Last night I stood in Starbucks on 31st street and 6th avenue with four counterfeit Justin Bieber tickets in my hand and a sinking feeling in my stomach. I had just handed hundreds of dollars to a person from Craigslist on a city street corner, and almost immediately knew I had been played. My 14 year old little sister looked up at me (actually down, she's 1/2 an inch taller than me now) and asked me what's wrong. When I didn't respond and kept scanning the tickets for imperfections, she knew too. Her best night ever just turned into one of her worst, and there was nothing I could do about it.
Accepting change is no easy task, especially when you suffer with chronic pain. Getting conned into buying fake Bieber tix, I can easily recover from. But big life changes, real unplanned and unexpected twists in the narrative of my life, those tend to be much harder.
My year has been a pogo stick going up and down before the new year even started. I was so sure of what would happen in 2016, and the exact opposite occurred. I planned to be engaged, moving across country, starting a new career, improving my health, running a successful blog and planning for a future that felt secure. Instead, here I sit at my same old job with my same old body, in the same old state, single, achey, and moving back into my parent's house. Sounds like the start of a wonderful flare up.
On the day my crumbling life plan finally fell apart, my first instinct was to lay on the hardwood floor of my parent's living room and resign to a life of ferret hoarding and Hershey sundae pie's from Burger King. Why yes, there would be no other way. I felt the change occurring not just in my head and heart but in my body. When you suffer from a chronic illness, any major upset in your life or to your body can result in a period of pain that could easily spiral out of control.
I visited the podiatrist, he said the spurs were now all over the bones of my feet. My physical therapist said my sulking posture was creating "old lady hump". The massage therapist said there were knots the size of ping pong balls. The gym sent an email "It's been a while!".
It became clear, I had to change in order to survive the change. I made my bed. I donated old clothes. I stopped taking sick days. These were small victories. When you're a spoonie, they're actually big victories. I stopped being so headstrong, started opening up to accepting help from my friends and family. I realized just how important the people in my life are to me, and how I would do anything to let them know that.
Which leads here, standing in front of Madison Square Garden on a humid Tuesday night, my baby sister's eyes red with tears, hoards of teens in short shorts rushing by. I had made another attempt at doing the best I could do and it back fired. It felt like a small example of the much bigger picture — no matter how badly you may want something in your heart, it just might not work out. And that's okay. You're here. And you're on to fight another day.