I just had surgery last Thursday. It was revision surgery, that was all I asked. Today I am all packed in the stuff they packed me in and some of the stuff is falling out. I have been joking with the girls that I am losing my stuffing a lot! I feel like the sleeping bag that was packed by the kid and their overworked counselor after a week at camp. But its all good, this was the healthiest I have ever gone into surgery, so this is the best I have felt four days out of any surgery.
Its weird to type that because over the last year, maybe a little longer than that I haven’t felt like myself a lot, and I certainly haven’t felt like my healthiest. During that time my tribe has been amazing, a blessing, wonderful, supportive, and amazing some more.
Every now and then I would lose my stuffing, metaphorically speaking, of course. My tribe would step in and help.
One day I was just angry about having breast cancer, I mean ANGRY. I had nursed my three daughters for longer than the length of time for it to be ‘protective’ for everyone against breast cancer. Shouldn’t that count for something? I mean what the heck? I was angry, pacing, kind of shouting, not really making sense in any real sense at all, just spewing anger.
My husband was dealing with his own part of this issue and my neighbor just stepped in. Her husband took mine to do a handy man job at the middle school and we sat on her swing and I cried, she held my hand, rubbed my back when I folded over and just listened. Never once pointed out how lucky I was that this was early, that the doctors are ridiculously competent, that my age and health were on the optimum side of things. Never pointed out that my benefits at work were great both short term disability and health insurance. Never pointed out that my husband, daughters and family are just great and how lucky to be here, now, with all of this fortune in this difficult situation. She just listened, held my hand and rubbed my back when I folded over losing my stuffing all over her front porch.
That was the theme for the past year. Everyone in my tribe was there at some point when I lost my stuffing with what I needed, never making me feel judged or ungrateful, just were there with a hand to help put what was needed to be put back in, and throw the rest away as necessary. It is amazing how good and kind people are.
Now there were a few people that weren’t what I needed, but they are not a part of my tribe, they are just peripheral. They don’t help, they don’t even offer platitudes and sometimes they are the very cause of me losing my stuffing. And sometimes I can’t throw them away, I have to keep the dirty, ragged, worn out stuffing.
I started meditating. One of the mantras I like to use when the stuffing starts poking out around those people is: “They are people just like me, with hopes and dreams just like me” And I try not to judge them for not being what I need, want or like them to be. Because in the end, that is what is really causing the stuffing to come out, my judgement of them, my feeling they are coming up short in the humanity department, my lack of tolerance for their stuffing. And the judgement is really about me not being what they need, not holding their hand, listening or rubbing their back, just judging their stuffing and judging it pretty harshly.
I would like to be better than that. It is time to start cleaning off the dirty, ragged, worn out stuffing and helping others with theirs and stop losing my own stuffing.