the sound of one shoe dropping
I was taking a shower the other day and thinking about how great things are in my life and how blessed I am, when I got that superstitious feeling, “Things can’t really continue to be this good, can they? When is the other shoe going to drop?”
Hold on. Wait a second. What about breast cancer, a bilateral mastectomy, and chemo? That is Imelda Marcos’s closet of shoes. How am I feeling so blessed and lucky at the same time I am shampooing my bald head?
My therapist thinks I tend to minimize the bad things in my life and he hopes I am not just ignoring them or not allowing myself to feel bad. But, of course, I can feel bad. Sometimes, when I am in the shower, I cry instead of smile. (The shower faucet is, apparently, my emotional release valve.) And, not too long ago, I went through what might have been mild depression for almost year as I dealt with estrangment from my biological family. I remember hanging up holiday decorations and starting to cry so hard that I almost fell off the ladder.
That was a bad year for me but I got through it. Eventually I started to notice the sun shining down on me and the birds singing their whippoorwill tune. Then I began not just to notice the bounty and beauty of the universe, but to revel in it, and I recognized that I had turned a corner and I was back to my “disposed to be happy” self. In fact I was better, because I was taking better care of myself. Then I wondered when the other shoe was going to drop.
But haven’t I had enough footwear dropping on my head my whole life, what with my Dickensian childhood, my failed relationships, the career and financial difficulties, and then cancer? Alas, no. I don’t buy that. Life has both a right foot and a left and that shoe of unhappy surprises, disappointments and despair is going to keep hitting the floor. That is just life.
But maybe I can stop listening for that other shoe, worrying about it, apphrensively. Because I have had a lot of adversity in my life. And I am still here. I think I can have confidence that I will get through it, whatever life throws at me. I’ll pick up that shoe and run with it.