Biting Wenches

Today I called a female a wench.   I know, not like me, but it was in a moment of distress.  Sort of.  Well okay distress in a minor sense.  As in not really distress except that despite planning and careful purchasing it still happened.  So distressing for me and startling for my friend who thought the “would you leave me alone wench” was directed at her.

You see friends I had planned to avoid the mosquitos this year.  I had all the latest gadgets and felt calm and sure that they would be incredibly by all my stuff.  I was wearing a battery-powered mosquito repellant so as not to have to wear the unpleasant but spray.  I had even rubbed myself with a citronella lotion.  And still friends the wench of a mosquito got me.

So I killed her because clearly my request for her to leave me alone went I headed.  So she simply had to die.  And then I brought out the heavy stuff, the smoking coils and peat.  These things work like a charm to keep the biting blood suckers at bay, but there is a price to pay that I had been hoping to avoid.  You see the smoke irritates my eyes.

If it were at all possible I’d kill the mosquito wench again, but it’s a bit hard to do.  Not just because I can’t kill that which is already dead, but my eyes keep tearing up making it hard to see things like mosquito wenches.  So instead I headed indoors.  To plan my next approach, because I refuse to be out smarted by mosquito wenches.  Although I suspect I may have already lost this one…

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My Father Used To Say or Living Life While Learning Lessons

You can’t be everything to everyone all the time and still be true to yourself.  My father used to tell me that all the time when I was young.  When it didn’t really make sense because stuff like that doesn’t make sense until you’ve experienced some living and can see how these things mesh within your own story.

My father also used to tell me that walking half a mile in another’s footsteps was like walking five miles on your own, uphill into the wind.  Again, this didn’t make a whole bunch of sense until I had spent part of my life walking in another’s footsteps, chasing their dreams which didn’t match my own dreams.  Granted at the time I wasn’t sure what my dreams were, not really.  It takes time and reflection to know which dreams to follow and which as just nice to think about.

I’ve walked more than enough steps down a path that wasn’t mine, just to turn around and find my own path.  I’ve tried to fulfill dreams that weren’t mine to fulfill.  And I’ve spent periods of my life living the life others wanted or expected of me.

So you’d think that by now I would have figured things out as to what I want, how to get it and who I am.  But now and then I surprise myself.  It’s normally after I’ve struggled with something and can’t figure out why it’s been so hard to achieve that a switch flicks in and I realize it’s hard because it isn’t mine to do.  Or the path I’m walking down is tough walking and my steps keep sliding backwards, that’s when I get it.  It isn’t my path to walk.  But perhaps it is mine to walk along for a little bit.

But I get caught up in others, their ideas, their excitement and sometimes just their energy.  I guess that’s what happens with the human condition.  No human is ever fully sure of him or her self.  It isn’t possible.  And it’s those moments of doubt that let us explore things that aren’t really for us.  The trick is to learn, to learn the signs and more importantly to learn a bit more about the person whose steps, dreams or expectations you are matching.  Maybe that’s the way to getting to a more whole picture of the person and in turn becoming more wholly human.

And my father also used to say, if you go walking in a farmer’s field, sometimes it is better to just not ask questions and awakes look down.  😉

Oops I Missed The Signs

Taking advantage of some nice weather, I decided to sit outside and just enjoy the flowers and the birds.  I grabbed a nice refreshing drink I learned to make from the Middle East, a good book and headed over to the comfortable chair.  There is something about enjoying a good book with a satisfying drink in a pleasing and relaxing setting.

The birds were singing on and off, a fountain was gurgling in the background and the smell of flowers filled the air.  It was nice.  And the book was one that I could just get lost in, and lost in it was exactly what I did.  The problem with getting lost in a book outside is that you lose track of the sun.  And losing track of the sun is a no no with lupus.

And of course once I became aware of the sun, I had to move the chair back into the shade.  That can out a bit of a damper on the enjoyment, until you get back into the book.  And  then you have to repeat that cycle again, unless you find a place that has shade no matter what.

I have a gazebo to sit under, but sometimes I want to just enjoy the outdoors without seeking the shelter of the gazebo.  It’s a bit like being outside and not being outside at the same time.  But in the end, I always find myself in the gazebo because it’s better than pushing things with lupus too far.

Today I guess I wasn’t as careful as I thought.  The evidence is on my face, a lovely butterfly rash, swelling in my feet and hands and an incredible stiffness all throughout my body.  And that’s just the beginning of the price I will pa for getting lost in the book and the mood outside.

I didn’t notice the rash, and until I got up to walk I wasn’t aware of the swelling and stiffness.  Beloved’s comment to me today, when I saw him was “your face is red, really red”.  That’s when I knew I wasn’t as careful as I had thought.

