I’m on a gurney at Emanuel Hospital having yet another ECHO (heart ultrasound). Its early May 2019. I’m laying here in the dark while a stranger pushes on my sternum with a gel covered probe and I can’t help but think about how many of these tests I’ve had done before. I think this is my 8th or 9th ECHO in 2 years. Not that it’s an invasive or painful test, it’s not. It’s just not a normal thing to do, unless like me your heart just decided to stop working like it should.
It’s one of those moments that makes you think about how/when/why your life ended up at this particular spot. Most people can attribute where they are to their choices. I can as well, to a certain degree. I smoked for 20 years, I drank occasionally and yes I even smoked the pot once or twice. But I didn’t inhale, I swear!! ;-). Contemplating the mysteries of life and the forces at work that have brought me to this point, I start to think back on my life particularly pre CHF diagnosis.
Fear and other feelings
I have never had been overly confident. I have always second guessed myself. I’ve been heavy all my life and had some bad things happen early on that I think helped contribute to this. (More on all that in a later post) I have always felt that I was inadequate. To the point where I didn’t do things I wanted to do. I didn’t and in some cases physically couldn’t make myself say what needed to be said. When my ex husband and I had “the conversation” that ended our marriage, all I wanted to say was “I am done! I am leaving you!”. But I could not make the words come out of my mouth. He had to say it for me.
This is just one example of many where I let fear control me. How many times have I held my tongue? How many times have I not said what I felt or thought? And for what? To make the other person feel better. To not hurt someone’s feelings, even though they were shredding mine. I allowed my insecurities to dictate my fate. At what point did I put the happiness of EVERYONE else in front of my own. I even chose a career where I care for others. I’ve been a registered nurse for 16 years. Since getting sick, I have realized that my happiness is just as important as everyone else’s. There is only one person who’s happiness I put before my own. That person is my daughter, Delilah.
Now saying all this is great. Walking the walk is another story. I am struggling to move past the fear. Rationally, I know that if I say something and the other doesn’t like it then they shouldn’t be in my life anyways, but I still struggle with letting go. This fear, lack of confidence, feeling of not enough has only gotten worse since I’ve gotten sick. I feel like I can’t reasonable ask someone else to willingly take on my illness and everything the goes with it. I have been told, flat out, I will not get better. In fact I will get worse. I may need a heart transplant. How can I, in good conscience go out and look for a mate knowing all this? Really the question in my mind is “I’m so broken, who would want me?”
Speaking the truth
Sad, I know. But its the truth of what goes through my mind. Oh, I can play the confident strong woman. But that’s all it is, a play, an act. Once you get below the surface, I’m a big ole bundle of anxiety and fear. But I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to regret the things I didn’t say or do. So, one of the ways I’m combating this is by writing about it. Laying it all out, the good, the bad and the ugly. Not just for me, but for all the citizens of the interwebs to read, if they so desire. Maybe no one will read this. I’m okay with that. The act of just putting this out into the world and thereby taking a step towards conquering a fear is enough for me. Now, if I can help someone else maybe, dare I say inspire, then YAY Bonus!! 🙂
Looking and being brave
So, a few weeks after writing the above, I decided to go for it. I signed up for online dating. :-0 It’s what people do now days right? I found a few pictures and wrote my self description. Just a handful of sentences really, but I thought I did okay. This included a reference to having a heart condition to weed out at least a little of the riff raff.
I expected crickets, really I did. I figured anyone worth a damn would see “heart condition” and run. That was not the case though, within 2 days I had 250 + “likes” and about 15-20 messages waiting in my inbox. I responded to a few, texted with a few promising men off and on. I didn’t take long for one to stand out.
Do’s and don’ts
First of all, and gentleman take note, his first message to me included a greeting, my name and a question. “Hello Liz, how is your Saturday going?” Simple and it lets me know he’s paying attention. The “Hello beautiful” and “Hey sexy” messages I got did not get responded too. Also, grammar and spelling is important. Once I see that you didn’t take the time to re-read your profile before hitting the post button, I’m out. Maybe I’m a bitch in my old age(of 39), but I just don’t have the time or desire to mess around or play the games.
Don’t ya’ll act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You know the ones, where you don’t answer texts right away even though you’re sitting by the phone waiting for it to “ding”. Or say you’re busy even though your calendar is wide open. It’s silly and life is too short! Be you. I’ll be me and the pieces will fall into place.
Something I did was right, almost a month later my “stand out man” and I are moving forward in our relationship. We have decided to be exclusive and are making plans for a possible future together. He really is something special and I feel so incredibly blessed to have him in my life.