Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Get Up

There are a few things I do that keep me going, even on the bad days. The funny thing is, I've come to understand that these small acts of self-empowerment make bad days good, and nearly-intolerable days tolerable. Sometimes they even lead to revelations.

On the days when I wake up feeling that incredible urge to go fetal, cover my head with a blanket, and cry, three things sustain me. Even if I'm in incredible pain or incredible discomfort, even if I've had emotional blows and feel overcome, three things will move me out of the cocoon of my bed:

1. Ahmed loves me and he's depending on me to suck it up. And if I don't suck it up I can't be with him and enjoy him.

2. Max has his face pressed against my shoulder, side, or leg. His donut-tail is wiggling, and he's looking up at me with those chocolate kiss eyes to say "we're going, yes?" It's his version of a morning hug and kiss. I swear he learned it by watching his dad, who also presses his face against my neck and gives a very damp sigh. It should be gross but it's magic.

3. I. CAN. GET. UP.

Getting up has proved to be my final act of defiance, my greatest solace, and my finest achievement. I get up. It sounds trivial, and will absolutely be lost on some. So what. Yet when you have been, on many occasions, completely unable to move, it's a huge deal. When you're like me-- somewhat hyper and easily bored-- being bed-bound or house-bound is torture. So no matter what my doctors tell me, I always give them one ultimatum. I may take it easy, but my daily routine is NON-NEGOTIABLE. I get up EVERY day unless I am in a coma. I take Max to the post office, Starbucks, and if there is a vital errand to run I feel capable of completing, we fit that in. I do it every day. When I stop doing it we can talk funeral arrangements.

My will is made out. I've got a living will, too. I have made clear what I want when the time comes. But as long as I am getting my ass out of bed and doing two things, minimum, with my little dog cheering me on, we're not there yet.

Lately, what with Venus being retrograde and Jupiter playing similar games, and with summer smothering me like a hot, wet blanket... well, lately the getting up thing hasn't been as easy. I do it, though, and here's how it always rewards me...

Yesterday I blew through the drive-through at Starbucks and one of the kids who works there said goodbye to me. She was going off to college. I was thrilled for her and blushingly pleased to get a kiss on the cheek (through the window, no less) and a genuine thank-you for extra tips, free college application advice, and a letter of recommendation for a scholarship over a year ago. I carried that like a lemon drop in my pocket for the rest of the day.

Today I was leaving the pharmacy, came out into the parking lot, and found a kid standing next to the car, holding his hand against the window, where Max was licking the glass. I had left him there with the engine running and AC on while I ran in to pick up meds. Too hot to leave the engine off and windows down. The kid turned around and I recognized him as a former student. He recognized me as I went inside and waited for me to tell me he'd been hired at the Providence Journal and was leaving the area. My eyes filled with tears as he told me "you're the reason I wanted to be a writer." He held out his keys, showed me the keychain I had given him many years earlier: it was the little Conjunction Junction conductor dude (I used to know his name, but forgot it) from Schoolhouse Rock. The thing was dingy from age, but there he was in his little overalls.

Warmest of all possible fuzzies!

These are my rewards. These are my blessings. These are the moments of pure, unadulterated joy that keep me going. If I stay down... if I let Pulmonary Fibrosis, life, depression, anger, or anything else keep me down, I lose. I give in, waste time, and miss out on whatever little surprise the universe has tucked away for me that day. There is always something. If you get up... if you force your negativity to back off and stalk past it with determination while it snickers, you will find rewards waiting. The sun comes up every day, and scurries through the sky with darkness behind it, closing in. Darkness will come. But so will the next dawn.

Get up. You never know what's waiting. Whatever it is will make getting up worth the effort.

14 comments ]:[ Add your comment:

R.G. ALEXANDER said...

Okay, you made me cry. Look at all the lives you touch everyday.
Me too. when I see a post with your name on it at RD I rush to it, knowing I will smile or laugh, or snort my soda through my nose at something unexpected. Even be inspired to not take any crap or to put my money where my mouth is.
Thank you for that. And for this blog post. It is the littlest things that are the most important. We sometimes forget.

Karen Erickson said...

Ah yeah see you point out the little good stuff that we tend to forget. So thank you for that! Your blog made me smile.

Of course, I'm whining about being sick on my blog so shame on me...LOL

Jennifer Lewis said...

I had no idea you had health problems, you always sound so full of energy. Sounds like you had some serious warm fuzzy moments. I love Woody Allen's quote (paraphrased) that 98% of life is just showing up. I tell myself that all the time. Got to get up to show up :-D


Diana Castilleja said...

You made me cry too. I'm like RG, racing to your threads when I see your name, because just like she said, I know you will have something funny, inspiring or informative to say. (Thankfully, I've learned NOT to be drinking anything when I read your stuff.)

Those are some sweet sweet fuzzies to share with us, and it's true. If we don't get up, we'll never see them and they'll pass us by without a backward glance. What amazes me more, is how willing you are to share those moments, swathing everyone in the wonderful feeling. That is your gift to us, every day.

Johnny P said...

Yeah, I too have some wet eyes. I have enjoyed reading our posts at RD and your insight Chrissy. I can only hope that you are rubbing off on me and one day someone can thank me for some of the stuff you have taught me and so many others.

Dana Belfry said...

You are such a sweetheart. And an inspiration! I admire your advice and your determination but I also admire your relationship with the girl at starbucks.

My conversations consist of "hi, tall skinny latte please" (and yes I always remember to say please).

{{{{HUGS}}} you're awesome. Even your sil wishes she could kick your butt.

MIchelle (MG) said...

Wow. Thank you Chrissy. Thank you so much. You don't know how much I needed to hear this right now. Thank you.

DD said...

Gosh I needed that uplifting post today - feeling the warm fuzzies and off to find a tissue. Great post, have a great day! :)

Chrissy said...

OMG you guys are making me cry!

You know, RD is one of my great joys. If only I could install it on my dashboard so I could read posts while idling in the drive through...

SERIOUS nerdaleptic seizure!

Huge hugs. Gads... I do love me some Diva sunshine. :)

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Outstanding post, Chrissy. {{hugs}}

Lanie said...

That was a wonderful post. I'm so glad you had such a touching day and I wish you more like it. :)

Babe King said...

Go, Chrissy! It's those touches of love that make the going worth while. I'm glad you're getting them. And who could resist a doughnut tail- lol- how cute!

Cia Leah said...

Oh Chrissy, this made me cry. I know you aren't well and my heart goes out to you.

My last lung scan showed fibrosistic scarring. They just said don't worry about it but it gets progressively worse. I don't know if same thing you have or not, but I do know one thing and that is that reading your blog, and it is a blog of an amazing woman, keeps me going. You poke me with a stick each time and say get moving. Life isn't over til it is over. There is always something in a day to make us smile and enjoy the life we are living. You deserve so much in your life, for you are kind, gracious, and a very loving person.

As always, you remain in my thoughts and prayers and also a big thank you too for your kindness.


Leigh Royals said...

Those blessings are so remarkable and are great motivators! I'm so touched you shared with us!

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