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Second Floor Please...

Friday, February 03, 2012

Some people refer to their memory as a vault; capable of retaining important information for decades, ready to be neatly opened to reveal valuable information like some sort of certificate.
They can remember key points of a speech someone gave in the past, or what time that ridiculous train arrives into Boston if it left the New York train station 3 hours earlier at maximum speed (ugghhhhh, somebody kill me!).

I remember the odd, useless stuff. I can tell you what color of socks you were wearing when I ran into you on the street 3 years ago, and likely what color they were the time before that (yes, really). If I noticed you picking the olives out of your enchilada dinner and pushing them into a little pile on your plate (looking like a stack of Hot Wheels tires), then I will forever remember to keep olives far far away from you. I cannot seem to forget my Junior high locker combination from 20+ years ago (18-36-24), no matter how hard I want to let it go.

My memory seems more like an elevator, not a vault.

I would like to think that we all want to excel in life, or get to the next level. At least out of the lobby area, right?
Come take a ride with me...

'Second floor please'

I read articles and books about how to better myself a times. I often try to apply that to my life:
Being confident in my work skills, and how to effectively ask for a raise (I can impress you).
How to stay engaged in a conversation and keep eye contact with someone while speaking to them (I want to show you respect).
How to make a savory chicken soup by not only reading the recipe, but feeling talented enough to color outside of the recipe lines a bit (I want to nourish you).

But when it comes to my behavior when I am in pain, no matter how much I read, I don't retain enough of the necessary tools for that critical moment. When my bodily pain starts to creak and moan and squeeze out all positive feelings from mere moments earlier, I seem lost.

The elevator in my mind has then slammed the shiny steel doors and sent the car to 'P' (Parking level), and for the life of me, I cannot remember where I parked my memory!!!

And then there is my denial about it: "what the heck?! I pushed the 5th floor, NOT 'P'! Who's driving this thing anyway???"

We all start off at the Lobby Level in life, right? No one wants to go below that floor. There's NOTHING fun at the 'B' level (Basement), trust me. I'm well aware (after many years of stubbornness and denial), that I cannot expect to graduate to the higher levels of life (err, floors), by attempting to skip over important steps. Nope, not even if you pry open that emergency door hatch in the elevator car, trying to scramble out and up a few floors on your own (believe me, I have tried).

I can try to blame the switchboard all I want to, but it is not faulty wiring. The used piece of gum smooshed into the 'Open Door' button is not to blame. Do you want to know why? Because I keep pushing the 'B' (Basement) button with my eyes closed, SO SURE that I am pressing '2' the whole time, and expecting to move upward in my life.
Insanity is exhibiting the same behavior over and over again and expecting different results right? Ouch. So true...

I know what I need to do, and I am certain that you know what you need to do in life as well. The fine details are individual, sure, but the framework is the same:
Set some goals
Devise a solid plan
Get a support team lined up and USE it
Slap on some tunnel vision
Create a back up plan
Add some grace for the inevitable hiccups along the way
(perhaps a bumper sticker for some laughs).

I can't cry all of the time as a result of my pain, and I can't blame anyone for it (unless that elevator door has closed on my fingers, and then it is sooooooo your fault!! Yowsers!).
In all reality, my health will continue to get worse, and my well of tears will dry up at this pace (and snot is not cute).

I can however, acknowledge that my ailments are mean and nasty, but NOT react in a way that is mean and nasty to my body. I can stop pretending that I don't need to listen my pain when it calls on me to pull that red Emergency Stop button.

I am so thankful for those of you on this ride with me. I appreciate your advice, your virtual shoulder, and those thumps in the head when I need it.

Don't worry, I won't push the 'Close Door' button on you as you gallup toward the elevator car, headed to higher floors of satisfaction in health and in life. I need you there with me!

Besides, it's WAY more fun to jump in the air just before the elevator car comes to a stop with someone next to you, right?

'Nuff said...

