It’s OK To Be OK

Happiness

Image via Wikipedia

A friend of mine wrote a post recently about whether she should strive for stardom or just be satisfied with mediocrity, (my very loose translation.) It’s a subject that has been on and off my mind for years and one that I’ve never answered. After reading her very well written blog: (Phylorsblog) I had an answer for myself. I don’t need stardom or unbridled stress like that of a frisky colt rearing up on a smoky ranch. As soon as I decided that writing was for enjoyment and for my blog, I felt lighter, happier and clearer than I have felt for years.

It’s interesting that if I had asked myself the question I probably would have been inundated with anxiety and stress but that didn’t happen. I don’t know what her answer will be to the question she posed but I’m happy with my answer. Everyone dreams of being famous and making a lot of money, I’m content where I am. I used to dream of being “famous” and then realized I liked my anonymity a lot more than being surrounded by strangers, watching and criticizing my every move.

I’m fairly low maintenance, it doesn’t take much to make me happy, I get excited about little things and I tend to amuse myself. I’m definitely child-like and I appreciate my humor even when no one else does; that doesn’t bother me in the least. I’m sometimes too sensitive, true, but it’s who I am. I’m 55 and have less angst today than I did in my twenties; do we have a choice? I choose to not cover the few gray hairs in my brown, curly hair, I feel that I have earned them.

When the snow finally starts to melt and the soggy, mush of ice-water remains, I will hold on, when I can, to try to avoid slipping and falling with my loose bones. Not everything is perfect at 55, but then again, nothing was perfect at any age. I do the best I can each day, sometimes it hurts a little more, sometimes a little less. I’m fine with where I am now, I’m content. That’s as close to happy as I can imagine.

My Favorite Place to Read and Write

Starbucks Mug

Image by Schtumple via Flickr

I Don’t Have To Go Far….

Sigh. My BED. Lying down on my stomach, sideways, across the bed is my favorite place to read and write. It is really an uncomfortable position for anyone who has Fibromyalgia/Chronic Pain like I do but I continue to do it. It helps me think. My elbow joints are always tender and they throb in pain and I do know it’s partly my fault but it probably won’t change my guilty habit unless I am forced to medically. My other place on my bed is using a 1970’s brown cushion pillow with back support that I have had since college. It’s true, I still use it and it has those silly arms and it looks horrible, but it still feels good. We refer to it, at home, as “the brown thing.”  My husband insists it’s called a television pillow. Okay.

I have gone to the library on many occasions to write but got distracted by the silence. Since our kitchen is being demolished soon so we can renovate it,  my peaceful haven on my bed will be unthinkable for two months. I will be surrounded by dust and noise, LOUD noise, and there will be no relief at home. That is when I will head back to the library because I will be seeking the silence that troubled me before.

However, I am determined to bring my computer to Starbucks next week to see if I get inspired. It’s a good excuse to people-watch and treat myself to a nice cup of coffee in a mug instead of the take-away paper kind. I have a feeling I will be surrounded by young moms and toddlers, I was young once and did that too. It’s worth a shot. Perhaps a double.

P.S.I’m not thrilled that my favorite reading and especially writing spot is my bed but it does come in handy during those long, arduous, winter months.

Powered by Plinky

Yes, I Blog!

Pen and Paper
  • Yes, I Blog!
  • https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com
    I loved writing in High School, I wrote poetry and essays and I was on every literary magazine club that existed. I wrote for myself after that but never wrote for public consumption. I have journals dating back to junior high (if they still exist.) A few years ago I started a blog and I had to push myself to do that. I was scared, I was taking a chance and yes, I was growing up at my very ripe old age. I have been blogging since then and I love it. I remember writing the first post with fear but with pride. Now, I have about 450 posts and they truly are a great outlet for me. Not only that, I adore it when readers read my blogs and comment. I feel connected, I feel like my true self. Come visit my blog: https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com

Wildflowers Dancing

Texas Wildflowers [saturated]

Image by slight clutter via Flickr

The sun is shining, I have my ready-for-Spring green jacket on and I am gathering my blessings like a girl in a field of wild flowers: purple, pink, apricot and blue arranging them in a wicker basket. Today, my heart feels light, my steps seem smooth like I was on an invisible ice-skating rink and my elbows, fingers, knees are relatively pain-free. This is a gift from Spring, at least for the day and my body rejoices. Will I pay for this feeling tomorrow? Probably, but right now I don’t care.

