Dancing in the Figurative Autumnal Rain

I started this Monday off by reflecting on the previous week and thought I’d try to put some of it into words. After months of struggling against the stream and just trying to keep my head above water I feel like I finally got a few tangible rewards last week. I think when one experience a period of hardship, it really makes one that much more grateful for the little things.

It began on Tuesday with being able to do three hours of work, which hasn’t been possible since June I noticed once I’d checked my calendar. I mean, I knew it’d been a while since I’d completed my three hours, but not that long. It felt great, to say the least, so I rewarded myself with a proper lunch out and a book to read beside it. That too felt absolutely amazing, being able to dive into a literary world without immediately being pulled back because of my body screaming for something or other. For a few hours I was blissfully satisfied. Friday brought the same achievement, another three hours! It felt amazing, like despite everything that demands my attention every single day health wise I could still be allowed a few moments of feeling invincible because of that sense of achievement that came alongside this.

I also enjoyed some wonderful hours in the company of really good friends. It’s friends like those that help keep my spirits up even on my darkest days, so to be able to share time together in the light as well is something I appreciate dearly.

I am feeling so grateful because these little (but simultaneously big) things have filled me up so much just when I needed it the most. The hard times are hard, but it gives me strength to outlast it knowing that there are these wonderful things waiting for me on the other side. Something worth fighting for.

To quote a song I’ve taken to listening to lately when I am just trying to get through the day, or am experiencing progress and just want to relish in that feeling:

“This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me” – Fight Song, Rachel Platten. Listen on Spotify HERE

So, here’s to fighting, even when it just feels like you’re giving up. Some times fighting is simply getting through the day, going to bed and doing the same tomorrow.

We can do this, each and every one of us, that I believe. We just have to remember we’re the reed in the storm and not the oak; The oak might be strong and resilient, but eventually it breaks, but the reed bends with the pressure, and when the pressure lessens the reed rises once more.

So, until then, let’s dance in the figurative autumnal rain.

With love,

– Martie xx

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Patience. Pacing. Positivity

I am beginning to see the light again, after almost four months of really ill health I can now slowly muster a bit more, and for that I am grateful because it is not fun to constantly have to turn down invitations and sit out the family birthdays. As if being ill in and of itself isn’t hard enough, but in addition it’s quite hard to be on the outside of what, in the moment, feels like almost everything. I’ve had to turn down the invitation for my cousin’s wedding, that was a hard one to swallow, not gonna lie; but it would include traveling as well as a party with many people, neither of which I am healthy enough to undergo in the foreseeable future. For now it is the routines at home that matter, and it is because I’ve stuck to them that things are looking up a little, slowly but surely!

Like yesterday! Yesterday I changed the tyres on my car for the first time in three and a half years! I’ve tried before, but my dad has always had to take over because I just couldn’t do all four. So yesterday was a proud moment for me, a sort of reward for making sure I take care of my body when it is down, and keeping it up. I took my sweet time and had plenty of breaks, and voila! Now whenever I get in my car this winter I’ll know that I was the one who did that, and it’ll no doubt put a smile on my face for a long time to come.

Babysteps is the key these days, not pushing too hard because I’m just getting my bearings again — and avoiding people with the flu like the plague! I imagine anyone with a bad immune system is taking some forms of precautions these days. I’m glad I can function more in my every day life again, I’m up to a few hours of work these last couple of weeks too, which is very rewarding! Not about to ruin these little joys with getting the flu, so ginger tea is my go-to!

I know the curve of my illness very well by now, there’s a good period and then there’s a bad period, and that’s how it goes, it just varies in severity and length. I found this setback especially hard because of hard I felt I’d worked with my treatments, listening to my body and treating it better, being healthier and the results I saw. I felt like I was soaring compared to how things had been at its worse, these things really makes you appreciate every little detail, and suddenly I was in the figurative basement. Again. When one health issue passed and I needed to rest up and recuperate, another obstacle would occur.

All I can say is that I’m very grateful for catching a break, and I hope it’s come to stay. I also hope to get back to a point where I can stay longer than 1,5-2 hours at work because I find it really rewarding to be there. Patience is key, and I feel like my patience has really been tested these last few months.

Had to remind myself of my three Ps. I’d sadly completely forgotten what they stood for, so here they are again, as a personal reminder, but maybe someone else can get something out of them too:

Patience. Pacing. Positivity.

Forwards and upwards, it’s the only way to go, so here’s to brighter autumn!

