Today I had to drop everything and deal with what life dealt me. I took a day off of work to see the doctor because I had a pain in my right side (which is, supposedly, either an ovarian cyst, a kidney stone, or appendicitis).
Today I walked to the doctor’s office from the bus stop and it started to rain. I rummaged through my bag for my rain jacket, and realized that I had left it in my other bag, but had earlier removed an umbrella to make room for said jacket. I kept walking in the drizzle, and as the rain grew stronger I stopped to think. The doctor’s office was a quarter mile down the road, with nothing but hospitals and hospices in between. What should I do? I thought. I shrugged off the thought and kept walking. But it came back. I instinctually looked into my bag, surveyed my surroundings. What should I do?
The question was idiotic. What I should do was deal with it. There was nothing to do, no way to obtain an umbrella. I had to walk to the doctor’s office, and I had to walk in the rain. I might get drenched (but I didn’t).
It’s incredible, how I so rarely stop to take care of myself, but when I do there’s nothing to be done. I was looking for an out, but the only way out was through.
I should have known this already, from that moment on the river when I asked Skywalker what to do when I was headed full-force into a rock during our supposed-to-be-fun flotilla. His answer: nothing but “brace yourself.” There was no way out, so we had to deal with the consequences. It meant flipping over, holding my breath, and being saved. It was a disaster. It was a triumph.
I’m trying to head into this newest medical issue with the same determination. My mind drifts to ovarian cancer, since I recently finished a fertility treatment, but I’m trying not to blow this situation out of proportion. I had a crazy day–the doctor’s appointments, possible heat exhaustion, stubbing my toe (to the point that I wonder if I broke it)–but I let myself enjoy the company of a good friend and stop to get a good haircut. I let myself realize that my life isn’t over, even if I don’t feel 100%. (er, knock on wood?)
Another thing I realized: my cycle of being absurdly busy and then crashing into a lethargic stupor is, to some extent, a distraction from the boldest task at hand: to publish an essay or write a book. I fall back on writing casual blogs or dull academic pieces, when the real challenge for me is to tell a good story. I haven’t thrown myself passionately into work life, yet I haven’t sat down at my desk and grappled with my words. I don’t even own a desk.
I am letting this month of August approaching be a transition to the writing life. I haven’t searched for a full-time job, with the intention of writing and writing often. I had promised myself to become more well-read, but now I hide in the safety of an already-written book.
I’m going to hang on my wall the title of my future book. And one day, maybe I’ll stop finding outs and see it through.