My saving grace at this point in my life is the re-discovery of writing: as a gift, a blessing, my salvation instead of as a childhood school chore. It unexpectedly revealed itself over the course of the past several years, starting in 2013. My imagination flared to life from the ashes of defeat. The daydreams demanded their story to be known; make us real, from your heart and mind, as nagging as an aching joint. It’s taken this long to find the courage to acknowledge this part of myself and finally believe in it. Writing is the only way I can ever birth something from within me. A creation brought into this world from the womb of my heart and mind, to grow and flourish into hope and wonder.
I’ve always been a daydreamer. I escaped into my mind as the bully pulled my hair and pinched me from between the small space of the bus window and seat. But I never wrote the dreams down. I just played it over and over inside my head, hoping that one day, this better world could be made real somehow. Writing was just a knack I had when it came to school papers; an expectation. I’d tried to keep a diary, but I just couldn’t commit to seeing my thoughts on the page. What if someone else found it? I got in enough trouble as a child, being a stubborn bronco of a mind. Oh, and surely my older brother would have tormented me in some way as part of his sibling duty. No, the creations had to stay hidden in my mind.
After developing rheumatoid arthritis, I felt that I lacked much worth. No idea about my future, other than it being full of disease, pain, and damage. That’s it, really. I was damaged goods. How could I expect to create words, art, and any expression when it hurt too much to live, let alone use my hands? So I coped by letting that part of myself go, and slide back into the past, an artist no more. Every now and then, it would call to me though. One incident that I’ve never forgotten was back when I was in a relationship with an artist. I had a simple idea to make something amusing, just to do, fleeting really, just for kicks. And he responded with “why bother?” Why bother, indeed.
It’s the absolute worst when someone that you look up to and believe in fails to give the same support. So much trauma from those days, if only I had written it all down, blood on bone. But I felt that it was too much to put into a form where it stares right back at me as etched memories. I know now that is why I couldn’t write during the 18 month span of heart health issues. It was enough to just get through each moment of the day. Nearly dying, six week hospital stay with first open heart, trying to sort myself out, going back to school, discover another issue with heart, cardiac tests and hospital stays, 2nd open heart, and then finally being done. Finally! But “what now?” My whole life had changed again; first time being RA, with this second time of a repaired and ticking heart. The post-traumatic stress reduced me to a super anxious frantic mouse that couldn’t make sense of the maze it had found itself stuck within. And then the betrayal happened with the artist and I just couldn’t take much more. I felt so shattered. I had survived health trials that proved to me that I am strong enough to carry on, despite doubt, fear, even the odds. But there I was, shaky with ultimate doubt, feeling worthless. What I thought was real was apparently a lie. Could the same be said of all I’d just overcome, especially with that jerk by my side through it all? (Two open hearts!) What was the point of surviving if my heart was too heavy to hold hope anymore?
Thankfully, I knew enough to recognize that depression lies and obtained the mental healthcare needed for it, as well as my panic, anxiety, and PTSD issues. Now I can look back and realize that I still didn’t feel strong enough to face my fear and release all of those feelings, those thoughts, those blessings and demon onto the page. Wounds in my heart to bleed out through fingers crippled by disease. Instead, I let the words fester. How fitting that an infection destroyed my Mitral valve; a doorway in my beating heart torn apart and consumed by a festering poison. A sturdy new door was then stitched into me, with doors clicking and ticking away the moments of my life until it all winds down. I wish I had believed in myself back then beyond mere daily survival and planted the rubble of my story as I walked its path; a cobblestoned redemption. Only now am I able to put my butt in the chair, gloved hands on the keyboard, and pull out the weeds in my mind before they creep down and strangle my heart.