Tag Archives: pain

Why? An Answer For Me

Most of my life has been lived outside the mainstream.

As a kid and a young adult, I always felt my difference as pain, as loneliness. And I wished that I could be like everyone else, that I could be popular that I could somehow transform from the short, pudgy, smart girl I was to the cheerleader or the prom queen.

I wanted to be on the inside, invited to parties, going on dates, gossiping, laughing at the oddballs and outsiders. I never made it – not in high school, not while working my way through college at Walt Disney World, not in graduate school and not in my long, rich career.

For years, decades actually, ranging across the 45+ years of my peripatetic career, I longed to be part of the crowd that always seemed to be having such a rollicking good time, drinking, laughing, talking, sleeping around, no cares, no worries, no anxiety.

For years, my various bosses, Division VPs and Line of Business Presidents in corporations and GMs and News Directors at television stations and up and down the East coast told me I didn’t fit. I was an oddball, a weirdo, not quite one of them. They constantly cajoled, ridiculed, and bullied me about my “misanthropic view” of my co-workers.

They also used me to, “…get the job done.”

Anywhere there was a problem, striking workers, poor business performance, failing systems, failing management — it didn’t matter what was going wrong – universally they sent “…Pat. She’ll figure it out, fix it, clean it up.”

And I did. And they paid me handsomely.

Why was I successful when no one else was? I was on the outside.

I didn’t care…about people, about feelings, about belonging. I found the problem, cleared the trash out, fixed the system or the management and moved on. I was not just disliked; I was hated. If I showed up at a unit, everyone knew I had the highest level of backing. Everyone knew someone was going to be fired.

When people actually had the courage to tell me they didn’t like me, my standard response was, “You don’t have to like me; we’re not sleeping together. You have to figure out how to work with me. So get on with it.”

Why? Was I stronger than the rest? Better? Braver?

I always wondered why I was able to carry my loneliness on my shoulders year after year, why kept doing the dirty job of cleaning up behind the elephants.

Sunday morning, November 27th, 2016, in response to a simple question from my husband, I knew why. I hung the laundry out that morning, before the sun came up. Yes, it was cold out — freezing, actually.

When he asked why, my short, simple answer was, “It was the right thing to do.” Not the easiest, not the least painful, not the fastest but the right thing.

Something shifted every so slightly the moment those words slipped out of my mouth and into the cold, clear air of dawn. I knew why I didn’t open the door, go inside with the everyone else, give up a bit of myself to be one of them.

It was the right thing to do.

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Filed under arm wresting, Death & Dying, Gifts, Life & Death, Mysteries, Work

Confessions of an Older Woman

I have a confession to make.

No, not the naughty kind.  This confession has to do with getting old.  I have written about growing old before but this is different.  This is about expectations not met.

I thought growing old would be okay.  Sure my body would be “lightly padded” and gently overworked.  But people would call me “spry” and remark on how much energy I had.

Confession:  I was wrong.

That’s big for me.  “Wrong” is not a word I utter very often in the same sentence with “I”.

It seems that being the spry old lady who is a ball of energy is not in the cards for me.   I have chronic pain.

Oh, I’m still active.  I still ride my horse, do yoga and Qi Gong and garden but every activity comes with a price these days.  Pain.

The real downside is I know that all of my aches and pains are the result of self-inflicted injuries I incurred in my youth and middle years:

  1. A knee that blew playing tennis just a bit too hard.
  2. The wrist I ripped the tendon off while lifting a very large piece of furniture (a granite-topped Hoosier cabinet) against my husband’s wishes.
  3. The foot I accidentally rolled over with a cabinet filled with dinner plates.
  4. The concussions (5 to date) I have had from everything from a roller skating accident to being thrown from my horse.
  5. The separated shoulder from hitting the racquet ball wall a bit too hard.
  6. The broken ribs (6) from riding, horse-play and just plain clumsiness.
  7. The sprained ankles (4 times) from tripping over a dog, running to tell a news crew to get going and cover the earthquake (a whole nother story) and falling down steps and up a hill.

Those are just a few of the ways I have insulted various body parts over my 60+ years.  What’s funny is that I had my shoulder operated on in February and right now, it’s the best joint in my body.

Still, I will get up every morning – albeit a little slower – and put one step in front of the other all day long, despite the pain.  Why?

Because I am still here, still able to get up, still able to gripe about pain while some of the people I love the best are not.  And I am lucky enough to still be taking this ride we call life with the man I married 28 years ago…

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Filed under Death & Dying, Healthcare, Life & Death