On this day last year, at this very moment, I was in the hospital having open heart surgery. A full year has come and gone. It feels like an eternity ago and as well as only a blink of an eye. I had waited for months for the day to come; I'd also planned, fretted, and dreamed. I had so many hopes, and if I'm honest, expectations.
What would my life look after?
Maybe my lungs would breath easier and air would taste sweeter? Maybe I'll become a super human?! Maybe, just maybe I had finally figured out the reason as to why I felt so at odds with myself much of the time. Maybe all of my quirks and the things I don't love about myself are all tied to the hole in my heart and I would be fixed. A better version. A cooler version. A more capable version of me. That's what I wanted.
Well, it's no surprise really, though I must admit it was rather disappointing to find out... but I'm still me.
Correction. I'm still me, minus the hole.
I still get winded and sometimes wheezy when I exercise. I still get little palpitations when I'm doing nothing but sitting on the couch (I'm convinced that it's my hearts way of saying hello to me). I'm still sweaty and have bad circulation and my hands and feet are often far too cold. I still go to bed too late. I still hate hair washing day. I still procrastinate and have ADD and get distracted easily by shiny things. I'm still sensitive. I'm still not always the friend/daughter/sister/aunt/partner that I want to be...
I'm still the girl who runs and hikes, even though I get winded. I still love a rainy day where I can cozy up on my couch and do nothing. I still walk on my tip toes so that my feet won't get far too cold. I still love to find shapes in clouds and swing on swings. I still love creating beauty and surrounding myself with it, when everything else in life feels chaotic. I still delight in a delicious meal and a well-made Manhattans. I still love deep conversations and belly-aching laughter. I'm still a lover of people and do my best to show up when it counts. I still love to encourage and extol....
The point is this: I wanted my heart surgery to make me a better me. And reflecting on it with a year in the rearview mirror, I now believe that it did just that. Not because I got what I thought I wanted, but because I didn't. The best thing that ever happened to me is that nothing, aside from the pretty major fact that my life has been extended, changed. I'm still me.
And you know what? I'm enough.
OMG. Did you hear that?! I feel like I need me say it again.
I, Erin Yvonne Amundson, am enough.
I mean, honestly, it's maddeningly obvious and it feels ridiculous that it took me 35 years to finally understand that, but I'm here now and, whoa, what a freaking relief to be able to simply accept myself for being who I've always been: a playful, smart, intuitive, caring, kind woman...
This chapter in my life may be coming to an end, but my story will continue. May it be a beautiful one, full of acceptance, compassion, redemption, and love. So, with overwhelming gratitude, thank you. Thank you for having gone through this experience with me and encouraging me along the way. I will forever be grateful and blown away to have such incredible people in my life.
Can't wait for the day when we're all allowed to hug again. And please know, you are enough.