Monday, July 10, 2006

Finding a Little Control in the Middle of Chaos

It has always been hard for me to have any control in my life where I felt I was in control. Growing up in hospitals can do that to you. First your parents have control over you, and thus, in the middle of it, you know you have choices and can make decisions regarding little matters, but when the child is quite sickly and in and out of hospitals on a regular basis, can't move without excruciating pain, the control leaves. You have medicine forced upon you. You can't go running through the house because you're too sick and, well, it hurts too damn much to breathe, much less walk - so you are resigned to a room and that room depends on where your Mom or Dad puts you for the moment. In you are lucky, as I was, they would ask sometimes if you would like to be brought into a different room, or outside with them in the summer. Sometimes you even got to sit outside by yourself and play with your cat. Somehow you figure out how to feed the birds, and since you have to sit quietly to keep the pain away, you learn that by sitting quietly the birds come to light upon you and they are light and their feet and toes are very sharp because that is how the sit upon the limbs of trees, so they grip your toes in that same manner. You learn not to flinch, because that is a different pain and it is a magical one because something that flies through the skies actually came to sit on your foot and hop up your leg, turning its dark eye this way and that. But let the cat come or the door open, or your Mom call from inside the house to inquire how you are and the bird, sometimes several of them, flit away to land on a walnut tree limb and look back at your suspiciously, but if you're quiet and patient...they come back.

Then, when you're too sick to stay at home you end up in the hospital. There even your parents don't have a say over you. The nurses move your body and cause pain, or they stick you with needles and draw blood, or give you shots that make it feel like you're dying and floating away. There isn't any way to go outside. There aren't any cats to purr and comfort you. There isn't any television you can watch because your parents don't have the money for it, and you have to try and eat food you can't really put in your mouth. You go where someone else wants you to go, and heaven forbid if you have a book to escape from the pain. The light goes out at eight or nine o'clock in the evening. There isn't any more reading. There isn't any more escape. So you just lay there, and if you're lucky you can be by a window and look up at the stars and wonder if there could possibly be life out there, and, if so, what type of life would it be. If you're not so lucky, maybe you can imagine and make the imaginings come to life to help distract from the pain and help lull you into sleep.

Sometimes I don't feel very far away from that time in my life when there was constant chaos around me and no place or chance of escape or to have a chance to take some control over it. Recently that feeling, which I hadn't realized was always present before, actually has begun to fade. I look around me and see things I can change and correct; actions I can do to make things happen in favor of this or that.

When did this feeling start to change? When I began using a dip pen and a bottle of ink to tell stories. Suddenly there was control in the middle of chaos, and I was the one in control.

Slowly it is spreading to other areas of my life. My friends and family are quite happy about it all, but they can't understand how something so old fashioned can help you regain part of yourself, especially the important part that says you can make a difference in your environment, and especially in your own life.

Yes, I am finding a little control in the middle of chaos, and also discovering the chaos really isn't as chaotic as I thought it was. Imagine that.

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