I had positively the most wonderful birthday party and tomorrow, I officially turn 37! This got me thinking on the car ride home about the prospect of turning another year older and the perceptions so much of our society holds about what is age appropriate. While I completely understand age restrictions that promote health and safety, I think that when it comes to everything else, we should stop focusing so much on what you are or aren't "too old" to be doing.
Yesterday, I wore a blue unicorn wig, a multicolored tulle skirt, hot pink Doc Martins, and stripy socks because it made me feel deliriously happy. I got fake tattoos of unicorns and danced and played pin the horn on the unicorn! We had fun, so much fun, and inside my social circle, these activities are celebrated and embraced. Not everyone gets it. I have been asked many times in my life when I'm going to grow up or why I'm so weird. You know what, I am "grown up". I pay my taxes and my bills and keep house just like the rest of the world and, as for weird, I am who I am and it's so much fun!
I once had my students write a paper in which they chose a theme song to describe themselves and their life. What is your mantra, I asked? What one song could you play for people that says if you understand this, then you understand me? I started off with my own example "I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. That's been my jam for as long as I can remember.
You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won't back down, no I'll stand my ground, won't be turned around, and I'll keep this world from dragging me down. No, I won't back down.
What is your song? Whatever it is, may you jam on like the beautiful unicorn that you are.
I have hard core issues with gray. It's either black or white and there is absolutely never anything in between. Good and evil, success and failure, love and hate - there are no thin lines for me, just history book size walls and where something falls shifts with my mood. By nature, I am eccentric and boisterous, all the colors in the spectrum, so why then, do I draw such hard lines in the concrete about putting things in boxes? Probably because boxes are safe, neatly tucked behind their lines. Boxes give order to chaos, but I'll be the first to admit, that both the lines and the boxes are an illusion. We all have very little real control over our lives. The world can shift and change in the blink of an eye and suddenly, the content of those boxes is scattered all over the front lawn and even the neighbor's roof.
I'm starting my evolution by sitting on the love seat this morning, writing this blog. Like I said, I've been away too long and my head is like a champagne bottle that got shook up in a paint mixer. Some people can give a little bit to 12 different projects at once and maintain perfect balance. I, on the other hand, go all in with one thing to the detriment and exclusion of all the other things. It's like this video I saw of a little kid trying to put tennis balls back in the container - every time he put one in, he bent over to pick up another and dumped the previous one back on the floor.
There has to be a way for me to find my own balance. I refuse to believe that I'm just stuck behind these divisions I've built. Even thinking about it cranks the static in my brain up to 10. That means I'm on the right track. In my search for gray, I'm starting with this blog. Ten minutes ago, I had no idea what I was going to say, and here I am three paragraphs in. Clearly, I have stuff to work through. My husband asked me a good question the other night, "Did you do anything for fun today?" As a matter of fact, no. I've been so focused on all the tennis balls I've been dropping that I haven't really taken time to do what makes my heart happy. I shall soon make a return to the quest for the impossible pants. It's been a while since I braved trying them on. And, my birthday party is tomorrow! I must go to Hobby Lobby, I've got some T-shirts to make!
Sometimes my posts are light and fluffy, other times they are tinged with shades of gray, and today it's about to get full on cloudy. Anxiety likes to play low and dirty. It grabs a hold of your brain like a dog with a brand new squeaky toy and shakes it senseless. Combine anxiety with depression, and you end up with a Netflix special. I started this blog because I love to write and I've been on a long and arduous journey to get healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically. Lately, I've let the blog slide because I honestly didn't see the point. I realized that I had worn the same outfit 3 days in a row. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for stretchy pants, but I also have a closet full of clothes because I love dressing up. Lately though, I just don't care. And that's not a good place to be.
So, I'm forcing myself to write again. Even if I run out of material and everyone falls asleep, I'm still going to write because it is good for my soul. Today, I shall finish with an impromptu poem, because I haven't written one of those in a long time either.
