Sunday, September 30, 2012


You see bumper stickers on cars - peace not war.  You see kids with blue jeans decorated with iron on tie dyed patches of the peace sign.  Tatoos and necklaces - rings and posters - its all around us - subtle hints or loud screams for peace.  It appears to be such an easy concept - having peace in our lives - but internally and globally peace often is a distant mirage that we can see but never grasp.  The simple things in life, the things stripped down to the basics like - life - liberty and the pursuit of happiness as slogans and catch phrases make us wonder why is this all so difficult.  Peace has alluded me lately - in all aspects of my life - this illness has stirred doubt and turmoil and a mini war that appeared to be determined to take away any peace of mind - peace of heart - peace of self - peace of soul i had - and fighting for it has been exhausting.

My friend had reminded me of the metaphor or real life truth that often when you try to save someone from drowning the person clings so tight and struggles so hard that both people go down.  I guess i have felt a bit like that nearly every day since this unexplainable journey began - fighting so hard to find answers and diagnoses and treatments - I have been fighting so hard i have been drowning and have had such a difficult time when someone jumps in to try and save me - being so frantic so overwhelmed - that i have taken some people down with me.

When I was little my cousin Katie and I fought like siblings - no punches but knock down drag out childish fights.  It was a tough dynamic, my mom's sister has three children - and its my sister and myself.- so at times it seemed more like we were a family of five siblings than cousins of two and three.  For my cousins, the birth order went Kelly, Tommy and Katie.  I think 18 months separating Kelly and Tom and then Katie I think about four years younger than Tommy.  I was right in between Katie and Tom and my sister is the baby of us all.  So there was a bit of a divide - Kelly was just enough older than me that we were close - but Tommy and I were often mistaken for twins when we were out and about.  We did everything together - crazy can and newspaper collecting - bike riding - swimming - I still remember when my parents surprised us and picked us up at my aunts house and i thought I was going home and instead they were taking us to Fox Hills - a golf resort with this "fancy" ballroom with chandeliers and blood red carpeting - an arcade room and indoor pool - we thought we won the lottery. So Katie and my sister were always paired off by default in a way - being the two youngest - and it set up this dynamic of Katie wanting to be apart of our fun and depending on our mood Tom and I deciding if she was "big" enough - a sibling/cousin rivalry.  Its all pretty funny in hindsight considering as a young adult i lived with both Tom and Katie at different times and we had the best time ever.  But back in the days of being kids we each had our digs - "Katie the Baby" and "Miss Perfect" oh how she knew to hit my buttons - I can still remember the one argument that our default emotions filled - me in tears - katie mad as hell screaming "you think your so perfect - perfect - perfect perfect" and it was the only time our parents decided that perhaps it best that we physically separate and we left my grandparents a bit earlier than expected.

That perfect thing though always stayed in the back of my mind - you know the sarcasm veiled in truth - well there it was and even at 8 or 10 whatever age i was it stung deep - because she was right - i always tried so damn hard to be perfect - to not make anyone upset - to keep it all together - at any cost - I have read a lot of blogs about people that get this illness prior to it had very type A personalities - and that is why its so infuriating when doctors or others put labels of depression - or lack of motivation - or its all in your head just because we haven't figured out that perfect lab test that can check off the little box that says "CFS" period.

I don't want anyone to think that I believe this illness is brought on by perfection - but I am a bit fascinated in what we don't know about it  - and perhaps how the neuro-endocrine-immune system functions in individuals that have that desire and make-up to push to perfection in all aspects of their lives.  Many extremely successful leaders are perfectionists in one aspect of their lives and then fail miserably with their loved ones - and I can understand that - sometimes  there is no room for everything.

I am trying to let go of that "miss perfect" label that i have grown up with and kept as a code for myself - this illness has no room for it - nor do i anymore - and that's a little bit more freedom than i had yesterday - i had just read UpNorth's blog post about being sad  My World Blog - and I could relate - I am so sad right now there seems little room for much else - yet the Kahil Gibran poem about Joy and Sorrow kept running through my brain - so I will post it here.

Our childhoods are interesting little micro cultures of the framework for our adult lives - they don't define us but they shape us - good or bad - and I have come to a point - that I understand why that simple word Peace seems so difficult to reach - but I am learning to put it first - first towards myself and those around me - I want peace in my little spec of the world - and I know its attainable - but you have to stop fighting those that are trying to help rescue you.

And to my cousins - and my sister - our little gang of five - I love you and I cherish our fun just as much as our fights - i wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

On Joy and Sorrow
 Kahlil Gibran
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater thar sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

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