Pushing the limits is risky, even reckless.
But I learned early that pushing the limits was the only way to succeed.
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.
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?
This was one limit not worth pushing.
ONE YEAR LATER
Radio hosts Felicity Sidnell Reid and Gwynn Scheltema just wouldn’t quit.
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:
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.
“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.
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
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.