Its funny really how I can ignore things, downplay the symptoms until someone points out the obvious.  Once I was informed my face was red I was aware of it.  I could see the swelling which is weird because I could see that before, but I just didn’t.

Beloved, thankfully, helps me through moments.  No lectures, no sighs or rolling of eyes.  I guess he understands that sometimes the need to be normal, that sometimes the desire to just enjoy, is overwhelming.  He simply gets me through the worst of it, finds a way to make the gazebo more like being without it and tells me I don’t have to be that tough.

Complimentary Uncomfortable

Ive never been much good with compliments or praise.  Oh I suspect as a young child I was probably more than okay with those items, but somewhere along the way they made me feel uncomfortable.  I knew better.  I knew I wasn’t doing anything worthy of praise or compliments.  And as time went by these things became more and more uncomfortable.

So  I have taken to hiding from them.  Not to brag, but I’m pretty good at hiding from compliments and praise.  I push them away if they should be brought my away,  pointing out that what I’ve done isn’t anything special or spectacular or whatever.  And then I politely disappear.  Easier that way.

But now and then, well now and then it isn’t exactly easy to hide from them.  Oh I try and I scheme, but now and then friends manage to make it happen.  They mean well and it truly is a lovely thing.  And I can honestly say it isn’t them, it’s me.

I joyfully share in celebrating their accomplishments, complimenting their skills and talents.  I celebrate the very things that make them who they are.  All the while hiding from the things that make me who I am.

Beloved is a patient man, but it drives him up a wall how I will walk away from him or dismiss what he is saying if it should be a compliment or suchlike.  He has come short to giving up  and throwing in the towel, deciding I have a self-worth issue, or perhaps esteem problem.  In truth I don’t.  I just would rather hear the criticism because I can work with that.  I just am not sure what I’m suppose do on do with praise or compliments.  Sure you thank the person for taking the time and saying such things.  But what exactly do you do with that stuff afterwards?  Anyone?

The Joke Is On Me

I guess I had always assumed I would grow old and feisty, holding my own until it was time to let go.  Life, however has a way of changing all that.  Often times without you even minding all that much.

Of course being strong doesn’t come in holding the fort on your own.  It doesn’t come from being unyielding and independent to the point of too far removed from everything else.  Not, strength they tell assure me comes from admitting you need help and allowing others to help you.

The growing old part can’t be helped.  No one can really avoid that, fact of life and all the rest that goes with it.

Feisty is a matter of opinion I guess.  For some maybe it is a way of life.  For most it is moments of feistiness caught up with other things.    For some it is nothing to be desired or wanted.  I wish to wrap myself up in feistiness as if it were a cloak.

Its fear, more or less, that makes me embrace feistiness.  For I wish to be strong, and strong means standing up in my own two feet.  Strong means not needing help and needing others despite lupus.  Except of course, the real rub with lupus is that you can’t do it all on your own all the time.  So the trick is to think you are letting others help for them.  The real joke is on you though, because you aren’t letting anyone help you.  They are show grace, love and humanity in helping you despite your bluff of feistiness.

Stretching It Out or Moments Of Looseness

There is something amazing about being all stretched out, loose and no muscle pain.   Suseoct some people feel this every day of their lives, but for me it is rare to feel fully stretched out with no muscle pain or tightness.

Some days it seems as thought I can spend hours stretching and feeling wonderful during the stretch only to go back to my previous state of tight muscle and no flexibility.  There are days when I stretch repeatedly it seems like at least every fifteen minutes and find no relief.  There are other days when just a few moments of stretching elongates everything completely.

On those days when I can stretch repeatedly every fifteen minutes I will feel things shift around in my body, only to shift back to their previous position.  Sometimes during those stretches. Feel like something should shift, but nothing does.

Today was one of those days where my stretching didn’t seem to help.  But a deep tissue massage seemed to allow the stretching to do what it needed to do.  It is, of course, a temporary fix.  But I will take the temporary relief over nothing at all.

When I explained my issue to my yoga instructor she told me that it’s all in my head.  It isn’t that I don’t feel the tightness in the muscles.  It’s just that it’s something my mind has created as opposed to my muscles creating it.  She suspects that dealing with chronic pain makes me tense my body more than I should.  She thinks that my body automatically tenses in anticipation of the pain, even if it doesn’t come as expected.  So I’ve mentally created this condition that requires a great deal of work to undo.

There may be some truth to what she says, because when the pain is managed through medication and I’ve been massaged out, I can feel my body loosen up and feel free.  It’s a wonderful feeling.  I wonder if there is a way to bottle that feeling up for the times when I really need to feel loose and flexible!

