Sunday, February 6, 2011

living in greek tragedy

Last night on my way to yoga, I called someone I talk to just about every day, and filled them in on my tests and all that had been going on for the past day and a half. I didn't want to cause unnecessary worry and so hadn't brought them up to date until I had more concrete answers about what was up. But, I was feeling pretty confident (and this could be totally delusional), that it wouldn't be a big deal in the end.

"I'm pretty sure all will be fine, but they found red blood cells in my urine," I said. 

"Oh. That's how they discovered X had cancer."

The tone was matter of fact, conversational. But that one statement shattered my shaky optimism into shards of fear. 

Yes, I know that last statement was ridiculously over-dramatic.

But, in that moment, and through the next few hours, that's exactly how I felt.

In fact, that's how I've felt for much of my life.

I've spent years trying to unlearn the fears I grew up with—waiting for disaster to strike, expecting the worst, knowing that evil or disease or pain was lurking around the corner, stalking me.

Being afraid has been my default mode for as long as I can remember. 

Yes, it could be cancer. Yes, they could have discovered that I've been harboring a fatal disease. Yes, this could evolve into life-ending tragedy.

That's still my automatic response. 

While speaking to the doctor my mind was already racing with epic what-ifs as I tried to stay calm and ask pertinent questions. 

The thing is, this isn't the way I want to be anymore.

And, I suppose, I've chosen paths that force me to choose between living half empty or half full.

These days, I usually am way up towards the brim. I'm grateful, so grateful for my life. In fact, it's hard to finish this post because I don't want to dip my toes back into the negative that wants so desperately to be back on top.

This kidney journey is a constant challenge—the unknowns, the what ifs, the out-of-my-control-ness of it all. But putting myself in situations like this seem to be the way I shore up defenses against my inherent dark side. 

I could choose to give up and wallow in fear. To be frozen and small and never take chances. That's as familiar as my favorite t-shirt. As I often say, there's comfort in the discomfort. 

Instead, I'm choosing the discomfort of the unknown. It's a different kind of terror. I'm still scared. I'm still frozen sometimes. I still stare down bleakness. But through it all I'm growing instead of shrinking. 

And the possibilities of that journey are limitless.

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