I once read something where they said that if your pet places their head against a wall for extended periods of time, it may be a warning sign for things like a…
If only this also works for humans. When humans sit in the corner or against a wall, it either means they’re in a time out, or somethings on their mind. I have been doing a lot of sitting against the wall, sitting on the stairs, staring off to the distance, etc. Not because I am a pet, despite my tendency to call myself a cat at times as a joke, but because I’m not sure what else to do. Tomorrow, my friends are competing in the regional DECA competition, something I used to do, and was good at too. My partner has a new partner now, and all I can do is wish them the best of luck tomorrow when they compete. But seeing them practicing together pulled at my heart strings. I thought, “that could have been me if it wasn’t for this stupid tumour”. I went to volleyball practice today at 7am, and when I arrived I was greeted by my coach with a “sorry, but the vice-principal said you are not allowed to be on the court unless you can bring in a doctor’s note”. So I sat there during the practice feeling even more useless than when I could be at least be on the court for a part of the warm-up. The grade 11 math class I’m auditing had a quiz today, which even though I learnt this all last year, I didn’t feel prepared to do and had to opt out of the quiz . Every time I see a new question, I have to treat it like it’s the first time I’m learning it or else I’ll get stuck. Which compared to the months right after my surgery when I couldn’t do basic math, it’s a huge improvement already. “Still not fast enough”, I would say. But realizing it’s only 4 months since my surgery, it’s actually a giant improvement that I cannot get myself to recognize.
As someone who takes pride in being able to participate in everything and taking on leadership positions, it’s been tough standing in the back-lines. I find it hard to implement myself into things I used to lead. How am I supposed to be able to do ____________ anymore? Fill that blank with just about everything that I do and you have the multitude of questions I am faced with every day. I get home and all I can do is try to make my parents understand how this feels for me having everything be restricted. It’s like a TV-addict suddenly having all their favourite channels suddenly blocked, or their Netflix account stopped. Except this is real life, and unlike TV shows, these have real consequences. It can’t be fixed by wishing it away, or a convenient chain of events that always ends in a happy ending. I have days where I don’t want to leave my bed after school. Times when I don’t want to go down for dinner because I had a rough day and I begin to think, what’s the point. My mom refuses to let me be and makes me eat something (I guess that’s a good thing, this way at least I won’t starve). But every time I get myself to go down the stairs to eat, I always end up yelling out something I end up regretting later on. Something usually so depressing you would think this was a TV tragedy. Except it’s once again… real life…and real emotions. That probably make my parents feel terrible.
I’m not sure when exactly this happened, but sometime right after the surgery, I had a dream that I could have sworn was real. A light shined above me, a surgery lamp. I was being resuscitated and falling unconscious. Seeing moments of darkness flash in between the moments of light. It was almost like I could feel my chest being electrocuted by the defibrillator. The beeps signalling my life were dying down and coming back up. This happened a few more times until the beeps became continuous and then I feel back asleep again in my dream. I thought this was real.
I thought it was real for the first few days. But my attempts to figure it out was stopped by the fact that I couldn’t speak and my signals weren’t enough for a nurse or my parents to understand. The beginning of my recovery was filled with the fear that something had happened during my surgery and I’ll be paralyzed forever. My brain wasn’t back completely yet, so I was really cheery thinking that I was lucky to still be alive. Little did I know that this was the expected outcome after a brain surgery and I was not going to be out of the hospital in 2 weeks like the surgeon said (At least I think he said that. It was a white lie to protect me from knowing what happens in reality perhaps, I’ll never know for sure). In a way I feel scammed, but in another way I feel thankful that they “scammed” me, or else I’m not sure I would have done the surgery. When I finally could speak enough to ask the questions that were on my mind, that’s when I started to realize that it wasn’t because of any complications. That’s what they already knew was going to happen.
In many ways, this surgery has changed my perspective on life. Not so much so that I can suddenly shift my whole personality, but enough to change the way I look at people. The night before I was admitted into hospital, I was watching Mad Men” on Netflix. I think that was an episode that was happier than usual. Today, I watched another episode. This one was not as happy. In this episode, Don gets a divorce from his wife because she found a new man (spoiler alert?). A man that she claims will treat her right and maybe not cheat on her like Don did. Their family gets torn apart, and in that ever present scene where they tell the kids like in every other show with a divorce, it’s traumatizing. Even in the 1960s where everything is clear cut and every one has a specific place they can be in society, things like this can happen. I do understand that this is a TV show, but I think this represents the uncertainty of life. How every decision does in fact have a consequence. Like in physics, every action has a reaction. What goes around comes around. There are a million other cliches you can say…and they all point to the same thing.
Also today, I read a comic on the Oatmeal. It’s about a Pan Am flight from Calcutta to New York where the engine breaks down. The co-pilot unbuckles himself and goes into the main cabin to comfort the passengers. He told them that everything will be okay, even though they were sure to crash. When it did, the first thing he did was go back into the plane to collect any survivors. The crash made him realize that he didn’t want to be a pilot anymore. He became a writer. Gene Roddenberry, the pilot in the crash, ended up creating Star Trek.
The moral of the story was that he realized that we’re all in some way helpless and we should all get up and help somebody.
I’m usually the first one to help others, provide support, and be that shoulder to lean on. Except now I’m the one that needs it but I don’t want to ask for it. I don’t like being helped. I like helping others. Sometimes, in the midst of helping others, I don’t realize that I’m the one that needs help. While supporting others, I don’t see that I can’t handle all the extra weight. Even today, my imaginary and real backpack is still heavy. Filled with unsaid thoughts that are weighing me down. The group mate normally doing all the work and not saying a peep. But now that I can’t handle it anymore, I have to say something every time I’m being used like that. Even now, it’s difficult to accept that.
I just want to feel as close to normal as I can be. Be in the clubs and teams I used to be in. Be with the people I won’t get to see after much if at all after this year. I don’t want to be putting my face in walls anymore or sitting on the stairs. I know that these won’t be the last of my tears, but hopefully it will be one of the last. I’m really sick of crying. I’m really sick of trying…to please others….to make others feel good…to hide my thoughts in a way to protect others…to make everything okay.
Sometimes I have to learn that things won’t be okay and move on. The world is still spinning with or without me ready for it to. So instead of trying to stop the world from spinning, why not limp our way to at least try to keep up with it?
Article mentioned: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/plane