Balance.

I had a balancing exercise in rehab where I had to walk toe-to-toe on a straight line on the floor. To keep that balance, it was easier when you looked ahead instead of looking at your feet. So, the same goes in life. Look a bit ahead, not back, not down, so you always move forward and stay balanced.
I was giving advice to a friend when I said that to them. They were talking about finding that balance was difficult for them and they were often caught on an event for a long time and have difficulty moving on. When I said that, they told me to write that down somewhere and save it.
And at that point, when I was writing that, I realized that in the last few months I learnt more than I could ever learn in school alone. Being caught up in the projects and tests makes you lose sense of reality. You’re in a sort of meaningless void of trying to get those achievements in hopes of getting into a good university. In a way, this year is I guess my experiential learning year. I tell myself that everything happens for a reason.
When I was little, I always felt that something about me is different. I wasn’t sure what, but for at least 5 years I was sure I was in some way different. Like I could actually be the next ________ that people could look up to. As I got older, that feeling stopped, but with this occurring to me, I have a little bit of that again.
Maybe I’m supposed to be in my position right now to learn something that I am supposed to spread. In a school where everything feels like a competition, I guess that makes sense that I’m the one that this happens to. This year, I cannot compete in DECA, I cannot compete in volleyball, and I’m not sure if I can keep with the band enough to compete in the music festivals, most of all, I won’t be competing to get into university until next year. In a way, I feel useless, but in another way I feel empowered to try to serve a new purpose. I’m just not sure what yet.
This might be some sort of sick way that they [the stars? a god? my ancestors?] are punishing me as I didn’t listen to my parents about the whole “drop your responsibilities every once in a while and relax”. I’ve been trying to find the balance every since I could remember. But I supposed that balance depends on the beam that’s different for everyone. A balance for me may not be a balance for someone else.
Every once in a while I look back at my MRI to give me a dose of reality. When I did that yesterday, I broke down. The conversation with that friend gave me an overdose of reality. Realizing that not everyone will know / care to understand and being able to say “that’s okay”, is extraordinarily difficult.
I watched a video yesterday of Meg Turney having a problem with her brain. Unlike her, I don’t have millions of followers to support me. I have the few friends I have, and my family. I don’t have 173,000 people visiting my blog. It turns out her problem wasn’t as bad as she thought it was, but she was still somewhat emotional. She was complaining about how they took her blood pressure 6 times. I had to take mine every once an hour while in hospital and then around twice a day while in rehab. I lost count of the number of CT scans and MRIs I had. So when I watched her video, I realized my calmness may not exactly  be justified. It may be confusing to those that don’t know me well that think “she looks so happy!”. My teacher the other day said I looked a lot better that day than the week before. It was subtle changes like small laughs and what not, but I guess being in school is helping me feel more normal again, or at least as close as I can be to normal. Maybe I  just look happier because I actually understand Shakespeare’s King Lear now. That is a huge relief to the first few days of confusion of missing the first 2 scenes.
I always thought of life as a huge balancing act, but now there’s even more things to balance and juggle. It’s as if I’m a circus act where an elephant is standing one-foot on a ball juggling and hula-hooping at the same time. Or something as crazy as that. circus-elephant-on-beachball

Normalcy.

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