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    you know... i used to think that *I* was the writer...

    remember that time we went to the Magic Castle and I River Danced in those ridiculous shoes on the hardwood floor?

    i remember jumping with you in elevators.

    i love you.
    2151 days ago
    Wow inspiring blog! I'm wondering if I'm on the numb me floor..no more emotional pain please. I don't like the basement either and frankly I don't even like elevators! I had one crash in my office building...luckily no one was hurt! But the day prior to it crashing people were stuck inside the very same elevator. Alas your blog isn't really about that tho! LOL I hope you continue to thrive and feel great! You look fabulous and I love your energy in your blog!
    2205 days ago
    I'll ride that elevator with you, missy. But for now, here are a few ways to make the elevator ride more...enjoyable..or maybe, interesting for yourself and all those onboard emoticon

    1.Stand silent and motionless in the corner facing the wall without getting off
    2.MEOW occasionally
    3.Say “DING” at each floor
    4.Make explosion noises each time someone pushes a button
    5.When there is only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder then pretend it wasn’t you
    6.Call out GROUP HUGGGG!!! Then enforce it.
    7.Shake everyone’s hand who enters and ask them to call you "Admiral"
    8.Drop a pen, wait until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream “That’s mine!!”

    So what do you say?? emoticon
    2207 days ago
    Loved this! emoticon
    2208 days ago
    So know the details of remembering what people are wearing, saying, looking like when I see them.

    Brain stops working when I have to remember their NAME. No, really. I for the life of me, cannot remember people's names after I have been introduced to them. (It's amazing I remember my kids names.) emoticon Sometimes I start saying one of their names, realizing that I'm saying the wrong name and end up saying, "Hey YOU, Fred, George, Ginger! Get over here!" emoticon emoticon

    It's okay, they seem to understand. They actually giggle at me and roll their eyes and think of me as hopeless. emoticon

    The point is, is that a person learns what and how other people react. They learn to understand a person's shortcomings and then, if they are mature, forgiving and understanding...they become the wonderful shoulders that a person can use....when you need to.

    I have two shoulders Bren. I'll let you lean on the good one.

    2208 days ago
    Wow Bren. This blog touched a soft spot in my heart. emoticon emoticon
    2208 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    Well, my only excuse for not getting here sooner is that no one held the elevator door for me so I had to take the stairs - excuse my sweating and my panting (I know you will). Oh, doll, I wish I could take some of the pain away. I know what you mean about forgetting everything, when we are in pain (physical and emotional). It is baffling, isn't it? When we need our coping skills most, they seem to dessert us (which is when eating dessert seems like a coping skill) Keep writing, keep fighting, keep your friends in mind. emoticon emoticon
    2208 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    Oscar Wilde said " We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars" Well if I have understood you I would say that you are definitely looking at the stars even if its from the basement! I am blessed to have met you Bren emoticon
    2210 days ago
    "I am so thankful for those of you on this ride with me. I appreciate your advice, your virtual shoulder, and those thumps in the head when I need it. "
    * And we you/yours

    "Besides, it's WAY more fun to jump in the air just before the elevator car comes to a stop with someone next to you, right? "
    * :)
    2210 days ago
  • MISSB8604
    Girl, you are simply wonderful.

    My favorite part:
    "I can however, acknowledge that my ailments are mean and nasty, but NOT react in a way that is mean and nasty to my body. I can stop pretending that I don't need to listen my pain when it calls on me to pull that red Emergency Stop button."

    In other words, stop complaining and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

    Thank you.
    2211 days ago
    Speechless. Bren, I'm glad to have "met" you so that I can say I've known someone as courageous, remarkable, and witty as you. It's easy to forget all the wonderful things life has to offer and your stories always remind me how that no matter hard it gets, I can suck it up, rock it, and move on in a positive way. You are awesome.

    2211 days ago
  • NUMD97
    This latest addition to your collection (soon to be book, I hope!), left me quiet (and if you know me, that's no mean feat!) and reflective.

