Tag Archives: introspection

I wish writing were as easy as not writing

Warning:  This post contains multiple, egregious run-on sentences and stylized abuse of conjunctions.

Ugh.  So it’s been almost a week since I’ve updated, and I’m like “oh I have something to write about!” and then I’m like “oh shit I’ve got loads to write about” immediately followed by “I have no desire to do this thing”.

Ugh.

I went with a friend to Gatlinburg, TN over the weekend.  We left Saturday early afternoon and returned today (Monday) mid-afternoon.  Less than 48 hours.  She went because her daughter had a dance competition there and I went because she wanted some adult companionship and I enjoy her company.  We did a similar thing last year, just in Myrtle Beach and for a longer stretch of time.

It was my first time in the Smokies other than driving through.

Fucking gorgeous.

Stuart and I lived near mountains when we were residents of Seattle a million years ago and we ventured occasionally into the Cascades and we could see the Olympics fairly often.  I had forgotten how primal mountain ranges are…how they overwhelm when you are in the middle of them.  When you live in a city and your house is like around 100-120 years old and that’s pretty old for most of the stuff around because everything else is a road that was repaved two years ago (already is buckled and cracked) and a shiny sign (replaced to look more trendy) and freshly planted sod and then you drive through a mountain range and your ears are poppin’ and you look around and everything is ancient, more old than you can really wrap your head around, your life is put into a humbling kind of perspective.

I’ve already lived through the head scratching, chin stroking “life is everything/life is nothing” thought experiment/existential despair that happens when one eats acid or survives an accident/illness or gives birth etc.  Most of us who lived past 30 have gone through some version.  Being in the mountains though is stop-you-in-your-tracks level of “you, in all your amazing human potential, are but a dot compared to what these hills have lived through”.

Could be on account of growing up in Wisconsin.  The Dairy State has some excellent rock formations because of the Ice Age (not the movie) dumping a bunch of terminal moraines all over the state, but for the most part it’s kinda flat.*  Whatever the reason, mountains impress me, and the Smokies are amazing.

*not like Illinois flat

Gatlinburg is the Tennessee version of Wisconsin Dells.  If you don’t know what that means, educate yourself (*ahem* count yourself lucky).  It is a mix of kitsch and cheese (figurative for Gatlinburg, literal for the Dells) and trash and fun and the best of the local surroundings.  It is a tourist trap surrounded by cloud-shrouded hills and towering trees and breath-stealing beauty.  It’s America, all its contradictions and weirdness and loveliness.

So I’m home from Gatlinburg and unpacked and back into the heat and humidity (hottest heat index in the entire country!).  Reunited with the dogs and Spouse and Spawn.  And realizing that I should have started this two hours ago.  Posts about cancer** and books*** will have to wait.

**started tamoxifen today

***facebook book meme

I wish writing were easier than just not fucking writing.  Not fucking writing is so easy.  Not fucking writing is my default.

I need to change that.  Hopefully that will happen because I have been doing so much interesting relevant stuff and not because I’m dying of T side effects.

I am, forever, a work in progress.

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2 weeks post surgery

It’s been two weeks, and at this point, I start the physical therapy exercises “detailed” on the sheets I was given before surgery.

So of course I totally overdid it and now I’m in more pain than I’ve felt in many days.

This is absolutely par for the course for me and I am not handwaving my role in my setback.

But damn, better PT instructions could probably* have prevented my shit day.

*see above disclaimer

So I have two stapled-together sets of paper.  One has five color-illustrated exercises.  The other is like eight black-and-white pictures, some similar to the five, but generally more comprehensive looking.  The five exercises don’t have much info about how long to hold the stretch and how many repetitions to do.  The eight say to hold a few seconds and do six reps.  Because I am eager (and admittedly probably carrying unrealistic expectations) to get on with my fucking life (these exercises will restore my range of motion) and I don’t want to be a non-compliant patient, I did them all, holding for 10-15 seconds, doing all six reps for all of them.

I know now NOW that this was too much for the first day.

But in my defense, I WASN’T TOLD NOT TO.

