Samstag, 21. November 2015

Still the same old story

The holidays are coming and traditions will be followed.  I will watch a series of films that were made in my youth and features love songs from my grandparent's youth and get teary and sigh.
On the journey to self improvement, the phrase "there is another way" has been helpful in changing myself for the better. It also seemed to be a theme to the holidays last year. I do feel more sane when I let go of my vice grip on how I think that things should go.
But no matter what has happened between holiday seasons, I can watch a rom com with too much red and green and Dooley Wilson will sing "It's still the same old story..." and things will feel comfortably samey. George Bailey won't want any more plastics or ground floors. Harry Stiles will convince us that it's not because it's New Year's Eve. And Annie Reed will make me feel less foolish when she gets all emotional about An Affair to Remember.
But then Esther Smith will say that it's her last dance in St Louis and she thinks she might cry and you remember that things do change, that it's not the same as last year and that can be good and bad.
It's not the same old story and thank goodness, because I've been with my husband for 11 years and fear that he's heard all of my stories. But he's off in Transnistria over Thanksgiving, interviewing Russian peace keepers and I'm headed to the US to hug my siblings tightly before my ostomy surgery and thank goodness that we can keep having new and different experiences so that we have something to talk about at dinner.

Freitag, 20. November 2015

What if one split second sent your life in two completely different directions? (tagline for Sliding Doors)

I once wrote a breakup letter - a Dear John, if you will - to Crohn’s disease upon the advice of my therapist. I think that I may have blogged it. Her intention was for me - a codependent woman - to stop identifying myself by my disease. I don’t think that it worked. But that might have been because I didn’t do my traditional break-up ritual. 
In the past, after a bad breakup, I’d do the requisite stuff: get a bad haircut, maybe get a dog, wallow and eat things and - most importantly - I’d watch the film Sliding Doors and revel in the alternate universe that I’d veered on to and prepare myself to for what is to come. 
I feel in the need for some Sliding Doors. My marriage is more solid than ever and every day I’m struck with gratitude for my understanding, loving, patient husband. My upcoming surgery will give me so much new freedom and i won't need to run to the bathroom every half hour. But the midriff that I've come to know in the last 17 years will be forever changed and I find myself thinking, "If I'd known it was my last summer of swimming without an ostomy....", "If I'd known that the last time I had / did/ went..." It's those break up thoughts, where you feel surprised by an end. Sure, there's much to look forward to (without thinking about the scary bits) but I've grown accustomed to my middle and will be sad to bid this version of it fairwell. 
So I want to break out the ice cream and warm up the telly, but a sample ostomy arrived and my husband's response to it was relief and optimism, so maybe I'll just take it one day at a time and be pleased that I have no need for Sliding Doors.

Freitag, 6. November 2015

Whatif by Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!

    The Whatifs are frequent visitors in my ear. I'm in a 12-step program, which seems to make them more manageable, but then I see my backpack. At the end of the day, I often find myself wondering: Why is my bag so heavy? And then I realize that it's full of what-ifs. I've still not managed to stop myself from preparing for any eventuality.

    When I was new to Zürich and immersed in the "Ex-pat" community, I got the reputation of having what one needed. I don't mean that I was their Shawshank Red or anything, but when someone needed something like a plaster or a tissue or a mint or a tampon or a pair of dry socks or a hand fan or 2 pairs of sunglasses or wet wipes or a sewing kit or a book or knitting or some change for the pay toilets or an get it. Someone would pop a button or cut a finger and turn to me and say "Mummy...." 

    For some reason, I think that I'm improving. I'm not a mummy and I don't have as many useless things in my bag, but my overly laden back pack seems to err towards a constant fear of not being distracted enough. I was walking my dog to the shops and when I was in the tram to return home, I realized that I had my Kindle, my New Yorker, my knitting and my iphone full of podcasts. All for a 2 km walk, with a dog on a leash. 

    But what if I did stop and need something to entertain me? Couldn't I just take in my surroundings? They weigh nothing and fit comfortably on my shoulders.