I admit. I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately I haven’t been saying it out loud… much. But still, “why me?” has been floating through my head much more than I would like to admit.
It has just been a tough couple of weeks for us over here in the Indisposable household. There have been ear infections and stomach flu and two cases of the croup. And then my stomach decided to take all of the ickiness it has given me over the last twenty years and multiply it and whack me with it all at once.
And for those of you who deal with mood or anxiety issues, you knot that physical illness or stress just exacerbate those issues ten fold.
And so I found myself in the shower at 3:30 in the morning last night, unable to sleep because of the nonstop digestive issues, my mind racing, my hands shaking and things starting to get foggy from messed up electrolytes. All I wanted in the entire world was to sleep.
And my mind just kept asking me “why me? why me? why me?”
See I can actually handle the stomach stuff. It sucks, and it leaves me incapacitated for days, and it comes on from out of the blue. But it’s my gut. It can be compartmentalized. It can be dealt with.
But the other stuff – the mind stuff – that isn’t so easy to deal with. That gets exhausting. It’s hard to explain to people sometimes just how vigilant one must be. How you can never completely let your mind rest. How you can’t exactly trust it to wander. How even though you have experience teaching you that you can crawl back from the precipices of what feels like complete neuroses, you also know just how much work and just how much grit and just how much courage it takes to crawl back. And so you have to make sure not to let yourself fall in the first place.
You can’t always trust how you feel. You can’t always trust your judgment. You know that oftentimes your heart will lead you in directions your brain knows aren’t good for you. You know you need to trust your head. You know your heart can lie. And yet, it’s your heart.
It’s this constant battle of the wills — the brain versus the heart, sanity versus neurosis, relative peace versus chaos.
For years, I followed my heart. I went with my gut, with my feelings. It’s just who I am. It’s how I’m made. But one day I had to turn that off. I learned that survival meant that sometimes my deepest feelings just simply could not be trusted. They would lead me to despair. They would lead me to darkened corners in lightless rooms, trying to still everything around me in an attempt to quiet the storm raging within.
And I’m writing all of this not for pity or to dwell in self pity. I write it to answer the question, “why me?”
Yesterday, I logged into Facebook, and I found the answer to that very question staring me straight in the face.
Why me? Why do I have to fight my battles?
Why you? Why must you wake up each day and put on your armor and fight your battles?
It’s simple. It’s because the fire purifies, and the battle makes us real.
Every day I look at my little girls, and I am overtaken by their innocence. There is this feral instinct within me to protect them. To protect that innocence. I think any of us looking innocence in the eye has that same reaction. It’s rare and it’s pure and it is as luminescent as the sun.
But they won’t keep it. None of us can.
I always thought that was the tragedy of life. But what if it’s also the glory of it? What if our outsides have to get roughed up? What if our hearts must be pummeled and trashed and broken down?
What if it’s the struggle that finally and ultimately will make us real?