Like a duck in the ocean, feet paddling madly beneath the surface
with every unexpected tidal wave throwing me further from the shore.
Because ducks don't belong in the ocean,
But I've never been much for rules anyway.
For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, thank you! I'm having a particularly good day health wise and tackled another rousing personal training session at the gym, so I'm in good spirits. I don't often take to social media for a cause, but today I am paying forward some of the many kindnesses bestowed on me by friends and strangers alike.
My good friend Paul, who presided over my marriage four years ago, has found himself in a terrible pickle. He is in desperate need of financial assistance and I have started a Go Fund Me campaign to support him.
If you can spare even $1, I know he would be immensely grateful. And even if you can't spare a dime, you might know someone who can. Let's use social media to do something good, like you see on television! Spread the word, spread the love, as I have no doubt that Paul will someday pay it forward!
Paul's Go Fund Me Campaign
I will be 3 months post op tomorrow. My brain tells me that people will think that I should be all better. My brain tells me that I should stop being tired and just get up, so I decided that I can't trust my brain and did some research. Turns out that fatigue after a hysterectomy is NORMAL. Actually, one study showed that 1/3 of women are still tired after 6 months! So, what should I do? I looked that up too and the results hit surprisingly close to home.
People (read "me") have a tendency to experience spurts of energy in with the fatigue and so, when one of those spurts hits, they do absolutely everything that they possibly can in that time (walk the dogs, go to the store, clean etc.) and then fall over and can't do a thing for a day or two. Oh, this is so me! I went to Lawrence this weekend to watch my husband's friend run a 100 mile marathon! That is on the top of the most amazingly inspiring thing I've personally ever seen happen and I was thinking wow, I'm such a loser. But that's my problem really. That achievement is monumental and amazing, but it doesn't mean that everything I do is automatically crap. Over the course of the weekend, I put in over 16,000 steps (a personal record since the surgery), rode 8 hours in a car, and got less than 5 hours of sleep. All on my post surgery, fibromyalgia body.
Even as I share this with you, my brain is still trying to tell me that it's crap. I haven't gone to the gym, I haven't finished my birthday skirt, I haven't haven't haven't. I'm exhausted. You know what that article said? I should rest. As much as I need to, whenever I need to. And even as I was thinking it, the article said that a lot of people have trouble with the concept of rest. It makes them feel weak or inadequate or just plain lazy. Me, me, and me. Every single day, I have made a list and tried to do all of the things on it. Every single day, I have done chores or ran errands or exercised or sometimes all of the above. I do not rest when I am tired. I do not just sit down with a bag of carrots and peanut butter (don't judge me) and binge watched Netflix. Hell, most days I don't even let myself take a nap.
Maybe, just maybe, it's time to just let myself be. So, how does this rest thing work? I'll do some experimenting and get back to you on that.
I decided to be proactive in my recovery and went to a water aerobics class yesterday after having gone to a personal training session the day before. I also ran errands and bought a 15 pound box of cat litter (which is still sitting in the back of my car). Turns out that it is possible to feel all your muscles at once! I honestly wasn't in kind of pain that I had before the surgery or even post op, but it was exceedingly uncomfortable.
I found myself unable to rise from a sitting position without questioning all of my life choices so I decided to dig around in the vitamin basket and see if I still had any painkillers left. I did, and let me tell you, they are much stronger than I remember. Not only did they cure what ailed me, they also made me go sleepy bye before 11 p.m. (which is a good thing). After a good nights sleep, I am feeling much, much better and have rethought my game plan.
My original intent was to start going to the gym 5 days a week for things like water aerobics, water yoga, and personal training, but I've just proved to myself that even water aerobics at 50% power is above my threshold right now. So, I've decided to still go 5 days a week to get into a routine, but I'm going to sub some of the aerobics classes for walking around the track. There's really no point in pushing myself past the limit. I just end up laying on the couch like a comatose sloth.
Sometimes it really is ok to set your sites a little bit lower. Right now I'm dreaming of the day I can do water aerobics at 100% power, and that dream is a good goal.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.