before and after

I have always called myself an optimist with realistic expectations. What I’ve discovered though is that I’m sort-of a pessimist. (Putting the sort-of in front of it makes it easier to swallow.) In fact, Scott called me a fatalist the other day. Wha?? I was insulted. Me? A fatalist?

I’m practical. It’s the survivor in me. I know how to hunker down and weather the storms. What I’m not good at is the big picture, having vision for my life and dreaming. It’s a flaw I own. I hope for the best and am positive the worst will happen.

Sometimes it’s easier to dig your heels in, and grin and bear it than to leave the trenches and walk on.

I’ve come close to death and lost someone beloved and I never fully recovered. It’s been 13 years and I’m better, so much better, but my life can’t return to ‘before’. A line was crossed and I live in the after with a smattering of before. I mean, I knew bad things could happen, but I didn’t know. Not like this. You’re crushed and you want to recapture your heart. The way it was. You want to take life for granted again. And you can’t. You won’t.

Someone once said to me you’ll never be okay unless you’re completely healed. I reject that statement. Life is defined differently for me now and, after much time and relentless surrendering, it is okay. I am okay. I’m well. While there are many of us who can’t return to innocence and see the world with a rosy glow, we can see the sweet through the bitter. We can appreciate that life is fragile and if we explore it we’ll find beauty.

I only have to look at a pitch black sky with stars drawn across it to know our world is a mysterious place, magical and perplexing. There are some questions I will never have answers to and the not knowing can be maddening, but I can rest in the mystery, in being small in a big world. Maybe I’m a pessimist or a fatalist. Who knows and who cares? I do know that I’m still learning, always learning. For those of you who are suffering and can’t believe this is your life, know you are not alone. Right now you’re in the trenches. And one day you’ll do more than survive. You’ll live.

Swept up

In Skydive Professional

Speaking of living…this is Scott’s passion. This is what makes him feel truly alive. I don’t claim to understand it, but I support it because I’m nice like that. Recently, he started up this blog on being a professional skydiver and there are some exciting things happening for him, including interviewing author and skydiver Dan Bronsky-Chenfeld.

8 thoughts on “before and after

  1. jessica

    I think when something happens in your life as it did yours or just being a certain age, you no longer see life as “Rosy”. I live in a world now where I have no expectations. I’ve been too heartbroken too many times to live that way.

    I do the next right thing in front of me and hope for the best. For me it’s a form of letting go of knowing as you so eloquently put it that you are “small in a big world”.

    I needed to read this today. Thank you. xo

    1. heidi

      You know I love you, right? Like, really really.
      I love what you said about doing what’s in front of you and how that’s a way of letting go – that is beautiful and so true.

  2. IntenseGuy

    The semantics of the labeling aside… You are what you are – the core of “you” and an accumulation of what has come before – there isn’t really anything to “heal”… there is only the acceptance that “what happened along the way, happened.” For better or for (much) worse.

    Your outlook is important – the how you want to deal with “what is to come” that is part of your “definition.” To not want to see what comes next makes a person someone not many will want to know. To be open to learning – means you want to know… more – and why…

    We are all “small in a big world” and even smaller – in a mind-boggling universe… but that doesn’t mean we are “insignificant” – for we don’t know, in the overall picture – for what or why we are here and we may never know.

    I hope you are living large today. 🙂

    You, a pessimest?

  3. Alexandra

    I love your words.

    When you write anything, I feel like one of the luckiest people in the world.

    You see things that it is impossible for me to see.

    You’ve got a pair of lenses on your heart and soul that I don’t have.

    Your words are like crumbs leading me to a way that I never would have found on my own.

    You move me like that.

    I ponder how far you have come, and I wonder if people who read your posts REALLY look at what you’re saying.

  4. Alexis

    Kleenex required for this post! I absolutely loved this. Your outlook is realistic and positive. It’s definitely temping to be a fatalist and blow raspberries at life when nothing is working out. It’s easy to feel beaten. But fatalist or not it’s so worth it to find the beauty in life even with the practical ‘I-know-better-than-this’ tune humming in our ears. This post is such a great reminder of that. 🙂

  5. Toriz

    I think this is a beautiful post!

    I also think the labels don’t matter. Regardless of what you are, you’re you, and from what I can tell from this and the rest of your posts on this blog, you’re a wonderful person with a beautiful soul. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what labels you or anyone else atatch(es) to you, what matters is that you don’t lose that ability to see the magic and wonder of the world we live in, and the joy that can be found in so many things that so many people take for granted.

  6. amanda

    needed this today…thanks for sharing, Heidi! eran and i have had similar conversations about being a realist/pessimist! lol

    1. heidi

      Thanks Amanda. Maybe all the titles and labels don’t matter. As long as we’re still living life and moving forward? I think they just mess us up. 🙂
      Take care, you.

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