More than likely, every single one of you reading this is a writer or has been a writer at some point. As such, it is likely that every single one of you has heard the advice: “show don’t tell.”
But here is my thought for today… showing is a photograph. Showing is a painting or a movie or another visual art form.
Writing, though, is for getting into the brain. In no other median can an idea or thought be represented so clearly, so absolutely. Sure, there are language barriers… the very idea of loss of meaning between writer and reader… but there is a pureness that is allowed in this form of communication that is not quite has well represented in the visual forms.
I have always loved taking photographs. There is a way that I can capture sunlight colored through a sprinkler’s rain that I cannot quite catch merely with words.
But I can tell you with my words what I was thinking when I took the photograph. I can tell you of the feeling of joy, a kind of heated pressure in my chest to see the sprinkler in the sun. I can tell you how I felt an anticipation for summer mixed with a little bit of wonder as my five-year-old ran through that freezing cold water.
I am able to describe how my contentment felt like a warm blanket of sunshine on my shoulders; and how during those moments I knelt on the wet grass, moisture seeping through the knees of my jeans, lightness permeated the air and happy floated by.
The feeling curls around my neck. Starting somewhere in the shoulder blades, moving upwards towards the shoulder muscles, then sneaking, slowly, stealthily, along the edges until wrapping around and around the neck column to that indention at the base of my skull.
It stabs at that throat chakra, restricting communication, shutting down the ability to express myself. The controlling aspect of my personality — the ultra logical, precise aspect of myself — likes to examine the stress as if it were a lab animal. Poking, prodding, adding stimuli to create reaction, I work my way through the restrictive tentacles.
This morning, the experimentation and the poking are not really required. I know exactly where the stress stems from, and other than attempting to distance myself from the outcome of the cause, there is not much I can do about it.
My logical self hates this kind of stress. “Nothing can be done!?!?,” my logic screams at me, and then doesn’t believe me and thinks I am lying for fun, and then goes in to the corner for a good sulk.
But truly, and honestly, sometimes there is nothing that can be done.
I mean, there is yoga, deep breathing, meditation.
All of these are ways of coping with the symptoms. And yes, those things often help; but occasionally it doesn’t matter what you do, or how you try to handle it; sometimes it can’t be handled.
And then, you have to be okay with that too.
My mom has cancer.
Now wait, before you wonder where I am going with this, trust me.
My mom has cancer. She has chronic myeloid leukemia. If you’ll notice, the chronic suggests that this is something she will have to deal with for the rest of her life. My mom is young, super young (we are only 16 years apart), so to have a disease that will dog her step forever is a scary, mind-numbing, hard thought to process through.
She wakes up every morning and the cancer is still there. No amount of treatment or therapy will get rid of that chronic disease.
There is nothing to do but deal with the symptoms.
And I not only speak of the physical symptoms of exhaustion and migraines, but the emotional ones as well. These symptoms include defeatism, pessimism, and depression. She deals with sadness, frustration, and paranoia. Every day she has to prove over and over that she can do her job, be a mom and grandmother, and be a friend. Every day she has to remind everyone else… and herself, that she is not cancer.
And she does. Every day.
Are there days that it is harder than others? Absolutely. Sometimes she wakes up and doesn’t want to deal with any of that shit. Sometimes she wakes up and wants to go back to sleep.
But she doesn’t.
She wakes up. And keeps going.
And that is what we all have to do. Keep going.
The stress this morning is choking me. I actually feel it like a pressure in my throat, pushing down at my windpipe, closing expressions, words, thoughts, and ability.
And what is causing the stress is entirely out of my control.
I treat the symptoms. I will get a good workout in today to add some happy-hormone. I will make sure to get extra cuddles from my little man. I will do things to decrease the pressure of that python squeezing the living breath out of my body.
And I will keep going. Because, in the end, sometimes that is all you can do.
So, friends, here’s to the process of moving through the day, despite what that day brings. May you find peace, contentment, and the ability to put one foot in front of the other.