Paint Splotches Underneath My Skin

“We’ll get you all fixed up so you can go out and do great things”, the nurse said with a smile. I looked at my mother trying to muster up my courage before the blurred outline of the surgical center faded to black, as my body settled under anesthesia. I awoke in a mix of giggles and tears before the calm settled as my mother approached my bedside. The tumor was out. All 2.8cm of it. And so begins a new stage of healing.

In the last week, I have dined with kings and queens, danced at balls, ran with secret agents, solved crimes, and sang in magical lands. Even if it was only through cinematic enjoyment, it was something to keep my mind off the pain. I watched with careful attention to the construction of stories, the development of characters, and the melody in song. I am not one to indulge in television, but for a time of healing it was something to help ease the restlessness my mind wanted to result to.

Walls can soon feel like a cage, much as the medication that makes it hard to stand, and pain that keeps movement limited. It is like watching life happen through a window with the inability to step outside. The only thing that keeps my spirit alive is the promise of spring. Of good things to come beyond this winter. As I lay awake with tears of frustration in limitation slipping down my cheeks, I found the hardest broken piece in my heart. The same piece of me that broke open when I fell on the track watching others sprint past me. My lungs sunken in from months of being filled with fluid. The sudden realization I no longer could keep up at a normal level. The same piece that spoke calmly back to the insult of another that asked why I was even doing a sport if I could not keep up with other kids my age. The very same that spent weeks spitting up in bathrooms from the pain in my stomach. Missing class. Missing life.

The same feeling of tears that spilled as another nurse missed another vein, watching the deep purple bruise surface to the skin. Another blood draw, test, diagnosis, and treatment course. A pattern of sorts. A pattern that requires me to show up for myself, even when it is incredibly challenging. Even when I have spent a good too many tears trying to figure out the pieces that have caused this journey of pain. The five years of pushing it aside until the day I chose to take time to heal. Finally allowing myself to slow down, even if at times the slow pace can seem restricting.

When the pain medication wore off, I curled up in my moon chair with the music loud enough to drown my worn out thoughts. Just listening. Just being. With a moment of pure stillness in time as the music filled my soul with soothing melodies, I recognized the beauty in my journey. I let the images come to mind of all the moments I looked at myself in the mirror seeing the pain flash across my eyes. Reminding myself that there is joy in suffering. Even when my body is black and blue from punctured veins, I am a work of art. Walking with warrior marks of paint splotches underneath my skin. In time, these wounds will heal. In time, I will heal. In juxtaposition of a dark winter, spring will come with rays of the sun illuminating all things that are meant to be. All things that I have been patiently awaiting in a time of healing. Some seasons are meant to be slow, and that is okay. It simply is in preparation for the grand adventure that awaits when I can finally shake hands with the sun at the top of the mountain. Until that day, let healing come.


Bethany Jane

p.s. Thank you for everyones’ prayers and good vibes. Surgery went well with no complications, and all bruises and scars are healing. ❤




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