In the past 12 months, I’ve been noticing something strange happening to my body. First, it seemed that every time I ate a new fruit, my mouth swelled up into a rashy, itchy, tickly, pouty blob, even fruits I’ve always eaten before with no problems. So I started keeping a list. Evidently, now I’m allergic to cantaloupes, kiwis, pineapples, plums, nectarines, cherries, cherimoyas and peaches. While I can still enjoy grapes, honeydews, mangoes, apples and bananas today, I don’t know if the next time I eat them, my mouth is going to turn into a botox-injection-gone-wrong.
So I had an allergy test and found out that, according to my doctor, I’m “basically highly allergic to everything”. She recommended carrying Benadryl in my purse everywhere I go just in case my body decides to be deathly allergic to yet another thing one day.
In the past month plus, I’ve been experiencing other strange symptoms. It started with itchiness and hives. At any given time throughout the day, random parts of my body will start to itch like crazy (like there are red ants scrambling around underneath my skin biting me from the inside out), and that area will break out in hives. First my feet, then a patch on my arm, then on my back.
Through all this, I’ve developed a condition called dermatographia, aka “skin writing”. That’s right. I can write on my skin. See?
Stick Girl says “hi”.
No one knows why this happens or what causes it. I just scratch lightly on my skin and within minutes it welts up. And then it’s gone again in about 20-30 minutes. Pretty cool superpower, but somewhat annoying because if I accidentally scratch or brush my skin against anything, I’ve got a swollen mark to deal with for 30 minutes. So now, not only am I sensitive, so is my skin. Everything it touches (clothes, bed sheets, chairs, my boyfriend…) affects it.
Related (or not) to the itchiness is a feeling of heaviness in my chest and it becomes hard to breathe. This happens even at times when I’m not exerting any energy or moving, like when I’m sitting on the floor petting my dogs. I can regain my breath by arching my back and taking long, deep, controlled breaths but it’s still labored and intensive until its fully regained.
There are a few more symptoms but I won’t bore you with the details.
In my doctor’s quest to figure out what’s happening, I’ve had a blood test, chest x-ray, EKG and CT scan, which all came out normal. So their answer is to medicate me. I’ve been on one medication after another, all of which I tried one pill and stopped because they made me nauseous and/or loopy. This is just half of what I’ve been prescribed in the last month or so.
Let me just say that I hate… HATE!… taking meds. It makes me feel…. not me. I’m not myself when I’m taking drugs. I feel… muted.
It dims my light.
It dims ME.
You know what else dims me?
Finding out last year that I can’t have babies. That my body is not capable of getting pregnant.
But I was too busy to deal with it when the doctor told me, so I kept pushing on with my life and my projects and I told myself I’m too old at 46 and too tired now to have a baby and raise a child anyway. Besides, how am I going to go on spontaneous weekend fishing trips with a baby? So I didn’t mourn this piece of news. I did nothing with it except brush it off into the dark corner of my soul. Because, after all, gotta look on the bright side, right?
In fact, I even told myself I didn’t want a baby anyway. Of course, I forgot about this letter I wrote to my unborn child when I thought having a baby was still a realistic ideal. And I forgot about my visions of a boy, ONE boy with a very distinct personality, that wash over me every once in a while. Somehow, I know I’m his mother. But how could that be? He doesn’t exist anywhere other than in my foggy visions. I used to think he was my unborn son coming to visit me in spirit before I bring him into this world. But now I realize that’s an impossibility. I can’t bring babies into this world.
You know what else dims me?
Dropping my mama dog, Evea, off to get spayed at the vet one morning last year only to have the vet call me an hour later to tell me they can’t put her under or she could die. Why? Turns out she has a valvular heart defect and one side of her heart is double the size of the other. The cause is unknown and they can’t do surgery to correct it. But before she had her babies, she’d been to the vet and was healthy. Perhaps us taking her babies away literally broke her heart? Here’s mama with her babies.
You know what else dims me?
Not sitting down to process my feelings about heavy things like this.
Continuing to go, go, go and do, do, do. There’s something to be said for allowing the space to mourn. To cry. To grieve. To scream out, fists raised to the heavens, and say, “you know what? This f***ing sucks!” instead of “oh well, let’s make the most of it, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
There’s a time to suck things up and there’s a time to proclaim “this f***king sucks!”
I’m done making the most of shitty things. It does f***ing suck that my dog might die any day now and I can never have babies. I can reason it away all I want and tell myself how late it is for me anyway and I enjoyed a free life without having to deal with diapers and babies and baby sitters, do I really want to start motherhood from scratch and go through it all now anyway? I have an amazing 14 year old step-daughter who’s very much like my own child.
And while all that rationale rings true…. god damn it, it still f***ing sucks!
I never said that when I found out. I never allowed myself to have a tantrum about it. I never even thought much more about it after leaving the doctor’s office that day. I didn’t feel much of anything really… I was… numb.
But you can bet my HEART felt it. My SOUL felt it. The Warrior Goddess WOMAN in me felt it.
The MOTHER in me felt it.
And it hurt.
So somehow, in some crazy unable-to-connect-the-dots kind of way but knowing that everything in life is interconnected and feeling a sense that there’s some sort of cleansing process that my mind, body and spirit is calling for and that the Universe is leading me toward… my mystery symptoms, my recent non-mourning and non-releasing of deep wounds that I don’t care to admit are deep… all signs lead toward a commitment that demands to be made… to myself.
A commitment to stop.
And go within.
And so, for the next month, I’m getting rid of all distractions so that I can do just that. No social media. No internet. No news. No TV. No “just one more thing” with my business. No projects. No blog posts. No nothing.
I can no longer use the excuse that life is busy, I have too much to do, I can’t stop now and deal with this or that, I’ll deal with it later.
I’ll deal with it now.
Or I will die.
Maybe not physically (maybe so?)… but the light inside me will burn out.
And we can’t let that happen, can we?
Your light is YOU. If that goes, YOU go, and all that’s left is a hollow shell.
I’m not a hollow shell. I refuse to be.
I am Tree. And I’m coming out.
But first, I need to go within.
Deep, deep within.
So before I get to suck things up and look on the bright side, be strong and keep moving, I’ve gotta first STOP, have a tantrum (for much longer than 5 minutes!), and then I’m diving in. And I’m gonna find my bright light, my love, my truth and healing. Part of my process will be to repeat my 7 Day Self-Love Challenge for Sensitive Souls. There’s a powerful healing & forgiveness practice in there. Other parts will include reading, journaling, meditating, yoga, nature, fishing, communing with God, and more self-reflection. And mourning. And allowing the beauty of grace to lead me deeper into myself, into life and into love.
I’m signing off now, for at least a month or however long the Spirit calls me, but don’t worry, I have some exciting things lined up in the next few weeks for you (you won’t even know I’m gone… it’s all already been set up and automated! Yay automation!) and my super amazing assistant, Melody, will be watching my emails for anything urgent. You’re welcome to email her directly at email@example.com
Ha! I guess my business really CAN run without me!
But my body can’t.
So I’m off to heal some internal wounds, and hopefully, the mystery symptoms will be healed in the process.
Much love to you,
PS – before I go…. let me ask you something…. What dims YOUR light? And what do you need to face… what do you need to experience… what do you need to feel… in order to brighten that little light of yours?
Come join me on the 7 Day Self-Love Challenge?