A (chronically) fabulous weekend

I had *such* a good weekend-hosting another ace LB party, followed by a 36hr mates movie weekend of late nights & being up early enough for McDonalds breakfast (with 2hrs to spare-such is our dedication to fitting in an extra movie!).

The cost of this fabulous exertion for me, however, is increased aches, pain & more tiredness than my non chronic-pain-enduring friends. So instead of doing the few things on the To Do list I diligently wrote up before bed yesterday, to do when my mates had left, I crashed on the sofa & napped instead of going to church this eve (very disappointing as it’s a great talk topic at the mo!); dinner was brought to me on the sofa by my kind husband who knew enough to rouse me to eat tonight when I’d have rather slept but actually needed the energy & enjoyment of the eating more (he’s a keeper!). The weekend’s activities were absoluteeely worth it (!!!) but in hindsight, having the movie weekend off the back of the party was over zealous social planning (I can hear other chronic-pain endurers going ‘duh!’).

OK, I know that describing two days of mooching on the sofa watching (brilliant) films & eating guest-made treats as ‘exerting’ sounds ironic but it’s not. I also know I am FORTUNATE! Yes I wake in pain every day & sometimes cry in pain or, moreso, from the physical & emotional tiredness from it but, hello, I danced, chatted, served, laughed & ate & drank from Friday to Sunday, & had more fabulous fun & conversation than many healthier peeps this weekend! Amidst the hosting, I let my friends/guests wash up each morning while I got my pilates groove-on cos hey, I’ve learned how to receive love & help (well, am learning), & also because I believe that it’s kind to let others show love & appreciation through service if they want to.

The time with mates has been so wonderfully nourishing for me mentally & emotionally as we watched great stories, had fun & scintillating conversation, deepened new friendships & ate & drank heartily. But it’s also been two eves in a row of 5-6hrs sleep for a body that needs-& rarely gets-9+hrs to be rested, but which will still wake in aches & pain every single morning regardless of how many hours sleep it gets, cos, y’know, chronic pain life. Nonetheless, now I’m more & more aware, & ACCEPTING, of the need for chronic pain *self-care* planning, I’m learning to plan better in future. So I’ve written off the To Do list: I’ll just have to suck in choir practice tomorrow as I haven’t the energy to rehearse tonight, & I am cashing in on the on the best perk of my job (well second best after the free coffee!) & am going to work from home tomorrow-a luxury for which I am immeasurably grateful!! So this is me being open. As I write that my face is saying ‘ugh’ as I hate vulnerability & showing any weakness! But, I’ve realised that is colluding with internalised ignorant societal norms which dictate that physical & mental health = strength when, in fact, it takes *real strength* to recognise, accept & acknowledge one’s needs & limitations. So here are some of mine laid bare. And they don’t make me any less (chronically) fabulous!

Cripplehood & Socks

Regular people just bend and put their socks on; they don’t even think about it while doing so.  None of that ‘mindfulness shizzle’ with socks, nope, they could be thinking about the bus they’re gonna catch; breakfast; their favourite shade of Jennifer Aniston’s tan; calling the dentist: literally *anything*.  Not me. You wanna know an insight into one of the things which most pees me off about being an intermittent cripple? The unpredictability.

See, I didn’t know this would be a ‘Socks are Something to Think About & Focus on’ morning until it was.  Until I actually had them in my hand and went to put them on.  That’s when socks went from being something that just sort of ‘happened to something I needed to do-purposefully and, to make a certain mindful loving friend happy by using her new favourite word, ‘mindfully’ 😉 This required concentration, bodily awareness and clear recollection of Alexander Technique instructions on how to lift a leg and bend to meet it all while maintaining correct postural alignment. Sigh.  ‘All my stupidly healthy friends haven’t had to pay hundreds of quid to learn how to put their sodding socks on!’ I thought ungraciously.  ‘And of course it would be when David’s away’: cue internal ‘oh poor me’ moment (yes Natalia, because *of course* if he wasn’t on holiday he’d have been at home on Sock Duty at 3pm on a Thursday!).

Kid socks
What focus, what determination, what mindfulness!

But then my socks were on and I was ready to face my bagel, tea and procrastination, I mean essay.  Now, I do not wanna seem smug or inconsiderate to people who are more than intermittently crippled, or whose pain keeps them up all night, crowding out any concept of possibly maintaining any other thoughts, not just once in a while like moi but as a regular shitty occurrence.  But I don’t wanna seem jealous of healthy people either. To be honest, I’m not smug, unkind or jealous about anything really.  Instead I have ‘perspective’.  Today was a Sock Issue day. And probably evening.  And to quote Stereophonics, ‘maybe tomorrow’.  That’s the pissy part: I genuinely don’t know what tomorrow, or even this evening has in store for me. BUT I’m cool.  Because (and here’s why the ‘I’m not being smug or inconsiderate warning was made!), I know that I WILL be ok.

‘Can’t Roll Over in Bed or Put Socks or Joggers on Easily’ days are, thankfully, followed by ‘I’m a Regular (well actually very hot, intelligent & fun!) Able-Bodied Person Walking Around London Living my Life’ kind of days (with drugs and a cache of elasticated support straps-medicinal not kinky, honest!).  So that’s why no jealousy.  Cos, without wanting to get too saccharine on you, having to think about the least painful way to put socks on some days means I absolutely bloody enjoy other daily things more.  And it means when horrid health diagnoses or traffic accidents or general shit happens, I’m an actual ‘Good Man in the Storm’ kind of girl (not the fake Arizona kind Grey’s fans!).  Cos you know what? After sockgate was solved, I sat down in my warm house, where I live with my devoted, kind-hearted, sexy husband who absolutely bloody adores me.   I read a book, drank tea, listened to Bieber’s new song (you know you did too: Love Yourseeeelfff), and worked on my Masters essay.  BECAUSE, I can read and think and make tea and put the heating on *whenever I bloody want*!  What absolute jammy-git luxury is my life 🙂