Earlier this week, I was told by three separate people that my life is sad.
They were all understanding, kind people. They simply recognized how much I had loved what I can no longer do and, knowing that I did not choose or earn this path, they feel for me. They find it sad.
The minute those words were spoken, I found myself itching with discomfort. Each time, I hastened to steer the conversation towards the future, providing a floatation device which was latched on to with desperation, clinging to the hope that my future will be less sad.
And I couldn’t understand why I felt so uncomfortable. These were not the first times that I have encountered a reaction that is different from my own. But this time, I couldn’t work through the conversation. This time, I felt a sense of urgency, to steer away, to escape.
I think it was starting to sound a little too true. Right now, I am undergoing a lot of change. A new city, a new school, a new field. And with these new experiences has come a sense of loss for the past.
But even pushing past those creeping thoughts, I had been feeling discontent. On edge.
I had been feeling like my past didn’t fit with my present anymore. I found myself wondering whether I should try to stop thinking about it, to make a clean break, and move forwards with a fresh start.
Then, I spent the weekend on a lake to celebrate a beautiful wedding.
I was extremely nervous. I didn’t know very many of the guests, and I was concerned that I might need to miss certain events, or show up to some with some obvious accommodation, leading to awkward assumptions.
And I was nervous about meeting new people, and reconnecting with those I hadn’t seen in years.
Of the few people who knew me at the event, the majority knew me as a singer. If my past was no longer applicable, was something to be forgotten in the hopes of reducing the pain and recovery time, then what exactly did I have to offer?
Driving up the swirling road to the inn, I announced aloud that I would have a good time. And it echoed of a battle cry.
Maybe it was the nature, gentle and serene apart from an army of mosquitoes. Maybe it was the stars, reaching into infinity. Maybe it was the overwhelming sense of love, certainty, and ease, originating from the bride and groom and radiating throughout the entire guest list. Maybe it was the remarkably kind and laid back nature of those present.
But I had a wonderful time. And more than that, I felt relaxed among a sea comprised of mostly strangers.
Yes, I needed some accommodation. I had to slip outside, go lie down, and end the nights earlier than I would have chosen to. I increased the dosage of my medications, brought my own food along with blocks to raise the head of the bed, and wore tinted glasses or contacts the entire weekend.
But I was so happy.
I met new and fascinating people, caught up with other, wonderful individuals, and spent some time alone, soaking up the sun beneath my wide brimmed hat.
And I talked to some people about my medical situation. Some others heard about it through the grapevine. And I talked to still others about music. And some about television shows. Cynicism came up in conversation, as did the possibility of alien life forms. Travel, studies, relationships, childhood, dancing, temperature regulation - the list goes on.
I didn’t feel the need to hide any part of my life, any path it has taken. I didn’t feel self conscious at all.
In fact, I felt extremely at ease. More than that, I felt strong. Within the twists and turns that my life has taken, that have shaped me, and will continue to do so.
I am a work in progress. Compiled of the experiences I have lived, the emotions I have felt, the stories I now have to tell, with plenty of space for more.
And I have a wide repertoire. The vastness of my experience is an extraordinary gift, not something to hide and forget. It is a part of me, and therefore will always be applicable.
This weekend I met and re-met a variety of wonderful and fascinating people.
And I discovered another, within myself.