    Piece by piece, blog by blog, hints along the way, we are seeing who you are as a person, unfold. Maintaining a respectful distance, not wanting to invade your privacy, I have seen the person you are, revealed.

    This is what I have learned so far:

    You work. [So glad to see that!]

    You exercise. [Accruing mega-minutes there!]

    You love deeply. [Saw that in how much you were willing to sacrifice to please your neighbors over their Thanksgiving dinner.]

    You are loved. [Not only by the people in your external world, but in this one as well. One of your fans implored me to tell you what I had shared with her about your gifts. I told her that I already did.]

    You are generous with a giving spirit. [In spite of all that you are experiencing, you still take the time to visit someone's page, to leave a goofy comment or an "attagirl!" or a goodie, to cheer someone on in their own quest for better health.]

    And probably above all, from our own selfish vantage point, you leave us all humbled, with your indomitable spirit. I sit here now in awe of you. And always reading the comments on your blogs, I see that many share what I see.

    I realize, of course, that a lot done on SP is really for ourselves, but no matter. I just want to take this opportunity to thank you ever so much for sharing (at least, in part) your life with us.
    2212 days ago
    Hey Bren, do you think you could come to the "B" level, I'm stuck there...seriously! I so want to come up to the Lobby, just to get back to where I was, but alas I just cannot seem to get there. It's gloomy and grey and it smells like pee down here, but I'm stuck!

    You're words were like the beeping of floors, as the elevator rises and opens the door to let those with the strength to move upward, on my psyche...like they were written just for me! I can hear them but I just cannot be in the car as it rides up the shaft...I hear it beep as more people join me in this abyss...as we suffer alone, individually with no strength to move to a higher level.

    I'm stuck!
    2212 days ago
    Like Marki said, remember we're in that elevator with you. Any time you need us we're their for you with a tissue to wipe up a little of that snot. I have a feeling this trial will be a blessing for you and that elevator is going to be headed to the penthouse!! emoticon
    2213 days ago
    Maybe we can decorate the basement a little? I'll help!
    Internet spotty in cabin, but will try to get more Sparking done before bed!
    Miss ya. Thanks for the blog, and as always, thanks for sharing your journey.
    2213 days ago
    It's natural that you forget your coping skills when pain hits. Pain takes us all back to being babies, unable to think logically. Pain makes us into reactive, squirmy little critters. The fact that you write these amazing blogs, and stay true to your funny, kind, thoughtful self is a miracle, considering what you deal with.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2213 days ago
    2213 days ago
    Oh Bren, you are a gift! I'm glad you won't close the door on us, that's my biggest concern when people reach out, pull back, give up...
    The elevator dropped me all the way to the basement last summer, I crashed hard, and I couldn't believe how willing and able my friends (Spark and otherwise) were to help pick the elevator up with their bare hands. Now I go back and forth between the first and second floors, but they're still carrying me around, and they do it with way more patience than I give myself. That just proves you're all smarter than me, and I love hanging out with people smarter than me! I'll subscribe to anything that makes pain easier. I hope you do too, you deserve lots of ease and love!
    2213 days ago
  • LGAR519
    I love you. And praying for a cure. Hang in there. God loves you too.
    2213 days ago
    A beautiful post. You are awesome!
    2213 days ago
    Bren, you are a ROCKSTAR! You are one of the MOST courageous people i know. What you deal with EVERY day, would cripple most people, and leave us laying in a puddle of tears and snot. But somehow you manage to only shed a few tears at a time, and then find a way to make the rest of us smile.
    All I can do is tell you I LOVE you. I'm here! I'm riding that elevator with you! When you find yourself pushing B, I'll do my best to keep you from stepping off. if you end up trampling past me, I'll be holding the door open to make sure you don't get stuck down there.
    emoticon emoticon
    2213 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/3/2012 7:14:22 PM
    Loved it Bren, you are awesome!
    2213 days ago
    2213 days ago
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