There is a wolf lurking in the shadows. It’s been stalking me quietly for a while now. Showing itself in bits and pieces. Poking it’s massive head out and looking into my windows until it was impossible to ignore. Now it’s looking at me, its eyes glowing in the dark until it’s almost all that I can see, every moment, of every day.
I won’t lie, I’ve been afraid to look it in the eyes. To really face it head on. This thing is too big of an animal for me to take on. For me to beat. For me to fight. But I don’t have a choice. I don’t have another option. I was thrown head first into the battle without ever knowing that I was in it. Without even knowing the stakes.
The truth is…I am at war with myself. My body is turning on itself. In a way it feels like it makes sense. I was always good at punishing myself if I was in a pinch. Rather than looking for someone one else to blame whenever anything went wrong, my first instinct was to take the entire load upon myself and try to solve it, because in the end, I could only be responsible for myself. Or so I felt. I am prone to fight through any sign of weakness, often desperate to find a way to push through pain and discomfort until there is no other choice.
I find that we as women are given to ignoring ourselves. Ignoring signs and symptoms because we make things work. We keep things running. It’s what we do. And I know that I am not the first woman to feel like I con’t have the time to be sick. I am not the first woman to push myself until I am knocked down and dragged out with no other choice. We can’t do that anymore. We have to have enough love for ourselves to pay attention to the signs. To listen to the symptoms and our bodies. We have to love ourselves and each other enough to be in-tune and in touch. We deserve it.
When I was younger, if anyone asked me: if I could be any animal what would I be, my answer was always ‘a wolf’. Now, maybe I will get my chance to beat one. At least for a while. Anything is possible. I create love stories. Stories of passion and romance. I do it because I believe those are the fleeting, rarely captured, elusive moments that make people’s lives. But I stopped believing that those moments were possible for me. Too many failed attempts made me jaded. Cynical. And I was cruel to myself in order to try and guard my heart against further fractures. But…anything is possible. That is the moral of every story I write. And I want that to be the legacy of my life. I want to leave that legacy for my sweet little girl. And I want to believe it with all of my soul. Because now, I need to believe. Belief is the only thing that is going to get me through this. It is the only thing that will help me defeat this wolf.
But this wolf…it’s a doozy. There are more signs and symptoms than I know what to do with. More than I think I can handle. But there is no choice. They call it “the wolf” you know. This…illness. And it is looking at me. But now…I am looking back. I’m staring it dead in the face with all of the same ferocity with which I used to ignore it. I’m locking eyes with the wolf and I am going to give it the fight of my life. I have to. My little girl is sort of counting on me. And in the meantime, every day that I get through, I’m going to celebrate. I am going to throw my head back and howl at the big beautiful moon. I’m going to show the wolf who should be afraid.