what might have been, but is
Ok; self-introspection is not the easiest thing to do, but hearing from an old h.s. friend in whom I once was interested in dating seems to have plopped me into the “what if” realm of thinking! And that’s sometimes tempting, right? innocent, fun, and a little magical; an escape from real-life challenges . . .
So taking a few mental steps back into my past, I remember the excitement I felt at finding a new friend in my English class (I’ll call him Eric) who seemed as thrilled as me about our topic of studying the poetic lyricism of Simon and Garfunkel, along with a number of other songwriters-poets. And as we connected, I thought: I really like this guy. I wondered: How much do we have in common? Is Eric interested in me? What do I think about how this connection might evolve? Okay, I’ll just admit it; I was smitten.
Truthfully, I was a girl in love, at the time, with the idea of being in love. Magical thinking was a terrific lure from my feelings of self-doubt in those years. Over the next few months, despite my obvious feelings for him, it turns out that Eric let me know he thought of me only as a friend, a sister of sorts. I was crushed, despite his attempt to write a beautiful letter filled with words trying not to bring me down. So who knows what might have been?
I moved on and dated many other guys until finding an amazing friend and partner in my college years with whom I chose to share life’s experiences. I can say I chose well and that I’m happy, even in spite of all the challenges I’ve had to face living day to day with diabetes’ plaguing issues; blood sugar swings, denial, doubting myself and my own worth, countless hand surgeries and shoulder surgery from the effects of long-term abnormal blood sugar levels on microvascular tissues and tendons . . . not to mention the occasional verbal bloopers inflicted on my poor hubbie when my blood sugars dip way too low or jump excessively high. Bless his heart; he actually is often able to find a way to laugh WITH me as he helps me deal with these situations.
But thinking back–way back to the magical lure of high school years–I recall feeling tremors to the pit of my soul. It’s because you’re flawed, I heard inside my own head. He doesn’t want to take on someone with diabetes . . . and You’ll never find anyone willing to be with you. I was angry and necessarily distant, at least for a while, while I grappled with these feelings.
These are just a few of the emotional issues that get inside my head, living so long with this devil of a disease. And through years of meeting people–whether as dates or potential friends or partners–the messages played this same dire song. Unnerving. Questioning. Threatening defeat.
The antidote, I’ve found out over time, is to focus on the here and now; investing my heart and mind in doing things that make me smile and push myself forward. To know that by taking small(er) steps, I can actually reach goals and feel “grounded” about myself and the work I do. And often, that work includes doing things for others; it’s such a magical way to stop focusing on and worrying only about me and my own problems. Learning more, over time, about how to open up and give has quieted the disheartening threat of my fears.
Traveling this road between “then” and “now”, I realize there is a difference between what my journey might have been and the beauty of what actually IS.