Living hasn’t really been a strong suit of mine. Sounds strange for a 30 (something) year old woman to say, but it’s true. The majority of my life I was too consumed with surviving life rather than living it. Now I have a chance to live it rather than just survive it. I’ve had the chance to live it for many years, but I’ve been going through the growing pains of realization for a few years, or as some call it, healing.
I think one of the biggest pieces in the healing process, at least for myself, is awareness. Awareness of my thoughts, how I perceive myself and others. Awareness of my emotions, how I feel and why I feel it. Awareness of my behaviors and actions, am I behaving rationally? Am I being impulsive? Seems easy, right? Wrong! One of the biggest, hardest pills to swallow is one’s pride and another big one is ego. I’ve learned that in order to gain self-awareness sometimes you need to swallow both, at the same time! And sometimes they get stuck in your throat, but don’t panic, it’s normal, just swallow harder.
As I mentioned, awareness, for me, is one the biggest pieces in the healing process. How did I gain this awareness, you ask? That’s a very good question to which I have a very good answer. My ever patient, understanding, compassionate, dedicated, loving therapist! I would not be the person I am today nor the person I am in the process of becoming without her. In fact, chances are pretty good I would still be waking up on weekend mornings (and some weekday mornings) curled up in an alcohol induced shame hangover. I’ve also come to realize that she is about 3-6 or 9 months, give or take another 3 months, ahead of me in regards to my own awareness. Remember those hard to swallow pills I mentioned before? Yeah, sometimes it takes me several hard swallows to get them down. I’m getting much better at it though. I’ve often envisioned my therapist banging her head against a wall after I leave her office.
I am not the same person I was when I first walked into her office approximately 3 years ago. I feel like I’ve grown significantly in many ways. While I know we still have work to do, I could not be more grateful for her, her guidance and support thus far, and her continued guidance and support. She is truly one of the most genuine and beautiful people I know.
While I am on the topic of growth, I want to take a second to talk about my Mom. It was 11 months ago on the 17th that she broke her leg and it will be 11 months on the 5th since she had surgery to put the plate and screws in. The doctor said that this is one of the worst breaks to have. It was a tibial plateau fracture. To say this has been a rough year for my mom would be a massive understatement. Though the worst of the pain and recovery is over, there has not been one day since she broke it that she hasn’t been in pain. She was in the hospital for 13 days after surgery. Confined to a wheel chair for the first 3 months which meant she was also pretty much confided to the house except for doctors appointments. Then she upgraded to a walker for several months, and now when she leaves the house she uses a cane. She also went through several months of physical therapy. The bone has obviously long healed at this point but the hardware causes her constant pain, some days are better than others.
Much like I am not the same person that first walked through my therapist’s door, my mom is not the same person she was before she broke her leg. She has shown strength, courage, determination, and spirit that is admirable. There are countless silver linings to her unfortunate broken leg.
Saturday my mom flew for the first time. She went to Savannah with my dad on his annual sibling trip, also a first for my mom. Based on everything she has been through, overcome, the new experiences, and more; you would never guess she has a bit of anxiety. She has faced and conquered many fears over the last 11 months. Her strength and endurance are inspiring. There are no words to express how proud I am of my mom for all she has accomplished and how much she has grown. Through it all she stayed as positive as anyone could in that situation, and I would even argue that not everyone could’ve stayed as positive as she has, given everything she has taken on.
Here is to growth and change and the people who love and support us through it, even on the ugly days!