My thoughts are meandering, so bear that in mind, this post discreetly calls upon so much of what happens in my days without detail or justice to any one moment.
It is often those things that we imagine that get us through those things that we are actually facing. For example when I have a headache, I imagine that each breath going into my body is a healing wave and each rush of that wave outward carries all that might pollute me out with it. When I try to get through tough exercise that my body fights against I imagine worse pain that I have withstood during surgeries and the like. When feeling lonely and broken hearted I imagine my love is not lost, just on a business trip. When faced with conflict at home or work I imagine birds chirping in a field of flowers as I lay in the grass and feel the warmth of the sun on me, or perhaps throwing a ball with my dogs at the beach (in that little image I am also somehow a tall, white, blond woman in classy knit sweaters which is a bit problematic when we think of the constructedness of racial norms but we’ll leave that aside for now, also, I am landlocked so….). When I think of someone whose passed away (death has been all to near my loved ones lately) I imagine them alive and full of life, at their best, laughing.
I imagine the best to get through the worst and I remember survival to get through pain. So it’s a bit confounding when all those images blur together and they stop carrying me forward. The other day in Pure Barre as my body failed me I remember telling myself, “think of what you survived and don’t stop now,” I tried to imagine those long MRIs and hospital stays and the strength it took to get through them, the painful days, the long nights. It wasn’t working, my memory betrayed me, those days not more than 7 weeks ago pushed so far into the back of my mind, conjuring them was impossible. When hearing of the death of a loved one last night I sat there in disbelief hearing that laugh, seeing that smile as it was the last time I was in its warmth. I imagined a phone call, “it was all a mistake, they are still with us,” it would say, I imagined life in the wake of death. This morning when I woke those imaginings failed me. The reality set in. I couldn’t conjure any images in my minds eye to distract or rewire those pain signals in my mind. I couldn’t replace the negative with positive.
I used to imagine those grassy fields and flowers and beaches when things were loud in my little Boulder condo, imagining that outside my door was not a drunk undergrad taking a pee, rather it was a beautiful white picket fence backing to a beautiful rice field on Lake Bunyoni in Africa. I imagined so much into that space that when I plunk back to reality, with pee splashing in my face I can’t help but be a tiny bit heartbroken at the present.
I know, it sounds ungrateful, it sounds privileged and like someone who is fundamentally spoiled. It feels that way too. As a person who often finds reality so confounding I disappear in escape, my own reality that is truly pretty charmed in many ways, is often too much for me. I vasillate between the notion that perspective will save me and the opposite side of that coin that others’ suffering should not be used to minimize my own, it is a disservice to the world. My intellectual and analytical mind breaks down every thought in a complex critique that keeps me firmly planted in the present while my mind and heart wish for that imagination to kick in.
Coping is weird, right?! Healing is a journey, a long ass one.
I can’t imagine my way out of every problem. I can’t breath through every bit of pain. So I sit here, firmly grounded in all that is actually happening, and have faith in all that I am and all that I’ve learned, with hope in my heart and intellect in my mind, knowing I will bring imagination and reality back together again and build this life into all it can truly be.
Peace and love,