Well that’s how I feel about life currently. Silly, I know. But in actuality, there’s a 99.9% chance that if I even tried to slightly explain my logical thinking to people, they would look at me like I was insane. At least that’s how I picture it going.
However, as kids we would engage with other kids in our secret language. Given it involved a lot of hand gestures. Then your friends would talk back in their secret language. It was a childish world of secret spoken words.
In the last three years I’ve heard countless times from my closest family and friends that my life should be a movie. Or at least a realllllllly long novel that belongs in the romantic comedy and adventurous/self help section. Think Eat, Pray, Love, meshed with Big Fish, add a spice of The Notebook.. and BAM, you’ve got it. I just laughed.
From the time I could talk, I remember hearing my parents say, be open to the extraordinary. They also instilled that you never know who you’re talking to or what they have been through. Expressing how coincidental meetings with strangers can be gifts of unexpected, extraordinary messages to our unanswered prayers.
Maybe that’s what this was.
Upon returning back to the States I suffered from a severe migraine. And when I say severe, I mean it. That little devil lasted for six straight days with no remorse to give me a break. Picture day four: I had barely eaten for three days. Moping around like a zombie. Anytime I heard noise or saw a light, I freaked. I hit the lowest of lows when my best friend Cathy was sitting with me while I took a hot bath, making sure I actually ate the bean burrito she brought me. She’s a hawk that one I’ll tell ya. Dramatic sounding…I know. Just take a moment though and please imagine 8 hammers in your head and above your eyes pounding.
Day six rolled around and I forced myself to go to the doctor. She prescribed a medication I would have to be on for at least a year. Something I was not okay with. Migraines have been something I’ve dealt with for years. In high school, I even tried “curing” them with a long-term medication. Didn’t work. That’s when I realized there was much much more going on internally. (Rest assured that I’ve had tests, MRI’s, and any other medical shabang on my brain done. Everything is A-okay upstairs.) Putting things in my body for an extended period of time was not in the framework for this yogi. I sought out a more holistic type therapy this time around. I was intrigued and very desperate.
I found myself at a little place known as Dr. Tao’s office. He’s a middle aged Asian doctor that practices acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the DFW metroplex. My time with Dr. Tao lasted 10 sessions. Each containing him sticking tiny needles all over my body and sharing short stories of wisdom with his still, very strong Chinese accent. As therapy progressed the points would change. In his words, “my stress points.” Some focusing more on my upper body, some around the abdomen, and then lower body. It was always symmetrical; finding balance.
I wasn’t looking for someone to understand my “language” when I began treatment with Dr. Tao. I also wasn’t expecting to add to the list of unimaginable experiences that should be a movie scene.
Session one was very basic. I was freakishly nervous. I had my hesitations. Then I fell asleep and drooled all over the bed table. Session one was a success to say the least.
The next time Dr. Tao and I met he asked me, “Can you think of the root problem that brings your migraines on?” Not ready to admit why, I replied no. He then began to place needles in my head, arms, legs and feet. Pressing hard on my bodies “stress points.” Points that honestly made no sense as to how stress could find its way there. Smiling, he left me with, “Let’s try to think about that for next time.”
I plopped down on the examination table for the third visit. “Stress, I think that’s what brings them on,” I confessed.
He smiled and asked, “What are you stressed about?”
Then the babbling began.
“Well, I lost both my grandparents in the last nine months. I was really close to them. That’s been harder than I let on to most people…Soooo I guess I’m grieving. Just got back to the States and it’s been pretty hectic since then. I’m jobless. Not in school. Currently trying to move out. I have 5 months to pick where I’m finishing my degree, which, will probably be out of the country…Exciting, but kind of terrifying. And I’m terrified of commitment and making decisions.” I ended with a wink and two thumbs up guns.
Niceeeeeeeeeeee job Caro.
“You do not talk about how you feel with others, no?” He asked. I immediately thought of the Skype sesh I had the day before with a close friend. He was frustrated with me for being distant. What was I suppose to do, vent? Like most people, I have a deep hesitation to pour my problems on others. But then what did I want, a fair weather friend? Absolutely not. My far from fair weather friend opened my eyes to the handful of unquestionably loving friends near me, and a long ways away.
Without letting me respond Dr. Tao placed his hand over my forehead and said, “You must find peace. Something only you will know how to find within you.” Those words soothed my very much exhausted mind. I left there feeling a little bit lighter.
A week later I was back in the small room filled with Asian decorations and human size charts displaying our bodies “rivers.” I was actually excited to hear what wisdom bits Dr. Tao had to offer. Little was I prepared to actually hear what he had to say.
