I start this new year with a terrible cold and a sense of dis-ease. I had plans for these two free days — days in which my son would be at school and I would be home. Plans to make insurance companies pay me what’s due, plans to organize all my financials and draw a bottom line of what my new life in my new house costs me on a monthly basis, plans to spend two days deep in thought on my book proposal, to define an outline of what I can realistically expect myself to finish when.

So of course, I get knocked on my butt with a cough, a cold, a headache, body aches, and the sneaky feeling that I am going to come up short on what seemed like pretty simple goals. And of top of that, it’s a gorgeous, stunning snow day, and I am too sick to go out and play. Fooey.

It’s interesting, and not altogether pleasant, to have this be my entryway to the new year.

Interesting because I am feeling like these failures to achieve are my fault, that they are representative of my character, that they are proof that I contain suckitude. But, you know, I’m sick, so why reel out all that nasty internal invective?

It’s a glimpse into the central deal I made with myself as a very young girl: Fight like hell, work your ass off, ignore your corporeal desires and needs. Do that, and you just might get to the safe place.

But that dream of the safe place was false (though please know that I understand that fervent dream is what made it possible for me to survive a violent and volatile home), and I know that now, deep in my bones.

And yet, my bones still want to tell me that story.

Poor me. Poor sick me. Poor little-girl me, putting on such incredible armor and fighting my way through.

I am only now just learning—feeling—all that the young and precocious me never felt when I was growing up, and it’s, just…. I don’t quite have words for it, the feeling of actually seeing with clear, adult eyes for the first time what it was that I lived. There was a lot of terrible, and those terrible feelings were very big and all got pushed far, far away into a bottled and boxed-up history the younger me thought she could run faster than. (It’s a terrible mixed metaphor, and yet, it captures exactly what I want to say.)

But no, I couldn’t leave those feelings behind. I lie here in my bed, with a bad cold… and a sense of foreboding that is related to events and agonies from long, long ago.

No bills today, no financial plans, no orderly adult existence. Today I will have hot chocolate, and a box of tissues, and my warm kitty kat and a book or two to entertain me. And I will feel those bad feelings and know that even though they feel like failure, even still, that I am as close to well and healed as I have ever been.

Interesting that this is what the universe divined as the necessary lesson for me for the beginning of this year.

I am listening, yes, I am listening. And I am safe and whole.

About stacy

I am a writer, author, mother, longtime magazine editor (20 years in the business, 6 as editor in chief of Redbook), optimist, and, above all, a searcher. Right now, I'm searching for whom I'm really meant to be, after living through a series of very jarring changes that bumped me out of the life I was living: a son, then a divorce, a cataclysimcally messed-up house, which led to a book (Falling Apart In One Piece), and then, one week after that book came out, my parents both fell gravely ill, I resigned from my job (and maybe my career), my son got very scared and then, later, was diagnosed with an anxiety/ADHD disorder, my parents died, and at the same time, my boyfriend moved in with my son and me and we started the long and very painful journey of realizing we couldn't make our relationship work (that story unfolds on this blog). Since then I've been trying to figure out what's next. Or, in other words, how to fill in the blanks.
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4 Responses to Dis-ease

  1. Rita says:

    Reading your words, I just keep thinking of others that were said to me when I finally got serious about getting better:

    The only way past is through.

    And it meant feeling all the feelings I’d spent years going around via various numbing agents (alcohol, work, and boys being my drugs of choice). As you express here, my methods were tools for survival. I couldn’t afford to feel those feelings when I was young and much, much more vulnerable. Seeing that has allowed me to (most days) forgive the younger me for choices I now regret.

    But it was hard. Harder than anything I’ve ever done. There were months that I felt like a walking open scab. And days when my body fell ill because I just needed to rest from the work of feeling all those feelings. So much harder than working, working, working all the time.

    I know you know all this. Just wanted to remind you that you’re not alone in it, as that always helps me. Be well, Stacy. I know this new year will bring you great gifts.

    • stacy says:

      Rita, thank you. I say thank you with gentle tears dripping down my face. I know I am almost there, I am almost through. I am so torn with love and grief, I have to be getting close. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: A Visitation | Filling In The Blanks

  3. alexandra says:

    I am feeling like these failures to achieve are my fault, that they are representative of my character, that they are proof that I contain suckitude.

    I just had a revisit to my youth. With my mother’s recent death, so much floods back to the surface, and it is a disentanglement. And I try to see where the seed came from, the one where it’s all my fault, my doing, my actions that land me where or not where, I am. I hear your words, and I thank you, because of the comfort in not feeling alone… the shared thoughts show me, the possibility of fault thinking. Only because I recognize it in your words, but never in mine. For that, I am grateful to know you and that your know the worth of your words, so they are shared. So much love and gratitude to you, Stacy. Here’s to the new year and all the growth that I sense will come from it.

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