I was recently asked, “Are you okay, cause I am worried about you hon?” And to be totally honest it hadn’t occurred to me to ask myself this question. But now that I am sitting on my coach on a quiet Sunday evening I am beginning to discover that I haven’t been okay. I have not been okay.
My sister died seven years ago. And there isn’t a day goes by, not one, when I don’t think of her, of what she would think of me now, of what we would be like together had she lived. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her.
My brother was diagnosed with malignant glioma four years ago and he was given at most, eleven years to live. Eleven years, given that he gets proper nutrition, lives a low-stress life, gets adequate rest, takes his medicine daily, and gets an MRI every six months.
But the truth is, he is 34 years old, with four children, he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day, he barely eats and when he does its mostly crap, he works three jobs, one of which is the night shift at a 711, he sleeps for 4 hours a day between jobs, daycare, and driving everyone from place to place and he refuses to get his scans or see his neurologist. Despite the fact that he weighs 120 lbs or that he has a large growth protruding from his temple. Everyone pretends like it is normal, like he isn’t dying. Even though he is.
I haven’t seen my father in five years. Not because he lives in some far away land but because who he has chosen to be in this world doesn’t make sense to me. And because I couldn’t accept being treated like I was not enough.
Eight months I ago I moved to Minneapolis, MN and have spent this time trying to forge a place for myself here, at my job, in my community.
And it has been hard, devastatingly hard. Everyday has been living and breathing with my skin turned inside out, raw all the time. And the person I was seems so very far from the person I am becoming.
I haven’t stopped to ask myself if I am okay because what if the answer is that I am not. What if the answer is that I feel exhausted, tired and alone. That some days I wake up and I don’t understand how all of this has become my story.
The truth is I have no idea where to go from here. I don’t ‘know if abandoning ship is right, or if staying right where I am is a better idea. All I know is that I can’t allow for all of this to be my story. There has to be sweetness, kindness, gentleness and community in there to. There has to be a dreams that come true, a love that is pursued. It can’t be all loss and aloneness.
So maybe the answer is, no I am not okay but that maybe tomorrow I will be. Maybe tomorrow I will wake and all will feel right in the world. And if it isn’t all I can do is strap on my boots and keep walking, keep finding ways to open my heart, to keep breathing.