In a moment of stunning personal growth, I gave up. Stopped fighting. Let go.
You know how when you stub your toe, it becomes a magnet for furniture, baseboards and random bric-a-brac lying about? So magnetic, in fact, that the aforementioned items tend to leap out to hit that particular toe over and over again, despite you having gone the past three years without random attacks by inanimate objects.
My shoulder's like that. There was an injury, I was off work for a week, I healed somewhat, and limped back to work and things were going OK. Well, not terrific - in fact, I'm on record as having stated that I needed a month off to do absolutely nothing in order to get ahead of things, but who's got time for that? Especially when you're self-employed. Then something ridiculous happened last week to make everything flare up, I sat very still and took lots of drugs and bounced back, only to the very next day, have something even more ridiculous happen that wrecked me. And when I say wrecked, I don't mean the usual wreckitude where I can still do something, the kind that can be pushed back with a day of being quiet and some really good muscle relaxants. No, I mean the kind of messed up that is aggravated by brushing your teeth, making a sandwich, petting the cat. Nevermind how it responds to being on the computer. Blinding, unrelenting pain everywhere from my fingers through my forearm and elbow, my upper arm into my shoulder and neck and down my back. Everything was screaming, is still screaming and it started to occur to me that if I didn't stop, really stop, not just the reducing my activities by about half that I usually call stopping, it might be the end of my shoulder and therefore my ability to work.
It took a couple of days before the part of me that believes that giving up is not an option was beaten down by the part of me that knew I had to, but as of yesterday, I am on leave from my job for the next two weeks. And these two weeks will not be spent doing everything else on my list that I haven’t got to for a while because I haven't had the energy. The next two weeks will be spent watching a lot of TV, spending time in the park and reading a lot of books - thanks Colleen, for letting me know that Linger is out two weeks before thought it was (I'd link to your blog, but my bloody commenting system doesn't list it and I hurt too much to rummage through my archives). There will be blogging, but what shape it will take remains to be seen, because until further notice, I'm allowing myself two, max three periods of 30 minutes of writing time a day.
I haven't been off for very long, but already, there's something rippling inside of me. Thoughts about giving up and how sometimes, it isn't. That sometimes, giving up does not mean failure, but is instead an act of power. Is a statement about what you will accept, what consequences you consider reasonable, a realization of who you are lies not in what you do.
I've spent my life fighting my limits, working around them, become an expert in compromising, accommodating and somehow, doing what I want anyway, psyching out my limits so they don't realize what happened on so after I'm done and then we can crash together, my limits exasperated, but with me being smug about having outwitted them. When you do it every day, fighting becomes automatic, keeps you going way past what's reasonable on a regular basis and because you're so used to it, so used to ignoring sense -because if you listen to everything your body says, you'd never do anything at all - and it becomes mindless.
And there it is again, the consequences of what not paying attention can do dropped on your head like one of those frozen lumps of waste from an airplane and your life is crap. Getting there, to that point where you let go, it all feels like failure, like falling and not getting up, like admitting that you are not able and you flail about, resisting, fighting, hurting yourself more until you have to give in and you surrender.
And within the act of letting go of your expectations of what you should be able to do, you discover a freedom. That in the act of surrender, you can find the gift of yourself, a gift of breath without pain, of a relief so profound, lifting of the sorrow, disappointment, resentment and grief and you feel so light you could float. Because somehow, the surrender is about walking forward into the mystery, into finding something more that had been obscured by all the things you thought you should be doing. Into finding corners of yourself you didn’t know you had.
Pretty powerful stuff.