"Princess, do woo ever look back at the path woo took wondering if woo missed the scent of a nearby bunny?"
"Why look back, Daddy-O? Been there, done that, bought the harness. I'm all about the bunnies and squirrels in the here and now!"
I did a dangerous thing this past month. I re-read many of my old posts. It wasn't out of nostalgia. It was a necessary evil in the re-launch of this web site. I even forced myself to revisit old site designs using the Way Back Machine. This website has been live since 2001 and operating on WordPress since 2007. Like many of my fellow writers, I have a lot of posts.
There's a certain nostalgia, a romance, to places you left. Nostalgia is dangerous. It can drown out anything, including your ability to be present or look forward. Yet, you can't connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward. You trust that the dots will make sense of your present, your goals and your future.
Some old posts were easier to visit than others. Our life with Loki and Juno and our adventures in Switzerland were all easy-to-revisit memories. But the posts in the years I treated Lyme disease were much, much harder to take in. The run-on sentences of a shattered mind, the emotional despair of my darkest days and the almost-creepily positive attitude I maintained in the face of an unimaginable trauma haunt me. Those years are an utter fog, a cloud of emotional turmoil and a reminder of enormous loss. Those years were formative years.
I'm happy that I continued to write, however poorly, during the Lyme years. Humans have a way of blocking out trauma. Re-reading those posts reminded me of that reality. Unlike every single non-Lyme post, there were posts I don't even remember writing. As a diligent writer, I thought about correcting the grammatical errors in those posts, but my self-honest nature implores me to let them stand. They are, in their grammatically incorrect glory, an educational tool for how Lyme disease can truly reshape the individual. Changes in my writing style before, during and after Lyme disease all underscore the truth of how denied medical care can perilously transform a person. Looking back, I still have no answers to how-the-F this could happen in a first-world country.
But the longer we look back, the more it takes away from everything that's moving forward. After all, if you look back in a review mirror too long, you're going to crash your car. I looked back long enough to learn from my mistakes and embrace the shit storm that was my life. Because no matter how good or bad life can be, it is yours and yours alone. And that's something.
"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them. That only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."
~ Lao Tzu
Glad to see you doing so much better! You go, girl!
Charlee: "Our dada says he knows what you mean about looking back."
Chaplin: "Yes, first he had that big photo tagging project where he relabeled every picture on his computer, and then he had to go through and update all the old pictures on Dennis's blog after canceling his Flickr account."
Charlee: "He says it's not easy going through pictures of people and pets getting older and older and then disappearing from the albums."
Chaplin: "So we can only imagine what it's like to look back through the years of your illness and relive it that way."
Charlee: "But we too are glad you kept writing through that period and that you're still here to be our blog friend now!"