Feeling Human

Sometimes admitting how human and frail and scared you feel is in order.  I was deathly ill for a long time, and it’s why I didn’t start writing until a few years ago.  Between doctor’s appointments, working full time, and trying to keep my heart beating, my world was small, and there wasn’t space for writing. 

When I had the surgery that finally solved the problem, I had six weeks of medical leave.  For the first five weeks, I was housebound, since I couldn’t drive, and my body had too much healing to do.  My big excitement was walking around my small garden and the park across the street.  The rest of the day I watched Netflix and read the piles of books loving people gave me.

On the walks or as I deadheaded anything in my garden between the height of my knees and my shoulders or carried my small watering can from my kitchen sink to water my hanging baskets, I thought about a new future and what I wanted.  It was the first time in years I gave myself a chance to dream beyond living through another day.  What floated up was a desire to write. 

For the last week of my medical leave, my husband and I went to Maine to visit my mom.  There was a new vision in my mind, and I was afraid to tell anyone.  I didn’t want to get up my hopes up.  I wasn’t used to possibilities yet.  On a visit to the Farnsworth Art Museum gift shop, I bought a beautiful notebook with gold on the page edges and blue and gold flowers across the hardcover.  I even bought a matching pen.

I didn’t write a word for six months.  My brain was active for the first time in years,  words flooded the surface, while fear hovered at the edges.  So, I signed up for a memoir class at an arts center forty-five minutes away.  It ran for eight weeks in the middle of winter in Upstate New York.  Not a single class canceled due to the weather, which is unheard of around here.  During those weeks, I filled the notebook.

I can understand when people say they find writing to be difficult, but for me, I don’t feel that way.  I love it.  It’s hard, and I’m slower than I’d like to be.  I mean, I saw Joyce Carol Oates last weekend, how can I ever catch up?  Let’s face it; I can’t.  I saw Richard Russo a few weeks ago, and I was amazed at how many books he’s written and his drive to write until the bitter end of his life.  His love of writing was contagious.   

Each day I feel lucky to be alive, to have a working laptop, and to have found my people.  I know I’ve changed since before.  I’m getting to know myself and the much older person I am than I was before this all started.  I can’t compare myself to other people or waste time getting mad at something I couldn’t control.  I continue to scare myself every day by stepping farther and farther into the world again.  Somedays I want to curl up in my old spot on the sofa and hide.  At least now I have the energy to understand it and to tell myself I’ll be okay. 

7 thoughts on “Feeling Human”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It has been amazing to see you working on getting better and then jumping into writing. As always I am so impressed with how you told the story!

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