“The Heart of the Splatter”
Today’s Words of Wisdom:
“When I was four years old they tried to test my I.Q. They showed me a picture of three oranges and a pear. They said, ‘Which one is different, it does not belong?’ They taught me different is wrong.”
~Ani DiFranco, “My IQ”
The Foda’s Take: This powerful song by Ani DiFranco has stuck with me since the first time I heard it back in college. It reminds me that sometimes what we take for granted as universal “truths” are actually in the eye of the majority beholder. So then what happens if you’re not the majority?
Howdy, everybody! I’m going to start off right away by getting to the heart of today’s topic. (Which, in point of fact, is all about the human heart. Yay, play on words!) Today, I have to admit, I’m perplexed. Why, do you ask? So sweet of you! I’m perplexed because rewiring your brain to think a different way is a very difficult, repetitive process. But having that process in turn affect the way you feel is even more challenging than shooting womp rats from your T-16 back home. There have been many adjustments I’ve had to make to not only accept my current condition, but also to enable myself to grow and thrive through adversity, instead of waiting stagnantly for “life as usual” to make a U-turn and pick me up from this proverbial banged up X-wing with no fuel I’m floating around in hyperspace in. But there is one issue in particular I’m struggling with. And it is a doozy. And I suspect I’m not the only one out there who has been grappling with this particular beast.
Control. Or, more accurately, the lack thereof. I have been cognizant for a long time about what is and is not within my realm of control. Can I control when I will get better? No. Do I have control over what I can do on my end medicinally, nutritionally, and holistically to give myself the best chance I can? Yes! But can I control when all that hard work will pay off? Again, no. Now, this logic is sound, and makes perfect sense in my brain. However, to my impatient, driven, reach-for-the-stars heart? This seems horribly, horribly wrong. After all, if you work as hard as you possibly can, it doesn’t seem quite fair that the end result may still be out of your hands, right? And this disillusioned Foda has been trying for a long time. So it’s not just about accepting the logical limitations of control- it’s about finding peace in throwing away a burden that isn’t yours to manage. And that’s where this Foda fumbles. Because, well, if I can’t control it, I can’t fix it. And that is not something I feel too swell about.
In this world, we’re initially taught using concrete problem solving methods. One plus one is two, Star Wars is synonymous with awesome… you know, things like that! They’re the easiest to grasp, and have a “right” answer. Like the oranges and pear problem in my quote of the day! So it makes total sense that in life, we want our answers to be concrete. But life isn’t concrete. It’s abstract, and variable, and ever-changing. And this is a fact we accept easily in our minds- so why is it so hard to connect that fact with acceptance in our hearts? Perhaps because we learn, as Ani said, that “different is wrong.” Things that are concrete- black and white- have clear answers that will always be the same, and we can feel safe and secure in them. But things that are obscure, like the splattered paint drops of abstract artist Jackson Pollock, have no right answer. Therein lies the beauty- but also the controversy. Since there is no “right” answer, a sense of certainty is harder to obtain.
I, like most people who deal with a chronic illness, am searching for peace throughout this journey. And to accept peace, I’m going to first have to let go of things I can’t control. As a woman- oh, okay, fine, as a human being, this won’t be easy. We don’t like things we can’t control, because it makes us feel helpless. But clinging to them is also a lot like holding onto a plane seat during turbulence. It’s not going to make the cabin steady out any faster- and if the turbulence lasts for a loooooong time (making an analogy to having chronic illness here, folks) then all you get out of the deal is swollen knuckles and some fancy indents on your palms.
So this week, I’m going to try and stop searching for the “right” answer as to how I can get better faster, or find (and by find, I really mean feel) peace. Instead, I’m going to channel my inner yogi and use my brain for one thing only when that old restless feeling creeps over me- to remind myself to breathe, and that the rest is out of my hands. Thankfully, they say it only takes 28 days for something to become a habit. (Which, ironically, is a super black and white statistic concerning a very abstract concept.) But we shall see!
Now where did I put that incense…