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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Let's Pretend

(or: "Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?")

Let's pretend your whole life you're really nothing particularly spectacular. You have a blessed life, and you are not without your gifts, but you're never really the best at anything either. You're average looking ("different is nice, but it sure isn't pretty, pretty is what it's about - I never met anyone who was 'different' who couldn't figure that out") You're an average student. Have average popularity in school - not popular, but not hated and scorned either. But you have this "secret weapon" of sorts.

You can use your voice to make people feel things.

You can speak, and use the timber and volume and pitch and tone, and people cry with you, or laugh with you... you can sing and have them tapping their toes or weeping - whatever you command... Your voice is your gift, and it's what makes you exclusively you. Even if you don't use the magic power all the time, and not everyone who knows you has heard it, it's still in your back pocket. It's there for you, waiting for when you need it. And you realize that using that gift is what you want to do for a living, through a radio or an acting performance. No. Not just what you want to do. The only thing you could do and hope to find fulfillment.

Now pretend that you discover something strange one day on your throat, and go to your doctor, and after two months of mildly irritating tests, your doctor says to you "you have a choice, you can risk your gift, this one thing that makes you YOU, or you can die"

What do you do?

Well, of course you take the risk. Without even thinking, you have to take the risk, right?

Well, part of the process, of fighting this demon that could kill you, means everything gets worse. All the things you were feeling before are now much worse. You are even more tired, more cranky. You are more forgetful, your body aches more, and if it was possible to be more irritable, you've done it. Your hair is falling out more, your libido is gone with the wind. And you're depressed. Meanwhile you're watching your grandmother die. Add to that a friend who is doing something so beautiful for you is hit by a car while training for that beautiful gift. And a brother who is undervalued at his job and at a career crossroads. And your husband is leaving in a week to go to the most dangerous place on earth, where you'll be able to have very little contact with him. Still another friend has just conquered a similar battle of her own, only to find out her own partner is in a new and different danger.

Doesn't make the depression fade away into the sunshine.

Now imagine going through all of that without your gift.

More so, imagine forgetting that you've lost your gift until you open your mouth to speak or sing. What used to make you feel better (reciting poetry or singing) is now a bitter reminder that your gift is gone. What used to be something you could control with professional accuracy, is now scratchy, and weak, and completely out of your control. And they say it will come back, but with everything else it just doesn't feel like it ever will. You spend every moment with other people saying "yeah, I'm getting better, it's really been easy, this could be so much worse" and even though you know all of that is true, you don't feel happy about it. You laugh when they do, but it's not your laugh, it's just another reminder of what's very wrong with you.

In short, I feel blue.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amie,
Life sure does throw some nasty things at us through the years. So, what is the lesson you're supposed to be learning from all this? There is one somewhere in this mess that you're supposed to figure out. Change careers? Truly start living in the moment? Open that yarn/weaving store you've been dreaming about? The answer will come to you. Keep listening to your heart.

Sandy

11:07 AM  
Blogger xmasberry said...

Amie,

you are more than your voice, you are talented in many ways. give your voice time, but don't forget that your talent with words extends beyond the spoken word. you are a wonderful, strong person and you will find a way to be at one with yourself again. which doesn't help the blues this morning, i know, but it's all i have.

holly

11:17 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hang in there, baby sis.

Gifts are meant to be celebrated and appreciated. Sometimes we’re able to enjoy those gifts for a long time, and sometimes they go away too quickly. Sometimes a gift is as reliable as the sunrise, and sometimes it comes and goes like the wind.

But whatever happens, there’s always another gift in store. Life, in the long run, keeps getting better and better.

I want to believe that. Maybe we can help each other believe it, even on days like today.

I love you.

11:20 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

I don't have words for you, but I'm sitting here with tears threatening to overflow. You don't know me, but I read your posts on KR and think you are such an amazing woman...then I come and find out what you are facing and realize you are beyond amazing. I hope you feel better soon.

12:05 PM  
Blogger --Deb said...

Ah, Rose . . . I wish I could crawl through the computer and just give you a hug! Don't despair. I could chatter platitudes at you, but I won't. But I will tell you that things will work out. They WILL. It's a mystery, but they'll all work out in the end. All you have to do is hang in there until they do. So, hang in there!

12:09 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

Amie,

I'm so sorry you are having all these difficult things come to you at right now. I am hurting with you and for you. Please know that you are not alone, lots of folks in blogland are supporting you with love and caring. I hope you feel better soon.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Fraggle said...

Sending hugs your way. I hope it's helping a minute amount to know that we all care for you.

12:41 PM  
Blogger KatyaR said...

