The third prompt during last night’s Lacuna Loft Unspoken Ink writing group was cry for a while then choose to smile beautifully. I’m not at all certain that the changes these last two years have brought were the result of choices nor do I believe they are in any way serendipitous. Maybe God brought me to this point, maybe they are the result of a natural progression. I don’t really know the whys and wherefores and perhaps it’s better that way.
It was truly the worst of times, it was the best of times or is it the other way around? It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. What was Dickens getting at?
You take the good, you take the bad, and there you have the facts of life. Where was the ‘80s sitcom going with its theme song? Where am I going with this piece? My life? Myself?
Chuck is dead, my cancer has either come back or my brain is being eaten by the radiation that (hopefully) decimated Larry. And yet, I’m living a life I didn’t know was possible or available to me. Through therapy and art, I’ve grown. I’ve learned my own self-worth. I’m likeable. I’ve learned that I am worth people’s time and that people do want to spend time with me and are not just tolerating me.
In the year and some odd months since I melted down in the hospital about my Kindle not charging. I’ve learned so much about myself and my hang ups and I continue to learn who and what I am. I’m more self-assured, I’m making and have made new friends. I am growing as a person. I am so happy and grateful for this new internal life that I didn’t understand I was worthy of or really even knew existed. I have found my inner feet, and they are strong and sturdy and beautiful and brave and likeable. I don’t hate myself anymore. I don’t feel I am less than and deserve less than everyone else. I’m lighter. I’m not weighed down with insecurity and self-loathing.
But, how can I be better when Chuck is gone? I’m more alone than I have ever been in my life. I went from my parents’ home to my husband’s home. I’ve never been on my own before. The house still feels empty and silent when I sneeze and there’s no one there to say, God Bless You. I still have days when my greatest accomplishment is getting out of bed and staying out. Where was this better, brighter me when Chuck was still alive? Where was this person while I was healthy and young? How did the worst days of my life bring about a better, stronger me? Did the worst of times forge this new inner life because there was nothing left to do but live? Did my battered and damaged brain send me the message, survival is insufficient? Did God?
Why did Chuck have to get sick? Why did my cancer have to come back right when I thought there would be smooth sailing ahead? Why did Chuck have to die? Did all these horrible, terrible, scary things have to happen to afford me this better inner life? Is sorrow the price of a beautiful smile?
Maybe the bravest, boldest, and brightest among us have nothing left to lose?