Over a year ago, when A. was diagnosed with autism and I took a month off work, I bought a puzzle because it “spoke” to me. It was my goal to finish the puzzle that month. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen: The puzzle was more challenging than I anticipated and I just didn’t have enough time. I stored the partly completed puzzle under my bed and worked on it when I had time. A few months ago, though, the kids had some friends over and they were playing hide and seek – and under my bed was a perfect hiding place. The puzzle was ruined. I packed it up, preserving the assembled parts as best as I could and stashed it away.
A few weeks ago I decided to re-start the puzzle. I started by counting pieces and I was disappointed to realize that I was missing 10 pieces. I counted again. Still missing 10 pieces. How could I possibly think they would all be there? I was saddened, as the message of the puzzle spoke to me and there was something inside of me that felt a sense of disappointment that this puzzle would never be completed and eventually hanging on a wall in my house. I remembered buying it at a local bookstore, so I set out for a walk with baby El to see if they still carried it… but they didn’t. I eventually found it on their website, on clearance for $10, so I snatched it up. That small part of my inner being felt satisfied.
The puzzle arrived yesterday and I was eager to start working on it. I began sorting the pieces and I immediately remembered how challenging the puzzle is. I felt disheartened thinking about all the work I had done before that was now wasted: There was the actual assembly of large chunks of puzzle, but there was also the immense work of sorting pieces. There are only 2 colours: black and off-white, so sorting came in the form of the size of print. Hours of sorting – gone.
With the new puzzle, I knew there was only one place to start – placing everything out in the open. I proceeded to filter out the edge pieces… the only pieces that have a definite position in the puzzle, and the only pieces that are almost predominantly black. And so, I put all the sadness of what I had done and lost previously behind me and I started again. I started with what I knew to be true and I will only work forward from there.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
From The Old Blog, November 18, 2015:
This quotation makes me think of the scene in “Forrest Gump” where Forrest asks Bubba to lean up against him so they could support each other while they slept: “you lean against me and I’ll lean right back up against you and that way we don’t have to sleep with our heads in the mud.” After a few of these nights of sleeping upright against each other, the rain suddenly stopped, the sky cleared, and the stars came out… And Forrest thought of Jenny.
I couldn’t find a great image of that scene, but I found this small collage of pictures from the torrential rain during movie’s rendition of the Vietnam War. One day it just started raining and it never ever stopped. There was sideways rain, and downwards rain, and rain that even seemed to come from below. But no matter how much it rained, it did finally stop and since his head wasn’t stuck in the mud, Forrest was able to see the stars.
Last year I wrote about how I was stuck in the gutter – not necessarily looking into it, but stuck in it. As a result, I was not seeing, or even looking for, the stars. This year I am happy to say that I am not in the gutter. I don’t even feel like my feet are dragging in the gutter. I may not always be looking at the stars, but at least I am closer to them this year than I was last year.
On additional difference from last year, as well, is that I focussed much of this post on telling my friend that I admired her for always being the one looking at the stars. Knowing what I know now, I don’t know if I would say that is always true. I’m not sure exactly what I mean by saying that; perhaps I just don’t necessarily think that this old friend was always doing the right things or making the right choices. That could just be my hurt conscious talking after she decided to delete me from her life, but I think it’s more than that. I think I used to admire her and set her on a pedestal that was unrealistic. After having time to reflect on everything that has happened and what her role was in my life, I realize that I had many ideas about her that were unrealistic. Anyhow, this is again, a digression from the point.
The most important fact here is that I have spent much more time in the past year out of the gutter and looking at the stars.
It seems like people talk about it more, now that it’s gone. Not the ones I wished would have talked about it – people outside of work – the people who would have loved reading it for what it really was.
“I heard that you blog.”
“Yes, I do – I did – I guess I still do. It’s just not the same.”
I’ve still been mourning the loss of my old blog. I’m finding it difficult to get back into a place of comfort and belonging in this new space. I don’t really know why, since it’s the same platform and there are some of the same readers, and some great new readers, and nothing else has really changed. Except that I feel sensored. I feel like I failed at the one thing I wanted to do: express myself like it didn’t really matter. But then it did, and I quit.
“I haven’t heard anyone talking about you in a bad way. In fact, the only thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about you is that you’re a good surgeon, and at this point in your training, that’s a really good thing to have people saying about you.”
I didn’t blog last week because I was feeling down about life. I was experiencing a relapse of everything that I’ve experienced before and it was heightened by a new level of exhaustion and frustration. I thought, momentarily, to blog about it. However, all the background is gone : three years history of anxiety struggles, medical struggles, parenting struggles – everything that was previously so well documented isn’t there anymore. So where do I start? It feels hopeless.
I know it’s not hopeless, but it doesn’t change the feeling all that much. I just have to remember that I do have some great blogging friends – new and old – who are here to read whatever I have to say. I just have to get back to saying it.
Thanks to a blogging friend who was once looking for this Duplo Set. I found it for you!
Starting from the beginning is hard to do, especially when there is so much that is being left behind. My old blog was my sanctuary and I am bitter to leave it behind. For three and a half years I gave everything I had into that blog and I loved every minute of it. I wrestled with many challenges and worked through them with the help of my amazing blogging community, and I am sad to leave them all behind, too.
I am trying to offer myself some comfort in knowing that despite leaving the physical blog behind, I am still taking with me all of the lessons and experiences I learned from there. Life is not always strong, beautiful, and fearless, but I have become better at being those things because I have experienced those difficulties that challenge those notions. While I hope to blog in a similar way to my old style, I have made it a goal to learn from the experiences I’ve had over the past three and a half years and move forward with a new beginning. Perhaps some snippets from my old blog will make occasional appearances here – and that’s because that blog will always be a part of who I am today