I almost didn’t write this post. It is certainly not the post I intended to write, but as they say, s*it happens.
About 3:00 in the morning it happened to me.
You see, I have a back injury that flared up about a month ago. It was bad, got better, and then after two days in the car and two nights on a strange bed it got worse, and worse, and worse. Yesterday (Saturday) I went out and did a bunch of work that was, in retrospect, perhaps not wise. Early this morning I had a three-hour bout of pain that almost sent me to the ER. That’s a $125 co-pay just to get in the door, so you know it was bad. In the midst of the agony I started an email to Carrie, our gracious editor at Scoutie Girl, to say I needed to beg off this week. Then I changed my mind.
When the s*it hits the fan we can fight or take flight, and I am a fighter.
Also,when you have an extended bout of level 8-9 pain you start getting philosophical. In the semi dark at 4:00 am, I found myself pondering the what ifs of permanent disability, and praying to my ambiguous god/goddesses.
What if I need surgery and lose the use of a leg? What if I get GOD and get right with life? On and on it goes, and in the mix I remember a recent conversation I had.
I have been volunteering to sell shirts at the Phoenixville Farmers Market, for the Phoenixville Firebird Festival, and one week I bought some hand spun yarn from another vendor. She told me how she loved my choice as it was from roving of spectacular colorways made by a woman that no longer dyes wool. Why? I wondered. Because she has gone blind. Hmm, I said to this woman, I think if that were me I’d find a way.
How so, she asked? Well, as a creative and artist I think I’d always find a way. Perhaps I’d have an assistant tell me what fibers I had and what dyes and we’d do it together by memory.
I recalled how Matisse directed assistants so that he could create giant paper collages from bed and wheelchair.
I recalled the late paintings of Monet, done when he was legally blind.
I remembered my own self a year plus ago when my brand new, unpaid for, and really awesome camera equipment was stolen. At the time I created a “let’s make lemonade from lemons” fund raiser to replace the equipment. I shut it down after raising less than $100 because I realized I could manage with what I had, and I have. Will I upgrade my equipment again? You bet, but in my own time.
You see my focus shifted, and I realized it is the process, not the product, even with cameras.
I waited and as the pain finally subsided I knew that whatever was taken from me in physical ability I would overcome for my creative vision.
I found the voice of my ever practical husband and his sometimes annoying, but useful, mantras niggling at me. One of his favorites, although he is far from a military man, is the unofficial Marine motto:
Improvidus, Apto, quod Victum: Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.
That is the story I have today, and my question is:
If you were robbed of the very thing you think defines you, be it physical, intellectual, or other, how would you persevere?
How would you find a way to be an artist with no eyes, a singer with no voice, a writer with no pen?