My mother was in treatment for mantle cell lymphoma for nearly three years before an oncologist told her outright that her disease was terminal. By that time, the disease and the treatment had left her largely unable to process that information. After that meeting, I told Dr. Steffens that if Shakespeare was right, that all the world’s a stage and we are merely players, then he should look into a new screenwriter because he had seriously crappy lines. However, I appreciated his courage in delivering them.
For years, I had a truly abysmal internal dialogue. The script inside my mind was unhealthy, destructive, and (I thought) permanent. Guess what. I was wrong on that last thing. Whew! Right?
It turns out that I can be my own screenwriter! Or, at the very least, I get to write my own dialogue. I don’t always get a say in what situations I find myself; however, I do get a say in my own responses. Last week we were doing some training at work. In the middle of my bit, I panicked and choked. I mean, completely choked. I forgot what I was supposed to do. On the stage of my life, I forgot my lines. As it turns out, I’m also my director and, boy! did I give myself what-for for flubbing my lines!
But, wait! That’s the problem, isn’t it – that I give myself what-for when I flub anything – my lines, my dinner, whatever. Two years into this and I still speak to myself in ways that I would never speak to another or in ways that I would never allow someone to speak to my son. So, why do I continue to do it?
I am happy to report that, although the struggle continues, it is less constant than before – which is great because, frankly, it’s just exhausting to police and eliminate that kind of language and attitude. While it is frustrating that I still struggle, it is encouraging that I struggle less than I did two years ago. Just as with diet, baby steps in the right direction in attitude are progress.
This week, as I work through some course corrections, successes, failures, some undefined and some unrealized expectations, the temptation is strong to lapse back into the unhealthy script and its attendant unhealthy eating. Last week, I ate too few vegetables and too little overall. As a result, I was exhausted, cold, and mentally weak. Over the weekend, however, I prepared some nutritious meals that I can quickly warm up when I get home in the evenings. In addition, I reached out to my local support group, making me stronger this week.
You see, my play has a heroine (me), a villain (a rotating role), a couple of dogs, waaaaay too many cats and a massive supporting cast who are kind enough to write me into their plays, as well.
I may be my own screenwriter; but, my play is far from a one-woman show.