I’ve felt pretty tough lately. It took a couple years of tenacity, grief, and self-reflection to get here. I allowed logic fueled by simmering, near-righteous anger to propel me into necessary action. I’m where I’m supposed to be. Whenever I doubt this, memories crowd forward, re-igniting not a flame of anger, but her simmering motivation to march on.
Most days, I carry an elephant on my chest. I’m keenly aware of its burden, the physical tightness that deep breathing and laughter can’t shake. Sometimes it feels like my heart is literally breaking, though I know that can’t be true. I rarely cry. I’m lighter than I’ve been in ages, I’m optimistic; my daughters, friends and family surround me in tangible love.
I’m satisfied walking the appropriate path. Any anxiety I feel must be due more to the unknown, the natural stress resulting from decisions facing me. Primarily, where to live? I don’t know how to shake the elephant, so I figure I’ll wait it out. It should go away on its own as soon as the next steps are set in stone.
Except that I almost lost it with my friends yesterday. Some of my most trusted, beloved friends, motivating me via various methods to get my body in shape. They’re right, you know. But I defaulted to argumentative, defensive. I felt judged. I wanted their awareness of my physical size and lack of fitness, them saying these things out loud, to go away. It felt like an intervention. I felt bullied, ashamed, and angry: don’t they know what I’m dealing with, day in and day out?
Of course they do, and of course they know that an exercise regimen and less red wine and margaritas will only strengthen me, especially now. My crutches of “justifiable” grief and liquid comfort are being insistently removed. I’ve had the notion that heavy cardio might shake the elephant… I guess I’ll find out. It will feel good to be strong again.
The volatility of my reaction makes me keenly aware that I’m not as capably together as I’d thought. I guess it’s time to get to counseling to get healthy on that level, too. I need a safe place to explore, admit and release emotion, so in real life I can be resilient enough to gracefully receive friends’ tough love without exploding.
I’m going to earn strength, calm patience, wisdom, and tenacity free of anger. My heart will pump with these, and stay steady. Maybe then, the elephant will stand up, walk away, and find somewhere else to sit.