Those Darn Monkey Bars!

What is it about change that causes so much disruption? It makes people question things like trust, integrity and motivations. “If you run you stand a chance of losing, but if you don’t run you’ve already lost.” Wow, maybe you really should question my integrity, after all, I just quoted Barack Obama. But then, I guess, I can change my attitude, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Words well spoken by Maya Angelou, winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Sometimes I think that all kinds of things come into play when people fear change. We can tell ourselves we don’t fear it, or we really are on board, but it’s that fear that has us frozen. I’ve had moments over the past two weeks where I’ve sat at my desk, frozen. Paralyzed. Feeling unsure that my leadership is good enough. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow,” Mary Anne Radmacher.

And then I know that it’s not the change that’s difficult for me, it’s the disappointment that others see in me when they are dealing with their own emotions. Issues of trust, integrity and motivations come into play. I am someone who wants everyone to be happy all the time, and trying to do the right thing gets me into situations that aren’t always black and white. That doesn’t mean my integrity should be in question. Or that I have some elaborate scheme at play. I’m honest and communicate when I can to who I think is impacted at that time. “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” Well put C.S. Lewis. Unfortunately, I’ve always struggled on the monkey bars!

Monday morning I woke up at 4:45 am. The ceiling fan buzzed over my head as I heard Tom in the shower. The dull ache in my chest was pounding, and I tried to roll over and ignore it. After all, I had this for over a week now. As some point I heard Tom close the closet door and head into the other room, scooping the cat liter. Was it 5:00 am now? I told myself to go back to sleep — don’t bother Tom with this. He went downstairs and I rolled on my back. Okay, for the first time, I could definitively tell the pain was definitely my heart — now I’m wide awake. For the past week, I wasn’t sure. I thought maybe my left kidney. Or my stomach — yes, everyday I thought it was my stomach — or was it my heart? The tears rolled down my cheeks and I knew it was my heart — oh God was I having a heart attack? And last week was a warning?

I jumped out of bed and stumbled down the steps, shaking because I was so cold. I got to the bottom of the stairs and was trying to get a sweatshirt over my head. Tom was coming out of the bathroom, and I scared the living daylights out of him. He immediately said, “What’s wrong, are you sick?” I started crying and babbling all the scenarios with him out loud, telling him that whatever it was it had escalated. I was scared. It only took him a few minutes to decide to work from home. I did not want to go to the ER. We decided to take my blood pressure and my pulse. All normal. He asked me if it could be heartburn? I was like, “Heartburn?” I grabbed my laptop and pulled up WebMD and realized my symptoms more closely matched heartburn than a heart attack. After about 30 minutes of reading, I decided to take a Pepcid — I knew I had that somewhere in the cabinet. Reading the symptoms on the box, I thought perhaps now that it might be heartburn. Just 30 minutes after taking the Pepcid, I noticed a difference. And after an hour and a half, the pain was completely gone. And I haven’t had any pain since.

It’s amazing how stress can take a toll on us — from our physical to our emotional well being. I absolutely believe that my episode had everything to do with the expectations that I put on myself over this past week. I always try to do what is right, but in the end it’s not always right for everyone. I am starting to accept that. Maybe. A little. I had to laugh at a quote I came across by none other than Marilyn Monroe, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” Hmmm… I tried not to think of how she actually meant those words, but how well they apply to change.

It is my job to look toward the future. To always question where we’re headed. To try to make decisions that are in the best interest of the majority, while being in the best interest of staying current. To take everything I can into consideration. To include others when I can. To always be honest, even with myself. To not be so naive. To apologize when I need to. To not worry when someone doesn’t accept it. To realize it’s okay if I am disappointed too. To stay true to myself. And my integrity. Yet always believe the best in others.

And learn to swing from the monkey bars.

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” I wish I knew you, John F. Kennedy.

Always B E L I E V E !

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