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No...!

by Kjell Einar Fjortoft, Norway


- Is it you sitting here weeping in silence, dad? Dad mustn't sit here weeping all alone, you know…
She has been approaching so quickly, and so silently. To her dad, completely unexpectedly, while he is sitting in the dark, believing he is unseen with his heavy burden.
- Yes, it's me. And I'm really sorry that you saw me like this, you know. But I firmly thought we were alone, the dark night and I. When time has both the opportunity and the patience to listen it can carry even the heaviest loads of life, just as the open sea can hold lots…

She carefully approaches me and covers me with a woollen blanket.
- Dad, you are still you, you know, and we care a lot about you. We're by your side all the time, holding your hand, even though you may not always see it. Always. Every single day.

And it certainly did me good. My heart was refuelled with glowing spirits. My fire re-nourished, a fire thought to have been burned down and become ash spread by wild winds. She had found, and restored, a tiny glow that could still become a burning fire. The words, and the hands, and the presence, were the matches.
- Dad, you are still you, you know, and we care a lot about you…

And a firm decision start settling in me. I have crossed a threshold to where suddenly I can see it clearly. Where I, in the middle of all this fright and insanity come to a stop, and an inner voice is calls out:
- Enough! Enough struggles, enough tears, and enough fighting to keep going. I just don't want this any more…

And, like a child being comforted after some bad experience, my weeping also eventually comes to a stop. I shudder a little, dry away my tears, and through their clearing veil I eventually start to see the world from another angle. I start to realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for things to change. Waiting for happiness, safety, and for self-confidence to come galloping over the next hill.

I eventually realise that she wasn't Cinderella, nor was I a prince. And that in real life there are not always fairytale endings. And that any possible guarantee of "happily ever after" has to start with yourself.

I clearly realise that I'm not at all perfect, and that everybody else won't love me, appreciate me, or who and what I am… and that is perfectly OK. Everybody has the right to his or her own understanding and opinions.

I start to realise the great importance of appreciating yourself, and of conquering yourself. A dawning feeling of newborn strength and self-confidence is being born. I will stop grumbling, and blaming "everybody else" for things they did to me, or did not do to me. And I realise that the only thing that can really always be trusted is the unexpected.

I realise that people do not always say what they mean, or mean what they say, and that everybody else won't always be there for you, and that everything is not about you. No, I will stand on my own, and take care of myself, and a feeling of confidence is slowly emerging.

I'll stop blaming, and 'pointing fingers', and will start accepting people as they are, ignoring their humanly shortcomings. And a feeling of peace and forgiveness starts emerging.

I start realising that the way I consider myself, as well as my surroundings, to a great extent is a result of personal interpretation of feedback that has been established in my mind. And I decide to erase all that crap with which I've been fed, of how to behave, how to look, of how much you ought to weigh, of how you dress, what car you drive, where and how you live, of your occupation, who you should sleep with or marry, of your expectation of marriage, the great value in having and raising kids, or the debt of gratitude you should owe your parents.

I decide to be open to other 'worlds' and to other ideas, and will start to reconsider and clarify who I really am, and what I really stand for. I will start investigating and learning the difference between what I wish I had, and what I really need to have. And I will start to reconsider opinions and values that don't really exist any longer, or that never should have been accepted as mine. I will learn to follow my instincts.

I will accept the real value in the truth that only by giving do you actually get. That there is a great power, and a great joy and pleasure, in creating and in contributing. I will stop sailing through life as just a 'consumer'. I will accept that principles like honesty and personal ideals are not old-fashioned ideas, relics from the past, but on the contrary, they're actually the glue keeping together the foundation from which I can safely live my life.

I'll realise and accept the fact that I don't know, or understand, everything. That it is not my task to 'save the world', and that you can never teach an old pig singing.

I will learn to separate what is guilt and what is responsibility, and the importance of setting limits, and learning to say no. The only burden I'll carry will be the one I myself choose to carry, and will realise that martyrs seldom experience glory.

Then, I will learn about love. Of romantic love, and about love towards my family, and towards friends and neighbours. How to make love, about giving and taking in loving, when you ought to stop giving, and when you'd better leave. I'll learn not to transport my needs, or my disappointments, into another relationship. Accept the fact that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, thought of more fondly or of greater importance, because of the lady in the crook of your elbow, or of the child carrying your name.

I will learn to regard a relationship as what it really is, and not as I'd like it to be. I will try to stop controlling people, different situations, or outcomes. I will accept that just as people grow and change, so it is even with love, and I'll try to learn to accept that you have no right demanding love according to your own wishes, just to ensure your own happiness. I'll accept that being alone does not have to mean loneliness…

I will see my face in the mirror, and realise I'll never be a model. I will stop trying to compete with the ideal I'm dragging along in my mind. I'll stop putting my own feelings aside, smoothing away things, and overlooking my own desires. I will learn to accept that demanding is quite OK. That you have the right to wish things, and to ask for things you wish. And that sometimes it is quite necessary to make demands.

I'll accept that I deserve to be treated with love, with kindness and care, and with respect, and I simply won't accept less. I'll let the hands of someone that really appreciates me highly caress you me with desire...

I'll realise the real meaning of 'self-esteem'. Realise that my body is my temple. I will start with a more balanced diet, drink more water, and spend more time taking exercise.

I'll realise that if I'm weary, I'll be less happy, and that gnawing doubts or anxiety are easily addressed. I'll spend a lot more time relaxing. Because just as food is the fuel of your body, smiles, laughter and joy are the fuel of your soul, and I will spend more time laughing and playing.

I realise that, in life, you mostly get what you think you deserve, and that a great part of what happens is a result of self-fulfilling prophecies. I eventually realise that all that is worth reaching for is also worth fighting for, and that wishing something will happen, is not the same as working to make it happen. And what is more important, I'll realise that to succeed, I'll need advice, discipline and endurance.

I also realise that nobody can do everything all by himself, and that it is quite alright to ask for help. I realise that the only think you really have to fear is fear itself, the great terrorist of our times. I will conquer my fears, and overcome them, because I know that no matter what happens, I can come to grips with it. Yielding to fear is giving up your right of living according to your own will.

I'll learn to fight for my life, and live in the shade of inevitability. I'll realise that life is not always fair. You simply won't always get what you think you deserve, and sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, decent people. Then you learn not to take such things personally. You learn that the Lord won't punish you, or that life stops listening to your dreams. That's just the way life is, you know. And you learn how to cope with the evil of life in its most basic form, the ego.

I realise that negative feelings, such as anger, envy, or criticism, must be acknowledged and re-directed, or else they will choke your life and poison your surroundings. I'll learn to admit making mistakes, and how to build bridges instead of fences. I'll learn gratitude, and find joy in simple things that we usually take for granted, things that millions of people elsewhere in the world only dream of; a richly filled fridge, clean running water, a warm comfortable bed, or a long lasting hot bath.

Gradually I will start to take responsibility for my own life, all by myself, and I'll solemnly swear never to abandon myself. I'll be watch the beautiful weeping birch outside my window, blowing in the wind.

Then, eventually, with go-ahead spirit and with hearty support, I'll take a deep breath, and I start moving and constructing the life I want to live, as well as I can.

And I'll move on, standing, swaying steadily on the comforting words: - Dad, you are still you, you know, and we care a lot about you…




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