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

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

[UN]LIMITED

It’s Saturday night, I’ve paused the tv and the house is quiet. The dog is looking at me, watching my every move in case there is something in it for him. I go for my phone, which has been charging in the kitchen, and unplug it before scrolling down my list of recent calls until I find the contact I’m looking for. They never gave me any straight answer on how they’d get home, so I figure I should check just in case. The line rings and rings before going to voicemail — I hang up and try another number. If she isn’t picking up then he most likely will, he’s almost as addicted to the phone as I am. He picks up and immediately I can hear loud music, conversations and laughter, my chest stings a little and I slide to the floor where the dog is waiting for me to pat his head, I oblige.

I shout over the noise in the receiver, my voice is light, easy, and I ask if I’m picking them up at the bus stop later or if they’ve arranged for some other means of transport. There’s laughter in his voice when he replies, he’s having a good time, I can tell, and he tells me they haven’t thought about it, but they’ll call someone so I don’t have to worry or stay up to wait for them. I ask if they have a key, but he mishears me and tells me, yes, they are having a great time, they’re at a pub and my sister and cousin have come to join them as well. I tell him that it sounds like they’re having fun and again inquire about the key, he doesn’t hear me and I end up placing the phone in front of my face and shouting the question into it so he’ll hear. They have a key. I laugh and wish them a good night before we hang up.

As the conversation comes to an end, my smile slowly drops and I sit and look into the large floor to ceiling mirror that is on the wall outside the door, my own face stares back at me at a distance. It’s as blank as I feel. A seedling of envy has taken root inside of me and I wish I was there with them, but I’m not, because my body is in recovery mode — it can’t handle social scenes and physical activity. The silence is deafening and I refill my glass of water and go back to the tv, un-pause it and turn the volume up a few notches to make sure it drowns out the haunting silence.

They deserve this night off, to enjoy themselves in a different setting and to take a night off from the world, I simply wish I’d been there with them. The envy isn’t forged from a dark place that would’ve wanted them to stay behind, no, just a simple wish that I could’ve come after. But it is never simple and my world isn’t perfect and so I can’t join them even though I know they’d welcome me with open arms and joy and love if I did. I am just physically not able to go, again.

The tag on my Yogi tea tells me ‘you are unlimited’ and in a deep corner of my mind I know it to be true, but then and there all I feel is a plethora of limitations. Bullet points of all the things I can’t do and all the people I can’t see because it’ll leave me drained in a bed, trying to crawl back to some form of living state.

All I can think as the pictures on the screen flicker before my eyes is, ‘am I out of the woods yet? And if not now, when?‘ I know there’s no answer to it. I’ve been in this position before (and worse) and worked my way back out, so I know it’s not forever, but in the empty house with the tv turned up too loud, two sleeping animals at my side, I can’t help but wonder when I’ll be allowed to live like someone who isn’t sick all day every day, when I can stop anticipating the next hurdle because I know it’s going to come at some point, but I also know that thinking too much about it is not worth my time because it would steal away the precious moments I have in-between all the knockouts. I wonder if I have the fight it requires to see this through, but of course I know the answer before the thought is fully formed: I have the fight, because rolling over and existing like this forever is simply not an option.

My hands yearn for a keyboard and my manuscript, but my head can’t handle it as it requires too much concentration. My mind yearns for my favourite café, a coffee and a writing session, but none of these things are possible this week, maybe not next week either; and so I’m left with the house, the tv and the couch, boxed in by limitations as I watch my favourite episodes that I’ve seen before, but I can’t think of what else to watch as the unread books that are waiting for me in my room is not a luxury I can indulge in for the time being. The time will come again, it’s just not today, or tomorrow, but maybe soon.

Then it’s Sunday, again, and I only know it because my phone tells me. The world continues to move forward while I’m at a standstill, and all the uneventful days blur together and lose significance, they’re all the same and today won’t be much different either, but there’s always tomorrow.

– Martie xx

The Colourful Outdoors

Yesterday I went outside for the first time this week to stretch my legs and it’s amazing how much can happen with the trees in just one week. Sure, last weekend there were some orange and reds out there, but now? Amplified. Plus, a lot of it has ended up on the ground as well, and add in the crisp air the outdoors is pretty much perfection right now.   

The walk was short and exhausting, but so worth it! And it was nothing a little sleep couldn’t fix.  

 
If my body cooperates tomorrow then the plan is to go for a coffee and a walk in the city just to take in the sights and enjoy the outdoors, can’t wait!

– Martie xx