Do you have any strange misconceptions about yourself that when said out loud sound ridiculous and outlandish? I feel like it’s just me, but then again I always feel like it’s just me. You know Brené Brown’s first book, I Thought It Was Just Me? That should be one of my mantras — I thought it was just me…but it isn’t.
You’re probably thinking, “Here she goes with her crazy again,” and full disclosure, I have been a little manic lately, but let me try to explain. My birth experience with Lily was torturous. Thank goodness I ended up with my girl at the end of it because it was awful. A stalled labor, a failed epidural, a spinal headache that lasted for 6 days and culminated with me curled on the basement floor begging to die and required two blood patches to rectify. Throughout this ordeal, my husband said, “You’re doing great, baby.” My inner voice said: “You’re weak. You’ve got a low pain tolerance. You can’t do this.”
Since the melanoma experience started in June, I’ve gotten more bloodwork and iv’s in a few short months than in the 46 ½ years leading up to it. Before my surgery, the anesthesia resident said, “Are you afraid of the needle?” I almost said no because I didn’t want to come across as weak, but I said, “Yes.” She looked at me with empathy and kindness and said, “It’s okay. Everyone is. It’s the worst part.” Wow. I thought it was just me.
Last month when I went for my treatment, it took three nurses and 4 attempts to get a good vein. Inside, it felt like my intestines were in the spin cycle and all of my blood was pulsing in my ears instead of in my stupid arm where it needed to be. The nurses said, “You’re doing so good. This is hard.” My husband said, “You did great, baby. You never even flinched.” I felt on the verge of crying, vomiting and passing out.
When we used to drink way more, one of my girlfriends and I had a practice of talking each other out of shame spirals the day after. Have you ever had a day after shame spiral? It goes like this: You drink too much. You don’t remember exactly everything you did and said, and you assume the absolute worst about yourself. We discussed it one time, and my friend asked, “How do you think you are acting?” Mean, belligerent, saying stupid things. She laughed and said, “You are never any of those things.” Her vision is always that she was standing on the bar calling people out. She never stands up on anything…