One of the reasons I was finally convinced (took a lot, lot of pressure) to take a leave of absence from my job was the argument that “honey, if you’re not working and teaching and doing so much, you will probably start to feel better and be less tired and in less pain.” In January will be coming up on a full year since I notified clients I was taking a medical leave, and while my husband says he feels he’s no longer married to a Zombie, if anything pain and other things are worse.
Which is bringing up a lot of emotions and processing. Damn this grief process. Sometimes I get tired of it’s seemingly endless iterations.
One of the biggest struggles for me though this process over it’s many years has been I’m a Doer. A Striver. It’s part of my identity. Part of how I was raised. Part of how I feel connected to others and world as a whole. Part of who I like to be. I like being a Doer. I like pushing to make the best better. Hell I was a 4-Her. That’s the motto “Make the Best Better.” I like the feeling of accomplishment when I make something. Or do something well. I like setting goals and doing them. I like being active. I loved when I could hike mountains. I need to be outdoors. I de-stress best when I can go out and pound the pavement walk and walk and walk for miles. The idea of setting aside my Do-er identity and becoming something else, brings up a visceral rejection response. No, no, no! I like being a Do-er! I like feeling like I can make the world a better place. That I can make a difference. That I can change things. If I’m not a Do-er, than what am I?
And I live in a body that appears to hate all of that. It wishes I set goals and found accomplishment in “how many hours of sleep can I get?” Or set a contest with myself for “Slowest walking of 100 yards.” It wishes I found self satisfaction and joy in sitting in front of a blank wall for hours. It wishes I felt that sitting for 30min then moving 250 feet before returning to sit for another and repeating that process ad nasium all day was a satisfying way to live. It wishes I liked eating plain, very well cooked mushy meat and squashes and nothing else.
Over the years I’ve frequently found myself in the impass of: do I do what my body demands to manage pain and general functioning or do I do what I mentally need to stay sane?
And of course it generally ends in some compromise or balance where neither really my mental or physical needs are all that well met. But at least it’s something.
I often feel like I’m playing some real life version of “Let’s Make a Deal!”
I will go to an agility trial. Price: not walking more than 500 steps a day for a week. Maybe more. A migraine. Maybe 2. Which won’t respond to your meds. And if you did anything other than just run Zora, like oh say fall or try to ‘help’ by moving equipment, let the after party begin. Deal!
I will take the dogs for a walk. Price: You will sit on the couch for 5 hours after. Deal!
I will watch TV. Price: You will turn into a Zombie. Deal!
I will read a book. Price: You will get a migraine. Deal!
I will eat some rice or gasp a cookie. Price: Your hands, ankles, gut and knees will inflame to twice their size, and you will probably pop your ankle out again when you least expect it. Deal!
I will teach a lesson. Price: Pain levels will spike and chance of Zombie return will be high.
Life is a constant weighing of cost vs benefit. And a dose of “damn, I want to and I’m tired of catering to you body!” because yea that’s healthy and isn’t at all like running ful tilt into a brick wall made of denial. Not at all. Nope.
Lately, as fall and season change is upon us, my body is yet again in transition. This time around I’m also feeling insanely jealous. I’m insanely jealous every time my husband can shrug off inefficiency of movement. Today he went down the cellar stairs to get laundry, got distracted, forgot and came up empty handed. When I asked where the laundry was, he shrugged and no big deal, no second thought easily just trotted back down the stairs got the laundry and came back. Oh. My. God. What the hell, lucky! Why does his body just do that! Just let him get away with doing something like that so easily! Ahhh! Jealousy.
Jealous every time someone says to me, “Well I worked all day and am tired too.” Yea, after you just told me you were able to go grocery shopping and to a class after work and then still have no doubt you would be able to get to work the next morning on time. Jealous.
Jealous every time I see my sister throw together a peanut butter sandwich because she forgot to plan for lunch. People ask me if I miss chocolate in my life. Damn no, I miss being able to throw together a meal without any thought. I miss the convenience of a peanut butter sandwich. Or a can of soup. Or a drive through fast food. I miss not having to remember to think 3 meals ahead at all times. Jealous.
And then I laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. Jealous about a peanut butter sandwhich? Get over it, Katrin for cripes sake. Be glad you have the means to make choices. Be glad you have agility back in your life. Which I am immeasurably. Every day. can’t express how much I missed it for years. Be glad you live in a house with a back yard where you can go outside anytime you can get out the door. Knock the pity party shit off.
So here I sit on a Saturday night, knowing full well this is just part of the process. I will adjust. I will figure it out. I will keep working to find some balance that works. Hopefully running head first into as few brick walls as possible. Because I’m a Do-er and that’s just what I do.