Feb. 1st, 2017

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If this week is any indication of how life with lupus can be, then I no longer have to be afraid of what the future will bring. I can look into the mirror and see a life of possibility. I can raise my head towards the sun and see my shadow below, instead of it rising and enveloping me whole.

I am changed and continue to change under this disease. I am far more somber than I was before, but as time goes on, I'm finding that this might not be a bad thing. Cavalier as I have been my whole life about what lies around the corner, suddenly the years ahead hold weight. I've given the future more than a cursory glance and for it, I find reason to believe that it is to be treated with respect. With honor.

I've always said that I don't make plans because they inevitably fall apart, crisis by crisis. Lupus has only strengthened that belief, but I am more able to do things that assure a brighter future, regardless of what plans I do or do not have.

I've been able to do something this week that I have not been able to do in months. I've been able to laugh. True laughter. A delight that catches me by surprise, places where humor can pierce the veil of weariness. Jesse said that the first time he heard a true laugh from me, he later cried, so beautiful was the sound.

Along with it, he used a word that I had never thought to put towards myself. I say the word "somber." He says the word "graceful." I re-read my entries over the last six months and see no grace, only confused battle cries. Graceful, he said, in a sense of how I am beginning to stand to this disease. Graceful in that I am somehow able to do the things that need to be done, no matter the rock thrown onto my back. Graceful in acceptance, a thing that has been happening in such small increments as to be nearly unnoticeable.

But maybe it's more noticeable than I thought. It was one of the most beautiful compliments I've ever received.

So much of the previous bitterness of my life has been blown away. Snuffed out like a breath upon a candle. I will never be okay with how I grew up. I will never not be upset at David and the ways I was treated. But the venom has fallen off the edge of my psyche - and it did so quickly. All my life I've held onto anger. The sharpest of the anger, the kind that cuts both those I'm angry at and myself as well.

These days I simply do not have the energy to indulge in it often. I will sometimes seek it out. It is a fire of motivation that I know well, that I know works, that I know will always be in some core of myself.

But the older angers have begun to fall away, leaving room for me to work through the new issues, the new angers, with a clarity and space that has never been there before. The new issues are still overwhelming and I still find myself flailing barely above the water. But what came before does not hang on my ankle like a cinder block, dragging me even deeper into the waters.

This has only happened in my sickness. I think it could ONLY happen in my sickness. There is so much truth to the idea that life changing events force new perspectives upon us. A thing I'd dismissed as being cliche - at least until it happened to me.

Now that my body has begun to align itself with some semblance of health, of not being nailed down to the floor, the mind also lifts. I am, as always, astounded at the mind/body connection and how entangled it is.

I lay in bed with Jesse last night, looking at the scars on my arm. The places where I lost hope, where the internal agony had become so great that the only way to describe it was to write it in blood. I am eager for the scars to fade but it is just as well that they take their time in healing. Let it remind me of the places I've gone. Let them tell a part of the story that rises today as the sun climbs over the plains.

Messy as it was, dangerous as it was, (apparently, being anemic, I lose more blood through those shallow cuts than normal people), they remind me of the places where I need to be the most compassionate towards myself.

I tried to re-read every entry over the last six months. I made it halfway through and had to close the laptop lid. It's all so raw, so terrified, so full of rage and frustration. I don't believe in hiding what hurts and thus the hurt utterly soaks the pages.

I will never be a peaceful person. My road is one that will always be rocky. I will not always have shoes to traverse this road and sometimes, my feet will bleed on the gravel. There will always be an unstable part of my core, one that can explode or implode, given the right amount of time and triggers. I have long since accepted this part of myself.

Peace is an unattainable goal for me. Acceptance is not.

And this morning, at 5:49 AM, before I smoke the cigarette that marks me going back to bed, I accept. What it is that I am accepting, I'm not quite sure. But I do know that I am accepting something - and that alone gives me hope for the future. For the first time in months, I finally feel as if the future is worth fighting for.

The future is always worth fighting for.

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