The part where I let go of more than my appendix
Some of you who have waltzed through life more or less choosing awesome partners, awesome jobs, and didn’t develop ‘survival skills‘ at a young age (you know who you are); this might sound super weird and foreign to you. I thought, maybe I should write this post. Nah, too personal. But my dear friend and mentor, Mandi, suggested I write about it and I took that as a sign I’d better do so.
If someone had said to me six months ago, "you’re not so good at accepting help or asking for it or allowing for it", I would’ve probably said something like, no way!! I’m WAY better at that stuff now. That’s probably true. But if that scratches the surface, appendicitis tore open something I didn’t even know was there. Something that had been lurking for so long, it had just become a part of me. Something I no longer needed but was certainly willing to hang on to. Sometimes only trauma and pain can unearth these things, though I always ask for my lessons to be as comfortable as possible!
The morning I got sick, before I left for the hospital, I texted my friend Cara, who had an appendectomy a few years ago. I’d already texted Nate, but he’d just come off his last night shift and was sleeping. By the time I was at the hospital, Cara offered to wake him up. I said no because he couldn’t do anything anyway. Then it hit me. That was my default - I’m fine, I got this, he can’t do anything anyway. As a single woman, mostly reliant on myself, that default had served me well. But then I thought, wait a second, I could die in surgery without even talking to him?? A little dramatic but that was what I needed. I told her to wake him up. Such a small thing but such an important thing. And that one admission left a door open for more. Nate switched his flight to arrive a few days earlier than originally planned to be with me after surgery. I had the surgery and the next afternoon Nate arrived at the hospital to spend that night with me and figure the rest out after I was discharged.
I was determined to stay if I could, have two weeks recovering on various beaches with Nate, finish the end of my first class, and then go to Chaa Creek for my second class. In reality, I didn’t know how much of that would be possible and was hoping for a speedy recovery. Sometime during the next two weeks, I realized something big. I almost didn’t ask Cara to wake Nate up. I was completely oblivious to the fact that I’d need him to help me if I were going to stay in Belize. I felt, in a word, supported. By a man. Truly supported. But only because I’d allowed it. This was new. I realized in a flash that for years I’d felt unsupported and mostly justifiably so. I’d gotten used to it. But no more. That survival tactic was no longer necessary!! I told myself that from then on if I felt unsupported, I should ask myself - is that because I am not being supported or because I’m not allowing myself to be supported?
But it doesn’t end there. During the second class, it was time for our last partner spiritual baths of the week. This isn’t a tub bath - I’ll explain spiritual baths in another post. I’d never received one from a man before, and for various reasons I felt strongly on that day that a man was needed. Jared and Michelle, a married couple who were in our class last year, came to the advanced class this year too. Jared was the only man so I asked them if it was alright for us to be partners. Plus, Jared is a protector, a caretaker, a man with a warrior spirit. I knew I needed that. Normally we don’t get to choose but on this day we did. Jared said he’d been thinking about me too and that we should be partners. While he was quietly walking around me, burning copal, sprinkling water, and whispering prayers, I thought, Jared is being so kind and gentle right now, I really feel taken care of. Another warm brush of recognition across my face - I have rarely if ever felt truly taken care of by a man. I had to grieve that one out for a bit!
What a beautiful way to realize again that I was held by my partner, Nate, and so appreciated and cherished without any clinging or co-dependency. When true support and care from another has been a passing and momentary luxury, then suddenly you know in your core that you’ve found someone that reliably offers that to you - it’s a big deal. Thanks appendix!
Anyone could've told me this and it would’ve resonated in my head but not my heart and spirit. I’ve learned many times, that’s the key to integrating information that has its beginnings in trauma or scarcity. It can’t just be known, it must be felt deep inside... and there’s the treasure in the trauma.