I am blessed with Oscar's family, Lynn, Brian, and Liz. Lynn and Brian held a CD Release Party at Madgalena's tea house last night, with a small knit-in just before the concert.
I've had difficulty getting out and travelling and sitting for an evening of fun. Wait, please don't go. This isn't another post where I whinge on and on about pain..
It had gotten to the point that the last few times we had plans, I was ill before we left and often cancelled. Now, my issues are real, I do have physical difficulties both during and after such adventures, but I didn't realize until last night that the psychological component of anxiety was having an even bigger role.
Lynn has been working hard for weeks to make the party a success. She was a little nervous about singing a song that she'd recorded with Brian, but not sung in public much. She was worried she might forget some of the words, as in part it was a nonsense song but she kept practicing, and her joy in anticipating sharing her music with friends lifted her over the worried moments, I think.
I was NOT going to cancel! I was careful the entire week before to not over do so I COULD go. All I had to do was remember the joy in Lynn's voice when she learned Oscar and I could be there, and remember what it meant to Oscar that I be there as well.
I was amazed however to realize how often I had to remind myself. Had I subconsciously overdone in the past to avoid the anxiety of going out and being with people?
As the time to leave approached, I found myself having a full blown anxiety attack. It built and built after I had my shower, until as I was sitting in front of the TV drying off, watching a show on the Alvin Ailey dancing troupe, something realeased and I began to cry. Watching the beautiful movements as they entwined with the music something reached out to me, and my reactions changed from sadly remembering when I danced, to connecting with the images, until I almost felt I was dancing too. There was an alchemical change in the substance of my tears from bitter to sweet, and a realization that with that connection I could recapture some of the joy I had in activities I've had to let go.
I realized that the part of me that craved being with people and hearing music and sharing art had grown stronger than my fears of the difficuties of being a fat lady in a wheelchair in public. I'm pretty sure there was more to the fear stew than that, but that is what was floating on top.
Symbolically, the items I chose to bring to the Heftone's CD Party had strong connections to the last time I was performing. I use a prop from Blithe Spirit (an old carpet bag) for my knitting, and I tucked into that the silk shawl I'd made for that show to bring along in case I became chilly. I didn't realize the significance of the choice until this morning when all this came together.
Anyway, we arrived, and yes, it was awkward maneuvering in the chair, especially because it was the first time I'd tried doing so in a dress. As soon as I was sitting and knitting, however, I felt relaxed and comfortable. Lynn's knitting friends reached out and asked a few questions, and my rusty social skills rose up in answer.
Liz had brought a luscious rhubarb cake and candles, because Oscar's birthday is next week, so we had a party for him too :-} And of course the concert was wonderful. I love music so much, and Brian and Lynn are Magic on stage and off. I was even there for the jam session afterward, with my little zucchini shaker, and my voice. It too was rusty, but it was wonderfully fun to sing in harmony again. I was so glad to be there.
As we drove home, I talked to Oscar about the night, and my fears and what it meant to me to be with him at the party, and we decided we needed more evenings like this in our lives, and he promised to push when I needed it to help get me out into the world again, with him. His schedule may very well be changing to allow evening and weekend events, so this is great timing all around. So, I sit here this morning with the expected sore belly from the travelling and the sitting up so long, but an entirely unexpected hope and joy as well. I won't let pain get in my way again. Its worth a few bad days a month for the lovely reconnection with life outside. And the fear? I'll remember the song that was running through my mind as I woke up this morning, and get past it.
"When you're strolling though the wherezis,
You need a whozis
To lean upon;
But when you have no whozis,
To hug and whatzis, gosh darn.
Mm-mm-mm, would you like to take walk?
Mm-mm-mm, do you think it's gonna rain?
Mm-mm-mm, ain't you tired of the talkies?
I prefer the walkies,
Sump'n good'll come from that."