Oh honey, I feel for you. It's hard when the very thing that give your life light and joy goes away. I think the thing right now is to try and find something positive to focus on--hard, almost impossible, I know, but try.

Just hang in there, okay?

12:52 PM  
Anonymous dragonridermom aka debbie said...

Sometimes when people tell you things could be worse or that you should be patient and things will get better, it only seems to make us feel worse or guilty. Everyone wants to say the right words to comfort you and make you feel better. But often our words are not enough and I think sometimes you just have to give in...stomp your feet, yell its not fair, beat up on a few pillows and have a good old fashinoned cry. You are so much more than just your voice and it is obvious that there are so many people in both your real and virtual world who care deeply about you. I just want to join them in sending you continued prayer and comforting thoughts.

1:09 PM  
Blogger snowballinhell said...

Ah, crap. Nothing I can say will be helpful here, so please just know that I'm thinking of you and hoping things improve.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Carolyn B. said...

I wouldn't say that your voice is your only truly strong gift. Your writing made my heart ache.

You're in my thoughts. I don't know the specific problem you had, but I had a partial thyroidectomy in 1997 with no lingering vocal effects despite a little hoarseness at first; maybe that's some comfort, to know that others with throat surgery have recovered well? Mine was not a life-threatening illness, though, so I can't begin to imagine the stress you've faced as part of this. And -- to be honest -- my voice was just average to begin with. ;o) (But I did record a long letter to my daughter just before surgery, so -- just in case my voice was lost -- she would know how I used to sound. Because no matter what, your voice is part of who you are.)

Best wishes for a full recovery.

2:29 PM  
Blogger vi said...

honey this is your 'dark night of the soul'
everyone eventually has to face their own time with this.
I can tell you that you will get through this, which is true as you will.
I can tell you that you will learn a tremendous amount of things and will come out even wiser afterwards..... that is true as well.
however that doesn't comfort someone going through this.
so I will tell you, that you have a lot of folks that care about you, and are there for you
even though they can't take it away from you.
with love
vi

2:38 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Oh, Amie, I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I don't really know you, just through your blog, but you ARE more than your voice, and a wonderful person. And it really hasn't been that long since the surgery. Give the swelling a chance to go down and go from there.

I do know what you mean, though, about always saying "I'm fine." Since my mom died, I've been telling people "I'm fine, yes, I'm fine." But I'm really not. Other people just can't understand how you feel deep inside yourself, and the sense of loss you are experiencing, but it's too complicated to really explain.

Hang in there.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Stitchy McYarnpants said...

While I’ve never heard your voice, I really do enjoy listening to you via your blog. Your words are just as powerful when written as they are when you speak them. I know that probably doesn’t help, but I just wanted to tell you that.

It seems like everything is piling up on you right now, so don’t forget to lean on people around you for a little help with the load. It’s what they’re there for. You’re in my thoughts. Take care of yourself. Part of that is letting yourself be blue sometimes, so have at it. Just rest assured that sunnier days are ahead. {hug}

4:03 PM  
Blogger Amy Boogie said...

Your words are strong through your blog and I can hear your voice even if you cannot. Hang in there hon. I'm sending healing thoughts and a million hugs.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Amie,

Thank you for your sweet comments on my blog. See...you're amazing!

I don't live by the Pentagon any more although sometimes I wish I did. I now live in Northern Kentucky. However, if my husband gets deployed in the next couple of months I'll be spending quite a bit of time in Norfolk, VA which is just a day trip from there. I'll let you know if I'm going to be in the area.

My dear, take care of yourself. Knit, read, eat chocolate...whatever makes you feel wonderful.

My thoughts are with you,
Amanda

7:46 PM  
Blogger erica said...

Amie, I don't feel like I can say more than the people before me have said. I know from experience that what seemed like the worst times passed and it was bumpy along the way, but I lived and cherish the good times much more than I ever did before.

Just know that we all love you and are sending you love and good healing thoughts a lot.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous debbie said...

I have had an extremely low thyroid in the past- so much that I should have been hospitalized. Remember, part of what you are feeling, especially the depression, is from the thyroid problem. When you "get better" you will not believe the difference in your mood. You are not "blue"- you are very ill!
Sending very good thoughts your way!

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Cathy M. said...

You don't know me, I made my way here through the Harlot's Blog. I don't know what your speaking voice sounds like, but the "voice" I hear when I read your blog is absolutely beautiful, and I can only assume that the heart that goes along with it is equally beautiful. You are in my prayers. Your "voice" touches more people than you know and you are in many thoughts and prayers.

8:29 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Sweet girl. As I sit here reading this, I am hurting along with you. Life can really throw some stuff at us at times. Hugs to you with wishes for a fast recovery of your voice.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the best things that have ever happened to me came as a result of living through "dark days"......they will for you too Amie, you just won't see them until you're travellin' down the road a little further.

