When I started this journey, I imagined that I would immediately foreswear and abandon all complaining and become Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows Everywhere. Of course, that did not happen.
My first weeks, as Jane Williams observed, consisted of talking about that regarding which I was not going to complain. Ach, wasn’t that torture? Self-righteous indignation about my great efforts to abandon complaining!
Then reality hit and my life took a nose dive. I got progressively weepier and more maudlin for a quarter of a year or so, seeing the world through those rose-tinted lenses which, turned on myself, warped my perception of the child formerly known as Mary. I praised everyone in my life, found beauty in cracks in brick walls, and stumbled my way through a hot summer into a cold cold winter.
Then I got starry-eyed, spent a few months marveling over the opportunities that life gave me and the villainy which life spared me. I could have cancer, after all, I reasoned. These were in the lonely days after my favorite curmudgeon died. Oh, how I missed him! And how very blessed I felt to have had him for four so very special years, years during which I learned how good it could be to have a father.
2015 dawned bleak for me, though Jenny Rosen helped soften the blow by orchestrating a wonderful Valentine’s Day. As the spring progressed, I began to struggle with my image of myself, which seems to be radically different than each image held by others. Those others — they wear the rose-colored glasses when gazing at me.
Today, I met a challenge by my physical therapist, Dr. Claude Lamoureux, French Canadian, who understands both my neurology and my psychology in ways that I don’t usually encounter in virtual strangers. She took the promise I made to my mother — that I would walk every day of my life — and with a little raise of her eyebrows and a twinkle of her eyes, turned my perception on its head.
What good is walking, she said, if you fall?
Ah. Excellent point. In the immediacy, she sent me to the Hospital Gift Store with the order that I should buy socks which might help me walk. I wore red shoes to therapy today because my mother once told me that I would find it impossible to be gloomy while wearing red shoes. But these particular red shoes, tragically cute though they might be, insisted on leaping from my feet due to the width of their heel compared with the narrowness of mine. Don’t fall, said Dr. Lamoureux.
I went to the gift store, and discovered that the only socks sold at this particular gift store are inspirational socks.
And so, with my new socks on my little spastic feet, I’m taking one step at a time, and resolving anew not to fall, and not to complain.