Am I hiding?

Last week my husband and I were in the bookstore having coffee.  Later he saw a book he wanted and asked me if I wanted a book too.   Of course I want a book!  I looked around but I keep coming back to one book when I am there and I decided there must be a message in this.  The book is Byron Katie’s “Who Would You Be Without Your Story?”.  I have looked through it several times and one of the things I noticed is how she takes a statement and is able to get down to the core of the situation.

If that weren’t enough, in the last Ike Pono weekend, I was asked “Why are you still holding on to RA?”.  A very uncomfortable moment but I realized it was more true than I was willing to admit to myself.  So the Universe is talking to me , it just seems that the subtle hints and messages weren’t getting through, so it was time for more direct communication.  So now I have to ask myself why am I still holding on, but also ask who would I be without it?

The “Who Would I be” question is easier to answer now – I would be energetic, able, light, pain free, more focused on what I want to do, more enthusiasm, do things with my husband.   So now the question “Why do I hold on to RA?”.  I know the answer is fear, though not quite sure the exact fear.  I realize having RA is familiar – though very uncomfortable and expensive – so not having it and stepping out into the world and taking a risk is scary.  I know I tell myself (and others) I have a limited amount of energy, limited physically and can’t do things the way other people do who don’t have RA.  It is a good excuse not to do things that are scary or I am unsure about, plus it means if I don’t do them, I won’t be wrong.  The more I think about it, the more I realize I am afraid that should I be RA free with energy, enthusiasm and vitality, I will get in over my head and not fulfill what I promised and let people down.  It also means I have  to step out and take risks, try new things, learn new skills – the fear is not being able to “get it”.  I don’t want to be back in the 6th grade math class with story problems not understanding and feeling lost, scared and clueless.  I do promotional marketing and because there is such a wide range of areas to focus on, I don’t know what to choose.  Essentially I am afraid to choose and find I made a wrong decision – more of that fear of being wrong.  I think that  comes from high school and being told to choose a career to prepare for college.  The unsaid intent was that whatever I choose will be for the rest of my life.  I was afraid of choosing the wrong career and then being stuck with it for the rest of my life.  No one told me that people change careers several times in a lifetime, that the choice isn’t necessarily permanent unless you want it to be.

It is not easy to write this because it is hard to admit and acknowledge how much of what is going on has been my choice.  I realize I have been hiding behind RA for a long time because I have been afraid of the world – the silent message as I was growing up was the world is a scary place.  Be sure you are safe and secure before stepping out.  I have not felt safe and secure, nor does hiding make it any better.  I have realized I don’t like to compete and with RA, people don’t really expect much from me – I have made sure of that by telling them fairly quickly I have RA.  Then when I outperform their expectations, then they are amazed and think I am amazing.  Unfortunately, I sometimes feel a bit of a fraud – I have early childhood training about speaking the truth no matter what.  Now I am grateful for the gift of integrity my parents gave all three of us, it has just taken almost 60 years to realize it.  Sometimes I would love to cut corners, it would make things easier, but that training kicks in and I can’t cut corners.

I am also grateful for the man I married almost 42 years ago.  We had been married about a year and half when I was diagnosed with RA and he has been with me through it all.  He could have said “I’m done” and walked away, but I married a wonderful man of integrity and love.  He has put up with a lot of stuff, invested in pharmaceuticals that don’t pay dividends because they went inside me and watched me in pain a lot of time.  He has done so much to help me and be there for me – he still loves me after all that stuff.  I will admit not appreciating him as much as he deserves and I told him recently that I had to apologize to him, that I truly appreciate him and all he has done, especially the last few years with my Mom.

All this prompts me to start looking objectively at how I see myself –  it been a very negative view and I now choose to see myself in the most positive light and truly begin to love myself.

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