I raise my face to the sun and delightedly close my green eyes. My hair hangs around my shoulders loosely. There, right there, the first hint of Spring in the suburbs. My nose gets kissed by the morning air, the 70 degree temperature makes me wrap my arms around myself and I eat golden honey on toast with butter and slices of a green, tart, Granny Smith apple.

I am not in pain always, I just write about it when I am. This is my apology to those who think I have NO good days or at least some better days. I am here today and I am enjoying life. A purple crocus is peeking from the earth, my beautiful, shiny nine-year old dog is ecstatic to be on a leash and outside for a leisurely stroll. I am as excited for her as I am for myself.

The snow returns tomorrow and the day after but that happens every year as March comes to an end and the pranks of April Fool’s Day come early. The one day of warm springtime teases us like a devilish child that loves to taunt and run away to safety. We have all known and loved that twinkling, mischievous youth. We know that there will be a few more days of snow and many more of rain and gray puddles. But, since we have tasted Spring on our lips, like the first soft-serve vanilla Carvel ice cream cone of the season, we know that it will come back to us soon. It will be even warmer, and lush, with green velvet grass sprouting and windows wide open to chase away the miserable coldness and stuffiness.  Once we have sniffed  the Spring, we embrace it, when it returns, like a lost puppy. Laughing now, we drink iced tea and grin widely as we look at a bowl of lush lemons gleaming in a simple, blue glass bowl.

Professional Goals for the Next Year – Plinky Prompt

Donna Reed as Donna Stone, Paul Petersen as Je...

Image via Wikipedia

NO PROBLEM !

As a mom I have my professional goals all planned out. By the end of this year my son, a Senior in High School will be admitted to a college that he loves and of course one that we can afford (ha ha.) At the same time, our daughter who is a Junior now will also only want to look at SUNY colleges we can afford (and yes that means in OUR state only!) I’d like my husband to enjoy his job but spend more time with his loving wife (me) and I would like to have more (ok, some or even a little) fun.
I would also like to know, in the next five years what exactly a “movie” is, it’s been so long I can’t recall anything later than “The Princess Diaries” with my daughter and perhaps “Balto” with my son. I do admit I did bring the children to the movie “Recess” but since I slept through the entire thing, it doesn’t really count.
I want to travel, with my husband or by myself, I want to take a cooking class and maybe an art class or maybe a class at the community college. I want to continue writing and making collages and cards.
I want our kids to look forward to seeing us instead of trying every possible way to get out of the house for any reason just so they are not home! Now, the kids only go out with their friends, even going out to dinner with their parents is embarrassing, not to mention a family vacation. What kid would say “No” to a free trip to Spain? Spain!!! One or both of mine, apparently. Further, my goal is to enjoy my grown-up time when both kids are in college. And as I quote my husband when I asked him what another word for “empty nester” was, he smiled broadly and happily yelled” FREEDOM.”

My Favorite Forms of Creative Expression

AgroBalt Vinjete

Image via Wikipedia

There are many ways I express my creativity even though I am the worst “arts and crafts” person around. When my daughter was little and in the girl scouts I would ruminate for hours on what craft I could and would do to entertain the girls. I write (as you would expect!) and I also take photographs. There have been many times I have made collages out of some of the photographs I have taken and pictures ripped from magazines. I use quotes, poetry, even things that have broken, cemented on to the poster board of the day. I find that it really showcases how I am feeling at that particular time. I never plan it out, I just collect a lot of things and put it together the way I want. There is no wrong or right way. I have missed making a collage, thanks for the impetus; I’ll start a new one very soon.

Powered by Plinky

It’s Time To Skip, Again

My 2 children spontaneously hold hands and joy...

