Sunday, May 20, 2012

Interlude: What Have You Got to Lose?

My new friend Clare Pearson, who is an herbalist and healer, has been helping me cope with the inevitable anxiety and stress that accompanies illness and impending surgery. She's had loads of good advice, some of which I expected (take arnica and BREATHE) and some that I didn't, (eat oats and get acupuncture, but wait until after the surgery).

The other day Clare calls and says, in her refreshingly direct way, "It occurs to me that the surgeon is removing an organ that has served you well, but you really don't need anymore. What if you see this as an opportunity to put all the crap in your life you don't need anymore into this part of you and let the surgeon take that, too?"

So here we go... Dr J, as long as you are removing unhealthy parts of me, I'd also like to let go of this stuff too:

The Unfortunate Decade of Mall Perms
I've spent the majority of my life wishing for stupid stuff like curly hair, a flatter stomach, smaller boobs, bigger eyes.... I've permed and dieted and squeezed into "shapers" in a desperate attempt to trick my body into thinking it's a 5'11" swimsuit model. Guess what, no one is fooled, especially not my jiggly bits. I'd like to focus less on how I look and have more appreciation for what my healthy, strong and active body can do.

That They're Going to Take My Diploma Away
I still have a huge fear that my alma mater is going to write and say, "Oh by the way, we made a mistake and you didn't graduate after all. Also we're taking away your Student of the Year Award." I'm in no way a perfectionist, but I can't tell you how much energy I waste on feeling like a failure at just about everything I do, no matter I well I do it. Failure as a mom, as an artist and musician, as a friend, as a wife/partner. Enough already. I'm ready to forgive myself for being imperfect, wobbly and uncertain and celebrate all the really cool shit I get to do. Also I'm framing my award.

Mom was right - Quit picking at it or it'll never heal
Letting go of resentment is a tough one. Other people's bad decisions have given me some impressive scars. I may never be able to achieve 100% forgiveness (see item on imperfection, above), but it would be a big step to quit hanging onto all those old hurts. Resentment has a huge emotional footprint and my heart would be so much roomier without it.

The Half-Empty Glass
I have enough. I have more than enough. Enough lovely things, enough exciting adventure, enough creative energy, enough love to fill three lifetimes. I'd like to let go of dissatisfaction and appreciate how bountiful my life really is.

Isn't that the big one? One time I had this great sweater I kept saving for a special occasion and I was so worried about hogging it up that I wouldn't wear it to work or even gigs. Then one day I pulled it out and found the moths had gotten at it and I had never worn it even once. That's what life-fear does. It keeps me from doing all the really great fun stuff and then, boom, it's too late. Fear of judgement keeps me from wearing the funky hat I found at the thrift store. Fear of failure keeps me from meeting new people and being open to new experiences.  Fear of rejection holds me back from expressing love and affection. Fear of the future means I miss living in the present.

So I don't know if having a hysterectomy will actually make me a better person, but I'm ever so grateful to Clare and all of my amazing friends for helping me shift my perspective in exactly the way I needed in this moment. You're the best!


David Specht said...

Thank you for this gift, Sarah.

You are a marvel. Truly.

Jane Rothfield said...

Love you Sarah-and for all that you are and do! You are sooo inspiring to me. xoxo

Georgianna Grentzenberg said...

I'm sorry this has happened in your life. But I'm grateful that we are friends and I have the opportunity to appreciate how you are facing this with humor and guts and honesty. I thank you and continually wish you well. Georgi