A Good Home, Author Interviews, Book Interviews, Books, Interview Shows, The Next Chapter

WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE

Pushing the limits is risky, even reckless.

But I learned early that pushing the limits was the only way to succeed.

Book launch Cynthia reads and smiles closeup

It took long-term injuries from a car accident for me to learn – angrily, grudgingly – that some mountains aren’t surmountable.

Along the way, I gave my doctors, therapists and family a helluva time.

Apologized sincerely each time.

And yet, here I was, pushing the limits again.

**

You have to hand it to chronic pain: it’s cruel, but consistent.

Post traumatic stress disorder lives in the shadows, striking unexpectedly.

It’s my own personal terrorist.

I’ve had therapy and medication. But just when I think I’m improving, the damned thing strikes again.

Book cynthia closeup reading at Evas

It gives me nightmares, and in the daylight, jumps out of memory bushes I didn’t even know were there. Then I become terrified, and if I speak at all, it’s a tortured stutter.

Can you imagine that happening on a radio or TV interview about my new book?

agoodhome_cynthiareyesThis was one limit not worth pushing.

**

ONE YEAR LATER

Radio hosts Felicity Sidnell Reid and Gwynn Scheltema just wouldn’t quit.

Blog Photo - Felicity Sidnell Reid

Blog Photo - Interviewer Gwyn Scheltema

In late summer, they finally got me into their studio for their show,  Word On The Hills.

They’d agreed to accommodate my restrictions.

And I used every tool my therapist taught me – even making fun of myself.  

Listen to all or part of it here:

  http://wordonthehills.com/2014/08/31/cynthia-reyes/

**

Then came the second interview.

I had foolishly said “Yes” a year earlier — then prayed it wouldn’t happen.

My family and friends were the ones pushing me this time.

Blog Photo - Shelagh Rogers and The Next chapter

“Shelagh Rogers is a wonderful interviewer,” they kept saying. “She’s skilled and compassionate. She won’t let you fall on your face.”

It wasn’t Shelagh’s skills or compassion that worried me.

It was the fact that she’s been so candid about her own struggles that I knew I had to open up about mine.

Worse, she’d be coming to the place where I am most myself: my home.

All of this meant that I was headed for disaster.

**

We walked around the garden, chatting pleasantly.

Flowers bloomed, birds sang, the sun shone.

Blog Photo - Afternoon Tea Shelagh and Cynthia in Garden

And then it was time.

**

Afterwards, my friend Marilyn arranged afternoon tea for all of us. I remembered most of that lovely event, but almost nothing of the interview that preceded it.

I know an interview took place.  I know I cried at times. And I remembered kindness from Shelagh and her team. 

I later heard the interview along with CBC Radio listeners across Canada. Listen here
Blog Photo - Cynthia Reyes on The Next Chapter

So, what did I learn?  

That laughter helps. (And tea.)

That pushing myself remains risky. 

But sometimes, I have to take the risk.

**

Thank you, Shelagh, Felicity, Gwyn and your teams.

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48 thoughts on “WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE”

  1. Am inspired for so many reasons. For the published book–you did it! For outlasting your pain. For kind, compassionate people who push for the good, like those you mention above. For all of it, I am so happy for you and wish you continued good things . . .

  2. Great news Cynthia this is lovely positive post and you look really happy and relaxed in the photo taken in your garden. I can’t follow your links as the Word on the Hills is coming up with a page saying link not found and the second will not play due to the slow download speed at my home, but I really want to listen, so will try again when I am in another spot next week.

  3. You look so happy and at peace. Your strength and candidness are an inspiration to others. When we are physically and mentally exhausted, the support, comfort, and understanding from others carries us through. Writing a book is no simple task for any of us, but to accomplish this through the pain and the fear…well, you have done great things. Much success with your book and may it bring peace and understanding to many who struggle.

    1. Thanks, SK. Very much. I could not have written this book without tremendous support from family, friends and editors whose generosity was remarkable.
      I’m so glad they pushed and pulled both me and that book, because (as you note) it has brought peace, understanding and comfort to people going through tough times. some copies are already dog-eared from repeated reading during challenging times.
      Wishing you a good week.