Nowhere on the sheets does it say to start with just the simple, color-illustrated exercises, only doing a couple reps, and work up to more and onto the challenging, black-and-white exercises.  Nowhere does it say, YO DUMBASS! BABY STEPS! YOU JUST GOT YOUR CHEST CUT OFF A FORTNIGHT AGO

Also, in my defense, when the nurse went over the sheets with me, it was right before surgery (literally–the anesthesiologist’s assistant came in with the “you will give no shits after this” medication two minutes later) and I had a couple other things on my mind, like not waking up and never seeing husband and child again (and not seeing how The Avengers *ahem stucky* turns out and not witnessing my beloved Packers return to the Super Bowl and not seeing my country fix this current bullshit).  So I may have missed when she said “oh btw you’ll want to ease into these exercises”.  I checked with Stuart and he doesn’t remember anything like that either, though he was also a tad distracted, not with the perfection of Steven and Bucky of course (he thinks shippers are crazy) but with the health and safety of his spouse.

So anyway, I started physical therapy exercises this morning with the best of intentions and I ended up feeling like my right armpit was on fire and my sternum had cracked and I was never going to heal because I was too stupid to squeeze a pink ball and lift a broom without hurting myself.

Obviously part of the problem was I let my imagination run away from me.  I had felt so good lately that a bit of pain and soreness had me unable to cope without immediately jumping to I AM SO. FUCKED.

Anxiety has a friend named Catastrophize and when Anxiety can’t pay a visit, Catastrophize shows up instead.  I can usually recognize Catastrophize before they make it through the door and tell them to buzz off “I am an Optimist!  Not a Pessimist!  Get Thee gone, foul creature!” but sometimes they sneak in.  I had some insomnia last night and also woke up stupidearly this morning, so tiredness played a part, as did the new pain level.

Anyway, I spent a bunch of the day convinced I had irreparably harmed my body.  Thank goddess in addition to catastrophizing, I’m also good at rationalizing things (there’s no way you totally fucked yourself foreverandeveramen by doing ten minutes of physical therapy; you’re just being a drama llama) and distraction (several episodes of the latest season of iZombie and knitting like a fiend).

I’m feeling way better now, like almost normal (last night’s level of normal, not last month’s level of normal).  The fire in my right pit is out and my sternum should be okaycool after a good night’s sleep.

This was a needed wake-up call for me.  A Cancer Bitch-Slap, if you will.  Progress is primarily made in tiny steps and cannot be rushed.  A bit of pain is not the end of the world.  Real healing will take more time than I want it to.  Patience and perspective are the keys to survival and sanity.

And tomorrow is a brand new day.

Bring It, 2012

2011 was a rotten year for me.  Nothing catastrophic occurred; just lots of low-grade suck that, added up, made for a year of anxiety, shame, debt, and stress.

A lot was outside influences, but I admit that the source of much of the angst is laid squarely at my own feet.  I squandered too much precious time, didn’t get enough sleep, didn’t drop the weight I wanted to, lost a lot of healthy-eating habits.

It wasn’t all bad.  I started taking running seriously and ran a 10K last month–an accomplishment I take a fair amount of pride in.  Despite general shittiness, I was happy a lot.  I finished a writing goal and started a new project.  I survived my first year as the parent of a teenager, a year that put me back in touch with the mothering instincts I had put on autopilot.  I made things, pretty things, out of cloth and yarn.

So now, at the cusp of a new year, looking ahead I’m hopeful.

There will be some anxiety–I start a new job in less than two weeks.  This, apart from helping my new employer vending food this summer, will be my first work outside the home (not counting jobs in other studios as a sub-contractor) since just before Scout was born.  I’ve been self-employed for almost 14 years; going back out into the working world, not doing glass art, will be *ahem* interesting.  I have to relate to the Public At Large and fellow employees like a normal person, not a reclusive misanthrope.

The past few years of little work-for-pay meant I was happy to be responsible for the majority of the household chores.  Me getting a job will mean asking more of Spouse and Spawn in stepping up to help.  This will necessitate a huge amount of letting go on my part.  One would think I would be grateful for the other residents of this home to share more of the load…but I envision guilt for asking for help, trying to continue to do it all, then the inevitable shame for my anger and resentment.  We’ll figure it out eventually.

More than anything though, it means I have got to regain my ability to be organized (I had it once upon a time, I swear!).  And turn my back on procrastination.  Writing daily is non-negotiable.  Finishing a first draft of my novel is my main goal (that and getting out of debt).  In order to do this, not have the house fall down around our shoulders, and stay sane, I must rid myself of ingrained wasteful, unhealthy behavior.  I must maximize my time.  Out with the old, bad; in with the new and good.  I am up for this.  I can do it.

So welcome 2012!  I look forward to sinking my teeth into you!

Well that was the first post on my new WP blog.  I think I’ll like it here.  In closing, the song that’s been in my head for the past two days.