Grasping at (reusable) straws

When I first “got sick” as I tend to say, I tried everything I could think of to “get well.” Not really everything, because I know from past experience eating a Whole30 diet would help me with at least some of the pain I had.

Having done two previous rounds of Whole30, I learned a lot about myself and my ties to food. However, a real round includes a reintroduction process and neither time did I do that properly, so I failed to really complete a round at all. (After 30 days without dairy, soy, grains, legumes, or sugar, I routinely came off a round with pizza and beer.)

I know diet will help whatever it is that ails me. And I know I need to change the way I eat for lots of reasons. Somehow, doing this while dealing with continually worsening pain was overwhelming.

So I tried this crazy (my opinion) diet plan. You eat pre-made food — a bar, instant mashed potatoes, a shake — five times a day and a Lean and Green meal once a day. Even following the program less-than 100 percent, I dropped a lot of weight. With the kind of joint pain I was going through, I fully expected to feel much better, even if not well.

I did not feel any better and continued to feel worse. It was somewhere in there my friend told me I needed to share my gifts with the world. Still working on finding the gifts, of course.

What food will help? Why is it so hard to make the one change I believe will help? I still don’t know the answer. I do know pain leaves to overwhelm on so many levels. My fuse was short. I snapped at people for the dumbest things.

Still grasping.

Living with fear

All my life, I’ve searched for stability and safety. The first time I saw it clearly, my mom had come out to the dirt pile I was playing on. “Who do you want to live with, me or your father,” she asked 4-year-old me (and probably an older sibling, but I don’t remember which).

Even that young, I knew my father would never be a caretaker. At least not one I could trust.

It was a few more years before the decision of which parent would have the children needed to be made, and my mom and dad made it.

But since that time, my need for security has ruled my life. You wouldn’t know it to look at me. Within the confines of my life, I am so free. I will dance down the sidewalk to music only I hear, and I’ll talk to strangers and connect people.

But I will not leave a secure job for a freelance lifestyle. I guess I could now with the ACA, but until then, I was tied to a steady paycheck and insurance.

Now, as my body rebels, so my friend says, I am still too afraid to make a change. My friend, R, told me Spirit said my body, the pain that started in my hands and is sometimes a 9 on a 10-point scale, is rebelling because I am not doing what I’m supposed to do. I’m not sharing my gifts to the world. (I struggle to know I have gifts for the world; working on this.)

So I awaken often in terrified pain. On weekends, even though I know “motion is lotion” I often stay still because it hurts to move. It also gets better when I move, but it sometimes feels so good to crawl back in bed with my coffee hot chocolate mix and just enjoy pain free. I pay for Saturday’s rest on Sunday and I pay for Sunday’s rest on Monday. Getting better.

I have a team. I have folks who love me, even from afar. I have Ken, about whom you will hear more in the future. I have an amazing two-level-up supervisor, who gets these weird body things.

I am terrified this is my life. Today I learned I have a new great niece or nephew coming in March. These are humans worth living for.

So for now.

Mom’s “mess”

A dozen years ago, I moved from a small city in central Wisconsin to Madison. It was pretty clear I needed to be in Madison to be closer to my mom. And if it hadn’t been, the universe was quick to point it out.

Every time she moved to a smaller space, some of her stuff ended up in my small house. And there it still sits. I’ve been trying to work on the space for 30 minutes a day, but it’s cold and often depressing to be going through her things.

When I do get to working, I message my siblings to see if anyone wants whatever it is I have. Most of the time, the answer is no. Sometimes, though, especially with her cool artwork, they say yes. 

So I end up with boxes labeled by sib name. Sometimes I mail things, like to my brother, because I need to get things gone. Some of the things I just can’t touch, yet. My mom kept all the cards she received when my sister was killed. They were in a damp basement so they are musty. Even after all these years, I can’t quite throw them out.

I long to live a life of simplicity. I have my KonMari vision statement from years ago, but still have not followed the process. I want that life of a welcoming home, whenever it is safe to welcome people in again. And instead of a basement that’s some kind of museum to my ancestors, I want it to be a workout space, or something.

Building habits

Not sure how the rest of you felt when the Safer at Home plan went into effect. I had this fantasy of coming out of the work from home time with perfect skin, able to run a 5K in a reasonable time, and with all my home chores caught up.

It’s not exactly like that.

Instead of changing my life dramatically, I have four morning and four evening steps. Once those become habits, unshakable habits, I’ll add the other pieces in.

Oh, I’m still eating a sort-of Whole30 diet, but not 100 percent right now.

And I love my walks and bike rides. But I still haven’t finished the house chores. And that’s OK. Because my eight things are the foundation of the rest of my life.