#52essays: Peut-être, peut-être, peut-être

A refrain of my own thoughts has been ricocheting around my brain for some time now but I haven’t been able to put words to it until now. I belong to me and for right now, that’s all there is. Me. And I (me) should be worth it to stay alive for.

The past 8 weeks during which I’ve been nursing this sprained hip and knee have been some of the worst days of my life barring perhaps when David died. And unlike my kidney stone episodes, I wasn’t immediately given morphine and wheeled in for an MRI. They gave me Tylenol and sent me home with a pair of crutches and a knee immobilizer. The weeks have been difficult, to put it mildly. In the first two weeks I was grossly incapable of doing much for myself, including driving because it was my right hip and knee. As the weeks went by it slowly got better, but it was very slow. I had a relapse about a month in and ended up back in the ER and had to start the healing process all over again.

I have had to ask for help repeatedly and have learned that some people I call friends cannot be counted on. Yet still, some folks have shown up for me in ways that I didn’t expect. Collectively though, what they have all taught me is that I really do belong to no one. I am my very own responsibility. Sure I have family who theoretically love me and will identify my body if need be, but on the very surface level, I belong to no one. If I don’t reach out, no one knows if I’m alive or dead. I have no kid or partner who claims me, gets the privilege of putting up with me every day. The friends I have, and I have many, all have their individual lives and other responsibilities. It became so glaringly apparent when I felt guilt dragging people away from their families and responsibilities to bring me groceries or vacuum my carpets.

Most people who know me know that I am fiercely independent and proudly single, even though I am a sucker for a good love story. Fiercely independent goes hand in hand with feeling like a burden when I can’t do for myself. Belonging to only me means that I must always be able to do for myself. There have only been a handful of times in the past 23 years of dating history that I have wanted so badly to be partnered and to remain so. The rest of the time, I was busy planning my escape. People say I just haven’t met the right person. I say, there is no right person. There is someone with whom you want to work out your kinks and someone who makes you want to be a better person.

Why do I tell you this? Because this injury tried everything I had in me. I called my matchmaker best friend in Toronto and was contemplating taking her up on her offer to set me up. It was ok if they were needing me for a visa; how soon could she send one down? The desperation for companionship and for 24/7 care which, knowing me, would probably have disappeared when said bachelor showed up, was so overwhelming. I wanted someone to call my own. Never mind that no one is ever truly ours anyway. But you understand I’m sure. This injury made me go places I didn’t think were possible. And if you’ve been following my blog, you know I have been some dark places!

While in those dark places, I learned the painful truth about how much I take for granted. I think certain people will show up and they didn’t and I was disappointed. However, I was also pleasantly surprised at those who did show up.

When folks say, when you don’t have health, you don’t have much else, we think they are joking. My entire existence centered on keeping up with the pain and trying to make Carnation Instant Breakfast on one leg.

We take for granted that we can rise each morning and walk. That first night after I fell, I had crawled into bed seemingly fine. When I rose to use the rest room at midnight and my knee buckled beneath me I knew something was terribly wrong. The excruciating pain that greeted me once I hit the floor was like none other.

We take for granted that we are in control of our situations. I couldn’t even sit to use the restroom. We take for granted that each day things will run like clockwork. My life came to a standstill. At first I fussed and quarreled with the crutches but as I realized that they were a means to an end, we came to an agreement.

We take for granted our perfect little functioning bodies and we expect that those who don’t have the same gifts take a back seat. As I was wheeled through the airports the week I went for my interview, people rushed in front of the wheelchair and wouldn’t move even when there was loud beeping. People side-stepped me on the crutches and hurried along with no concern for the fact that they had slowed me down.

So I made it through without needing to break our nation’s rules and bring in an immigrant from a shithole country to be my constant companion. Three weeks crutches free now! I’ve given up the idea of an arranged marriage for now. But perhaps I ought to continue the search while I’m standing fully upright now before the illusion of my can-do-all-things attitude takes over completely again??? Peut-être, peut-être, peut-être…

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