For some time now I have been suffering from a condition that means that my body reacts to stress and tiredness by increasing levels of pain in and around my joints. Mostly I can manage and live with this. I have learned to listen to my body and to make the changes needed to avoid making things worse.
Yesterday I had a very stressful day, lots of difficult meetings and at the end of the day, in the evening a meeting with the staff team I manage, all of whom are likely to lose their jobs in the near future. To come together to plan for a future that possibly most of us will not be part of was a difficult thing to face.
Sharing my concerns with others I elicited a number of responses, from the ‘get on with it’ to the ‘it will be alright on the night’ comments. I could tell my body was making it’s own mind up how I would be dealing with it all, and it was not a surprise to me that by tea time I could barely walk. There is something so frustrating about your body choosing it’s own reactions. I cannot control it, I was hobbling about in severe pain and feeling completely awful. Now I am concerned and worried about the meeting and incapacitated by my joints deciding not to work properly.
I needed to eat, so a quick dash, well more of a painful amble, into the supermarket for a ready to cook pasta dish and some veg, back home to put it in the oven, realising I had no time to wait for it to be cooked I grabbed a piece of chicken, left over from last night’s supper and made my way back to work. At least the family had a meal waiting for them.
Checking my messages my lovely niece had replied to my question about how to deal with the meeting, I am reproducing her reply exactly as she put it
‘Excuse me? Who is this woman who has taken over my aunt? Where is she and what have you done with her??!
You have dealt with so much worse than this, one person can not carry a bus full so everyone take responsibility for yourselves! You are an amazing woman & what will be, will be. It’s how you deal with the situation, what you learn from it & what you do next that important. Now go and be fabulous xxxx ‘
When someone puts it like that it is hard to ignore. Go and be fabulous, wow, what an idea. Hobbling to the car, barely able to walk, clutching chocolate and fruit, to make the meeting a bit more sociable, I am thinking of being fabulous. I am thinking of the learning and what to do next, I am thinking how blessed I am to have people such as my niece in my life. I am still in pain, I am still heavy in the heart, but I am searching for my fabulous.
At the meeting there are, as expected, many questions, none of which I can answer, there are people angry, sad and disillusioned. They are a wonderful team, they just need to get their fabulous back on. And they do. The theme for the last term as we know it is to be Inspiration and Celebration. Gradually they get excited. The programme will encourage the young people we work with to think about who inspires them. They plan to play games and the young people to all get the chance to tell each other what they like about their friends. They plan a party where all the young people will come together to celebrate being young, being inspired and being inspiring. Artwork will be produced and good news stories looked for and reproduced on the walls of the club. Young people will be encouraged to find their very own fabulous.
And me, at the end of the meeting, physically almost dead on my feet, I am still not sure how I managed to drive home, but inside, ignoring the pain, I felt proud. Proud of a team of people who can turn negative into positive. Proud of my triumph over pain and relief that the meeting had been less difficult than I had thought it might be. I was inspired by each and every person in the team, who worked together to take care of each other and to be professional to the end.
That is what I call being fabulous.