– Martie xx

Hello From Hibernation

It’s embarrassing how terrible I am with sticking to my obligations (that I set myself, mind you) when my health is terrible and I’m feeling awful. It’s like I just go into this state of hibernation and disconnect from almost every platform just because I don’t have it in me to project thoughts, ideas and goals outwards in a coherent form because I need all my energy to deal with the processes going on inside of me, mentally and physically. And there has been a lot of that lately, a lot, and because I made this blog in part because I wanted to use it as a platform to offer a window into the life of a chronically ill person, as well as it being an outlet for me, I have promised myself to break some of it down in a post, and that has taken some psyching up on my part, but I hope to do it soon. I have also promised myself to do better with this blog, because consistency is key and I need something to be consistent in my right life now, as so much else is proving to be very unpredictable.

During this hiatus I’ve also begun the process of sending out query letters to literary agents regarding one of my books, and I’ve also planned on sharing what it was like working to get that process going, and why my very first rejection letter was one of the best things that has happened to me.

If you’re still here after my hiatus, thank you and hello! I’ll do my best to do better, I promise! Fingers crossed I have the self control to persevere!

– Martie xx

One of Life’s Many Messy Parts

‘All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts…’

– William Shakespeare, As You Like It –

I am tired. Again. And I am tired of being tired. Again.

My head is full of worries and thoughts about my life, about me, which is making me more tired because as I can’t find any satisfying solutions they continue to grow and fester, tapping my sputtering energy faster than it is able to reload. When it comes to me a full worrisome mind often leads to a heavy, hollow body.

It’s way too warm for wool and turtlenecks, but I was craving the comfort of a thick and snuggly sweater, so here I am, wrapped in an overly large woolen knitted turtleneck while my feet remain bare to compensate for the temperature. The fabric’s pulled up to my nose, so I can see and breathe, while the tunes of Miles Davis trickle from the record player and thunder rumbles in the distance outside the open windows.

I am so tired from all the things going on in my head that I just want to disappear so that I can catch a break, reload and come back refreshed and ready to take on my own slumbering thoughts. That is a luxury I am unfortunately unable to obtain. And so I need to try and cure this helplessness before it sets me back even further.

See, in the past six months I’ve gotten a taste of what life can be. I’ve spent so many years being sick that I’d completely forgotten what normalcy was really like. I thought I knew, of course, but it turns out I had no clue what I was talking about. And now that my health has taken a step backwards, again, I am forced into standstill in order to nurse it back up, again, and I hate it. Normalcy lingers like a bitter aftertaste in my mouth as I am forced to sit back and watch as it dances just out of reach, taunting me.

My life was, is, going well. It was, is, truly on the uptake and I was, am, seeing a light at the end of the tunnel, because if I could, can, go from bedrest to short runs and doing things every day, being with friends and working six hours a week and still have energy to spare as long as I took breaks when needed, then I could, can, also truly believe that there was, is, a way out of this limbo life, a way for me to beat this illness altogether.

At one point I began thinking of the future, something that had not been a possibility before just because I had more than enough to deal with in the present and just getting to tomorrow, without lumping the future onto the plate as well! To begin playing with thoughts about my future was a daunting and exhilarating thing, I knew I wasn’t there yet and still had a lot of work to do with rehabilitation, but now I was able to ponder these things because they felt possible further down the line. The multiple what if’s were so exhilarating that I felt like I could fly, now that I’ve plummeted so has their weight on me.

I finished my book. A book that has been my lifeline on my darkest days, a project that has kept me occupied when I felt like I was failing at life, at living. When it felt like everything got taken away from me at least I had my writing. I do not know how I would’ve faired in all of this if my passion had been a sport like running or swimming, because my writing has been therapeutic at many occasions, and given me a sense of purpose at others, of achievement, when I had little else going for me. (Not taking credit away from friends and family, because they have truly been an invaluable support through everything and continue to be so to this day, and words fail me in my gratitude towards them.)

To finish writing and then editing said book is hands down one of my greatest achievements in life. I have written many books, but all of them are first drafts. This one is different, I’ve worked hard on this on and off whenever I could muster up the energy, it’s been a slow process, but it has given me something to do when working or studying was just a distant memory as well as a distant possibility. An idea that was born in 2010 has now come full circle and turned into a finished novel, next step being to embark on research to take it to the next step towards my dream of publication.

Thomas Edison said: ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.‘ A tough road is up ahead for this book, and for me both writing and health wise, but I know the dream can become reality just because I am willing to do the hard work required to make it happen. But right now? Right now I need a break so that I can gather the resolve I need to get my motivation going again.

The future. Some times I want to just strangle that phrase with my bare hands, because right now it feels like mockery even though I know it isn’t, it certainly won’t be when I get some of my energy and optimism back. Three years of my life have fallen victim to this chronic illness, and even though I am doing much better now compared to how it used to be (my bad days now would’ve been a very good day three years ago), I can’t help but wonder how many more years this illness is going to claim from me. I guess that is why it’s called a chronic illness, because there really is no telling if or when it’ll happen.

