Happy New Year & Other Such Things

2014This is a very weird New Year’s day in that it is absolutely just another day in my life. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Good thing: I have finally achieved some level of zen-ness (is that a word?) in that I am as “be in the moment” as I can possibly be. Future plans? Somewhere off in the future. If at all. Maybe, or maybe not. Future surgery: Monday. Fear, destruction, pain. Oh well, I’ll get through it.

Bad thing: Emotionally immobilized by fear of the above.

A friend asked me how I felt about the impending surgery and I told her I just couldn’t get into thinking about it. I knew it was coming and I knew I would feel things as the time got closer, but right now it was in my future, not my present. I was very proud of feeling that. How mature I am, how wise. How not ruminating on what might or might not be in the future that I absolutely cannot control anyway.

Then I remembered one afternoon years ago sitting in the office of my first therapist. We were discussing the fact that I rarely cried. Why is that, she asked. And asked again. And asked finally in a way that elicited this answer: Because I’m afraid that once I start crying, I won’t be able to stop. 

A goodly number of therapeutic hours (and dollars!) after that, I was finally sitting in my therapist’s office crying. I can’t even remember over what. What I recall is that she waited for me to finish snuffling and wiping my nose and then she said, See, you stopped.

Here’s the lesson I got from that, and it’s one that I’ve learned time and again over the years: I’m afraid to feel things. Not just bad things, but good things as well. Simply put, I’m wary of being overwhelmed with emotion, and the simplest way to protect myself is to, well, protect myself from feeling too much.

Is that what I’m doing with the impending surgery? Do I feel sort of devil-may-care and philosophical about what it entails because I’m protecting myself from some deep, debilitating emotion?

Or am I really just kinda philosophical about the whole thing? I made the decision to have it. It will hurt. Something might go wrong. I will spend some amount of time post-surgery wishing I was as physically able as I am at this moment. I might have gone through the whole thing for very little reward. I really am aware of all that.

I guess Good Thing or Bad Thing doesn’t really matter because I still end up at the same place. In the O.R., having the surgery and coping in the aftermath in whatever way I have to.

May 2014 bring all of us clarity and vision and patience. Well, particularly I want patience. And my word for the year (which everyone seems to be doing on Facebook): vulnerability.


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