“Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is…”
For the past five months I’ve been in a state of perpetual limbo. My health has been in question and I’ve suffered through more anxiety attacks and sleepless nights than I dare remember. In June I started experiencing abdominal pain that would eventually manifest in testicular swelling and discomfort. At one point in those early days the swelling was so severe that I took a week off work and spent my time laying on my back, staring at the ceiling. I sought medical attention, had ultrasounds, and despite the support of my family, I felt totally isolated and alone.
At first no one really knew what was wrong with me. Cancer was ruled out quite early on, as were a number of alternate illnesses and diseases. I was told to take anti-inflammatories, minimize physical activity and hope that the pain and swelling vanished. But it didn’t. So for five long months I sat in this state of apprehension and unknowing, praying that whatever was wrong with me wasn’t terminal. Hoping beyond hope that I wasn’t dying. Then last week I finally received some solid answers. I have a tear in the protective coating around my right testicle and my intestinal fluids are periodically draining into the area causing non-lethal pain and unease. I can have surgery to repair the tear, but doing so doesn’t guarantee that the issue will be resolved and surgical complications may leave me unable to have children.
To say that I have been scared over the past five months is an understatement. I’ve been petrified. I’ve cried, I’ve pleaded with my maker, and I’ve imagined my end over and over again. I have an overactive imagination at the best of times, so to find myself stripped naked in a specialists office as they search for answers was confronting and soul crushing. So I dealt with my problems like any illogical and highly emotional person would. I got drunk, I got angry, and tried my hardest to find conflict. I wanted to punch someone so badly just to feel something other than fear for the briefest of moments. Yet while I was self-destructing behind closed doors, I was also pushing myself harder and harder to write. In the darkness and isolation of shear terror I turned to my passion to save me.
I have always been a man motivated by legacies. And while I’m happy to report that I am not dying just yet, when I do there will be three measures that I use to judge the worthiness and success of the life I have lived: my writing, how many people attend my funeral, and the family I leave behind. I don’t care about money, or possessions, or being fashionable. I care about reaching out and creating lasting connections with people through the written word and social interactions. For those that I never meet I hope to touch them through my websites and manuscripts. For those that I am fortunate enough to have in my life, I hope to leave a feeling of tenderness within their heart and mind. And for the children that I am yet to have, I hope that they look back on their father and know that he gave them a beautiful life.
The epigraph at the top of this post was chosen because it signified the two alternating perspectives that have been dueling inside of my head for the past five months. The fear that has eclipsed much of my thoughts has allowed uncertainty and trepidation to fester. It’s taken the slim possibility of my own demise and turned it into something far larger than it should have ever become and threatened to push me into the depths of depression I have previously escaped from. But now that I know what is wrong with me, that same fear that left me feeling broken is now allowing another wolf to grow larger…
In those terrible moments of loneliness when I lay atop a specialist’s table totally exposed and utterly vulnerable I learned what is really important to me. I learned that writing means more to me than my life itself. I learned that for all of my self-importance and egotistical tendencies, I want to have children of my own. And I learned above all else that even though I was afraid, I was unbreakable. To quote a rather unknown but remarkable Australian singer/songwriter, these realizations have become the bright side of my suffering.
Unlike most of my entries on The Renegade Press there are no cryptic messages or self-important dribble here. I’m not searching for bleeding hearts by sharing my humility with you, and I’m not interested in garnering any messages of support. I’m simply taking a moment to clear my head and put the past five months of ambiguity behind me before I move forward. It has been a traumatic and at times confronting period, yet I’ve managed to produce a few posts to be proud of and continue to pen my way through a follow up to Midas without falling too far behind where I would like to be.
From here the wolf grows stronger. He learns to grow through suffering . And I become unbreakable. It’s only when we are faced with overwhelming odds that we realise the depths of our own fortitude and strength. Thanks to recent events I’m fortunate enough to know mine.