Facing Facts

Posted on March 19, 2021


In yesterday’s post, Helpers and Healers, I wrote about using Good Grief Network‘s 10-Steps to Personal Resilience & Empowerment in a Chaotic Climate as a tool to process, feel, and heal.

Step 1 is “Accept the severity of the predicament.”

I am practicing stating painful realities of my life as facts. I’m reflecting on what facts I’ve denied and the role denial has played in self-protection and self-preservation. I see that my ability to distance myself from certain facts has served a good purpose by allowing me to take care of the business of life…

But I’ve reached the point where the painful truths I’ve denied are demanding my attention through a number of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, and I know that my well-being depends on my learning to accept and integrate these painful truths into my consciousness and life. I’ve arrived at a place of deep sadness; I feel unsafe, unwell, unmoored. It’s time for me to face the facts. The time has come for me to fully inhabit the truth of my life in order to adapt and evolve.

As a result of a combination of life circumstances, I have the time, place, and opportunity to work through the issues to find peace and healing. It’s like I’ve just arrived at the beach, and even though the water isn’t warm, I MUST swim. For years, I’ve known that this lake existed, and I’ve waded in its shallows, but now, a new reality awaits on the opposite shore, and the only way to get there is to let go of the familiar, immerse myself, swim out beyond the sloping sand to the deep water, where there’s nothing to hold onto–and keep going.

I don’t know what’s ahead or how long it will take, but I know I have to go. The water’s cold; goosebumps rise; I push off and start to swim…

I’ve just started reading An Anthropologist On Mars by Oliver Sacks. In it, Dr. Sacks details “seven paradoxical tales of neurological disorder and creativity.” Reading the Preface, I found nourishment for my spirit as I undertake this journey toward healing, so I’ve gathered together some of my favorite bits into a found poem.

The Paradox of Disease

I am writing this with my left hand.
I had surgery to my right shoulder
and am not permitted, not capable of,
use of the right arm.

I write slowly, awkwardly--
but more easily, more naturally, 
with each passing day.

I was quite off balance,
but now I walk differently.
I am developing different patterns, 
different habits...
a different identity,
by reprogrammings and adaptations
of which 
I know nothing. 

If all goes well,
I can start to readapt again,
to regain a full and natural use
of the right arm,
reincorporate it back
into my body image, 
to become
a dexterous, dextral
human being
once again. 

Nature's imagination
is richer than ours,
with endless forms
of individual adaptations
by which human organisms
adapt and reconstruct themselves,
faced with the challenges 
and vicissitudes of life.

Defects, disorders, and diseases
play a paradoxical role,
by bringing out latent powers, 
developments, evolutions--
that might never be seen--
in their absence. 

Its creative potential is 
the paradox of disease. 

lisa eddy is a writer and editor for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy
On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com