Recently my friend and author Jon Katz wrote a blog post on truth and power.
In his post he quotes author Bill Ferguson (“How To Take Your Power Back”) who describes what it means to lose your power in this way: “When you fight the truth of the way your situation is, you give it power. You make yourself a victim and put yourself at the effect. To get your power back, stop the resisting. Surrender to the truth of the way your situation is.”
This quote really resonated with me. This issue of giving up power in ones life isn’t foreign to me. But where this idea sits with me now in my current situation which has been incredibly hard for me. I have been in terrible pain all summer. See links to those posts below. I’ve been bed bound much of the time. It’s been a mind blowing and mind changing time. I’ve seen the worst of myself and maybe sometimes the best of myself. I’ve become dependent on others in ways I didn’t think would be necessary until I was much older. Having to have your husband wash your hair when there’s no chance of hanky panky isn’t where I want to be in my life. I’m unable to care for my kids like I want. Thankfully they are teens and have some ability to be self sufficient (sometimes that’s not as good as it sounds). I can’t care for my animals and let’s face it – these are my animals. Nobody else in this house would have all these beings to care for if it wasn’t for me and I am responsible for them and I can’t even carry a bucket of feed.
But I don’t want to become a victim -yet I think I have. I don’t want this situation to have power over me. Yet it does. I mean I can’t get out of bed because of the pain. Maybe in my case I could be seen as a victim of this particular circumstance – I didn’t ask for cancer (who does) and I certainly tried to deal with and find answers to my pain issues after cancer treatments to keep me from getting this bad. Yet here I am. And I’m angry and scared. But this is not who I want to be. My husband and I have spent long hours this summer trying to find the help to fix me. I’m trying not to feel victimized. Yet I’ve run into many roadblocks and I’ve began to lose hope and that sunk me deeper into despair and then I have become more of a victim and I realize what’s really happened is that the hopelessness I’ve felt is really me feeling powerless in my situation.
How does one get that back their power?
According to the quote above I need to stop fighting the truth of my situation. But does that mean I’m giving in to it? Accepting that this is my life? It seems too unacceptable for me to do that. It seems more like giving up. But maybe that’s the point. Maybe by accepting the truth of my situation doesn’t mean I accept its going to go on forever but if I accept the truth of where I am now I can actually take back some of the power I’ve lost and begin to regain some hope.
To keep fighting the truth of my life at the moment isn’t doing anything positive for me. Sure I’ll wallow in times of great pain and I’ll cry rivers of tears but perhaps to accept where I am now will enable me to see that this doesn’t have to be where I’ll always be. And somehow maybe that will make me feel less afraid and less like I’m in a cage. Will I then feel like I have power again? Because I have lost my power and I never realized this as the truth until I read Jons post.
We can so easily let our power slip away – we don’t even see it.
I don’t know if I can accept where I am as my truth now. Even though I know it’s my truth. It’s the fear that this will be my truth on and on and I don’t know how I’m getting out of it. I’m tired of the loneliness of sitting in my room in my bed watching TV, being comforted by my dogs, reading books,taking pills, and oddly worrying about getting fat, or thinking things too sad to share here. I’m just not willing to give into this fully as my truth yet darn it. But it is my truth right now. I do feel the times when I am able to face it and not let the what ifs take over and I give in to the reality a little a I feel that planner Anne step up and say OK what do we do now to get me the hell out of this place? I feel that power in that moment. I know she’s there. Under this frustrated and weakend human being that old Anne is still there. And she has been robbed of her power off and on much of her life but has always managed to get it back.And in some ways she may never get it all back. But in this current situation that’s is not acceptable. She needs to get better.
I think power comes in many facets of our life and perhaps when we find power in all the facets we reach some true synergy . I’ll be lucky to find that in this lifetime. There are still too many things that have power over me -but I’ll take finding my power again in finding my way out of where I am now.
In my moments of weakness I have wondered if I’ve done something so horrible in my life that I’m now paying some type of penance at this moment in this situation. My dear husband said if my rationale were true we all would be paying for our sins in some terrible way. Criminals wouldn’t need to go to jail if it was tit for tat- ok he’s right on that point.
Am I supposed to learn something from this situation thats deeper than what I want to conceive? I don’t think things happen just because. I think things happen for reason and I think every single thing that happens to us in our lives gives us a chance to learn but maybe that’s my type A talking. I’ve had a lot of things happen over a short span of time and I’m still trying to figure out what I’m supposed to learn from these things. But laying here pretty much helpless has giving me perspective on some things maybe that’s the point. I now have a better understanding of how people with chronic pain live. It’s not just take a pill and get the hell up and do something -that’s so not how it works -maybe in the past that’s how I thought it worked. Now I get it. I know how I’d like to live my life when I’m finally freed from this bondage. And maybe I’ve learned to be a tad more patient. But maybe this is one of those things that you understand better in hindsight much later in your life.
Or maybe I’m having one hell of a pity party and I’m not willing to see it.
I really don’t want to feel like a victim of my own story in this situation -I don’t want to feel hopeless. It’s just that so many doors have opened and closed on me on this journtey. I have this fear that if another door closes I won’t have the strength to find another door to knock on. The closing doors are like kryptonite to my power.
But I have a voice and my husband has a voice and we can and should feel powerful to use it to tell my story a thousand times until someone listens. I’ve been giving others – in this case doctors and other health professionals all the power- and I’ve felt powerless which led me to lose hope. But I have a husband to lean on that is a blessing because others in my situation might not have that. And he’s been the driving force behind getting me to places and getting me heard. He’s been the shoulder I’ve leaned on when I just couldn’t take anymore. He’s as frustrated as I am and Saddened that ive gotten this bad. Thankfully this week I did meet a couple of doctors that seemed as shocked about this as we are. I’m too afraid to put too much hope in them. It’s just too hard.
It’s been hard for me to write about it -physically BC using my arm for too long brings on pain. (i’m learning to depend on the “voice to type” function on my iPad and I’m getting better and better at it) and to get myself to write about it has been mentally hard. But when I do write the truth about it I feel freer. That’s the power I have -to express my pain and my anger and at times my sorrow. This is my voice right here where I am now and to me writing is power and as long as I’m writing I’m not giving up and that’s hopeful. Right?
The only way I’m going to get hope back is to accept where I am now and that it sucks big big big time but this situation isn’t going to own me and squash me. The way I’ve been feeling -victimized- isn’t doing me any good at all. Something has needed to change. Do I want this to have power over me? Do I have the power and the strength to face it head on? Maybe I have been facing it but in bits and pieces. Sometimes being in pain just makes you want to shut out the world and sleep and not deal with this at all. But maybe when I face the truth in those bits and pieces I gain some power and I get back some hope. And Maybe that’s the best I can do now – moments of power moments and of hope. But it’s something.
If you need to catch up you can read my pain story from the beginning of the summer :