Recently, it’s come to my attention that I may have contracted Pollyanna Principle which allows you to joyfully swim in what I call the Pollyanna Perspective. I consistently make lemonade out of life’s lemons. I take uncomfortable situations and make them manageable. You might even call me stoic. I grasp for hope and possibility. My brain works endlessly for solutions to problems. I create alternatives and figure ways out of difficulties. I’m proud of my ability to do so. It’s a skill I’ve acquired over years of attentive efforts.
And because I feel good about being able to make the best of things, I’m conflicted as to whether I’ve actually fallen prey to the Pollyanna Perspective. When I came-to after being in a semi-conscious state for 2 weeks, I wasn’t exaggerating when I said that gratitude was oozing out of every cell of my body.
I’m just now realizing that after years of internal work on myself and making efforts to transform my pessimism into a brighter perception, I may be unconsciously ignoring the hard-to-manage emotions of anger, grief, sadness and the many life adjustments I’ve made since falling down the side of that iconic mountain. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with making the best of challenging situations. It’s a great habit to consciously create! And to practice enough that your brain taps into that when you wake from being passed out for two weeks! The fruits of my labor! But the reality is, I may be stepping over, and even superseding, the difficult facts of what I’ve gone thru.
Life is about balance – the balance of social and quiet time, relaxation and work, freedom and structure, rushing versus snail’s pace, being superwoman versus being victim, finding the middle ground between succumbing versus controlling etc. I need and want to find the middle ground between being stoic and being broken.
I nearly lost my life six years ago. My body was severely injured and needed to be air lifted off the side of a mountain in the midst of precarious weather conditions. I forget that. I overlook the many challenges I struggle thru every day. I’ve become hyper-vigilant, hyper-attentive because my body still sends off alarms warning me of potential dangers. I’m over cautious at curbs and stairs, crossing streets, looking down a flight of stairs or while on any downhill hiking and anytime my foot is not flat on the surface I’m standing on. I struggle to create single vision all day, every day, even with glasses. I have tingling 24/7 on the left side of my body from head to toe, minus a few normal-feeling patches here and there. And that seems to be intensifying. I wake up every single night, no matter what, after just 4-5 hours of sleep. My memory doesn’t hold on to what you said 3 minutes ago unless it somehow landed with me emotionally and decided to stick. I have to rack my brain and check my calendar to know what I did two days ago. I get a bit dizzy when I stand up after sitting for more than 10 minutes. I can’t sit without my ‘grandma seat’ (my tail bone and lumbar support cushion) and even with those comforts, not for longer than an hour. Thus, I prefer to stand but standing can impinge on my low back and stress my knees causing a burning pain. I still suffer from mild aphasia (the inability to grasp/recall basic, simple words). All this gets worse as the day goes on and if I’m stressed. Don’t bother trying to converse with me about geography, history or current events. And then life brings challenges that call out stress (like computers, cell phones, printers and windshield wipers not functioning – ALL AT THE SAME TIME! – in addition to having to move again which requires researching and packing and asking for help yet again), which only adds to physical ailments. And then, to top it all off, there’s typical aging. (What?! Nope, not me.)
I need and want to face the truth of what happened in the last 6 (nearly SEVEN!?!) years. I need to acknowledge and be with the fact that I’ve had a rough go of things since 2009 and though there have been amazing miracles, generous people, wise professionals and remarkable events that have lined up enhancing my life, I can’t ignore that things have changed dramatically for me, and as daunting as it is, maybe even permanently.
Even writing this truth-filled piece brings a feeling of gloom because I don’t like the reality that life is fundamentally different now. I want to be okay because being okay makes my life easier. Yet, I know I’m not alone in this. I don’t need to be okay. I need to be what I am in this moment. Sometimes, I’m just not okay, period. And that has to be okay.