Over a month ago, upon returning from a stay with my parents when my mother had had knee surgery, I arrived in Hoboken train station and approached the first available cab. I stepped off the curb on to the cobblestone street and lost my footing, somehow landing on both knees with a thud. My suitcase and handbag went down in a heap with me.
I sat there, stunned. The cab driver jumped out of his seat and around the car.
“Are you OK, miss?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I recall saying.
I couldn’t move. And in the moment I already knew it was about emotional and psychological hurt as opposed to physical. No, Nancy, your clumsy ass did not just land on the very knee you had surgery on last year. No, this did not happen. No, no, no.
When I snapped out of my momentary daze, I saw the other cab drivers looking over in concern, wondering. I realized I was still on the ground, but my driver was putting my bag in the trunk and then extending a hand to me.
“Are you OK, miss?” he asked again as we began driving.
“I think so,” I said. I was still shaking.
When I got home, I realized I had a very surface scrape on my right knee and what felt like a little bruise on my left (the “surgery” knee). Whew. OK. The next day I was still fine. Again, whew.
By day two, I had already gotten the message of that anxious moment where I had landed hard and my body weathered it: You’re way stronger than you think.
I’m not quite sure why I have to repeatedly remind myself of this in my life, but it feels like every so often I need the validation. I don’t give myself enough credit for being strong. How many of us, if asked if we’re strong, would answer with a resounding yes? Not enough of us, I’d venture.
But we are. And thankfully so, because in my case a few challenging things have transpired since that fall.
A few weeks ago I got a call from my editor/producer at Fox Business saying they’d decided not to publish my column any longer. It had been five habit-forming years and 543 columns, so it was a bit of a blow. But truthfully, hearing shortly before that that the person who’d hired me had just parted ways with the company, somewhere deep down I sensed my time there might be coming to an end.
It was a friendly call and part of me knew this was a very good thing. That’s the part, I suppose, that wrote it on a little strip of paper and put it in my happiness jar. It was time to go and find my next forum. However, we’d agreed to three more columns. The very next one I sent, Life Coaching the New Pope, did not sit well with the Fox editorial powers-that-be and they opted not to publish it because it felt like too much of an opinion piece. I was disappointed (columns are, after all, opinion pieces), but I took it as a sign that yes, indeed, life was ushering me to the next thing.
While intellectually it all made sense, financially it was quite a hit. A steady gig in freelance is a privilege and this one had been a godsend. Now, feelings of what it was like when I got laid off in 2002 started surfacing. I was numb, in denial, optimistic, angry, teary – all of it. Then, in came a feeling of freedom. I started looping Barbra Streisand’s “Free Again” on the stereo and belting it out right along with her.
I was instantly resistant to the conventional thinking that always seems to center around “panic and hoard” in these situations. No, I’m sticking with abundance and don’t rain on my freakin’ parade (yes, more Streisand). This was alongside manic doing, as if never resting would make it all better. Look at me. I’m working hard. Aren’t I a good girl?
Is it any wonder that by last Friday I was ready for an art escape to the Metropolitan Museum of Art?
The following day marked one year of the death of a friend and I spent that meaningfully. It was so clear by the time my head hit the pillow that night that I was done with grieving him and I mean that in the most respectful, loving way. I have no doubt he is somewhere nodding vigorously. Yes, Nancy, please. Live your life.
Another swift kick sending me into freedom. What a clearing. I could not imagine how good it would feel.
So, yeah, as I write this I’m free falling. There is much love and support around me. An array of friends planting seeds. Even though I’m not ready to hear some of the ideas coming at me, they’re taking root on the surface waiting for their time to be considered. I’ve begun visioning what I want. I’m trying my best to let the “how” show itself instead of forcing it. I feel very connected to self.
And blessedly, there is this: I am way stronger than I think.
Here we go.