I believe things will get better for you and until then....you have so many of us rootin' for your.

Trish

10:03 PM  
Blogger Teri S. said...

Oh, Amie...you haven't lost your gift. You still have your soul and it's the soul that allows you to make people laugh, or cry, or sing. I want so much to reach out and cry with you and hug you and help make the pain and sorrow go away. So accept my very real tears and a virtual hug.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

Sweetie,
There have been times in my life that I wished for one of the calendars I would see in old movies - you know the ones where the daily pages would fly off the calendar as though the days have already gone by. Guess that is the meaning of time flying.
Anyway I send a wish for one of those for you.
You are the sum of your parts, dear heart, & your voice is but one mere aspect of your beauty & your being.
Lotsa love & hugs a million,
XOXO
Marfa

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SP

I love you. You're not going through this alone. Remember "In sickness and health"? You're beautiful and your 'voice' touches so many people. Even though most of your fans read your words instead of hearing them, the voice God puts into their heads is you... every bit of you. You're scar and your voice are tangibles of your identity and personality. Its the intangibles that I fell in love with. Your quick wit, sense of humor, love of animals, passion for fiber, outlook on life in general and the rare ability to articulate things from your prospective are all attributes I truly enjoy and miss dearly when I'm not close to you. I don't view this as a loss or tribulation, but as an opportunity. The 22 posts before mine all say to you "We're with you, we love you, we support you and we convey all of of our prayers and positive energy to you". They've already said everything I'm feeling.

A very wise young man whose words touched me, even though he had a respirator his whole short life is quoted "Remember to play after every storm." He gave the world the gift of Heartsongs and your Heartsong, Amie, is the loudest, sweetest, and most beautiful I've ever heard.

http://www.mattieonline.com/

Your voice will heal. Spoken or written, it doesn't matter. I love you.

GB

11:15 PM  
Blogger caramelknits said...

You've forgotten your extraordinary gift of touching people with your words too. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you heal. Know that we are all here for you, we love you and wish nothing but for you to heal speedily and completely.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Give yourself permission to be miserable, you've earned it. You have way more ca-ca dumping down on you in one short span of time than anyone needs. You don't need to keep a stiff upper lip all the damn time, girl. This is the time for some healthy self-pampering, whether it's new fiber or new shoes or just lots of long naps while "watching" old movies. But realize this: you have not lost your "gift" at all. The odds are your voice will come back just fine, but whatever. Your true gift is the way you use words to express ideas, not the sound of the voice delivering them. Don't mistake the wrapping paper for the gift!

5:02 PM  
Blogger Ann-Marie said...

We haven't met, but I know you from KR and your blog. It isn't possible for one person to carry everything all at once, especially all that you're going through, and asking that you have faith might be one too many. But we out here, people that you've met and those of us that you haven't, may be able to have faith for you when you can't. You heal, you do a good job of resting and getting better, and we can believe for you that your voice is healing at the same time -- and the two of you will catch up with each other again.

Somebody has to believe, and if you can't carry it right now, people who care about you can carry it for you.

3:11 PM  
Blogger dragon knitter said...

everybody's already said it all, especially your sweet and loving husband (i watched monsters inc this afternoon and thought of you, lol). all i can say is, i feel your pain, and i do understand the losses. virtual hugs abound, hon.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Suzanne said...

Amie,
Like many others who have offered their love and support, I know you only through KR and your blog. However, it didn't escape my notice that, the further you have ventured into this totally scary ordeal, the kinder and even more generous toward others you have become. That, my dear, is true class!
A 'voice' is a wonderful gift and one that can be relied on a little too heavily (I speak from experience here). May this horrible time allow you to further develop your other talents for enchanting and entertaining. We're all rooting for you!

9:29 PM  
Blogger Knitting Painter Woman said...

My darling daughter TOLD me I'd get better/nicer/quicker support from KR.. and I bet that's how you found me. :-)
Your story is amazing and sad... I am ashamed at my own whining (no cabernet, no merlot...) I have a very good chance of surviving the cancer (only to die of something else, of course... but hey, I'm almost twice your age... but I'd like to make it to 90, too)
I've always done better in a crisis (read rolling boil) than a "simmer."
I'm rooting for YOU, too... and will be in touch. Off to do what passes for my day job.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is SultryPainterWoman's daughter - I KNEW that knitters were the place to turn so that my mom could find support. I glad that you BOTH know that you're not alone (and that you did so well what I've been telling my mom - letting people know that hey, no, not everything is rosey (no pun intended) you can say that and people will still love you). Sending positive thoughts your way.
:)

2:17 PM  

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