Fear: I know your name and how you make me feel. My fingers are deep in the inner pocket of my blue fleece jacket rubbing my thumb and forefinger over the soft texture again and again. It is part of my life and everyone’s life at some point. It takes a long time to get over it but eventually you have to and you do. It is like a lazy turtle hiding in its thick green shell and only slowly, with caution, it sticks it’s leery head out and barely looks left and right. It retreats, yes, we all do but we do come out again. Maybe it’s a little easier the next time.

Life is like that, everyone can be terrified at some point and it took me years to accept that it wasn’t just me. I am still cautious, I still get those annoying, tight anxiety strings that pull and tug until they think they can wear me down. I try to push back but sometimes I fail and that is alright. There are solutions because we cannot handle everything ourselves. We need other people or we need medicine or we need to write down our fears or do a collage to rid ourselves of the scary lion, in our minds, attacking its innocent prey. Sometimes, we need to force ourselves to jump or to take a baby step or to skip like when we were innocent children. Remember the feeling of skipping down the street with your best friend? Pure joy and innocence and no fear whatsoever. Maybe we can still be that person once in a while.

It is alright to make mistakes and to make them all over again. Some lessons are hard to learn but not impossible. I know that I feel that too. Some people hide it better than others, some quake, some sweat, some can’t speak for a moment but eventually you find your OWN path. Don’t think it’s just you because it isn’t. I promise. Think of someone who you think has absolutely no fear and then think again. Everyone feels frightened some time in their life. There are some of us that wear our hearts on our sleeves, like me. You can notice my feelings on my face ten feet away, at least some people can; others, don’t notice a thing.

Sometimes I have to play a game. You can play it too. Plaster a great big fake smile on your face and pretend you are absolutely confident. Once my college teacher called it “the confidence game” and I needed it as much as anyone else. It takes time to master it but give it a chance. You might be happily surprised.

“What if I fail?” asks the nervous me. “What if I made a really big mistake?”  I wept to one of my son’s teachers when he was in first grade, “Stand in line, she said “do you think you’re the first one to make a mistake?”  To me it seemed colossal and I did fret with worry but it made me think. My son is now eighteen and I still think of her words, I can picture the teacher’s red hair and the tears on my face streaming down like a small but steady waterfall. When I finally stopped weeping and gave her a hug, I left feeling a tiny bit better. As years went by I always remembered that and now I give other people the same advice I was given. It is okay to make mistakes, everyone does.

If I had any failures in my life most of them were because I was “scared to try.”  I look back at my life and think it might have been really healthy to have been fired once or twice, or scolded and reprimanded instead of TRYING to be the perfect me. My one badge of pride is that I did not pass on my own fears to my children. For this, and this alone, I have succeeded in a spectacular way. I have also forgiven myself for the mistakes I have made, because the decisions I made at the time seemed right. Now, knowing more and being older if I try really hard, I can make different choices. Not always, but sometimes and that’s perfectly good enough.

My Dream Job

Society Junk Food Platter

Image by GLOWBAL COLLECTION via Flickr

RESERVATIONS FOR 6 AT 6:30 PM, Please.

Antipasto Platter – Yarra Glen Cafe and Store aka Cheesefreaks

I pick up the phone and call four or five of my closest friends. “Are you free Thursday night?” I ask. “Great” I say, “see you there.” I mentally choose my outfit and plan on wearing a scarf that hides some of my face. No, I am not a private investigator; I don’t work for the secret service. What I do, is eat. I am a restaurant critic (only for those foods that we, the common people eat). There is no escargot, snake meat, or goat in my meals. I’m the voice of the people, the regular people, not the elite. I go to restaurants with my husband, with friends, with nice people who I meet and we eat. We eat, we talk, I take bites from every dish and secretly write down notes. Sometimes, I just specialize in dessert. Once home, I type up my notes, drink chilled CVS diet black cherry club soda and head to bed. My stomach is full and I am extraordinarily happy. Goodnight.

Powered by Plinky

My Boredom Cures

This photo of a rural child was photographed b...