All the world’s a stage and we are merely players, and one man in his life plays many parts. Shakespeare hit the nail on the head there. I suppose this is just one of the many parts I shall play in my lifetime, and I’ll hopefully soon go back to the optimistic and motivated person I know myself to be, but right now I just need to rest.

If you made it to the end of this post then I salute you, because I have a tendency to ramble on and on as you can probably tell. But it did feel good to write some of it down, like some of the weight left my shoulders simply by putting it into words. Words are amazing that way and it’s one of the many reasons why I love them so much.

Thank you for listening.

With love,

– Martie xx

Looking Up

Apparently I went on an unplanned hiatus… I apologize. It’s weird how this tends to happen whenever things are looking up, it’s as if I get so caught up in joy, life, and everything around me that certain things fall away. Even though I’d like nothing more than to write out my bliss, there just never seems to be enough time for it. Not to mention that I can never find the words that mirror my feelings, everything always falls just a little short. It’s like that poem I wrote and shared two posts back: “words always failed her when she tried to put her happiness to paper — pain, sorrow and lostness always had a more natural flow as it poured with ease from her fingertips” I have yet to crack the code on putting light and happiness to paper, even though I’m sure it’s highly possible.

My life at the moment is the best it’s been in years, everything makes me smile, and why? Because I feel alive. For three plus years I’ve been used to feeling ill, sick and tired, ill day in and day out, the amount would of course vary, some days worse or better than its predecessor. It’s with wide smiles and joyous laughter that I can say that is not my life these days. Of course I’m still chronically ill, but I don’t feel sick all the time! I have moments, minutes, hours, some times days where I feel normal, upbeat even. I usually don’t notice until I stop and look at what has passed because I’m so wrapped up in the moments, until I stop and touch upon what I’m feeling. It makes me want to weep with joy. Because there is hope. For me, for everyone else out there, for every single one of us. I truly believe that, even though I’ve lost that hope several times before it sure feels good to have it back. And if you lose yours, fear not, it will return and know that I can carry the hope for you until the time comes and you are reunited once more.

I missed writing thoughts out in a shape and form that is not a poem (as much as I love doing that too, this is just another form of writing, of expressing, that my poems can’t cover) or consists of a fictional world, so here’s to the end of the hiatus and to the unknown future!

– Martie xx

The Golden Age

A friend of mine recently told me how proud she was of how far I’ve come, and how impressed she was about all the hard work I’d put in on myself during the course of the last few years. This is a friend who I’ve known for fifteen years and she’s seen me go through everything, so when she makes a declaration like this out of the blue, it really stays with me.

I’m a person who’s notoriously difficult to get to know, I don’t open up easily and because of all the walls that got constructed during years of depression and misery, betrayal and hardship, people usually give up on getting to know me before I’m ready to let them in — because it can take a while for me to be ready, and if a person tries to push through then I shut down even more. Or did. Apparently I have changed.

It’s strange… when you get used to how you are and you know all your triggers and the things that’ll set you off and make you happy, the things that’ll make you stressed or wear you down, and over a stretch of time you begin to realize as more events occur that you’re not responding to situations as you’re used to. Where you expect panic, paranoia and stress to come knocking there suddenly is calm, happiness and curiosity instead. Things you’d never dream of trying on your own is suddenly something you crave to do, because a part of you wants to see what it’s like and you’re curious, and, suddenly, even adventurous.

I suddenly find myself making new friends and acquaintances without shutting down or keeping them at arms length, without distributing personality traits onto them that they in reality don’t possess. I am getting to know them and they are getting to know me.

When did this happen? When did I blow up my comfort zone so effectively that I no longer know where the lines fall?

Rewind a few years and you’ve got a twenty year old girl who is on a constant wave of stress; everything is the enemy — the world, the people, the places, herself — and she’s calculating every look, every smile, every word coming from the people around her in case they react to her in a negative way, she doesn’t want that so she needs to be on her toes. She knows all the exits, should she need to get away. Lies are ready on her tongue should she need an excuse to leave. She hopes no one will ask her to do something or come out because she’s not up for it, but she doesn’t have it in her to say no either.

Fast forward to today and that girl does no longer exist. She hardly exist if you look at her from the outside either, sure she’s the same height, same face, same body, same hair, but simultaneously she’s the complete opposite. Fear doesn’t torment her eyes, her face isn’t a mask, her body is relaxed and her smiles and words are real and heartfelt. She now enjoys meeting new people and hearing what they have to say, she loves to try new things and expand her horizon. This girl has dreams, this girl has fallen in love with life. This girl is no longer her worst enemy, but rather her own best friend. And it shows.

