Growing up, I was forever hearing cliché’s meant to teach the uncertainties any given action may carry – that in life we have consequences that stem from those actions. Sometimes I’ve wondered if my mother’s penchant for having a warning cliché for just about everything influenced the way I became hesitant to step outside my comfort zone.
For whatever reason, I started to ponder the way I allowed fear to shape many of the choices I made in life. So it was from such ponderings that I looked at Gene and said “I should have ran with scissors.” He had a cute expression on his face while saying he thought that was a good title for a blog post.
It became clear our conversation was following two different paths. That isn’t unusual because of the way my tracheotomy impacts my voice. However, though it is something I’m used to, I must admit to frustration being my usual reaction. Yet, this made me chuckle because he had just settled the debate I had been having with myself on whether to put my ponderings in writing. Not to mention giving me the title.
It’s not that I think careless chances should be taken or the consideration of any consequences of an action should be ignored. In fact, I feel discernment and/or thinking a matter through is vital to making wise decisions/choices. So, no, I’m not endorsing the “throw caution to the wind” approach to life … but, rather, finding the balance and knowing how to identify chances we should take in life.
Once again, it is what I’ve learned through my illness that has been the instigation of these particular thoughts. I especially find myself going down this road when some aspect of function is starting to be impacted – the less I can do the more I feel angry with myself for missing out on certain life chances. Well, let me rephrase that … it’s not that I missed the chances, rather, it’s that I allowed fear, from the unknown consequences, to influence my decisions.
The irony, at least to me, is that after living with this disease that continues to slowly rob me of physical strength while reminding me in certain ways that it will eventually rob me of my life, I have found an inner strength that pushes me to face life head-on. Even when feeling afraid inside, I can reach out for life with a gusto that I wish I had when able-bodied with health.
The frustration can be overwhelming every time I start lamenting”if only I had …”. It was during such a moment the first time the thought “I should have ran with scissors” went through my mind. And it was when I started pondering this whole subject it hit me – it was like being doused with ice water.
It isn’t that illness somehow infused me with some Samson-like strength – it’s that illness pulled out what was always inside of me … facets of my personality and whatever strengths I carried inside but had long ignored, overlooked or downplayed due to a mangled sense of self. When I look back on my life and the choices made – or not made – I see a reflection of how I was feeling about myself at any given time.
So much of my life boiled down to the fear to venture into any unknown territory or believing I’m unworthy, undeserving of anything being allowed to dictate just about everything I did or didn’t do. I can’t let myself think about all of that too often because I end up feeling so angry with myself and that spills over into feeling angry with my life … and there isn’t a thing I can do about it.
Well, that is, unless I find the cure for breast cancer and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Uh, one look at my grades in biology and chemistry would quickly squelch that idea. So, instead, I’ve been learning to embrace my life each day by enjoying what I can and pushing myself when needed. For one thing, I’m no longer afraid to express my feelings. Hmm, I guess that is somewhat obvious here.
Actually, I could share my feelings in words by writing them in a note – but would rather sit in a dentist’s chair and ask to have a few teeth pulled sans Lidocaine at the thought of giving my feelings a voice … until now.
Now I’m not afraid to live life instead of simply existing in life and allowing my insecurities, fears, moods, etc. to dictate my decisions, my choices, my day … my life. I’m not afraid to show who I am inside … okay, actually I’m still working on that but I think I am making baby steps forward. Let’s see, oh, I’m not afraid to show my weaknesses … wait, um, I guess I do still struggle with the need to act strong for others.
The point is, I no longer try to hide behind my fears – I no longer take valid reasons for this, that, and the other just to twist them into excuses for not saying or doing something in my life. Yes, I still get afraid, I still have insecurities … it’s just that they no longer wield the same power over my life.
I’m learning I can feel afraid without turning myself over to the fear. I’m enjoying my life -I’m doing all I can to live it, really live it, and share it with those I love. And, something else I’ve learned is that, in life, there are times to just go ahead and …. run with scissors.