So today I am in the hospital waiting for my mother to have an operation. We recently found out that her body has cancer [yes, I wrote that exactly the way I meant to write it, her body not her] and being the women who we are, staying down is not an option so we went into “fix this” mode, thus the operation.
I haven’t really allowed the full impact of what cancer is and what it could do to take up permanent residence in my brain. My family had been blessed for a long time and were able to live on the outside of this disease for a while, though we have lost very close friends and family members of friends to it; it never made it into our house before this month. But even as outsiders we knew that this was not the time to panic, but to pull on faith and do what we needed to do. When your reality gets flipped upside down and there is nothing you can hold onto for direction or strength, there is only one source that I have found reliable and capable of giving me peace. And when your mommy needs you to be a rock, you put on your big girl panties, and you grab hold of your faith and you stand firm. [even if inside you may feel like a shaking little girl]
I will probably post future posts on this particular moment in our lives, but today I am going to use blogging as my way of working through this as I sit in this hospital room, waiting. To me writing is breathing and I need to do something with my hands and to keep my mind busy. You see, I am young enough to learn and old enough to know that challenging times can sometimes bring out the fool in people, especially in me. If you remember my previous posts, I have always tried to be transparent and let you know that I am not perfect. And in being imperfection, I have dealt with many challenges and moments of stress in ways that sometimes made the situation far worse. And I have used techniques that may have appeared helpful in the beginning but in reality, would just prolong the recovery process.
Now back to what I think may be the point of this blog entry [please excuse me if my brain goes all over the place and my writing is a bit sloppy].
During my third year in university I took a Labor Economics course, clearly, I had too much thoughts of grandeur, to this day I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to take that ridiculous course [I majored in Economics and Human Resources so I was no punk to Economics but that course was Hard] From the beginning to the end, that course kicked my butt. And every day I would leave that classroom feeling like an idiot, lost and filled with doubt. Some people may think that I am over reacting, but when you are the first to go to university and you are on a limited student loan, in another country far from home; you learn very early that you have to pass each and every course and there is very little room to play with. So, after class when I would enter into my funk, I would walk across the campus to the school pub and head straight to the arcade room to play Street Fighter [don’t judge me]. See at this stage of my life, that was one of the two ways that I knew to face doubt and fear. Every week I would either walk back to my apartment to order too much food and reflect on my inability to pass, or head to the video game to beat something up legally – [I am not condoning violence as a way to face stress or violence in any way, this is just where I stood in my life at that time]. I also knew that overeating was not a good stress reliever but as I was very skinny I did not think it would harm too much and it made me feel better in the moment. The thing is, none of those techniques actually fixed the problem, the problem was still there and no amount of video games or binge eating could fix it – I was failing Labor Economics and failing it badly too. Every week my grades got worse, and outside of the sparse games and food splurges I was feeling worse. And to add to this new level of funk I was broke. Food and video games were not free and I was spending my laundry money on video games and my school money on enough pizza and hamburgers to feed a small family. Something had to give.
My coping technique was just that a coping mechanism. It was not fixing or solving the problem it was just a costly quick bandage to help me during the low. I had to figure out a solution that was not going to cost me my ability to wear clean clothes or pay my school fees. I was in school to get my degree and no course, even if it was at the advance level was going to keep me from getting my papers. I had to stop covering the problem, but deal with it at the core and ask for help to fix it. I turned to classmates, the professor even my boyfriend at the time to help me through and to show me where I was messing up. And no, it did not happen overnight but with help I was able to leave that course with a C average but coming up from a Strong F, I was so happy you would have thought I got an A+.
So today I am reaching out for help and turning not to people to walk me through the homework and steps, but to my faith to guide me through my fears, my doubts and to help me stand firm at this time when storms may be trying to rise up. I am not saying that they may not be times when I may feel a bit overwhelmed sitting in this chair, but I am no longer coping with struggles. I have learned to tap into the source of all help, support and healing to guide me and to provide strength and direction. I do not know what the future holds, but I know that everything will be okay and this knowledge I know is not mine, for like Labor Economics I am unprepared, but with God, it will be okay.