Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sweet Surprises

As aspiring ballerinas, one of the greatest skills we were taught was the art of balance.  My teacher would demonstrate how to center ourselves.  She would help us place our arms in the correct position, and sometimes have us close our eyes.  It wasn't just about not moving or falling to one side; the real skill came from learning how to essentially use your own body to stabilize yourself.  By using our own muscles and strength, but making sure not to tense-up, we developed a fair amount of stability in our own bodies.  Without holding onto anything at all, we held ourselves up.

Sometimes I close my eyes and try to find that skill again.  The world has been way too shaky for my liking.  And there seems to be little I can do except to try not to fall over.

Things have gotten so out of focus that the things I've been stressed about, I've come to realize, are not even the things I should be upset over.  I lost Jonathan almost exactly 6 months ago.  I've let myself hurt, and cry, and feel that unsettling realization, but lately, so much nonsense has somehow overshadowed it that it sets me back.  My nature is to take care of people.  Obviously, in my role as a pediatric oncology nurse, it's not only my nature, it's my job.  But I tend to do it outside of the hospital as well.  I want to help.  I want to be there for people.  I want to "fix" things.

People tend to come to me with their problems, and for the most part, I'm happy to help.  Trust me, if I care about you, there is nothing more important to me than your happiness. But there are times when I allow myself to be put second.  And the truth is, I don't want to do that anymore.  My therapist says I'm "magnetic".  I'm not sure if that's something a therapist is supposed to say, but she did. She says she gets why people are drawn to me.  And I love that people talk to me, or want to.  And I don't need someone to take care of me, but it might be a nice change of pace for a little while.

I've been disappointed a lot lately -- in the world, in people, in myself, even.  I'm not always the person I want to be.  I don't always live up to the standards I hold others to.  But I've been let down in such a way recently that has certainly shaken up this balancing act.  When I believe in something, especially a person, it becomes my religion.  There is nothing that can make me change my mind.  If I love someone, there are very few things that person could do to make me change how I see them.  I'll put up with a lot.  I'll make excuses.  I'll give the benefit of the doubt.  It takes a lot for me to open myself up completely.  (Vulnerability is not something I like to show to the world.)  But when I do, it means everything and my heart is exposed. I know I'm not perfect, but I deserve for someone to believe in me, too.  Not having this particular friend to hold onto surely makes staying upright even more tricky.  But I'm managing.

I have also been surprised lately.  There have been moments of sweet surprises and exceeding of expectations.  (And 'Happy Birthday-flavored' Oreos) And it reminds me that there is goodness in life.  Those moments that make your heart happy... they will never cease to exist.  No matter how many times your beliefs are crushed or how many people disappoint you, there will always be those times when your faith is renewed, and those select few who surprise you and don't let you down.  Bad things happen.  Everyone knows that.  We all have our stories.  But they don't define us.  It's what we do after.  It's how we recover. It's how our hearts say to our brains, "hey, I'm still here.  I still work."  It's whether or not we listen.

"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place." <3

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