The picture above is of the bay–while driving across it a few days ago, the look of the water struck me; it looked like a sea of milk and not the salty water we normally identify with the ocean. As soon as I saw it as a sea of milk, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace come over me.
These days, the bridge has taken on a new sheen multiple times. Maybe it’s the new paths in my brain examining the usual things in my life from a slightly different vantage point, funneling new paths and perspectives. Of course I don’t think the ocean is composed of milk, but one can imagine, no?
My life is full of new perspectives these days–in some ways these new perspectives are expected, because someone recovering from a stroke or other ailment will always
forget forge new paths. And of course, I’m trying to glean lessons from this entire experience: living in the moment, the idea of humility, and oh, the other lessons that I cannot remember but of course I know will return to me. But sometimes the perspectives are surprising.
Today, I had lunch by myself in a restaurant. Now, I could have lunch with myself at any point in my life, but somehow it took a stroke to open up my mind up to the possibility of sitting alone in a restaurant. I had gotten my blood drawn, picked up a prescription, and on impulse, bought a pair of shoes. I was walking back to my car when I passed by a new restaurant–I paused. And then I walked right in. I had been wanting to try this place out, and for some reason, that seemed like the right time. Nevermind that I had no one to eat lunch with.
Hell, at the very least, I figured I would then NOT forget to eat today.
I was pondering my appetite and its strange absence in my life as I ordered from the menu. There were plenty of delicious things on the menu, but somehow none of them pierced my psyche. In a previous life, before the stroke, I would have imagined how each dish tasted, and had quite a fun time choosing on a dish. In fact, I would have been salivating.
Instead, I found myself coldly evaluating each item, ultimately picking something surprising, at least for me: a hamburger.
While waiting for the food, and eating the food, I found an incredible space clearing in my head. Dining alone in public was strange but incredibly refreshing; I wrote in my notebook, checked my blackberry for email, and felt a weird sense of peace and space.
And I actually felt normal. I didn’t feel like a dumbed out stroke victim, and in fact, my brain unravelled and wandered in a way that actually made sense. I reviewed the days past, and realized a few things.
I have not mentioned it on this blog, but I am supposed to host a baby shower for a friend. I volunteered to do it before my stroke, despite my anxieties about baby showers in general. But then the stroke hit–and my friend has been asking me if I’m “really sure” I want to do it.
I have been insisting that I’ve been fine and that I can totally host this baby shower.
During lunch, I realized that I am NOT fine, and should not host the baby shower. All throughout my cardiologist appointment yesterday, I kept thinking about the baby shower and worried about how heart surgery might interfere with baby shower planning. I realized that that is an odd thought during lunch. I really should be prioritizing my healing and health first, and not be focused on shedule conflicts with my heart surgery. And that I cannot be in a room full of strangers and expected to socialize–talking to a bunch of people, especially people I do not know, is a sure-fire way to burn my brain out.
What was I doing?
During this lunch, in which I created so much space for myself, I came to the conclusion that I just could not host this party. It’s hard to face the reality of my own limitations, I guess.
Like I’ve written before–I think I’m normal until I run into something that reminds me that I am not healed yet.