The Push I Needed

“You don’t live in my body. You don’t experience the struggles and wounds it carries. You don’t wake up every day with my thoughts and you don’t go to bed every night with my demons. You don’t know the burdens they impose or the distress and weight of the feelings they generate. As someone who is not me, you know very little about what it’s like to experience my reality — so you don’t get to dictate what should and shouldn’t be difficult for me. You don’t get to determine my needs and capabilities, and you sure as hell don’t get to decide the validity of my boundaries and self-care. am the expert of my life. If I struggle with something, then I struggle with it. My experience isn’t right or wrong. It just is, and it’s mine — a fact that that makes my struggles real and true and valid. Your abilities and opinions are irrelevant in regards to my own. There is nothing wrong with me. I’m not weak or inadequate for struggling with things you don’t personally find challenging. And I’m no longer going to compromise myself to accommodate your narrow perception of human experiences. I know who I am and what I’m capable of. I know my limits and needs. And I know that I deserve better than someone who tries to convince me to abandon the things I need to take care of myself.”

— Daniell Koepke, founder of the Internal Acceptance Movement

I’m quite literally in love with the writing of Daniell Koepke. The passage of text I have quoted above empowered me enough to very nearly drag me kicking and screaming from my denial and face up to the reality of things that can’t be fixed (or rather, stop pretending I am a normal human and get over myself). Over the past few days I’ve buried enough thoughts and feelings (that I usually release into the world via this blog) that I’m convinced at some stage there’s going to be a big messy emotional explosion, and who knows who that is going to hurt – mostly myself. But seriously, some big deals have been thrown up and I’m not ready to crush my happiness under the weight of them just yet, I’ve only just found it again.
My grandma phoned this morning to discuss all the preparations she is making for me to go and stay with them later this week. She was scared of the things that can’t be fixed, and that almost bothered me enough to write a blog post about the issue, until denial smothered that flame like a fire blanket and I instead ordered myself a portable DVD player to replace the broken one that was my best friend as a child (ok. So maybe not my best friend, but I watched so many DVDs on the thing that it wore out and broke). There isn’t a lot to do at my grandparents’ house, and I got the DVD boxset of every single episode of Breaking Bad for my birthday, but have had nothing to watch it on because the external disc drive for my laptop broke… Plus, I figured out that I can afford it (I was very surprised to see that over 3/4 of my last student loan payment is still left, despite all my recent random donations to charity, presents to myself, and book-buying-binges).
I also figured out that the leftovers from my disability allowance that I’ve been saving up FOREVER are now enough for me to afford a labrador puppy, and four or five training sessions with an ex-police dog trainer who now trains and certifies dogs for the purpose for which I want to get a puppy. I would post about that, but this discussion would involve talking about why that dog would make such a difference, and that involves acknowledging the things that can’t be fixed.
My dog has spent the entire morning reminding me of the awesomeness of labradors (and animals in general). He has refused to leave my side at all, which is excessive even for him. He’s been practically glued to my shin (seriously, every time I take a step I feel his fur brush against my lower leg, and look down to see him alternately looking in front of himself, and then up at me). Waiting outside the bathroom door was not sufficient today, he put his nose between the door and the frame as I tried to close it and pushed his way after me. I sat on the sofa and read for hours with him curled around my feet, looking up every few seconds and wagging his tail happily when I looked back down at him. Eventually, of course, he ended up on my lap. Resting his head on my stomach was not enough either today, he nuzzled right up into my neck, a paw over each shoulder, and every now and then lifted his head to stare at me and attempt to lick my face or nudge my chin. A few hours after all of this I realised that he’d known about the changes in a particular thing that can’t be fixed long before I had, and was aware to the rollercoaster I had been oblivious to. He just didn’t know how to tell me in a way I understood (but I did get a lot of cuddles out of it, so it was all ok).
It’s been a few days since I’ve bored you with the things that can’t be fixed, which I’m sure you’re pretty relieved about. The thing is, this is the only place I have to talk openly about that stuff, and I think tomorrow, it may be time to pull my head out of the sand and let it all out of me one post at a time. I guess the quote I started this post off with has given me the push I needed to say the things I need to say.
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7 thoughts on “The Push I Needed

  1. Opening up does mean facing up to reality. I avoided telling people I was ill until I had to as I just didn’t want to go through the emotion of explaining. I get a puppy tomorrow I have named Lottie x

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    • OMG A PUPPY what breed is she? Will there be puppy pictures somewhere? (Please say yes!) I face reality sometimes, a lot of the time, because I have to in order to stay alive with my health problems and manage them… But when I start drowning in reality the only way not to break is to be a bit of an ostrich and bury my head in the sand until I’m ready to face the issues one by one. Apparently heart surgery and portacath insertion discussions whilst waiting for another general anaesthetic and trying to deal with occasionally fraught family dynamics… Was a bit too much to handle (there is a lot of other stuff, but I still fee pathetic as I know I’m lucky). I usually only tell people whatever health issue is bothering me most, which means some days I have a stupid heart if you were to ask me, and on other days the people who ask me never know my heart is a poop.

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      • She is a chihuahua as something small is easier for me to manage at home. She’s black, tan and white. I will do a blog post about her for sure ! Yeah I have days where I try to hide from things and just pretend like nothing is happening. My turning point was having to take a lesser role at work and change to 3 day week instead of full time. I felt like a huge failure and grieved for the person I once was who was strong, in control, organised and always one step ahead. It’s an obvious coping strategy to just shut it all out as that is easier than the raw emotion and cruel reality I still do it a lot too xx

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      • She sounds like she’ll look pretty cool with all those colours! I’ve never seen a chihuahua with mixed colouring before! Pets are great, especially dogs. It’s nice to feel needed and loved without being judged. Sorry to hear that, I think grieving is the right word – I still grieve for the sporty child I once was… I remember being happier then, but I guess it’s about finding new ways to cope. Glad to hear I’m not alone but also sorry you can relate. I’m super excited for you about your puppy, hopefully she isn’t badly behaved! xx

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      • I’m actually quite glad it may be happening, not because I want surgery but because I want a shot at getting back to the level of unwell that I was at. It’d be nice to be able to walk to the end of my road even, and maybe someday to walk my dog again x

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