Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Fishbowl

I'm sure many of you remember that first fish you won at a local carnival. I remember my first fish very well, I was eleven and at the carnival with a few of my girlfriends. I remember the booth with all the fishbowls with fish in them in the middle of the booth. To win a fish all you had to do was hand the man a dollar and he gave you 3 ping-pong balls. It was your job to throw the ping-pong ball and make it land into a bowl. Sounds pretty easy until you try it. Usually the ball hits the side of a bowl and lands on the floor somewhere. I remember it only took me three dollars to win my beloved fish (what a money maker for the carnies, they probably got 100 fish for a dollar). Now that I have my fish, I push my brain to come up with a creative name, and name her Goldie (wow, that was a push LOL). I begin carrying Goldie around the carnival grounds, and realize I'm unable to go on any more rides for fear of jeopardizing Goldie's life (she's already become a burden within an hour), so I take off for the cotton candy machine and head for home. When I get home I realize I don't have a bowl for Goldie, and am thankful I didn't spend all my carnival money. I take off to the corner fish store, and four dollars later I have a bowl, some rocks and some fish food for Goldie.

The first week, Goldie's is living it up at my house, she has a clean bowl, she's fed every day , and I talk to her whenever I'm in my room. Week two, Goldie is fed every day, I rarely say a word to her, and she's lucky if her bowl is cleaned once a week. Week three, I think maybe if I feed her less she won't poop so much, and her bowl won't need to be cleaned as much. Week four and a half, I wake up and think "what's that smell?", I look around the room, and notice Goldie's bowl is a greenish brown, and I can barely see Goldie and she's struggling to breath. I quickly clean the bowl, feel slightly guilty for not caring for my fish, and do a little better for a couple of days. By week five, the bowl is stinky and brown, and I'm thinking to myself, DIE Goldie, DIE! Finally after several weeks of abuse, Goldie goes to the big ocean in the sky via my toilet.

Lately I've given some thought to my poor goldfish's life, and thinking I might be reaping what I have sown when it comes to my treatment of Goldie. Lately I've been feeling like a fish in a bowl, watching the world around me living and going on with life.

Recently I went on my typical trip to the grocery store, and as normal, by the time I was done, I was exhausted. Behind me was a sweet elderly woman with a cane. My heart went out to a fellow sufferer of a body that was no longer working at 100%. By the time I was done unloading my cart, my body was finished. I knew I would barely have the energy to walk out of that store and load my twelve bags of groceries into my car. I slowly walk around to the side of my car, when I see the sweet lady with the cane walking to her car. She opens her trunk and gingerly unloads her cart, and is backing quickly out of her parking spot and driving down the street. I guess she had me fooled, I'm sure she could have taken me down with a gentle push of her cane. I finish loading my car, and drag myself to the driver seat, close the door, close my eyes, and try to will my heartbeat to slow down, to ease my gasping for air, to stop the world from spinning, and pray that I have the strength to be able to place my hands on the steering wheel so that I will be able to drive myself home before my frozen goods begin to melt. As my heart slows down and my breathing eases up, I slowly open my eyes trying to focus on the people and things outside my car windshield. As I sat there watching, I realized that the world around me was alive and busy. People coming and going without a clue that I was sitting in my car barely able to function. I felt so separate, and almost not a part of this world around me.

It's the same for me at home, I watch my children come and go, watch the people outside walking the neighborhood, hear about the things people do on the weekends, read about the fun things people are doing on face book, and feel like that fish in the bowl, seeing but not being a part of it.

At church, I watch the people come and go, catching up and sharing, but I can no longer participate in church activities so I've lost the connection, it's work for me to go from person to person. I now feel like a stranger to these friends I use to know so many precious details of their lives. I feel like I must sound like a broken record to them, my life is the same, I'm still sick, I still am blessed to work, and I still have an amazing family. When I do get the chance to talk to someone, I ask about how they are doing , but I seem to be getting a pat answer from many, I'm sure I must be doing something to get the quick answers, probably the fact that I'm not there and not connected.

Now I'm sure some of you are thinking jump out of the bowl and get out there and live. I guess part of the problem with that is fear, there are so many things that can trigger a crash of my symptoms that I don't want to pay for it later. I'm also so tired on the weekends after working all week, that I have practically no energy to expend on extra curricular activities. It feels like the last hospital visit took more than a few days and a chunk of change, it feels like a part of me was left in that lost and found room they left me in. I know I need to work harder at telling others what I need, but I just don't have the energy to do that. Part of me is becoming compliant to this life of solitude, but the other part of me screams for my old life, my busy others filled life. I wish this blog could be more inspiring for those who struggle with the same problem, but I haven't found the answer to this one yet, when I do, I'm sure to blog about it.

Desiring to inspire,

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