A Difficult Decision
November 12th, 2019
I have made a difficult, disheartening decision — one I feared would be necessary, yet prayed to never arrive. I feel like my body has failed me, that I have failed others personally and professionally, and I therefore AM a failure. I'm overcome with deep shame for having to do what I abhor most: let people down. Due to ongoing medical complications and prolonged recovery timelines, I have to cancel the few commitments that remained over my next month. And I fret, will I ever be able or welcome to return?
Since the accident in early September, my work schedule has been cleared entirely to focus solely on healing, additional procedures, surgeries, treatments, trauma, rest and recovery. Still, I held out hope and genuinely believed that I could speak at three events specifically, causes which mean a tremendous amount to me — and are low stress activities in supportive, comfortable, familiar environments. I weighed, analyzed and agonized over the right course of action for hours, even days, lacking confidence in any conclusion to which I arrived. Writing emails to the organizers was unimaginably difficult on many levels, exposing intense vulnerability and requiring newly discovered courage. I clenched my teeth, I paced, I fidgeted, I cried, I wrote and rewrote lengthy explanations and heartfelt apologies. I knew I would disappoint and frustrate them, even if they will never disclose as much to me, undoubtedly creating additional burden, stress and chaos on an already tight timeframe and surely heavy workload.
My team had previously reassured all that I would indeed be able to uphold the commitments made long before my accident, based on the advice and assessment of doctors, as well as my own take on the evolving situation. But with the event dates rapidly approaching, there was no real choice; I have to make the decision with my health, my healing, my future paramount, or risk compromising all. I'm certain that I would support and extend full understanding, grace, even respect to any other person prioritizing immediate and longterm wellbeing, yet I struggle not to blame and condemn myself for such actions. I wish the unfortunate reality were different, I yearn to fix everything for all parties involved, I am searching for ways to somehow make amends, and I desperately want to show up with power, pride and purpose, but for now, I can only truthfully and humbly apologize, release myself from the stresses of any professional commitments in the near future, and recommit to my one need: healing wholly. Only then will I be able to show up fully as my best self — with vigor, clarity, passion and energy — for any organization, event, conference, outlet or audience down the line.
It wasn’t simply that I wanted to prove I am capable (or feel intensifying financial pressures without any income amid mounting medical bills), I honestly thought that over three whole months after the accident, I would be ready to sit on a panel or give brief remarks. The fact that I am not yet physically or mentally able to do so, nor know when that day will come, is a devastating blow to my own minor sense of healing accomplishments.
I also worry that because I cancelled within a month of the events, I have shattered the trust of these organizations and companies, will face widespread negative ramifications, not ever be hired again, and compromise or damage the relationships, rapport and reputation I have cultivated with intention, time and heart. I sit here alone in knots, having cleared my schedule of all engagements, over a dozen flights, and the few bright lights that sat on the horizon. I am beginning to doubt my own abilities to make and follow through on any commitments, to reliably deliver at my job, to earn a steady living, to add value, to maintain relevance, to achieve impact — and I have long been blessed to do what I love and love what I do. Is that all in the past tense now?