I am sick. Nothing serious, just a cold that won’t seem to go away, but I don’t do sick well. No one likes being sick, I get that, but when I get a cold, I act like the world is crumbling. I wasn’t always like this. I used to get sick and ride it out and never talk about it. Now, I am not only talking about it, but writing a blog post about it. I must sound pretty crazy, or like a total princess. Either way, it’s not cool. I need to figure out where my tenacity and grit escaped to. Thanks to my Dad, I think I have an idea.
I was visiting my Dad 4 days ago, the day the beast cold started attacking my throat, and I mentioned that I felt like I have become super sensitive to just a simple cold, making a huge deal about a sniffle or two. He told me that he thinks I may feel like any physical ailment is just one more fucking thing on top of the big thing, the blind thing. And, yes, he did say the F word; I come from a family who use expletives freely.
I think my Dad may be right. I remembered when I was first diagnosed with cataracts. I was 34. Most people, in an attempt to be helpful (which I do appreciate), treated the diagnosis as if it was no big deal. Cataracts are treatable after all, and readily so. But, I was really upset, about the diagnosis and about other people’s seemingly cavalier reactions to it. At the time, my Dad was the only one who seemed to get it, and he helped me get it. When I told him about the cataracts, his reaction was, something like, I’m sorry, that’s terrible; just one more crappy thing on top of the RP. And, he was right. That was how I felt. I was 34 years old, I had already been told I was going blind and a year later, I also have cataracts. What the fuck? It felt unfair.
That was almost 15 years ago and I got over myself; I don’t even think about the cataracts that much, but in this case, thinking about them has given me perspective and perhaps put me on a path to rediscovering some of the fire I may have lost. I have unknowingly been treating any and all physical issues (no matter the scale) as catastrophic, out of some misguided, and honestly, selfish sense of self-pity. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t have to be.
I do think that, for the most part, in the 16 years since RP and I became acquainted, I have dealt with it pretty well. I explore the ways it has changed my life and my emotional responses to an ever changing reality, but I don’t wallow, except, apparently, when I get a cold.
Sarcasm aside, I believe it is important for everyone to give themselves moments of reprieve from “dealing with it”. There are times when we all feel like life is just unfair, and in allowing ourselves to sit with those feelings for a little while, we can move on and truly let them go. This has been true for me and it continues to be, but my dramatic reactions to having a cold feel inappropriate. A cold is just a minor inconvenience that will pass.
I am sick, so my brain is not at full capacity today, but in being true to my practice, I am writing in spite of the cold. Anyway, this post may be a bit scattered. Perhaps what is truly on my mind this morning isn’t my cold or RP, but my Dad. Last week, he told me that he thinks I zip around well and with confidence, despite the challenges that RP gives me. He has always seemed to understand. He has given me the moments to feel bad when I needed to and recognized that I handle the RP well, that I face the challenges without declining into a state of endless faltering. He let’s me know that he sees me, he sees that I have strength and that I have challenges the rest of my family don’t have. I need this every once in a while. I need to be told that I am doing ok, that I have value, despite my disease, but also because of the way I deal with my disease. I need to have it recognized, by my family, that my struggles are real. Every once in a while I need this, so I can continue to move on, to get on with the living bit. My Dad gives me this and I appreciate it more than I will ever be able to express.
Yeah, I guess I am thinking about my Dad today. He is a pretty cool guy!