Back in action… being thankful for this Tuesday and declaring it, as Jason Mraz says… “THE BEST DAY EVER.”
**Dropping temperatures make me giddy. Those of you who know me well (or at all, really) know that before “MS” I hated cold weather. I was a wanna-be beach bum, preferring to roast in the summer sun. When I lived in North Carolina my daily attire always included layers and/or jackets; jeans and long-sleeved shirts were standard issue; I was rarely, if ever, hot. You could attribute the heavy layering to different aspects of the eating disorder; either I was hiding my shrinking self underneath clothed armor or I didn’t weigh enough to stay warm, despite the ever-rising temps. Regardless, I hated being cold back then. Hated it more when we moved back to New York and despised it still as last October announced the arrival of fall with dropping leaves and brisker winds. When I was diagnosed the Neurologist said that I might find all my symptoms are exacerbated in the heat. Doubtful, thought I, highly unlikely; I thrive in the heat.
That was then and this is now and I can’t tell you how brutal this summer has been. Syracuse experienced record heat, numerous “heat waves” and we were left to welcome it melting to the couch in our apartment, sans air-conditioner. More unbearable still when you add in an oral surgery & pain killers over July 4th weekend; my body temperature seemed to rise to unprecedented levels and I was driven to previously unknown depths of heat exhaustion. My summer in North Carolina (also, sans air-conditioning) had NOTHING on this summer in Syracuse.
This is how I spent NC summers:
And this is how I spent my 1st Syracuse summer:
And so I can’t begin to express how positively thrilled I am that the forecast for this week doesn’t include a single day above 80. Especially since I’m due for another oral surgery this Friday. Which brings me to …
**Using. My. Words. I’m not sure how long it took you to learn this lesson, or if it’s still one you’re working on. It’s taken me a long, long time to feel comfortable “having a voice” and knowing that using it makes me strong, not obnoxious. So many times and for too long, I’ve chosen not to use my words to ask for what I need. Not necessarily from friends and family (right, Thommy?)… but from strangers, professionals, co-workers, bosses, acquaintances, strangers…. all people who can teach me great lessons, extend help when I need it – it is from that group I chose to appear complacent and competent even when in doubt; that is not strength, not “sucking it up”, not self-sufficient… that is weak. For me, it’s taken a lot of courage to say “I don’t understand” or “I don’t think this is right.”
So, when I had started having incredible sinus/face pain after having three teeth extracted back on July 2nd, I initially chose to stay silent. I assumed it was a sinus infection and (even despite the swollen eyes, ear pain, drainage, loud whistling sounds in my sinus cavity, a locked jaw and searing pain) I attempted to treat it myself, hoped that time would march it away. It didn’t. Fast forward 3 months later – 3 sweltering summer months dead and gone – I’ve been on three rounds of different antibiotics, had multiple X-rays and will finally go in for corrective surgery on Friday. It seems that there is a small hole in my sinus cavity that has allowed for the persistent infection and in order to quickly and safely move forward, my oral surgeon is performing a second operation to close it up.
The oral surgeon’s office has been so tremendously understanding, patient, helpful and concerned. I know that this time I’ve really learned my lesson regarding the purpose of my voice. It’s primary purpose is not to drive Thommy crazy with incessant ruminations – it is to vocalize uncertainty and ask for guidance as soon as questions arise. The real problem for most of us is not that we don’t want to ask, or that we don’t know how; it’s that we don’t feel worthy. We de-value our opinions and degrade our intelligence by assuming others know best; we defer to others’ seemingly higher understanding. What this really does is erode our self-worth, in ways we aren’t always aware… but the the cumulative affect is disastrous. We lose our voice.
I urge you to check in with yourself whenever you find you are silencing something you feel should be said. Why the hesitation? Change your mind and believe that the Universe desperately needs to hear what you think. Don’t waste your thoughts. Don’t waste your summer. Don’t waste your life.
I’m happy more damage wasn’t done while I waited to speak up. I’m even more grateful for the entire staff at Fallons Oral Surgery Center … for hearing me.
**Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends ~Alphonse de Lamartine. I know I’m not alone here, not the only one using music as a refuge and that’s what makes it so amazing, so universally and fundamentally comforting. My first concert was back in 2004 – Thommy took me to go to see The Dave Matthews Band play at Penn State for the 2004 Kerrry/Edwards Vote for Change campaign; it was an amazing experience and yet I wouldn’t get to my second concert until just last week. We went to see 30 Seconds to Mars perform at the NY State Fair and it was even better than DMB (yes, I am aware of what I’m saying). It was inspiring and energetic and exactly what I needed. I’m so thankful for that experience. If you’re interested in their music, I think this video (which was directed by Jared Leto, the lead singer) is an excellent representation of their live performances. They are a rare breed in that they sound exactly like they do on their records when they perform live. Amazing.
NEXT MONDAY… Jason Mraz in Utica. Obviously, I will save the details for what will surely be a very happy (next) Tuesday!
**ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL??? … because I know I am. Forget Christmas… THIS is the most wonderful time of the year.
Go Raiders!! There, I said it. “Hi, my name is Rhéa and I’m an Oakland Raiders fan.”
**Experience. After the lesson is learned and the test is given… then comes wisdom. I don’t think we’re are pushed and tested by the Universe just to see if we’re paying attention. I think we are all given tools forged in battle to assist others on their journey. I am so very grateful for the different ways in which I was able to serve this week. Thank you for allowing my previous uncertainties to provide certainty for those in the present. Comfort is received when we accept that others truly know what we’re going through.
“Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not dissolve in one’s bath like a lump of sugar.” ~Pablo Picasso