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Well-Being TLC

Winter 2022: Who Am I?

 

Who Am I?


Once upon my lifetime, until most recently, I hated coffee. I loved the smell of the brewing beans but equated the taste to what I recall from childhood as being the flavor of dirt. No amount of cream, sugar, cocoa, or hazelnut syrup could disguise the acrid swill. Instead, coffee flavoring added to anything ruined the original confection, be it hard candies, ice cream, and worst of all tiramisu cake. Yuck! How could anyone like this distaste worth spitting out?


Fast forward to the past year or so. The breakfast mug that used to hold my steaming herbal chai now offers the earthy nectar of java delight. So far, I have indulged in up to three cups per day with the third reserved as a decaf for afternoon sipping. Cream or sugar? Yes, please. Bring on the fancy syrups and tiramisu! Yum!


How does a former absolute yuck turn into a current definite yum? How can I, the human who adamantly detested coffee for over fifty years, be the person who craves coffee daily today? Who am I? And what kind of wonky world do we live in where opposites intertwine to coexist within a single being? Could it be that sometimes – just sometimes – the more things change the more they do NOT stay the same?


For me it is true.


Amid my messiest healing, life felt like an unrelenting and exhausting swirl of roiled emotions. I remember wanting a hiding place from a world that kept churning, needing a time-out to catch my breath, craving a space free from functional demands. If there was respite within the turmoil, I could not find it. Perhaps there was none. Not then.


And life’s tempo marched on. What in hindsight became a temporary healing ritardando seemed in real-time like a fermata that would hold forever. As if my life now and going forward were a pendulum metronome counting the ticks, swinging from excruciating pain to emotional numbness and back again, with no measure of joy in stanzas between repeat signs, and no coda skipping ahead to the double bars of a happier ending.


And yet, here I am. My life’s song of that time has not changed, but there are added themes and variations, descants and verses. The fermata within the lament was not the end. What has changed is my relationship to my life’s music. Songs that were once too precious and tender to share are now too precious and tender to keep to myself. My prior, isolated pain is now part of a larger, collective story and I am singing my tunes for all to hear. The former absolute yuck – the messiest of healing – has transformed into a current definite yum – sharing my healing journey with others through my fundraising concerts.


The more things change the more they do NOT stay the same. Transformation happens, our tastes change, and our relationship to our life’s story deepens and includes compassion for all we have endured. Who am I? I am someone who kept breathing through a harrowing fermata and is still here. Who am I? I am a healer who offers hope to those in the messiest of healing. Who am I? I am someone who suddenly likes coffee for no reason. Things change. Nothing lasts forever. Not even what used to be a lifetime hate of coffee.

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