Day 2 of Becoming the Woman I am and Not the Bitch I've Become

Day 2: Getting the Love You Want or Wanting the Love You Get...

Well, how about this...I start revving up the old Intention Engine, slipping the gear shift out of Misery and into Drive and look what happens...A check for over $400 arrives unexpectedly in the mail, my kids do what I ask the first time, kind of, and I find myself more present for the rest of the day, more on the planet, awake and paying attention because positive begets positive.

Take Nelda, for example. She's had a miserable life. She's a crabby old woman who was a witch even when she was younger. Now she's confined to a nursing home, paralyzed on her left side and trapped without an exit because not even her children want to be around her. She was about as negative as you could be when I met her.

She'd say the same thing every time I asked her how she was. "Same shit, different day."

And then she got moved to my friend, Alice's hall. Alice won't allow self pity. She insists Nelda do her best. She bullies, coaxes, badgers and loves her patients back to life. But Nelda was not responding. So we poured over her chart, looked for clues and found the most immediate: No one had ever thought to give Nelda an antidepressant!

Now, antidepressants are not wonder drugs. They are designed to help lift the black cloud just enough for you to note the silver lining and begin digging your way back to the real world. Antidepressants are the fart that lifts your butt off your shoulders so you can see all is not as dark as you thought.

So with a giant puff of antidepressant wind, Nelda began to respond. And Alice loved on her. She brought special foods, set up a bird feeder outside Nelda's window, brought her dog, Boomer, to visit and we gave Nelda a teddy bear.

Nelda's up almost daily. She even held my hand a week or two ago and said, "Please don't leave me. I just need someone to love me!"

So today I walk in to talk to her and she is up, dressed and in her wheelchair looking better than I've ever seen her.

"Wow," I said. "You look so pretty!"

Nelda gives me one of her trademark raised eyebrows. "And you're full of bullshit!" she says.

"That may be true," I say. "But it doesn't change the fact that I think you look great today!"

"Well..." Nelda says, thinking it over. "I still think you're full of shit but you can sit down on the bed and talk to me."

That is Nelda-speak for "I like you."

Maybe someone else would see it differently, someone who doesn't know Nelda. But I could see it for what it was.

Which made me wonder, how many other people are trying to tell me they love me? How many times do I blow off someone's attempt to communicate caring because it isn't delivered in a language, a "speak" I understand?

How many times am I like the patients who sit across from me complaining that their spouses don't love them because if they did they would _____ (fill in the blank.) And when I point out things their loved ones are doing that would indicate good will, they shake their heads. "No, that's not love. They should be _____ (fill in another blank.)

Love is being offered, but because it isn't wrapped in the right package, it's tossed aside, unwanted.

Like maybe the husband who works an extra shift on the weekend to buy something the family needs isn't deliberately staying away from his wife, maybe he's showing his love by attempting to make sure they have everything they need.

Maybe looking at what's missing keeps us from seeing the many gifts that others are trying to offer.

Maybe when I see someone I love attempting to do the right thing, I will say thank you, instead of saying "Well, I'm glad you _____, but you forgot to _____."

Maybe I will lighten up on my criticisms of others because they're only indications of my own insecurity. Maybe I will look for and expect the very best of intentions from those I love because not doing so dishonors their attempts to be the wonderful people I love.

And maybe, just maybe, I am full of shit- but it doesn't keep what I'm saying from being true...

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