In every person’s life, at some stage or another (most probably), there will be a moment when you say or think the words “Why me?”.
When saying “Why me?” out loud there is often an intense physicality: arms reaching out with palms facing upwards and fingers splayed apart, head and eyes slightly tilted to the skies, face crinkled with desperation in that exact moment and a higher, tighter tone filtering into your voice.
These words “Why me?” are exactly what they are. A question. In the English language these words are expected to be of a questioning nature due to the presence of the word “why”, and yet there is a layered, 3D-ness and texture to this little duo that makes these two words feel so much more than that. Not so much a question that is expecting an answer, but more of a statement.
In my own personal life experience and as a witness to these words being expressed by others, these words are more like a cry out of anger; an emotional, desperate vocalisation that pierces the moment of chaos, sadness or despair.
The words sound like a question, but are not authentically a question at all, as we know the question will probably not be answered in a big, bright flash of light. There won’t be a glorious crescendo of singing bringing you the answers to put your mind at peace. The pitter-patter of laughing children won’t run into your home holding party packs filled with sweets and all the answers you so desire.
No, my beauties. The answer is so much simpler and slower than that. A three word answer which slowly reveals why you are experiencing what has come your way:
You. Are. Alive.
This, my precious human being, is why you are having this divine experience of life that is bringing these challenges. Each breath you take is a gift of life and the opportunity to learn more about yourself and others. An answer that says loudly and with great exuberance “Yes, you!” with life’s finger pointing directly at you.
What has life plopped on your lap in the “Why me?” category? Health issues, relationship wobbles, career disasters? The list is endless, and so it’s not surprising how few people have experienced the perfect life with no challenges or obstacles at all. I don’t know anyone whose floated through the perfect life.
My main “Why me?” life experience has been epilepsy which came on after a bout of encephalitis in my early teenage years. Many times when I was young and still grappling with this condition, being epileptic spelt out a whole list of negatives that I came to believe wholeheartedly about myself: I’m a failure, I’m weak, I’m pathetic, I don’t belong.
The picture to the left is of me at a family photo shoot on my birthday perfectly planned by my fabulous sister to celebrate the passing of time.
Early that morning I’d had a grand mal seizure just as I woke up. If you look closely you might be able to see the concealer over my left eye covering the bruise from hitting my head as I collapsed on a concrete floor.
So many seizure related injury’s over the decades have created a noticeably asymmetrical layout to my face, yet this is one of my favourite pictures of myself…scars on my forehead, nose and chin, grey hair, wrinkles and all.
This photo of me (beautifully captured by a talented photographer) shows a middle aged woman who has truly come to terms with a health condition that has literally brought here to her knees. It has impacted on an enormous number of her greater life decisions as well as those of her family’s, but she has chosen to partner with this condition and stop fighting against it. To accept the vulnerability that this health condition brings, lose the shame and embrace the life it offers.
Coming back to the present when you have the “Why me?” and “Yes you!” moments, the truth is that you can make the choices here. You can slide into a full blown victim drama that is knocking on the door of your mind, or you can choose to embrace this reality for yourself and step forward. Step forward and get support from those that love you or are specialised to help your particular situation and slip into that challenge of acceptance like you’re putting on the most beautiful Japanese silk kimono.
Then… there’s that opportunity to dance to that music of YOUR life. Move like a dancer on the stage, whether it’s the most beautiful ballet or some gorgeous, grungy hip hop at it’s best. Move through your life like the air stream around the most aerodynamic vehicle created by man. Don’t let that obstacle be that…an obstacle that stops you in your tracks and blocks your way forward. Let life move over you, around you and above you, and lift you up like a swallow dipping through the peachy pink skies at sunset.
With love and gratitude to every family member, friend, boss, colleague, teacher and mentor who has taught me, guided me and held my hand through this life. I see you and feel your support, love and acceptance. Thank you
P.S. Credit to Brene Brown for the two links above leading to her TED talks on Vulnerability and Shame. Life changing. I am deeply grateful.