As I approach turning 61 I think about where I’ve been, what I’ve been through and all I can say is that life is as awful as it is beautiful. I love my life but it’s been hard and I don’t say that for pity or even seeking empathy. I say it because it’s true.
Too many of us are ashamed of the hard. The fear, the insecurity and doubt that we genuinely experience. We receive so many cultural messages that tell us we get what we deserve and we know that to express any kind of weakness means we earned it.
In my Midwest hometown if you come from a very successful entrepreneurial family like I do, it’s akin to achieving royal status. As soon as you can leave the middle class neighbors and move up, things really begin to improve in your life. Then you get sick, really sick and almost die. You keep working because to rest and focus on your health means you are not taking responsibility for your life. Then one day the doctor tells you that you should never do the work you love anymore because the risk is too great. You heal up and feel better so you try it again anyway. Of course as soon as the doors shut for winter, the cold season begins and there you are, sick and using up all of your sick days. There you are creating so much work for others by your absences. And there you are quitting again.
My doctor in 1992 knew what he was talking about because he was an immunologist and infectious disease specialist. The pull up your bootstraps, get over yourself, and succeed no matter what worldview of my Conservative Midwest culture didn’t allow for people like me to have a place that was ok. Everyone tries to fix you because to have disease is not ok.
I cannot count the alternative treatments, potions and spiritually driven interventions that have come through my life in 30 years. The practitioners often built their practices because they needed access to the treatments they found helpful. Many of them have helped me a lot. Many have not.
As the pandemic arrived here and enveloped the world – so many of my friends in the alternative treatment community have embraced the idea that the miracle of the MRNA vaccine isn’t one because…when asked a few questions, only a very few have actually said that they humbly realize that the immunological, infectious disease experts actually know what they are talking about. Doctors who exclusively study Corona Viruses and what they do to our bodies are seen as charlatans and fear mongers. I’ve had such a struggle with this throughout my 61st year on this planet.
Today I realized that my doctor in 1992 knew exactly what would happen to me if I kept teaching, wiping runny noses and breathing the air in a closed classroom. His advice came from years of research and the labs tests in front of him. I was simply too proud and too devoted to my worldview to let go of my profession-also my passion. I rebranded myself as a SPED teacher and almost made it. I almost felt like I could face my successful family and community without shame. I can’t believe I am still feeling that I just missed the prescription, the one right cure and the healing. I now see it was there from the beginning. Dr. Tyler Martin, my doctor and friend gave it to me because it was the truth. I ignored it and it definitely made my life harder.
I think as I give thanks for making it this far, I will purpose to find a way to surrender. Sounds crazy perhaps but honestly, my identity has been built around this not being enough for so long that I really need to figure out how to dig deep and let go of it. I’ll never have the royal status that comes in my home culture with having money I actually earn. I’ll live in a home and enjoy a life I haven’t earned because I’m married to a successful man and the daughter of successful parents. I’m never going to be financially independent from my own effort and though I’ve known it for 30 years, my soul is entrepreneurial, my passion is endless and I really love work but I cannot.
I need to slay this shame dragon in year 62. I have to find the way to choose to accept …surrender to what is and maybe move again…JUST KIDDING!!! 🤪 I am not moving. Oy.