The other day I was talking to my friend and really spilling about how sick I’ve been. She was trying to take good care of me and she said, “You’re so stoic, Brittany! You really need to speak up about what you need.”
It caught me off guard. No one had ever called me stoic before.
When I hung up the phone I couldn’t get it off my mind. I really don’t like complaining. When my kids whine it drives me batty. I can only take so much when I’m around someone who complains and it makes me want to run away and hide from them. I don’t like to focus on negatives. I hardly remember the bad times in my life because once they are over and done with, I let them go.
My mom has told me before that if she doesn’t hear from me for a while, she knows something is wrong because I get quiet. But it doesn’t make sense to me: what does complaining do besides annoy people? It doesn’t change anything or make it better.
I think we’re on to something.
But it was Thumper who taught me, “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, then don’t say nuthin’ at all.”
My mind starts reeling with the doctor visits and the pain. I’m telling them that I’m in a lot of pain, but they aren’t getting the message. I guess they don’t know that I’ve awakened from anesthesia, body convulsing, fresh wound where a baby had just been cut out of me. That’s a 10 on the pain scale. Staring death in the face. That’s a 10. I guess they haven’t seen me breathe through hard labor contractions with nary an mg of meds in me. My physical therapists weren’t there when I drove home on a fractured ankle and tried to walk on it when I got out of the car. I’ve had some big pain in my life and I’m pretty sure I have a grasp on what a 10 is and I knew I wasn’t there. But I started to realize that I was slowly getting there because I was loosing hope. I was loosing motivation. It was taking a big toll and it scared me to be feeling so bad all the time.
Did the doctors not know what I needed because I was too busy enduring it? Trying to cope without becoming someone I hate? Becoming someone who quiets themselves and shuts off the good and the bad?
It’s hard to put someone else out. To say, “I can’t, will you?” Because truthfully, I know what a body can do. It’s a lot. It’s more than you think. So sometimes I feel like it’s me saying, “I don’t want to, you do it.” I have fully and happily accepted my responsibilities as a wife and mother. It is an honor to me (unless I’m grumpy, then it’s just a lot of work;) and it makes me feel bad to wrap up a little bundle of responsibilities that I took on and hand them over to someone else who didn’t have a choice.
Even as I type this it sounds ridiculous. We help each other out as humans and as friends. I know. There are sicknesses and exceptions. But there’s that piece of me that is ready to cringe because someone might say, “She has taken on too much. She can’t handle what she has. Her burden is too much. Why does she have five children if she can’t handle it? It’s her own doing.”
But then in my minds eye I see the faces of never ending lovely friends and family who are so sincere and kind. And I realize that’s just my stupid gremlins talking. What’s up with negative self talk being so sneaky? It’s as if someone is actually saying these things out loud and then I realize that it’s just my own fears talking me out of having faith in the goodness of the decent folks out there. (decent folks like you, dear reader.)
So I practiced showing passion about my needs and I told Jake to take drop everything and take over for me. Because I needed him to.
Then I snuggled with children who were tired and crying. Because I know what that’s like, after all. And a good snuggle with your mom always seems to help.
Then I picked ripe blueberries off the bushes in my back yard. And with each little pluck I felt a quiet satisfaction.
And a little passion started brewing deep inside.
And it felt good.