I've been stretching thin, starting big new things, internalizing all the stress from thinking I might die from skin cancer, juggling all the things that are supposed to slow down after the holidays but that really just keep going. My body has been so lovely, healing my stitched back beautifully, having the energy to balance my ever persistent roller coasters of anxiety, putting up with having coffee instead of rest when I'm tired. I've had a little patch of eczema in between and around my eyes since the fall, for four or five months, this tiny spot, controlled by a cream the urgent care doc prescribed for me when as an afterthought I had him check out my rash while we were there for my son's fourth bout of strep throat in as many months.
Those creams you can't use forever- so in addition to removing a piece of my back the dermatologist prescribed a different cream I refuse to use (holy warning on that sucker- please read your paperwork at the pharmacy before you pay $50 for something and then get it home and realize you wouldn't use it, which I didn't do and learned a $50 lesson) and so my eczema has been like a wild animal unleashed- moving around both eyes like a blotchy red lizard-y eye mask. I hate to admit how vain I am, but I am. We've been snowed in and I've spent the snow days peering at myself in the mirror half horrified half amused at what seems like a really bad joke.
I have to laugh kindly at myself when I start bargaining with the universe: Um, hello. I just had that skin cancer scariness so all this eczema all over my EYES so soon seems a little...unfair?
And then in typical universe fashion the universe sort of shrugs and says ...meh, what're you gonna do?
My body is always obvious, it just takes me a long time to listen. Even though I've been sober for four years that doesn't mean my body isn't still processing almost 25 years of drinking. It's interesting how me being able to say "I'm sober" seems to make me think that my sobriety absolves me of all bodily (mental or physical) debts incurred over my long career as a drinker. Like living while drunk was punishment enough, but now that that part's over, it's just over. It's kind of like when you start working out for like two weeks and then get a little pissed at your good intentions daily because your jeans feel a little tight and you still want to eat all the cookies.
Are you as good at hide and seek stress as I am? I can take on so much and still seem okay, it reminds me of a duck: gliding at the surface, paddling like mad underneath. I push it down and push it down until my body throws up the flag of surrender: I get sick, or I get a big rash all over my eyes, or I have a breakdown and pick fights with everyone in my family until I can finally admit that I'm freaking out some and then I work my way back to being fine, shedding good intentions as I go.
My good intentions can also be my downfall. I get myself into too much and then I have to get myself out of it, I get wrapped up in taking care of everyone else and forget the instruction that I am the first person to get the oxygen mask always. Then my sweet body shows up for me, making me more tired than usual and when I still don't listen my face blooms in a messy rash around my eyes making it impossible for me not to see where I am really.
I spent so many years making the wish to quit drinking, I wished and wished and drank and drank, wishing to be well. It wasn't until I got out my backbone, stopped wishing and made a life out of reality that I got sober and started to heal. This is always the truth: when I get with my backbone instead of my wishing I move myself to more healed. I find my remedies rather than my excuses- it's then that I am back to my backbone, facing reality.