Friday, September 14, 2007

How do you keep that smile on your face?

No one asks me that, really, but I often hear people telling me that I have a positive attitude. They remark, "You are dealing with THAT and yet you are smiling?"

In town, I smile at people on the street over the hard chin piece of my CTO jacket.

So what is up with that smile or the absence of dwelling on the pain and loss of way of life?

I can say honestly that that smile is not phony or a facade.

First of all, I have my faith. I am a strong believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe He is God in the flesh, the only way to God ("I am the way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but by me" He said). Faith in Him is the number one thing that keeps me going. Faith that God has a plan.

I smile because I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. For this same reason, if someone casually asks, "How are you?" I most often will say "Fine." What other words would do? What words would describe that deep invasive pervasive diffuse painfully OFF, out of kilter, not myself nor any other creature I know of? And the kind person inquiring, do they really want to know? Perhaps a few do...but for me, it's a smile and a "Fine." Somehow, I do feel a little more "fine" for having stated it.

I can smile because I know many others now so much worse off than I am. Who am I to complain? When you are a healthy cowgirl, all of your friends are healthy cowgirls, strong women who drive big trucks and throw bales and who pity the poor man who might try to hurt them. When you get hurt and become less than what you were, you suddenly find this whole community of hurting people out there, a social club no one wants to belong to. This is the beauty, in a strange, perverse way, of being injured. You come to know people you never would have encountered before. You have more time to get to know them. You can even relate more to them than to healthy people. So, I can smile because I know some folks who have it really bad!

This blog is the place for honesty, otherwise, what is the point? To a healthy person, this might seem like focusing on the bad, concentrating on the pain. But this is not what writing here is about.

To survive at all, I have learned instinctively to avoid. I'm the Queen of Avoidance. I avoid horses. I avoid songs and poems about horses. I had to put my dog to sleep a month ago, and I do not have his picture where I can see it. I avoid the pain I CAN avoid. That is pain I CAN control.

I've become like Miss Scarlett. "I won't think about that today. I'll think about it tomorrow, when I am stronger." If I start to think about the things I can't do anymore; if I stop to think about things worsening ("progressing" seems like an anti-meaning to the word. Progress is a good thang, Martha!); if I allow myself to "go there," then I lose. I would feel worse. To win, I must avoid. To control the pain I can control (aka the emotional pain), I avoid what causes that pain. That leaves me some energy left to deal with the pain I can't control. Go figure.

Thus, this place can be the place where my smile is always welcome, but I can also present things like they are. IF only I had the vocabulary!

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