  4. I think you should consider all of the people who are in the same position as you who were helped by hearing you speak about your struggles and how you came through them. You might never know any of them, but I’m sure they’re out there and by just speaking you might have helped thousands. That’s a great accomplishment!

    1. So well said, Allen. It’s one reason I committed to blogging just over a year ago. (My daughter had set it up, but I rarely looked at it!) Hundreds of cards and letters have come from readers.
      And it’s one reason I try to share a few of my experiences since the book was published: to uplift others, and in the process, uplift myself!

  5. Bravo Cynthia. You inspire me (and others!). It was wonderful to hear your lovely Jamaican accent and fun stories in the radio interviews. You are a good story teller and inspiration in how you persist. I need to push myself more.
    blessings, Brad

    1. Hi Brad:
      I’m glad you detected my Jamaican accent in those interviews! I have a friend who’s blind and for years she thought I was from Newfoundland because of the blend of Canadian and Jamaican in my accent….

      Methinks you are such an inspiration yourself.

      1. My best to you as you work your way through this challenging time, Brad. It’s such a painful thing to go through, and I know because I’ve experienced it and still do from time to time.

  6. I have just finished listening to your ‘Word on the Hills’ interview. A really enjoyable experience – as others have said, it is so good to hear your voice. The photographs of you in your post are beautiful – I especially like the first one.
    The title you have used for your post is a very apt one. This expression is used by my husband; I had never heard it before I met him and so link it with him.
    Also, your description of the terrible effects of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you have to bear struck a chord with me as my daughter suffers in a similar way with her anxiety attacks. Terrorist is a good description. My daughter thinks of her anxiety as a separate entity too – a devil, a gremlin. I think because it seems to come from nowhere and takes over so completely in such a short space of time it therefore, cannot be a part of ‘us’ it must be ‘someone else’.

    1. Whenever you mention your daughter’s anxiety episodes in your posts, it always strikes a major chord with me, Clare. I don’t just read the words: I relate to her in that moment, with great empathy.

      Before PTSD, I would have wondered – as many people do – why others can’t shake this. Same with depression.

      To the person who is experiencing these things, it is even more difficult to understand. Why should something have such control in our lives? Worse, with anxiety, is the seeming randomness of the attacks. Ugghhh!

  7. Sometimes it really does seem that the more we risk, the greater the reward. (We are always told this, but, of course, have our doubts. :o) Good for you – keep pushing and taking risks.
    Jeanne

  8. Your harrowing experiences bring to mind two deeply profound Buddhist sayings; “Winter Never Fails to Turn Into Spring” and “Patience and Perseverance Erases All Obstacles”. Thank you for welcoming us into your life, allowing us to be on this journey with you. We honor your winter of obstacles and share in the joy and celebration of your spring of victories.

    As we approach the holidays, we reflect on it’s true meaning. The essence of your fighting spirit, your determination to never give up no matter how difficult and your willingness to share is truly hope-inspiring. This comes through in your interviews and in your book “A Good Home”! It is on my holiday gift list!

  9. Your story and determination is inspiring. I have been going through a slump the past two weeks, and this really touched me. Thanks so much for sharing your story so truthfully and boldly 🙂

  10. Very inspiring, well done, thank you! It makes me think that an occasional pushing can help expand the limits a little bit 🙂 Sometimes we have got more to say and to do than we even expect from ourselves.

  11. For what it’s worth, I know a little bit about chronic pain and a tiny bit about PTSD… enough to be able to imagine what it’s like to suffer from them properly. In the light of which, I am amazed by what you’ve achieved, the cheerful wisdom of your blog and the pragmatism with which you just do stuff. Kudos for deffo. I’m going to go and listen to those shows now.

    Cheers

    MTM

    1. Thank you, MT. I’d love to hear your reaction to them. And also, to hear from you if my voice sounds the way you thought it would! (smile)
      I guess we are amazed and proud of each other, MT. Keep on pushing.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing–an inspiration to all of us. I heard long ago that everyone walks with a limp–some are visible and some are not. A perfect reason to extend grace to others. I am so happy for your success and glad you are taking risks! We all need to take more of them! I am learning that more everyday. 🌹💚🌹Hugs.

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