Tuesday, October 31, 2006

ILLNESS AT ARM'S LENGTH



For this month's challenge....the call was to "Look beyond the surface of your life, dig into your imperfect self and reveal it to us...the side of yourself that you always try to hide". I have considered my fragmentation, my silence, my relationships, and my appearance in need of mending. But, I have said nothing directly of my greatest imperfection...my deteriorating health.

When people in the world face such serious chronic diseases as cancer and HIV...struggles from being paralyzed and encountering mental illness--to say that you have a stomach ulcer seems ridiculous. But, nearly eleven months into this--I can tell you that it is completely consuming me. I can no longer eat...My energy is gone...I am in constant chronic pain...Thoughts are fogged over, my emotions are mercurial, and my creative life is stilted...I try to barrel ahead through classes, book reviews, childrearing, social life...pretending I am "fine, thank you" even on the worst days when I should be in bed, or in a cloister or monastery. With surgery no longer really an "option" but an impending necessity, I find myself contemplating a long Winter hibernation ahead--trying to pull myself back together again.

Even now, this remains the flaw I'd most like to hide for some reason...the one I'm finding no words to explain properly...the post I'd like to delete...but, watching some of the other participants in the SPC this month reveal their scars, their insecurities, and their fears has made me recognize that this one of mine I cannot deny anymore. My life is a brilliant, wild, blessed one...for thirty years, my body was strong and healthy--birthing babies, walking countless miles, carrying my thoughts (those things that really mattered) around without the slightest weakness or hesitation. Still, as it is with women everywhere...I was never good enough. I wanted that one's face or the body of another...I wanted the graceful walk of the woman passing by on the street, or the power of the one swimming through the ocean currents where I watched from the sand. Now, this past year...I have been leveled by how flawless I really was. I could do anything I'd put my mind or body to--how humbled I am now that I cannot...

May Sarton said in My Sisters, O My Sisters:

"For it is surely a lifetime work,
This learning to be a woman.
Until at the end what is clear
Is the marvelous skill to make
Life grow in all its forms.

Is knowing where to ask, where to yield,
Where to sow, where to plough the field,
Where to kill the heart or let it live;
To be Eve, the giver of knowledge, the lover;
To be Mary, the shield, the healer and the mother.
The balance is eternal whatever we may wish;
The law can be broken but cannot change
What is supremely beautiful and strange.
Where to find the root? Where re-join the source?
The fertile feminine goddess, double river?"

I am working my way back into health and wellness again by submerging myself underground right now--If I am scarce in the coming days, this is why...my greatest flaw will have it no other way. I am learning to strike balance, sparks rising from my body, as I burst into life once again...
Link

21 Comments:

Blogger Uber Mer said...

What a wonderful, and reflective post. I think we are all guily of envy. I often think, "If only I was....then I would be..." But, thinking that way is poison. We could all strive to a place of acceptance.

Please take care of yourself - allow yourself the time and space to heal.

11:50 AM  
Blogger deirdre said...

My heart is with you. I've had stomach issues since I was 12 and have learned the delicate dance that keeps the pain away. I hope you feel better soon and will be able to do everything you want.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I wish you nothing but power and love and healing, my friend. I am sad for you, that you have struggled so, and that you have to deal with this health issue. After this summer, and these months, I know how not being well can effect your life and just everything! Ugg. Pft! Craptastic.

And on, those things we wish we knew back when! Again, ugg. Pft! Craptastic.

You are beautiful, inside AND out. Take care of you.

:)

1:23 PM  
Blogger ESB said...

wow...i hope you feel better soon...even if your pain isn't life-theatening, it's still pain...

and thank you for reading and commenting on my blog this past week......

1:24 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Thank you for being brave enough to share the story of the pain and struggle you've been enduring. I really hope all goes well with the treatments you need and that you find the balance needed to help you heal. Your writing is beautiful, even in the midst of your pain. And that poem is so powerful. My heart goes out to you, as you work through this physical challenge that is affecting all aspects of your life. Here's hoping better - and healthier - days are ahead for you. xo

2:21 PM  
Blogger Becoming Amethyst said...