Somewhere along the way pieces fell into place. Somewhere along the way I learned to accept my own thoughts and emotions. Somewhere along the way I stopped hiding. Somewhere along the way I learned to accept me! And that is quite possibly the most important feat I’ve ever come to do.

My emotions are valid, my thoughts are valid, my illness is valid, my desires are valid, my fears are valid — you get what I’m trying to say, I hope, I’ve become my own friend and I accept everything about me now, and that includes my illness.

I am going to say something that never even crossed my mind back in 2013, and had it crossed my mind I would’ve gotten angry that I even went there, and it is this: me and my illness have become friends. I haven’t succumbed to it and withered away, no, but I accept it, I understand it, and together we’re working towards a healthy life. It took me a while to realize that I needed this illness in order to get to where I am today. Without my mental and physical crash in 2013 I never would’ve become a person that I actually like; the well balanced, happy, optimistic, loving, open minded person I am today, because I never would’ve been forced into a corner where I had to decide to face down my worst enemy: myself.

Somewhere along the way I tore down all my walls. I decided I didn’t want my past to rule me anymore, I didn’t want to miss out on great people and experiences because my walls were too high and my mind too guarded. I decided I wanted to live, wholly, fully, without mental restrictions put there by my very own self. It was far from easy and I suspect I’ll have to continue on this journey for the rest of my life as new events and experiences will continue to shape me, but I’ll do it gladly because I’ve seen how much I’ve gotten out of it, how much stronger it has made me. And apparently so have the people close to me.

To quote miss Swift’s song State of Grace:

this is the golden age of something good and right and real.

With love,

– Martie xx

 

Memories of the Past – Thoughts of the Present – Dreams for the Future

About five or so hours ago I sat down at my laptop to write a blogpost, I even went and got a bowl of salty crisps. I was feeling blue and I had a need to put it into words.

I’ve always been a dreamer for what has yet to come, there’s always something within me that’s yearning for a dream that can’t become reality just yet. Lately it’s been coloured with heavy boots trekking through forests and up mountains, gear strapped to the back, a four legged furball walking beside me and who will later curl up in a tent with me… that is of course not a reality these days for many reasons. My own dog is old and too sick to come on any of my usual light walks, this will be his last winter. Me, I’m too sick to venture into something of that magnitude, my body is broken from several years of mainly bed rest, but I relish in the days that I can strap on those hiking boots and walk in terrain instead of this asphalt covered neighborhood. I’ve got a long way to go before I’m back on those mountains like the one pictured below.

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It’s strange to see the one creature I want to escape into the woods with for a few hours become too sick to do so, as I grow stronger he grows weaker, and when my body breaks we meet on common grounds.

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This is from 2011 when we climbed a mountain. Pre illness for the both of us — a trip that brought only bliss and memories that I’ll cherish forever.

My walks have become longer lately, they no longer only measure up to twenty minutes, but can go on for about an hour without me crashing into an abyss of post-extertional malaise. I can feel my almost nonexistent muscles tingle and whine from being used as opposed to when they take on the feel of lead because of illness. I love the feeling of used muscles, and more so I love that I can tell the difference because for a long while there was only heaviness, anvils strapped to every limb making it impossible to move. Now, moving about has become fun — an opportunity to come alive again!

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Besseggen is such a beautiful mountain ridge and we’ve had such an amazing adventure both times crossing it!

So, earlier when I sat in a pool of dreams that could not happen today, me just yearning for the weather outside that measured -19 degrees celsius while the sun shone high, I asked myself: “So, what are you going to do about it?” Pondering this I promptly switched out WordPress for a weather report to check how long until the sun went down — a little under two hours — and called my friend who owns a husky, we do a lot of walks together as her dog needs walking and so does this little rotten body, and we agreed to meet up by the woods.

I closed the laptop and left my bowl of crisps behind, trading my blue state for layers of wool and winter clothing, strapped on my hiking boots and left into the crisp, freezing air. My phone blacked out due to the extreme cold and my friend’s black hair turned white with frost. There was ice and frost everywhere, and the sun shone with a blinding brightness as it hung low in the sky where it had begun declining for the day. The air made my cheeks red and sensitive, and every breath of air felt fresh — fantastic!

These days I dream of mountains and woods and terrain, hiking with a tent strapped to a large backpack, a dog at my side, but for now I’ll continue to use the dreams as motivation as I train my muscles and body back to where they once were, and cuddle with my old little gemstone in front of the fireplace where he now spend most of his days, making sure to treasure every moment with him.

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Memories of past, thoughts of present and dreams for the future ebb and flow together these days, as life often does. These days are good, just as I like them and I hope you are doing well, too. Hugs from us from in front of the fireplace that burns from morning to evening in this cold winter weather.

– Martie xx