Sometimes 

Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers. Sometimes you just have to stop and watch the clouds move across a blue sky. Sometimes you just have to stop and take a moment for yourself.

Why do you have to stop and do these things? To recharge, reconnect and at the same time disconnect and slow down. If you look to nature you realize that life isn’t meant to be living the fast paced, high pressure style all the time. Nature doesn’t go around at a high pace all the time. Things aren’t always done in a state of high pressure. And yet we, who are ultimately a part of the nature of the world, seem to think that our lives should be lived fast and under pressure at all times.

It’s the only way to get ahead you say. It’s what is expected of me at work. It’s what I have to do to maintain my lifestyle or make a better life, you cry. But is it? Stay ahead of what or whom? Expected at work because why? Who set those expectations? Are you fully satisfied with your lifestyle now? What makes for a better life?

We all can fall into these traps and ways of thinking, especially considering that the rest of our communities tend to be living the same stories in some fashion or another. And yet. And yet there are people who are stopping, who have stopped or make time now and then for the stop. There are people pushing back against the crazy pace and unrealistic pressures and saying no. Not for me. Not what I want.

If you thrive by the fast pace and can’t imagine life any other way then I suspect you already have a means to make “stop”, but it’s a bit different. Perhaps your stop is a bit like a humming bird hoover over a flower. Perhaps your stop is a quick glance and a deep breath before you dive back in.

Maybe you like pressure, but you’ve found a way to ensure it’s never too much. Maybe you take a walk, or talk with friends as means of making a bit of space for yourself. If it works for you and there are no adverse effects happening then who is anyone else to say if it’s good or bad?

But maybe, just maybe, you are like most people and haven’t found the way off the merry-go-round of daily life. So you struggle, you struggle with trying to be everything to everyone all the time. Technology has certainly provided a means to say that personal time, moments for self-thought and care really aren’t necessary. But we are human, we need to find a means to rest and stop now and then.

I was listening to a lady explain what her day was like. She was the first person up in her household each day, ensuring there was breakfast for her kids before she went to put on what she called her superwoman costume. Now understand her costume isn’t really one with a cape, it’s what she wears to work – her armor complete with the war mask or makeup. It’s the perfect hair and nails and the right shoes. Once she had her costume on she has to make sure her kids are out the door and off to school, she has a “quick debrief” with her husband (those are her words not mine) about the day before they both head off to work.

At work she is expected to do the her job plus parts from two other positions that have recently been eliminated. She isn’t paid any more for the additional work, nor is she given more time. As a matter of fact where she works believes that productivity should never be negatively impacted by personal life or staffing changes. In other words she is a cog in a machine, an efficient machine that doesn’t care about human things.

She doesn’t remember lunch breaks any more, she works through them so she doesn’t’ have to stay too late because she can’t afford to miss picking her kids up from after school care. You see after school care people want to be done work at a decent hour as well, so they charge a huge fee for each minute she is late beyond a set time. Her company doesn’t care about this little issue, as long as productivity numbers remain high it’s fine otherwise too bad about late fees.

When she gets home there is homework to help with and a meal to prepare. There are conversations to be had, stories to be told and so on. She said she just wants to get off this wheel and have a life that’s a little less hectic. Her husband suggested she scale back her work hours, but that means sacrifices to budgets and such. It isn’t something that realistically they can make work without her husband picking up more hours.

I told her I didn’t have any of the answers. I only know that my life got a little better when I watched the clouds move across the sky and got lost in the lazy pace for a little bit of time. I told her one day while passing someone’s garden, I found myself stopping to smell their flowers. Not just one flower, but at least twenty different roses.

I was late for an appointment and didn’t even care because the appointment could be rescheduled if it was important. If it wasn’t important, well then what was the issue?

It all sounds so easy and we hear people talk about making personal time like it’s a given thing. But it isn’t. Unless you decide it is worth it. Then you make the time, and it isn’t easy at first, until you realize what you are saying is that for once you will make yourself priority. For once you will find spaces where you dictate your time and schedule as you see right.

And slowly the feeling of guilt will disappear. Guilt that you aren’t everything to everyone. Because before you can give everything that people want to take from you, you must give to yourself wholly and completely. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the career or when the kids have grown up and moved on, when the titles have changed, no one is going to care about all that you gave up to meet their expectations. Some of those people wont’ even be there any more. And as we get older it is harder to bend down to smell those flowers, eye sight may fade so we can’t see those clouds moving. And we will have missed out on more than just time. We will have missed out on giving ourselves permission to be what we need to be when we need to be it. We will have denied ourselves the healing of space and peace.