how I used to be. Although there are times I wish I could hide just like she did.

How do I know that what I am experiencing - as painful and as horrible as it is at times  - isn't exactly another form of an MRI? There are so many others who are dealing with this type of thing and there aren't many voices out there speaking up. If it wasn't for what I was going through, I wouldn't be, either.

At some point she also suggested as a possibility that people may have tuned me out as I have been talking about the same things for a while. Yes. It would be a lot easier and more pleasant for others if I would just shut up and make nice. It might even be for me. But you know what? My pain and need and the pain and need of others doesn't go away because I stop talking about it.  I wouldn't talk about it so much if it wasn't something that wasn't so urgently present in my life. And for as much as it sucks - I can't help but wonder if that might somehow be a good thing.

It isn't my only topic of conversation. Plus the other day someone told me that while she was reading my blog, she was cheering me on for speaking what I needed to speak. When she was done she felt like she needed to meet me. I thanked her for saying what she did when we did meet - by chance - the next day.

When you are doing what you feel you need to do and it is extremely unpleasant at times, the last thing you need is for someone to tell you you are doing it wrong. But the fact is that there will be people who will think just that, and many who will be sure to tell you so.

I suspect much of life is an opportunity to figure out who we are and what we stand for. So many times those things get covered up and distorted by the expectations of those in society and our personal world. So many times it gets covered up by the "stuff" we have in our world. So many times we get distracted, off track.

There is nothing that can put you on track faster than someone who tells you what they think or know is best. But there is also nothing that can derail you faster, either.

I know that many times those who say something say it with the best of intentions and maybe sometimes they may even be "right." But the thing is that it is the recipient of the information who needs to decide that for themselves. If it is going to have to have an effect, it needs to resonate with something from WITHIN.  We can get information from without, but if it doesn't resonate, if it doesn't fit, then it is possible - and maybe even probable - it is not the right choice for us to personally make or base our decisions on. Even in discomfort, I suspect we know when the other person has a point, or if it just isn't really what we need to hear/do.

Often it is not an easy place to stand. But to have the maximum possibility of being able to live with ourselves and do what we need to for ourselves, it may awkwardly be the best place to stand. I suppose there is really no way to know for certain if we are screwed up or connected at those moments, but I suspect that in the midst of everything if you feel like it is what you need to do and a part of of you would rather go with your logic as it doesn't seem to make logical sense, that might be a sign that you are on the right track.

Think about this, too...really take a moment and think about this...if you don't know what is right or best for yourself, how can someone else know? Really? How is it that we have come to a place that we think that those outside of us know better than we do - especially about things that are most personal to us?

My mother told me that when I was a baby she was told that I would be better off living with my grandparents than her. She listened to them. But it seemed like what she was saying when she said it was that maybe she went with what they said more than being in touch with what she wanted or thought best. Whose choice did she make?

It is very hard to sit where I do at times. I think it is one of the reasons I have become rather isolated. I would not say I have chosen isolation, but rather chosen to be true to what feels right or best for me, and that the result of the choices I have made has been to be isolated. There is a distinct difference between choosing something and having that something occur as a result of choices made.

This same person made the comment that I choose to be alone vs being in a relationship. Another thing that rubbed me the wrong way - in part because I didn't raise the subject of relationships. I have not chosen to be alone. I have made choices that have brought me to this alone place. The choices I have made I think have been good ones - given the gifts the choices brought me. They also brought me a great deal of pain, too. I also stand here alone. But to say it is my choice to be single because I made those choices couldn't be more inaccurate - in my estimation. Again, maybe there was something to be gained in the process of being who I have been.

Just because I have wanted to be with someone doesn't mean that I can be or should be. At least I think not. Or at least I am uncertain. There have been so many things in my life that I wanted, but couldn't seem to have. Can I be that far off base as to be standing in my own way that many times? I suppose. But it could also be that we aren't meant to always get the things we desire, even though we are somehow led to believe that we are meant to have them and if we don't get them - it is our own fault. Or we have bad luck. Or it's karma.

As always, I am full of questions. And despite the "fact" that people think they have answers, I am uncertain that there are any "universal" answers. My journey is my journey and it may fit others and it may not. But whether it "fits" or not is not for someone else to decide for me. Just like it is not for me to decide anything for you.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I am getting accused of being so stubborn and not listening to people lately. They may be right. And there also may be a very good reason for that.

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