April 6, 2009

Who Am I?

I don't think I really know who I am anymore. These past few days I've come to learn more about myself than perhaps even I ever wanted to know. I've learned that one should be careful of what they vow that they will never do, say, or think because those words often come back to haunt when you find that the person you thought you were is not exactly who you really are.

I'm sure you're wondering what I'm referring to, but some secrets a woman must keep - sometimes even from herself.

It can be surprising to realize just who you really are. This true nature doesn't always coincide with the person that you know you are supposed to be. I've recently come face to face with this other self - this true nature - that I was not aware existed. I'm not disappointed or unhappy with this other self, just surprised at her existence.

My realization of this other self comes partly in the form of an apparent family crisis. You see, my father has prostate cancer. He got the diagnosis last year, followed by a flurry of tests and surgeries and ending in the assurance that the offending cancer had been completely removed. There were peripheral complications, such as the burst hemorrhoid that caused him to nearly bleed to death and required further surgery to repair. Those complications were just part of the process of dealing with the cancer. The doctors were, however, fairly confident that the cancer had been thoroughly eradicated from his body.

As often happens in cases such as these, the doctors were wrong. Less than a full year after my father had his prostate removed, his PSA numbers are starting to rise again. That's a clear indication that the cancer is not gone. He starts radiation treatments within the next week to treat, and hopefully eliminate, the cancer.

"So what's the issue?" you may ask.

Well, frankly, I just can't seem to find the capacity to care. I should care. He's my father. I should have some concern for his well being. And yet I find myself to be oddly disconnected from the ordeal that he is facing in his life. The events that brought me to this place in our relationship are rather irrelevant, but the reasons are all sensible. It's hard to expend one's energy to care for someone who has been intentionally absent from one's life for the better part of 15 years.

Even though I know and understand my feelings of unconcern, I've struggled with myself because I know what is expected and considered to be "normal" in situations such as these. I feel that I should care about what is going on in his world. Frankly, I just don't.

Well, no, that isn't exactly correct, either. I do care, but not completely. It's like meeting somebody for the first time and feeling empathetic for their situation, or having a friend of a friend who is having a hard time. That's how I feel - like somebody that I barely know just happens to be sick, and because I know them and have knowledge of their sickness then I can be sympathetic to their plight while still being well removed from the effects of what is happening. It's distant and does not directly effect me.

It's difficult to reconcile this knowledge with myself - knowing what I should be and knowing what I really am; knowing what I should feel and knowing what I really feel. The two are so completely opposite.

This, and other occurrences in my life, have led me to believe that perhaps the person I've become is not quite the person I expected that I would be. Perhaps I still have a lot to learn about myself, who I am, and who I can be.


Salute said...

Good post, And I feel where you coming from. This post will definitely put something on your mind. Overall, it is what is. Blessings to you and your father.