Chipmunks And Me

When I was younger, I used to feed animals bits of crackers and such. If you were a duck or a goose, chances are I would throw the cracker your way.  If you were a squirrel or a chipmunk I would place the bit of cracker somewhere near me for you to come and nibble on.  I might also have nuts or seed grass pieces to hold out to you if you were cute and fuzzy.

My all time favorite to feed was chipmunks, you see I loved how they would pack all the offered food into their cheeks which would get chubbier and chubbier.  I guess back then I adored chubby cheeks, and to a degree I still do, just not on me.  And unfortunately as part of my lupus treatment I take a steroid called prednisone which just happens to give me chubby cheeks.  Well actually what it does besides giving me chubby cheeks is an incredible appetite, which results in the desire to eat all the time.  Eating all the time can lead to more than chubby cheeks.  And chubby cheeks on me are not cute, not like they are on chipmunks.  Thankfully I do not stay on prednisone all the time!

Slowly Now

I was asked to write down the first animal that came to my mind during a session I attended for work. After I wrote the down the animal on a piece of paper I was informed that it was my “spirit animal”. According to the facilitator this meant that it was the animal I was most in harmony with through my actions, thoughts and beliefs. She suggested that if we weren’t’ humans we would mostly likely be this particular animal or some variant close to it.

Now some of the people at my table apparently were more vested in this exercise than I was because they became upset at basically being told they were the animal they wrote one. Our table had the following animals: dog, cow, lion, elephant and a sloth. The ladies who wrote down dog and cow were offended and the man who said he was elephant become confused about how he would be an elephant if he were an animal. He saw himself as more of a lone wolf.

It wasn’t until after the session when I spent some time thinking on the animal that first came to my mind that I realized in a lot of ways it does represent my current life. In case you are wondering I chose the sloth.

This doesn’t mean I live in trees, or come down from the trees once a week to heed the call of nature. Nor does it mean that moss grows upon my hairy body (not that my body is hairy either). But when I compare my lifestyle now, since lupus decided to become a part of it, from what it was I can see how the sloth fits. Things happen slower for me, I move slower at times. I watch my friends dash off only to have to wait for me to catch up to them. By the time I’ve caught up, they are ready to start walking again and I haven’t had a rest. And some days all I want to do, all my body will let me do, is rest.

In some ways, as I’ve become more like a sloth as the wolf has become almost a part of me. I used to be more like a curious animal, into everything and going everywhere. I didn’t have to plan my next move because I could simply jump here or run there if it was needed. Obstacles were really just opportunities to show of my skill or at least coordination.

But in acquiring this slowdown of my life I have also been afforded an opportunity to consider what I value and expend my energy and efforts on those areas while not wasting it with frivolous and meaningless things. Now I can weigh the value of outcome against the energy, effort and time that needs to be expended and do so without worry of how people judge things. Unlike some people my age, I realize that everything has a cost to it, even something as simple as washing and conditioning my hair.

So yes I guess in some ways I am the sloth.