A New Approach

As I hinted at in my latest post, I have decided to take a completely different approach to my surgery, one that is completely foreign approach to me. 

As I stated earlier on this blog, I am from Cleveland, and with the exception of a year I spent in South Korea, I have lived here all my life.  Now, Clevelanders expect life to be horrible.  We expect the days to be dark and gray.  We expect our politicians to be corrupt and to steal and to take bribes.  We expect the roads to be filled with pot holes and downtown to be filled with boarded up, abandoned buildings.  We expect our cars to be covered with snow and our daily commutes to take twice as long as they should.  We expect our sports teams to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory season after season after season.  We expect all of these things because they’re true. 

Joe Posnanski, a sports writer, commented about the curious way that Clevelanders face each new day. 

“There’s a handy little life trick you learn growing up in Cleveland. It’s called pessimism. And it can get you through a lot of dark days. I learned in Cleveland that the way to handle a foot of snow is to expect two feet. The way to deal with large potholes is to imagine them to be bigger than moderately priced New York City apartments. The way to beat an endless string of gray skies is to embrace the gray, cherish it, bask in it. And the way to overcome crushing sports defeats is to always, always, always see them coming.”  The Lebron Decision, July 8, 2010

So, being a Clevelander, when I heard about my surgery, and the potential complication of a hoarse voice, I immediately began to accept this as an inevitable fate, confident that this would make me feel better.  It did not.  It only made me feel worse.  I felt this horrible sensation of mourning and dread, and I knew that this would only get worse as I approach surgery.  I felt a change of tactics was in order. 

I’ve decided that, in order to get through surgery, I need to be (gulp) optimistic.  First of all, I can’t be certain that my voice will be permanently damged during surgery, because no one knows the future.  Second of all, if I go into surgery feeling depressed and worn out, my recovery time will take even longer. 

Naturally, as a Clevelander, the idea of being optimistic seems wrong, even dangerous.  Aren’t I tempting fate by telling myself that nothing bad will happen?  Doesn’t God, upon seeing me being optimistic, move His hand ever closer to the “smite” button? 

However, there is a useful way around this.  Ariennalee has experienced this same problem regarding tennis, but realized that the tennis gods, lacking Twitter, don’t respond to hash tags, so we have all been posting our good wishes for Rafa and other players in the tournament behind hash tags. 

So, with that in mind, #nothingbadwillhappen#surgerywillbefine#nosideeffectsorcomplications#voicewillbeperfectaftersurgery

And as further penance for my optimism, I post Mike Polk’s famous Factory of Sadness video after one of the Browns’ many losses.

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6 Responses to A New Approach

  1. Arienna Lee says:

    Good for you, Emma! It can be scary to be optimistic, but it’s great if you can do it Rafa-style 🙂 In other words, if you keep the *effort* positive–you can still have your fears, doubts, etc.

    I’m glad to have the date of your surgery, so I can send positive thoughts your way. I will be hoping for complete success and full preservation of your voice.

    On a lighter note: that video IS very funny.

    • Good thought. Keep the “effort” positive, and then I can still have doubts. I just need the “illusion” of it going well. 🙂

      Yes, it is very funny. The first time I heard the Factory of Sadness line, I thought, “That sums it up so perfectlly!”

  2. mariposaxprs says:

    I agree with what Ariennalee said, a “Rafa-style approach” could be good, especially if your initial approach is only making you feel worse. It’s brave of you that you’re working out a way to be positive, in spite of the doubts you have. I know it’s not really a comparable situation but maybe the part in Rafa’s bio, when he talks about his potentially career-ending foot injury, could be worth a re-read too?

    I hope you stay strong in the weeks leading up to the procedure. I’ll be wishing the best for you during/after the February date!

  3. queridorafa says:

    Thanks for the updates, humor, and candor, Emma! It sounds like you’ve given it a lot of thought and have a great attitude. Wishing you the best!

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