Power, love and sparks to you delicious Delia - what a haunting image you have captured. You are always an inspriration to me.

love x x x x

2:42 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Sending you lots of positive healing thoughts~~~~~

That portrait is really beautiful.

3:53 PM  
Anonymous acumamakiki said...

I love your portrait and I wish I had the healing words to give you for your health. I will send you healing thoughts and vibes and if you were closer to me, I'd offer you my needles to give you energy and relieve the stress and pressure of trying to maintain daily life while feeling so poorly.
Thank you for sharing this intimate look into yourself.

4:05 PM  
Anonymous AscenderRisesAbove said...

hoping you are feeling better soon; invisible illness are particulary awful. Sending you healing wishes.

11:43 AM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

I understand your path, you know I do, and my heart and prayers are with you.
Healing to your body
Rest to your mind
Strength to encourage you
Knowledge to know the right
Help when you need it
Courage to accept the help
Love...from your family and friends

I'd like to be included in all of them

peace to you love,
xxx darlene

12:49 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

Oh and I forgot to say, wonderful art accompanying your piece.

5:55 PM  
Blogger brittany said...

Will it get better? Is that a dumb question? I just want to know if you're going to be okay...eventually, physically, or will you have to live with pain indefinately?

I'm sorry that you suffer. I wish I could help in some way.

6:52 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

Oh, this must be so hard on you, particularly sharing your pain. I hope that sharing helps you in a way, since having to "keep face" like you said, does take a lot of energy.

And you shouldn't feel like you need to downplay your health problem just because other people's diseases may be much more serious or life-threatening. Health is so precious and so fragile than any small problem can completely overwhelm one's life, I know this from experience even though the gastro-intestinal problems I faced for several months earlier this year cannot compare to a stomach ulcer.

I hope you find healing and comfort soon, even if medical intervention is necessary. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

It's amazing all the love you give and share while dealing with this. It's also amazing how much wisdom you've extracted from your suffering. I had an ulcer in the past and it was very life disrupting--and scary, especially before I knew what it was. Good thoughts and prayers to you. You WILL be strong again.

1:00 AM  
Blogger tracey said...

Brave girl, thank you for confiding in us. The flaws, the limits that can fall upon us can feel like curses but somewhere, somehow, beauty can be excavated. If anyone can do that, it's you.

Love and light. And for a little dose of appreciation, I urge you to read this...
http://tracey.minti.com/blog/35034/Thankful-Thursday/

1:44 PM  
Blogger b/sistersshoes said...

You're in my thoughts :)

XXX darlene

8:29 PM  
Blogger January said...

I hope all goes well with your treatment. And if you have to step away from the blog for a while, we understand. Take care of yourself and don't be a stranger. Let your family take care of you for a change.

Loved your portrait.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

Thank you all for your kind wishes for my recovery...I am working on it day-by-day!
--CDS--

3:23 PM  
Blogger lovegreendog said...

wishing you wellness. beautiful words you have shared here.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Rrramone said...

That was such a powerful post. I'm so sorry to hear about the ulcer and wish you a speedy road back to health. You are a gifted writer...

8:17 AM  
Blogger Ali la Loca said...

Dear Delia -

I am reminded of a woman I used to work with back in Austin. When she was diagnosed with HIV the doctor told her she had 6 months to live. So she thought, "screw it," and went to Paris and maxed out all of her credit cards instead of waiting quietly to die. That was 7 years ago. Now this woman is an activist and volunteer, strong, brave and concrete evidence of the power of the human body - of women - to move forward even in the face of illness. Oh, and she did eventually pay off the debt.

I am so sorry that you are going through such a struggle with your illness, but I am certain that you will be strong and amazing despite what may be happening to your body. I look forward to reading more about these reflections, thank you for being so honest with us.

9:09 AM  

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