The next number of posts, all titled Conversations on… come from email communications between a dear friend and me. With her permission, I am publishing excerpts from them because I feel they pertain to everything we’ve been discussing on the blog. Kate is in the process of trying to figure out how to be a writer and still maintain her teaching job. At her request I’ve changed her name and am using initials for people she brings up. It’d be great if you all would join our conversation…
I’m sorry about not writing. I’m still sick, believe it or not, literally since the day I got on that plane to fly home from New Mexico. So tired of this! On Friday I was diagnosed with a completely paralyzed vocal cord. I was sent immediately to have a chest X-ray because one possible (though hopefully unlikely) cause of right-sided vocal cord paralysis is something in the lung pressing on the nerve that runs down from the larynx into the lung. Well, the X-ray showed something. Of course they don’t know whether that ‘something’ is simply scar tissue that I’ve had for 25 years from an old case of pneumonia, or whether it’s cancer, or who knows what. So I’m now supposed to go in for a CT scan of my chest and neck.
Maybe this is my dying moment, like yours, meant to push me to change the way I’m living. I don’t know, Jeane. But I’m trying not to slip into the ‘what if’ mode. That’s where I was all night last night. That’s a bad place. All day today was about trying to teach with almost no voice at all.
My dear friend BK keeps saying this throat issue, whatever it may be, is really about my voice needing to be heard and how I need to make it more of a conscious process of allowing that to happen. Sound familiar? I don’t doubt what he is saying one bit. But meanwhile, I’m just trying to swallow and speak.
Trying to stay positive. Longing so badly to get back to writing that it hurts.
If you consider nothing else you wrote in this email to me, please look very seriously at your statement, “Longing so badly to get back to writing that it hurts.” THAT’S your truth! You are hurting yourself by not writing.
When you consider you’ve been sick since you got on that plane leaving here, that’s another thing you must look at. Every fiber of your being is telling you what you need to do. And if I’d listened to my body and all of its messages, I wouldn’t have had to die. Please listen to yours! You don’t have to die to let the old go. Let it go! Let the new be born. You’re a writer. In order to heal you must write. Period.
I agree, completely, with your friend BK–a wise man. Please listen to him as well as to your body. Did I tell you about the rare eye disease I had that was taking away my sight for 7 years? I was trying not to look at my past because it was too painful and I was not seeing my truth because it pointed to my right path, which I wasn’t ready to walk. Once I faced myself, the illness was gone.
It breaks my heart that you are so sick you can’t swallow or speak and you are STILL GOING TO WORK! Sound familiar? Love yourself enough to stop–even if just until you can heal. But better yet, forever. I think one of the reasons you met me was that this crisis was about to happen and you are meant to look at me and remember that it’s not only possible to do what we were put on this earth to do–it’s imperative. Write or die. I think the universe is giving you the same choice it gave me. Please choose self-love and self-care. You know MF will back you up. Besides, you’re going to make bundles of money with your writing, once you do it. I KNOW you will!
I hear you loud and clear. I was very aware of the words–and the truth they expressed–as I typed in that message, hearing myself as I wrote them. Thank you for your caring and for your urgent call for me to listen to my body. This is a terrible struggle for me. But I am beginning to feel like my center is shifting to a place where I can at least say these things out loud and acknowledge them, even if I’m still stuck (I wanted to say paralyzed and then thought about my vocal cord!!). I know the universe is challenging me and rightly so.
To be continued…
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All photos in today’s post were shot by Kevin Hulett.