“You lay on your back this time,” he said. He began to place a deep pressure, quickly inserting the tiny needles. I was used to the usual spots; head, hands, elbow, knee, calf, and lastly my feet. As he poked me with the needles, he told me a story that I believe is something I will never forget.
“There is a famous tale of a type of bird in China. When the birds find their soulmate, they’re unable to loose one another. These birds have a special call they use to find their way back to each other if they ever find themselves lost and apart.”
“Is it true?” I asked.
“Do you believe it to be?” He asked.
“I’d like to believe it’s true,” I murmured.
Giving a little chuckle under my breathe I added, “I don’t know, sometimes I wonder if I have too high of expectations for love.”
And that’s when Dr. Tao found his last pressure point. Walking back towards me, he placed his thumb in-between my breasts, right on my breast bone. Putting a deep pressure on it, I began to tense up. For the first time I verbally expressed how much it hurt. He noticed my aggravation as I looked at him with annoyed eyes.
And with a soft voice he said, “someone hurt your heart.”
Time went on, more visits occurred, and more needles were pricked. Eventually, I found my migraines had been practically healed.
On the tenth visit, I sat in Dr. Tao’s office waiting for him to be finished with his other patient. I starred at the bookshelves filled with jarred herbs. There had to have been at least 40 in there. I giggled imagining what clever comments my Poppa would have said about his way of filling bookshelves.
He entered the room very quickly like always. Sat down and immediately grabbed my wrist to check my pulse.
“Stick out your tongue,” he demanded. Slowly, with shifty eyes I stuck my tongue out like an unsure little kid.
“You’re not sleeping at night, are you?”
My eyes grew huge and I thought to myself, WHO ARE YOU?
“Uhhh, yeah. Well, no. I mean I am but, not well,” I said.
“And you want to stay in bed in the morning?” He asked.
“Ehhhhhhhhhhh I mean yes, but I don’t…….for the most part,” I admitted.
“At night, is thinking keeping you up? You have big decision, no?”
Thanks for reminding me, I thought.
“Mmmhm. Yep. I think a lot at night,” I sharply responded.
“Caroline, this decision you feel you must commit to is something only you can make. Sacrifices may have to occur. But you must really think logically, emotionally, and educationally about what the best decision is for you. You may find that one place leads you more emotionally, and the other will better your education. But in the end, you will know where feels more right for you, and only you.”
I softly smiled. He was right.
We walked into the medicine room and he began to tell me where he would put the needles for my last treatment. I laid there thinking about how miserable I felt ten sessions ago. Just ten, thirty minute sessions had already broken a barrier inside of me. So much built up stress, hurt, pain, sadness, grief, frustration. It all was turning toxic in my body because I essentially let it. Had I healed fully? Heck no. Did I have more to work on? Better believe it.
I was all needled up when Dr. Tao walked over to me with one last needle. I looked up knowing where he was about to place it.
“My heart?” I mumbled.
“Everyone in this world has the ability to do something extraordinary with their time on Earth. Some are terrified of that. Some run with it. Then, there are those that have the heart to share it. It’s a rare gift, sharing your life. You’ve acknowledged that gift, now you need to embrace it openly. It’s yours.”
I was unexplainably shocked. Where did that just come from? And again, WHO ARE YOU?
With a tiny pinch of pressure he said, “be open with your heart, but also your life.”
Each time I tried to explaining my visits with Dr. Tao my friends would look at me like I was insane. They had a common phrase, “I couldn’t do that. I would be so creeped out.” I get it. It’s hard to show people the most raw, itty bitty, fragile parts of our pain and struggles.
I don’t know why certain people come into our lives for a fleeting moment. It’s a lesson I suppose. We get so caught up in our own junk that we begin to feel alone, unequal, lost in our own language. A language each and every one of us has created in our own minds. So why have we stopped embracing it? When did we start believing we can’t speak it? Just because we don’t know how to explain how we’re feeling, doesn’t make our feelings any less real. I don’t want to pretend like letting people see my weaknesses is something that I’ve completely harnessed. In many ways do I have to practice changing that.
Sometimes we feel like no one could possibly comprehend what we’re dealing with. To our surprise, people do. They may not be able to relate how we feel but that’s not the point. If you can find someone who has compassion to listen, be silent, and simply let you feel what you are feeling, then you have all that you need.
Speak your language. Talk your talk. Hell, let your freak flag fly. You’ll find we’re all trying grasp the extraordinary.