The Comparison Trap
I read blogs about blind runners conquering deserts, stair runs, marathons, and all kinds of madness on their own, yet I cannot even conquer my letterbox. Ok, so I can, but it is a pain in the arse. The work isn’t worth the reward. I cringe at the idea when ever Little suggests it. I try and put her off until daddy can take her. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But sometimes it is all I’ve got.
I had inadvertently fallen into the comparison trap. And everywhere I turn there are blind peops succeeding, while I am languishing away in the sludge of my own sorry state of affairs.
Everyone else seems to be getting ahead while I am getting further and further behind. And rather than be inspired by the accomplishments achievements and progress of others, it makes me feel worse about myself.
It isn’t that I cannot celebrate their achievements, but rather they seem so impossible for me. And only serve to highlight the contrast between us. Their living is an affront to my lack So all I see is how fucked up I am. And how together I could be if… But what is the if? The if is unobtainable. Because my world is ending.
I am not jealous or resentful as such, as I don’t begrudge them their glory. But rather I don’t know where or how to find my own.
I cannot find the similarities between us.
I just cannot relate.
Their ambition seems so foreign, and even that is foreign in and of itself. As anyone who knows me, knows I am traditionally ambitious.
Where was I? What happened to the person who would be the first to say how cool is that, when someone else nailed a fear, conquered a challenge, or just did something they loved.
And it wasn’t so much that I am not saying that, but rather I am not feeling it with my usual affinity and immediacy.
I first wonder where and how did they find the support, the resources, the opportunities, and the energy. Oh God the energy.
And then look around my own life, and be unable to identify Where these things are hiding. Let alone if they actually exist within my realm.
Constantly I have to count the blessings I hadhave; Supportive amazing boss, great colleagues, best husband, beautiful daughter, fantastic friends, unique family, hot tea, heavy blankets, warm sunny step to sit on, running partners, reliable chocolate supplier, occasional presentation… But all this seems so insubstantial, when all I want to do is take time out from the blind.
Again, how did others adapt? What vital clue am I missing?
How would it possibly get easier?
I was doing this day in and day out, yet nothing ever gets easier.
What the fuck… goes through my mind a thousand times a day. As I am quite literally and honestly surprised at not being able to do something, see something, or feel okay about any of it.
This can’t be happening this can’t be happening, I think with almost every step. Speaking of which, where were the stairs that were there a month ago. It was a month ago, wasn’t it? Or was that last year? I can’t remember. Maybe they were only there because I walked down them, not because I ever saw them. Holy shit, how had I done this on cruches? That must have been madness I occasionally think, remembering back to those two months of hell not so long ago.
I find it difficult to see how much I have, when all I am drawn to is what I do not.
I feel as though I am in limbo. Suspended nowhere by nothing and with no one… I don’t know who to reach out to, because on the one hand I don’t want to be told it will be ok, because what if it wasn’t. And on the other, I don’t want to be told it wouldn’t be either. Because I need it to be.
I am not a problem to be solved. I simply want to be understood. But again, I don’t understand it myself, so how can I articulate it for others?
In one moment I wish for my blind girlfriends to come over with a bottle of red, and we can candidly discuss how shitty it all can be if we let it. But as soon as the thought escapes its cage, I remember the logistics involved with making such an indulgence come to fruition, and I put it aside for another time when I have more brain space to deal with it.
Then in the next moment, I want my sighted girlfriends to come over and take me out somewhere. But the idea of all that noise, all that movement, all that everything is too much, and I put that aside also for a better time when I am more together.
Where was the happy medium?
I am afraid to move. As in literally afraid to put one foot in front of the other. Stretch my arms, twist my torso, or even attempt to kick a ball. I no longer like swings or slippery dips, and the only reason I climb anything is because I cannot let Little down.
I can only imagine the fingerprints on our walls from my using them to trail along.
No wonder 85% of the world’s blind population are obese, I ponder.
As a historically athletic person, I had never understood why. But now I get it. Holy shit do I understand. This is horrible. NO wonder it is so hard to get people who are blind or have low vision interested in exercise. Between the overwhelm, the uncertainty, and the energy expenditure through the thinking alone, no matter the task, I finally understand. Then throw in the logistical limitations, liabilities, and logic, and yeah, it can all too easily be put in the too hard I’m not that kind of sporty person anyway basket.
So why would people choose movement, if they could find enjoyment, interaction, and satisfaction out of other more readily reachable and available pursuits.
For example, in my universe, food is a great comfort. A great equaliser. I don’t have to find a way around it in terms of tasting. It is something me and my husband, or my friends can do together and be on an even footing. Shit, I can even do it alone.
Do you like that salted chocolate cake? Why yes I do… The breaking of bread, apart from the old clock face description of what is where doesn’t need to have an alternative in order for me to be a contributor. If anything, my disability makes it even better, as I learn to eat more consciously. And this coming from someone who has historically eaten to live, and not lived to eat so to speak. In other words, I am not a foody.
Sure I have always loved to bake, but more for the sensory experience of it, rather than the end result.
This isn’t to say I have stopped exercising, because if anything I have increased my output. Be it hooping, yoga, weights, and the odd run with a guide/friend. But these are all safe activities for me. These are not activities, which cause me anxiety. And oh God the sense of wellbeing they proffer is out of this world. Not to mention just how smokin’ I am beginning to look… But a temporary high cannot save me from the constant crushing sensation I am experiencing everywhere else.
The simple truth is, If Michael wasn’t already the cook, cleaner, and primary care giver, he would have had to become it.
It isn’t that I have meant to disengage from the details, but rather I am increasingly distracted by my situation as my brain clammers to make sense of it all.
Constantly my neurology is trying to travel the pathways it had always known, but they are blocked. Therefore it is thrown into catastrophe, and there is no room for anything else.
I am furious that playing with Little has become so tiresome. I am upset with my own limitations. I am sad that Michael has to take care of us with such precision.
Basically my lower brain thinks I am under threat, and my higher brain has forgotten to reason or relate.
I flounder under sweetie’s games of chasings, or puzzles, or push me on the tricycle. I am not proud of it by any means, but I try and avoid them or redirect her to something more stationary. Although even drawing elephants and police cars on the chalkboard makes me feel like a failure. As they never turn out the way I intend, and I know she struggles with identifying my scribbles, and I feel like I am letting her down with my inability to make a circle. How can I teach her if she cannot recognise the creatures she has asked me to portray?
I have even stopped reading to her. And there is absolutely no excuse for that. I mean it isn’t as if I cannot read our print/braille books. I just don’t want to.
But I miss taking her out on our girly adventures.
If there was one thing the blind mama blog had encouraged, it was our outings. Writing about them to a largely imaginary readership, and knowing that a few friends waited to see what we had been up to each week kept me accountable.
But I have stopped all that. And am accountable to no one but myself.
I have let my daemons get the best of me.
Medication isn’t an option, as my ability to feel is my barometer. And I know that if I am not feeling what I am working through, then I will feel even more lost and confused. So as ugly as it is, I need the shittiness for navigational purposes.
Besides, my brain doesn’t need a rest from my emotions, my brain needs a rest from the external forces steeling my sunsets, and destroying my equilibrium.
Mind you, when I read how medication had changed The Notorious Mum, I had to concede that it sounded like some pretty good shit, and did have to wonder if it would be of benefit to me.
But what I think I like more, is that she knew what she needed to do, and got the help, which was absolutely right for her.
You rock mama!