There’s no time like the present to make an exciting announcement, right? Even if it might be a bit premature? It’s a risk I’m willing to take in order to get the support and input from my friends and readers.
It is with a gracious heart, and thanks to G-d, that I would like to finally tell everyone that….
I’M WRITING A BOOK!
Yes, you read that right. For as long as I can remember, I have been told that I should write a book. I never thought enough of myself to consider doing that. What did I– little ol’ me, have to offer?
And then I got sick. Really sick.
I was in a rut in every aspect of my life. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t articulate the pain and fear that was bottled up, I was mad. Here I was stuck in my own body and mind. So, I sought out a Rabbi that I trusted and knew could help me. He gave me assignments when we would meet, and that forced me to write. Suddenly the block I had went away and I was writing down deep feelings that needed a place to live.
I’ve said it often that there is no playbook for how to act when you’re in this type of situation. I’ve spoken about the loneliness and despair that I’ve felt, it’s awful and I genuinely pray that nobody knows the feeling.
That being said, we live in a world where there is sickness. We live in a world where there is death. We live in a world where people need to be validated; and that is what this book is. It’s for anyone who’s ever had a bad day, which is all of us.
This book, in which the title is still a work in progress and any suggestions are welcomed, is a memoir/self-help book/everything. I talk about it all. Essentially, you guys will get to read my diary– mazal tov and lucky you! It’s a unique perspective on the ever tricky balance of faith and fear, and it is heavily influenced by my being an Orthodox Jew and having the strong persistence of a Lubavitcher.
Full disclosure; this book is sad. I’ve cried many tears writing it. This isn’t an uplifting one, per-say. It’s raw, and I wanted it to be so. I’m baring my heart and soul, and I want people to get a glimpse at the inside, and possibly understand what goes on within the life and mind of someone with a chronic and terminal illness. While all situations vary, the need to feel understood is universal to us all.
I don’t have a publish date. I don’t have a publisher. It’s a work in progress and quite honestly, I may never get to see it published. But, my father made me a promise, that if I kept these pieces he would make sure that they get published so he could help me leave my mark on this world.
I pray I get to see it published, and that I get to hear what everyone thinks (only the good things though, clearly). I pray that I get to see people feel strengthened, inspired, and that I somehow make the world a better place.
So, without further ado, here is a page from the book:
It’s okay to not be okay. It really is.
October of 2017, I had an emergency gallbladder surgery, nothing out of the usual emergent norm. My surgeon, who was basically Clint Eastwood meets Robert Redford, came to check on me a day post op. He came in, calm and cool, rocking the brown leather jacket… (yes this is all paramount to the story), he took one look at me and asked how I was doing. It took me a few seconds to say, “Eh” and spout out the other things that were still bothering me. He rolled his eyes and said to me, “It’s okay to say that you’re okay, it’s okay to say you’re feeling better.” He also proceeded to call me the sweetest pain in the ass he ever had to deal with. So, total win I’d say.
The reason I’m sharing that story is because, the same way “Dr. Clintbert Redwood” gave me the permission I needed to be okay, we also sometimes need the direct opposite.
Being allowed to be okay was one of the greatest gifts I was given, but now this ability to say, “You know what, life is really really rough right now, and I am NOT okay.” Is the other greatest gift. Because life can throw us some pretty nasty stuff, and we shouldn’t feel the pressure or expectation to sugar coat it to make it more palatable for everyone else.
I have to give this permission to myself constantly, and now I am giving, to anyone who needs it, that permission as well.
I may be the worst at taking my own advice and doing what I say, it’s actually a pretty bad habit. Whenever people ask me how I’m doing, 99% of the time I tell them that I’m okay and that I’m hanging in there. In reality? I am falling apart and dying a painfully quick yet slow death. It’s day in and day out of wondering what each pain means, determining what test result tells us in greater detail what my prognosis looks like, and it’s feeling a fear and loneliness that only you can understand.
So, no, I really am not okay.
I’m terrified beyond belief.
My future is basically all imaginative at this point.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Do I ignore doctors and hold tight to faith, or do I let myself succumb to the doctor’s expertise? Because, after all, G-d was the one who put me in this position in the first place.
Do I try to learn and have some sort of takeaway, or do I just continue making it through and grasping at straws that aren’t there?
These are the things that run through my mind when I’m asked how I’m doing, and the answer will more than likely always be the same; “I’m okay.” But I’m not, and that’s okay.
And there you have it; my heart on my sleeve. I hope it resonated with you in some way, and I would genuinely love to hear any feedback.