Home from School

I stay home from school today because I know I’m going to have a seizure. It lurks in my body, taunts me with its octopus’ arms, wants me in its clutches.

            I lie on my parents’ bed on my stomach and watch Dialing for Dollars on tv, waiting.

            The waiting is the worst. Like waiting for death only I think worse.  Like waiting for an abusive husband to come home and notice you broke a dish. You know he’s going to hit you. It’s like that. I know the seizure’s going to come like I know my own name, where I was born, the sound of rain against a window. It has its own texture and taste and you hate it, but you’ve got to bear it, right? You don’t have a choice.

            At some point, my mother comes into the bedroom with my lunch: grilled cheese and tomato soup. After I eat, I set aside my plate and I lie back. I know it’s coming now, and just as I yell out “Help me!” I fall into terror and space. I am gone.

            When I come to, I am still gripped with terror. I have no idea who I am, or who this woman is standing over me. I ask the same questions over and over again, “What happened? Where am I?” My mother answers my questions with patience and kindness and an undertone of sadness.

            The force that has ripped through my body has left me completely and utterly spent. I feel like I’ve run a marathon. Every muscle aches. You never know how many muscles you’ve got until you’ve had a seizure. And my head screams with pain, a heavy pain, an all-encompassing pain, a dead weight on my forehead, entering my skull. Even with the blinds drawn, the light is too bright, too loud, an explosion. I feel like a hurt animal. And even though my mother’s here with her pained expression, I am dismally alone. I don’t know anyone like me, anyone that goes through this. I feel guilty. I feel like I’ve done something wrong.

            “I’m sorry”, I say to my mother. She looks more pained. “Oh darlin! You don’t have anything to be sorry for”. But I do somehow. The guilt doesn’t go away with her saying this. I’m a problem, I think. I’ve created a problem. I’m making her life harder; I know it. And I can’t seem to change it.

            All these thoughts though, they’re like gray moths fluttering beneath my mind. I’m too exhausted, too spent to really know they’re there.

            Bit by bit the terror recedes, and I pull the covers up and fall into a dark sleep.

More on Self-kindness

To give you a taste of where I hope to continue with this topic, here’s a wonderful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye and a quote by Pema Chodron, which, with a little tweaking, can fit your own life. And then I add something of my own along those lines.

Kindness
 
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
 
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
 
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
 
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

Naomi Shihab Nye

May I treat myself

kindly

May I love myself

Just the way I am

Pema Chodron

May we all treat ourselves kindly

May we all love ourselves

Just the way we are