As always, for your listening pleasure, a theme song for my blog:
"Time is never time at all
You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
And our lives are forever changed
We will never be the same
The more you change the less you feel
Believe, believe in me, believe
That life can change, that you're not stuck in vain
We're not the same, we're different tonight."
Lately I've been struggling with a feeling that I've completely lost myself.
I've lost myself in this haze of injury fallout and I don't know how to find myself in it again. I find myself dwelling on the things I cannot do, rather than the things I can... after being in pain like this for more than a year the voice that complains about it all is finally growing louder than the other logical, sane voices that try to keep the misery in check.
Things I used to be able to do that I can no longer do due to my gimpy neck:
Carry the kiddo around like it ain't no thang
Actually consider taking long car rides by myself
Work out like a regular person (ie: not worry that sit-ups might strain my neck or bicep curls might yank on my arm too much)
Work full time
Lift the books/computers that I'm supposed to in my job (and now have to regularly ask others to do for me, which is awkward and embarrassing.)
Go dancing (Ok, well, I could technically do this still, but I look stupid when I dance without using my arms. Picture an ostrich in a neck-brace trying to dance. Yeah. That's me.)
Do stuff around the house like fixing fences, weed whacking, assembling furniture, etc.
Give the kiddo a bath without silently crying from the pain all the leaning and reaching causes me.
The list in my mind goes on and on. And it makes me feel like a ghost of my prior self.
At work I am constantly reminded of how bad a job I'm really doing. I'm the second-most experienced supervisor in my department, yet I find myself constantly needing to say "I can't do this. Can you do it for me?" This happens when a patron wants me to check them out a laptop (which is like 12 times a day), when they want me to get them a book over 5 pounds, when I'm slammed with work with strict deadlines... plus the nerve blockers I'm on make my memory turn to crap, so I frequently forget to do tasks that I told someone I would do not 20 minutes prior. Every week I have at least one doctor or physical therapy appointment to go to so I have to ask my boss to modify my schedule and even though she is always very accommodating for me, I know that I will not be able to come back to work full time anywhere in the near future and it makes me feel guilty as all hell. I used to feel like I was serving a purpose there and was helping my department, but now I just feel like I'm dragging the whole place down.
The same goes for my life at home. Poor Andrew is constantly summoned to rooms to pick things up for me, to deal with Sadie if she's flipping out and thrashing around, to take out the trash, bring in the groceries... really anything that involves lifting at this point. Since he's the only one who can do most of the yard work outside he alone is responsible for our house making fire clearance this year.
I'm basically this big ball of NEED at this point and I HATE IT. I used to be the person who would take responsibility at work, would take action when the yard was a mess (at 8 months pregnant I tore up most of the dirt in our front yard with one of those twisty-soil-breaker things and planted grass, for god's sake!), who would jump at the chance to go someplace with roller coasters or go kayaking out in the Channel Islands, who might actually try to look nice instead of constantly sporting a frizzy ponytail and baggy clothes. And now I'm someone who watches bad TV dramas on Netflix while I ice my neck and watches bad comedies while I do my home physical therapy and who basically orders my boyfriend around at home. It's really no wonder he hasn't proposed yet. I wouldn't want to marry this version of me either.
I suppose this gimpiness is not completely without precedent in my life... after all, I was nicknamed Scabby Abby in grade school since I had a tendency to skin my knees all the time. Before the age of 14 I had broken 8 different bones in my body in various stupid ways - rollerblading, jumping my bike off skateboard ramps, falling out of trees, skateboarding, and I even broke my collarbone in 1st grade just by sitting in the wrong place while two boys roughhoused and one shoved the other on top of me. Plus, since I graduated college in 2006 I have had surgery to remove a cyst from my sinuses, to fix the knee that got messed up in a bike accident, and to take a baby out of my belly after 41 hours of labor. So I guess I've always been a train-wreck, but knowing that doesn't really help. I had some really good, injury-free years between high school and my college graduation and I had really hoped that those years would become my new "norm." I need to find a way to get back there!
I am a firm believer in everyone's power to change their own lives. We own our own realities and we alone have both the power and responsibility to make ourselves happy. And, as Billy Corgan so poignantly wrote, I believe in the resolute urgency of now - that you must change your life NOW if you want to truly live the life you intend to.
So how the hell do I do that now? Do I find a bunch of other non-physical, non-computer-based things to occupy my time? Do I continue trying to convince myself that things will improve? Or do I give in and medicate myself into feeling happier?
I have no answers here, clearly. Just an overwhelming melancholy.
Hopefully it won't turn into an infinite sadness.