I want to be one of those people who are always positive. The kind that, no matter what happens, can pop up and bounce back and find that silly silver lining in the cloud. I want to be able to handle things. Without stress, drama, anxiety or despair. I want to have a brain that works when the bad things hit. One that can see the way out, formulate a plan and work the plan until the problem is solved and situation is resolved. Since this seems fairly impossible, no matter how hard I try, I would like to at least be the kind of person who didn’t fall apart, trip over my two left feet and have to be picked up off the sidewalk. It has been a little over a week since I was hospitalized. I was told I was in a life-threatening situation, that I had to be admitted to the hospital because my situation was dire. That I didn’t have a choice. I was that close to death. But yesterday I got a notice that Aetna had denied my claim because admitting me to the hospital wasn’t necessary. Huh? I’m so confused. And at a loss. And falling apart. And not seeing that silver lining. Maybe they just routinely deny claims and hope no one will fight them. So they get out of paying. But I am teetering on the edge of falling off the cliff, grabbing pebbles and dirt trying to get a grip so I don’t go over, and waging war with the insurance company doesn’t feel doable. Though I know I have to find the strength to fight somehow, regardless. Because I can’t afford the deductible, much less to pay the entire bill for that stay. Then, Monday night, when I started my car at work, initially, nothing happened. Just clicked. I jiggled the key and it started. Tuesday morning, same thing. Jiggle, jiggle…it started. At work, someone suggested checking recalls and I found out there was a recall on the ignition switch of my 1999 Honda Prelude, one they had not notified me about even though I am the original owner, having bought the car new, and have lived at the same address for the past 11 years. It was announced in 2002 and was still open. So I called the dealer and arranged to get the car in for the warranty replacement. But when I tried to start my car on Tuesday afternoon at work, nothing happened, other than that horrible click. And this time, no amount of jiggling the key had any impact. So I had to have the car towed to the dealer and had to find a way home. I was so stressed and worried about my dogs and how they were going to manage having to “hold it” for such a long period of time yet again. My brain wouldn’t even function. It was pathetic. Then the next day, I found out that wasn’t all that was wrong with the car. It burned out the starter too. And that problem, regardless of the fact that they were interconnected, was not covered under the recall. And would delay the repair yet another day. And would cost $500. After the news of the claim for my acute hospital care being denied, the towing, and then finding out how much it would cost to replace my starter, I must confess, I simply wanted to die. Really. My dogs are a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing because they give me a reason to get up in the morning. They are little unconditional love machines. They adore me. They are dependent on me and want to spend every moment of their life right with me. Or laying on me. Always by my side. Curled up with me, following me around the house, playing with me…it doesn’t matter. They just want…me. They are a curse because they adore me. They are dependent on me and want to spend every moment of their life right with me. Curled up with me, following me around the house, playing with me…it doesn’t matter. I can’t bear the thought of traumatizing them, should something happen to me (like suicide). It would hurt them and I can’t even stand the thought of hurting them. They are sweet and wonderful and innocent. I don’t want to do anything that would cause them to be guarded and fearful. I also don’t want to miss their little lives. They are that special. They matter that much to me. So, I’m stuck here for as long as they are alive. Which is where the curse comes in. I can’t go just yet. I have to keep going. I have to find a way. Figure out a plan. I would love to do that with grace and style. I don’t seem to be a grace and style type of person, unfortunately. I stumble. Fall. Crack my head open. Tear out my heart. Crawl. Fall off edges. Crash and burn. I guess there’s a certain amount of “style” to that, if you can call it style. It’s more like I’m a total, inept klutz when it comes to living life. I don’t want to be a klutz. I want to be a ballerina. A really good ballerina. So. The dance that is my life is not pretty and smooth and graceful. It’s tortured, ugly, messy. It’s troubled, uncoordinated, destructive even. And that seems to be the best I can do. I hang on to a thread to get from one moment to the next. I can barely stagger through the seconds, crash through the hours, claw through the days. This is not the example I had hoped to be. But it is what I am. My brother tells me I need to start doing things right. From this moment forward. He said I need to make the right choices and stop doing the wrong things. And if I would just do that, everything in my life would be fine. And I suppose he’s correct. It’s just that I have to fight my way through depression, post-traumatic stress, an eating disorder, negative and destructive thoughts, no self-esteem, deep self-hatred, shame, blame, emptiness, isolation and self-rejection to even get to the place where most people get to start out. I think it’s called mental illness. What I have. What I fight. It’s what causes my dance to be horrible instead of wondrous. And it keeps me locked in pain and hopelessness. Being told that all I need to do is “just do it right” hurts. Because I’m trying. Truly I am. I just…can’t…seem…to do it…right. And it makes me hate myself even more because I fail. Plus, I lose hope in ever being loved and accepted by anyone because I know I’m failing. And who wants to be in a relationship with a failure who can’t dance gracefully through life? I’m lurching. I’m falling down and banging myself up. I’m dragging myself through. Because my dogs love me even if I can’t love myself. And even if no one else can see any value in me. In their eyes, I can do no wrong. So I keep moving from second to second, trying to hold on just a little longer. Trying to get to my knees, even when I can’t, under any circumstances, get to my feet. If the blows would stop…just for a bit…maybe I could catch my breath. Rest. Learn a lovely dance step or two. Until that happens, that convulsing, staggering idiot you see careening, crashing, crawling through the day, well, that’s me. Trying to gain an inch before circumstances knock me all the way back to the beginning yet again. I’m trying. Because two silly little wonderful dogs look up at me, jump deliriously when I come home and think I hung the moon. For now, that will have to be enough. I hope someday I have more. I pray that someday, I can be that glorious ballerina. And I hope someday, I can actually love myself too. The way Zoe and Hannah love me. See myself like they see me. And that at some point, I will be able to dance gracefully in spite of all of my brokenness.