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...