Friday, August 2, 2013

Never never never give up

"... it wasn't that things were harder than you thought they were going to be,
it was that they were hard in ways that you didn't expect."

-- Lev Grossman, The Magician King

Self portrait 8-2-13

"She had changed in ways she would never have been able to anticipate.
She had become the kind of person who was barely able to get out of bed
in the morning without buckling beneath the tidal pull of the planets."

--  Kevin Brockmeier, The View from the Seventh Layer

"Perseverance is the hard work you do 
after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did."

-- Newt Gingrich

My mom has a refrigerator magnet with a famous quote from Winston Churchill.  
It says "Never never never give up."
It's a lovely thought. Nice advice. I'm sure it works for some people.
It's a good mantra for those persevering types -- the scrappy ones, the fighters, the tough guys, the folks with lots of tenacity and chutzpah -- folks like my mom, who has been through some pretty tough life, but who keeps bouncing back. You can knock her down, but she won't stay there. 

I have inherited a lot of traits from my mother -- good ones and other ones -- but I feel like I lack her fighting spirit. 

I mean, I'm fighting. I've fought. But lately, it seems like I'm just taking ineffective, lazy, punch-drunk swings at an opponent who is bobbing and weaving and pummeling the shit out of me round after round, throwing punches I never see coming.

I'm sure it's the fatigue talking, but after being awake for 42 hours straight, giving up sounds like a good option. 
Laying down on the mat for a good long 10-count sounds blissful.
Ding the bell.
Throw in the towel.
I can't take another round.

When I get like this, when my knees are buckling and the world feels like it's tipping, I'm glad I have people in my corner who are helping to prop me up.
I have two sleep specialists -- a psychologist who is handling my sleep counseling, and a psychiatrist/sleep medicine physician who is helping sort out my biochemistry to get to the root of my insomnia.
They are asking me questions, looking hard at my sleep behaviors, poking around in my brain to help me figure out and fix whatever has gone so impossibly haywire.

There are other people, too.
My husband and my sons have shown me unbelievable patience and kindness. Trust me, they have more of a right than anybody to launch an uppercut at my chin, but they don't.  They are sensitive about when I need some space, and when I need a good laugh, and when I don't know what I need at all. If I am too tired to participate, they understand. Or at least they pretend to, anyway.

I have a couple of friends who check in periodically and ask -- really ask -- how it's going. They tolerate my long silences and absences without making me feel like I'm the shittiest friend on the planet.

I have a sister who remembers stuff -- like that I was going for my first sleep evaluation appointment -- and texted me to say good luck.

I have an acupuncturist who can work miracles.
I have a massage therapist who knows, without me saying a word, exactly what I need.

I have "M," my secret weapon.

And I have my faces. 

The funny thing about a 365-days project is that it trundles along no matter how I feel. It doesn't care if I slept or not, or have pain or not. It's just exists, a day at a time.
And there's still lots of time to go. 
It's only August, and there are five full months remaining in this year. 
If filling those five months with a face a day helps get me through the hardest parts of re-claiming healthy sleep, then I'll lean into it as hard as I can and hope it holds me up.

I can't give up on this project.
I won't give up on this project.
Never, never, never. 

Maybe I am a little bit of a fighter after all.

I got it from my mama.