It's good to be back among the living. Without going into the gory details, I had a violent bout with the flu on Sunday night that I really thought was going to kill me. I know that I am loved, because I received an unusual number of phone calls on Monday from people who didn't know I was sick. I scared a few of them when I answered the phone -- I was really sick.
A good friend rescued me by insisting that a trip to the doctor Monday night -- and not Tuesday morning was the best remedy -- and the surest way to avoid dehydration. It was good advice. A simple trip to the urgent care -- complete with an IV drip and a nausea shot -- rescued me from my "death bed". A few bowls of chicken noodle soup later along with several ounces of Powerade and I'm almost ready to go back to work.
During that time, I also lost my cell phone -- my only connection with the rest of my world -- at the grocery store. Since I thought it was stolen, I also lost several hours of what would've been needed rest.
By the time I found my phone and called all my worried loved ones to tell them I was on the mend and had a connection to civilization, I was ready for another nap.
Fortunately, I only had one appointment today, so I had time to rest and get some things done. During that time, I talked to my sister, who asked a question I suppose many other people have asked themselves, "Why are you still in Wisconsin?"
Good question. There are days when I'm not sure I know the answer. On the other hand, I can come up with many good reasons why I'm not ready to leave.
At the time the divorce finalized and my house sold, I was not in any emotional condition to just move without purpose. I definitely didn't want the stress of a job change. I definitely didn't want to move to a completely foreign place where I only knew a few people. I felt completely overwhelmed at the idea of starting my life over. The truth is, as much as I haven't ever really felt at home in Wisconsin, I've been here longer than I've been anywhere -- short of my K-12 years in Columbus, Ind.
Wisconsin feels foreign to my friends and family, but I have as many friends here that I actually do things with that I would have anywhere I would move to. And, for that reason, it feels safe. I don't have to deal with having to heal in front of anyone -- it hasn't been pretty. I don't have to start a new job, develop new friendships or reestablish old friendships all at one time.
I also told myself that no matter where I "land" I want to leave my emotional baggage here. I want to lose the weight I gained while I have been here. I want to be free of the bad emotional habits I developed in my marriage. And, I want to rediscover who I really am.
Since the divorce, I have lost nearly half the weight I gained. I am working with my counselor on a regular basis to identify and reverse my bad habits. And, I am rediscovering what I like and don't like about myself -- and where I want to go.
This rediscovery phase is so important because my natural tendency is to be a chameleon -- to blend into the lives of the people I love and care about. While I am a strong leader, I also morph into a support role. This can be a strength -- but taken to an extreme, I lose my identity in the process. And, that is not healthy.
One my biggest weaknesses is that I always worry about what other people think. I don't trust myself to heal properly and honestly if I'm constantly wondering how other people are responding to the crazy cycle they call the "healing process" -- for me it's more like watch the crazy lady go through every emotion in an hour -- repeat and rinse.
This may be hard to understand, but I don't feel strong enough to live near my family or close friends without completely losing myself in them. If I have a second chance at figuring out who I am, then now is the time to do that. Do I need a support network, yes! But, the fact is, I get lots of support. I have lots of people who love me and care about me and look after me -- locally and nationally. Contrary to popular belief, Wisconsin is not a remote island, devoid of human care and concern. Quite the contrary. I am so blessed. And, yet, I know that no one can walk through this fire for me.
That doesn't mean that I can't or won't accept help. I need lots of it! But, it does mean that I pick and choose the help I can accept to continue to move forward in the healing process -- and identify the help that will only weaken that end. It does not mean that I always choose wisely. But, God is good and wise and strong. He restores me gently.