My greatest accomplishment is not surviving all that I have experienced; It is acting normal. I am able to pull off playing the character that can smile, work, grasp objects with opposable thumbs and all that other standard human stuff. But that is not how I feel in my core, and have not since April 7th 2015, the day I let someone cut open my chest and replace a piece of my heart, the day when two years of hell began.
True, it is getting better, although the whole thing is asymptotic – approaching an impossible goal of being as I was before, incrementally slower improvement over time, without the slightest chance of reaching that goal. But it is better. I can do more. And this is why:
I learned from losing everything… that it is impossible to lose everything. As long as you are alive, there is always some essence of you that exists. But some of us, if so unlucky, do lose nearly everything, or at least everything outward. That is the bitch.
So there is this: To do is to be. The tired adage, “fake it until you make it” is almost true except when it is not. This is because in a certain context it isn’t faking. Learning to be your own chosen version is like learning to play music or run trails. It takes attentive repetition. And those of us who get the opportunity to have our slate wiped clean, cleaner than we in fact want, have only these options: (1) Act like you are part of the living dead, in which case you are, or (2) Act like you are a badass in the face of ridiculous odds. I have felt like Number 1 but am choosing Number 2.
Research has shown that perception of oneself as an athlete results in improved athletic performance. And in a completely unscientific but obviously true example, Cary Grant said that he played the part of the man he wanted to be until he became that man. I'm sold. So here is the lesson for both surviving and thriving. When all appears lost, act like the hero of your own life. Or die. Simple.