Image via Wikipedia

Books, Movies, TV, Blogging, Music, Writing, Computer, Books…..Still bored after all those options? Get a grip! I’m generally not bored, and I’m generally not fussy. I’ve always been able to occupy my “alone” time. In childhood, our mom said I was happy to play in my room all by myself but that my older sister needed to be entertained all the time. I see that with my own children now: my oldest child needs to be entertained and my second born is more content and doesn’t mind alone time (though she probably wouldn’t admit to it). Maybe it has to do with birth order.  The first-born child does get undivided attention, where us second born (or babies) have never known anything else except sharing. We’ve never had undivided attention. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism or just maybe we are more content. Or it’s simply a personality issue. Alone time, to me, doesn’t mean I’m bored, it means I’m comfortable with myself.

Powered by Plinky

Gray

Tropical Depression One upon being declared

Image via Wikipedia

In my 200th post (ok, I missed it, it’s really 201) I look back at who I was when I began, and who I am now. Many things have changed, many have stayed the same.I ‘ve always blogged about different things: pain, joy, food, celebrities, loss, egg salad, Food Network, chocolate and people. I blog about whatever I want and I don’t hold back; today my life feels gray and dark and tumultous.

The first bog I posted was tentative and scared; the name of my blog itself (hibernationnow)speaks volumes. I was a frightened and sick bear cub that wanted to burrow under blankets and hide, away from people, from symptoms, from pain, from life. I’d had enough of various illnesses and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. Since writing had  been a passion in high school, I decided to take a chance and try once more, I decided to blog on-line. For me, it was a very bold  first step; I hadn’t written anything substantive for more than 35 years. I started with one post, here I am today. When I don’t write in a while, like now, trouble is brewing.

Having  chronic pain  is not an easy thing to deal with because it in itself is so unforgiving.  I have to consciously say out loud  ” this is not my fault. ” I have also learned from my blogger friends that “pain is pain” and that I can’t compare my pain to others nor should I diminish it. I give this group of women in the chronic pain world a lot of credit, they will hold you when you need it and tell you the truth when you deserve it. From them I learned that my pain is no greater or no lesser than anyone else’s pain. I hurt, therefore I am.  I am now owning my pain.  These women in the chronic pain community have given me support, information and emotional good cheer. We keep each other afloat and when one of us is down, the others rally around with gentle hugs. If the world could be run by this group there would be no war.

In the past year there’s been hospitalization,  various autoimmune drugs (and their evil side effects)  asthma, broken ankles, fibromyalgia and a thyroid with the beat of a listless, dull, old  gray-blue pidgeon. I was so nervous about my last routine round of blood tests that I had a full-fledged anxiety attack and needed to take a Xanax  but alas I was too far gone and it didn’t help.

For the past three or four days I’ve had excruciating pain in the small of my back and in my legs. Sitting, standing, sleeping or walking, this is a whole new arena of pain that I have never experienced. What is wrong with me? Why is this happening? What’s the matter with me?  In this tumbled world of chronic illness I don’t know where this particular pain is from. Is it a side effect from the medicine? Is it a pinched nerve? Is it something new and horrible?  Inside, you groan, “oh no, not again….” and still it continues. I am feeling depressed and ill at ease; I am now a stranger in my body and also, my mind.

My husband of 22 years has been unemployed for more than a year now. I’ve handled it well until recently but I think I am at a breaking point. We have a son who is a senior in high school and a daughter who is a junior in high school. The stakes are high at the moment, there seems to be a new challenge every day. There is chaos on top of chaos.  I’m trying hard to hold on but I can feel myself slipping. Perhaps my new pain is telling me to breathe, to slow down, to let the stress go. I’m trying.

I am in the eye of the storm and the world is whirling around me and I am stuck in the middle, unable to move, wanting to scream out but being incapable of screaming. There are so many things to do and so many emotions that it feels overwhelming.    I am stuck in pain, in conflict, in existence; I need to breathe, to find time to breathe and sit with music as my therapy and Advil by my side. Soon, I will ask for help.