One of my 2016 goals is to post a blog each week with the only acceptable excuses for missing a post being family emergency or illness. This is a craft of my own making and very important to me so naturally I give myself deadlines. I posted the first blog of the year right on time and was moving on with my plan when a GIANT rolled in! A plague fell upon my household, arriving last Tuesday just as I was finishing the latest draft. My giant refused to let me complete my weekly goal. She reared her ugly head, snarling and determined to delay me. My knees trembled and I succumbed.
The past seven days have been a haze. Finally, I have a somewhat clear head and enough energy to try and finish this fairly simple piece of writing. There’s a lesson in this I think, though it’s not what I originally had in mind–GIANTS are everywhere! Giant illnesses which arrive in microscopic packaging, giant piles of laundry that seem to be endless, giant stacks of dishes, bills, errands, and other problems that don’t seem fixable. Sometimes relationships seem like giants, for good or ill, these things take up our time and force us down paths unwanted or unseen. My own writing aspirations is a giant I face daily, leering at me when I choose to veg in front of the television rather than plunk down at my desk to grind out a couple hundred words. The point is, we’re surrounded daily by GIANTS and are required to adapt and overcome, sometimes without a clue of how to do it.
Taking down a giant requires a battle plan, allies, and sometimes a concession or two. My week long illness was doable, the battle plan looked something like this: Stop at the drugstore, load up on daytime and nighttime ammunition called medicine. Take the medicine. Sleep. Wake up and shower. Forget the makeup, brush my hair, put on clean clothes and go to work. Clock-in, do the essentials, clock out. Repeat. I think you get the idea, it was full-tilt survival mode.
My allies had my back as I fought the good fight and waited for my immune system to launch its defense against the giant assailing me. Family, colleagues and friends rallied to the battle cry. They handled chores, prepared food, adorned me with sympathetic looks and treated me kindly as I moved through each day despondent and battle weary. I have to stop right here and give a special shout-out to my students. It’s times like these when you realize they love you. My students were the bomb last week, they stayed in line for the most part and just seemed to care–it made my life easier and I’ve smiled more than once over their thoughtfulness. Thanks guys and girls, you made your teacher very happy even though I didn’t look it! Allies are needed when fighting giants and sometimes they come when you least expect it.
Concessions are the third piece to bringing down the giants. Realizing our limitations help us to manage our battlefield. I think this is the part that’s hardest for me. I simply can’t do everything even if I want to! Yes, it’s true, I wore Super Woman underoos as a child and somehow that warped my brain because now I think I should be able to do everything and anything that I want or set my mind to. In reality, I could barely get my brain to make sense when I tried to talk, let alone produce anything of value to my readers. It was a personal minefield of unnecessary guilt and ridiculous expectations that I traversed in my head while my body labored for leverage over the giant which held me firmly within its grasp. All I really had to do was let go, allow the healing to come and stand back up when it did.
This brings me to the present. I’m still coughing up a lung now and again but I am gloriously alive, the giant is beat back and instead of what I’d planned to write I thought I’d tell each of you my story. Giants may be everywhere, some can be brought down, others you have to walk away from while making the decision to live so that you can fight another day. We all face them, in all shapes and sizes…make your plan, rally your allies, decide what your concessions will be and no matter what, never give up!