Thursday, July 31, 2008

Of limits and limitations

Recently, a blog I've been reading had a post about 'naked blogging'. By her description, I'd generally say that MOST of the blogs I read tend to have a 'naked' side to them. sure, I like humor, but I also prefer to read sites written by real people. and by real, I mean authentic.

Being authentic in this world (at least in MY observed world) is an art. All too easily, we can smile and say all is fine, we can make small talk with a neighbor we truly do not like. We stuff, we fluff, we hide when we're snide. To be authentic... to show, act and speak as one truly feels takes a tremendous amount of courage. Granted, when one can finally find some congruency between head, heart, and external environment.. the rewards can reach limitless levels.

Lately, I have had something heavy weighing on my heart.

Last year, I participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer here in Charlotte. I spent all of last August seeking donations, and reflecting on my desire to be aligned with the cause. I spoke of my cousin, who is living with and fighting cancer. I spoke of my Gram, who passed away after battling cancer. I spoke of my girlfriend Denita, whose mother passed away from cancer when she was 15 years old. I had CAUSE. I had PURPOSE. I wanted to make a difference and raise money to not only help support those suffering from cancer, but for research so MY daughter will not have to blog about HER sense of loss and helplessness to the varying forms of cancer. I wanted to walk for those who couldn't. I wanted to walk so Rhena would never have to.

and so I did. I walked. and walked. and cried and walked and laughed and cried and walked more. I made it through that first day, and I collapsed into the love of my supporting husband, daughter and son. And then.. my legs stopped moving.

The next day, I was still unable to move my legs without extreme pain, much less get out of bed, head back downtown and walk 13 more miles. I was so physically out of shape, and my body called it quits.

I was heartbroken. I was guilty. I was angry. I was SO disappointed in myself.

To know my cousin FIGHTS TO LIVE so she has that much more time with her daughter, and I could not will my legs to move was the most devastatingly humbling experience I have ever had. My cousin once again proved how strong she was and forgave ME and made ME feel better about not being able to complete the walk. my friends forgave me. my family forgave me.

it took a long while, but I eventually forgave myself. Mostly, in part, because I consoled myself in thinking I would train more and be better prepared and COMPLETE THE WHOLE WALK in 2008.

well.. here it is.. 2008. on the eve of August, where I would begin my month of seeking donations and speaking about a cause and disease that rests around my wrist every day. that sits on my soul in every good and bad parenting moment. that filters my eyes when I go to jersey and see my cousin. that affects TOO MANY PEOPLE right this very second.

This year, I have dropped a 10 pound barbell on one foot and a shower door on another. and guess what? I'm not in any physical shape to walk 39 miles in less than 90 days.

Despite my vowing last year to make amends this year, I got caught up in life. I succumbed to grueling temperatures. I've been sidetracked with surviving Daniel's recent stage of violent tantrums. I have not been training like I should. and I know it. yes, I've gone to the gym, I've walked here and there, but deep down.. I know I haven't done enough.

So... to avoid feeling like a failure AGAIN... I did not register to walk this year. I registered to be a crew member. support staff, volunteer, behind-the-scenes..... call it what you will.

I know I should be happy about this decision. I'm still aligned to a cause I feel SO PASSIONATELY about. I can still raise money. and I can be right there cheering for those who do walk.

but it hurts.

it brings back the feelings of regret. regret for not preparing more. regret of incompletion.

it brings back feelings of anger. anger that I have an able-body and I'm not doing more with it. anger that I can't fix my cousin.

like I said.. I know I should be happy about still having the chance to be part of the walk. cause believe me.. I know me making my body walk for 39 miles will not be what cures cancer. I DO know that. and I feel that being part of the 'crew' will be every bit as rewarding, if not MORE SO, since I will not be physically distracted from taking part of the event in both a give and take fashion. I have no doubt that I will be SO rewarded when the Walk weekend is done.

it's just that right now?? well... it just is what it is. but i'll get there.


Mama Ginger Tree said...

Don't be so hard on yourself!! All those women would not be able to walk without the "behind the scenes" people. Every effort makes a difference.

Think of all those people who don't even consider registering and here you are with all this angst. I applaud you.

And thanks for the link. :-)

Jodes said...

you know i think you are doing a great job and i hope that you come to that place soon too.

sending lots of love.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing SOMETHING.

No one can do everything every time.

A time will come when you will be able physically and logistically able.

But I know how much *I* benefit from your support and I can only say that the people you will support as a crew member are the luckiest people EVER.

I think you are fabulous and will be telling the world shortly.

Wethyb said...

You are being way too hard on yourself. You dedicated yourself entirely to the walk last year. You should be so proud of yourself for all you did! Not to mention all you will do this year even if you can't physically walk. You've done more in the last 2 yrs than many will do in their lifetime and I'm sure anybody who has had breast cancer, or knows someone who has/had it, would agree with me.

You rock girl!

Erin said...

Just the fact that you're helping in any capacity that you can is a positive for your cousin and the millions of other women receiving treatment and recovering from breast cancer! Not everyone can run the marathon, someone also has to be there to support and cheer them on. You're going to be someone's smiling face of encouragement urging them to keep going! That makes you phenomenal.

Stacey said...

no words of mine will lift you from this funk...but it is your passion for the cause and your good heart that make you feel this so deeply. I'm sure once you are at the walk you will remember that just being part of it, no matter in what capacity, is what's important. I agree that you are being too hard on yourself. You are an amazing woman Carrie...give yourself a break. Focus on the everyday, often small but still significant victories. Not on your self-perceived failures. You are awesome and even just putting out the word about the walk makes you a hero in my book. Love you!

Hänni said...

I think your decision to participate as a crew member is the one that's kindest to yourself and will allow you to do amazing things for others.

You are not a failure!39 miles walking is a HUGE task and I commend you for knowing your limitations on this go around. There's always next year lady!

Everyone else has forgiven you. Time to forgive yourself?

Christi said...

I'm not sure what to say, b/c I understand where you're coming from. I can tell you all day you're a great person, and you can't take it out on yourself so much, but since you are a feeling and compassionate person, that just won't happen. Just know that I'm sure she still thinks you're a great person, and she understands.

Cathy said...

I told myself I'd at least go down and support everyone this year - and didn't do it. I'll never forget the year I walked, but not sure I could ever do it again (timing, training, etc., more excuses). BUT please don't beat yourself up for not walking - you're going to be there supporting EVERYONE. I can't wait to hear about your experience from the Crew standpoint.

Erin said...

Just the fact that you're talking about this ... are so passionate about it ... says SO much about the kind of person you are. A caring, thoughtful, wonderful person. You're still volunteering your time -- doesn't matter if you're walking or being the cheerleader. That's a lot more then most people can say! Good for you!