Here we are at Christmas week at the end of a year that seemed to move simultaneously at both glacial and light speeds. The word 'weird' doesn't do justice to the feeling I hold about the year that's drawing to a close, but it's the best I can do.
There have been lows like I have never felt and diametrically opposed heights I didn't think could be reached. Things went up, down, sideways, forward, backward and in every possible and sometimes impossible direction.
It's in the spirit of this weirdness that I share a rather unlikely story of love that just happens to fall during this holiday time.
Those of you who follow this blog or know me likely know that in March of this year I had a fairly radical intestinal surgery that has left me with a temporary (fingers crossed) ileostomy. It was an extremely rough and slow recovery and I absolutely would not have made it through without my husband, Keith. With the patience of Job and the quiet strength I've only seen in people like the Dalai Lama, he has supported and, sometimes literally, carried me through this journey back to health and stability. The journey is ongoing, but the worst is behind us and our lives have again found a place of normalcy.
Today, as happens occasionally, we both happened to be getting ready to face the world at the same time in our master bath. For me, that meant changing my ostomy pouch, which is not something I generally do in front of him. I feel as though it's sort of like using the bathroom with the door open or when your partner is in said bathroom - sometimes it's a necessity, but it's never my preference.
I don't like looking at my body with the uncovered ostomy. It makes me feel like, well, damaged goods, if you will. I always try to change the pouch as quickly as possible, so I don't really have to look at it.
During my first marriage 20 years ago, when I had the original intestinal surgery that likely led to the current situation, I had a temporary ileostomy for two months as part of the procedure. My husband at the time was repulsed by the situation and went so far as to tell me he didn't want to by anywhere around when I was dealing with it. (Charming, right?)
So anyway, I'm in the process of the pouch change, which is a like a naked game of Beat the Clock while I hope to God no waste will be expelled until I get the new pouch on.
Keith says, "Oooh, look at THAT pretty thing." And he smirks at me in the mirror.
I turn to look at him, thinking he's completely lost his mind, and realize that HE'S looking at my, um, let's go with 'lady parts'. Laughter ensues.
I said, "I really appreciate the fact that you can look past the gaping hole in my stomach and just appreciate the bit you're fond of."
He says only, "The only thing I dislike about the gaping hole is that you have to deal with it, and I can't take that burden from you." And he resumes shaving.
THAT, my friends, is love in it's purest form. And it's from that place that I was compelled to share this rather TMI story with all of you.
Were the situation reversed, I would feel the same way he does. The ostomy wouldn't bother me in the least, nor change the way I 'see' him. So why couldn't I be that kind and loving to myself?
Societal programming? Being raised to feel 'less than'? Being taught that loving yourself was the worst sort of vanity? The experience of my first marriage?
Probably some of all of that, and today that's okay with me. My sense of it is that you have to walk through the shadows to be able to discern the light. I'm very grateful to be at a point in my life where I now know all of those things to be untrue - even if I still have to work at allowing the knowing to permeate my being.
My wish for all of you is that this story might serve as a slightly weird reminder that loving yourself can only bring out the very best 'you'. Give yourself that gift this year.
May love sneak up on you in unexpected ways this holiday. :-)
Welcome! Glad you could join us here in my little corner of the internet where I share the random musings that evolve from my life as a tall blonde rock and roll fan who just happens to have experienced working in self-development, two marriages, motherhood, and the world of addiction recovery.
My wish is that the words written here will stir your thoughts, make you smile, offer hope and remind you that you are never alone. We're all in this together.
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