61. Chemicalisation, Vulnerability and Shame.
I was going to write today about 'earthing' and walking barefoot on the moor and all sorts of lovely things.
But I feel like shit and I've been in bed all weekend with a flare-up in my neck that hurts like hell and has made me look like the Elephant Man. It's a little better today so I know that it's probably okay (mostly), and a Goddam healing crisis from the homeopathy. I'm also coming to realise that riding may not be the best thing for me to be doing at the moment. It's obviously jarring my neck badly and it has enough to deal with as it is.
This morning, a friend, David Wetton, posted a link to Brené Brown on Facebook which was just perfect timing. Brené talks about shame and vulnerability and that's so appropriate for me today.
Because I'm not physically better yet and there are so many people cheering me on and believing in me. I think I'm not doing enough. I'm not doing it right. I'm afraid I'll end up in hospital being dosed with chemo by doctors who tell me that I've left it too late and I should have been more sensible.
Because I think I am going to have to tell Carrie the horse's owner that I'm not well enough to help her out right now.
Because Britain's Got Talent is airing from next weekend. And that means it's very likely that several million people will watch me failing and being told I'm not funny by unimpressed judges.
No, I don't know yet that I will be on the TV—apparently they'll call to tell me if it's so. But, if I am, I don't want to watch it because I remember so well that awful moment when I'd finished and looked at the impassive faces of three judges who didn't clap. I don't want to tell friends and family because I don't want them to see me fail. They know I didn't get through but telling them with a light-hearted "well, it's probably for the best and they didn't get me" is one thing. Having them watch it is another.
And also because the guy who promised to fund me for Edinburgh seems to have vanished off the planet. He's not answering messages or emails so my precious 'therapy fund' is empty again because I paid out for the entry fees and air fare and the posters in the happy knowledge that I was being sponsored. And there's a load more expense to come now that I'm now committed to Edinburgh. So I need to ask you guys if you can help out again please? If you can and if you want to sponsor me to perform at the Edinburg Fringe, please donate. I'd be so grateful. Thank you.
Several people have said to me how brave it was to ask the first time. Well it wasn't easy. I did feel shame and vulnerability but as I'm on a very, very healthy diet, I can't hide them behind a bar of chocolate or a glass of red wine any more. They have to be faced and dealt with. And that's one of the fascinating things about this journey—all my cover-up techniques are gone.
Brené Brown says that when we numb shame, we also numb joy, gratitude and happiness. We can't have total delight if we are not willing to face our darkness. And I say that she is right. Because even though it's been a shit weekend and I hurt, there have still been moments of such joy and such peace and such profound prayer. I asked Lion to ring my Bishop and ask him to pray for me and he has phoned twice and been so kind. Until I was ill I always kept him at a bit of arm's length but now he is one of my best friends as well as a teacher and we love each other.
Brené quotes Theodore Roosevelt (and that really helped with the BGT thing too):
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
Yes, I am in the arena. And I can be proud of that.
And Simon Cowell, of all people, said "yes." He didn't say it because he thought my performance was good, I believe he said it because I was in that arena, failing magnificently. It may also have been because when I looked at him, I loved him. Not in a sexual way, in an 'agape' way. I can't explain that, but it must have shown.
And, you know, even though some days are shit I can in all honestly put my hand on my heart and tell you that I've never been so alive; I've never felt so filled with joy; I've never known I was loved so much; I've never loved so deeply; I've never had a heart so open as I have had this last year. I would not have missed this experience for the world—even though I so want to be healed physically too. I don't know what the outcome will be but (as someone said) faith is not about being sure, it's about not being sure but betting with your last dollar.
Thank you for being with me on this journey.
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