Blue Gingham Mood

All things considered, today wasn’t such a bad day. I had an appointment with my least favourite doctor this morning. Of all the doctors involved with managing my health, this doctor is probably the one I least look forward to seeing. My feelings stem from her early unsupportive attitudes about my pain and the added speculation about whether it was all in my head, which she didn’t put aside until she received the detailed report from the Pain Clinic almost a year later. Because of this I avoid visits with her as much as I can until I can’t.

After today’s appointment, I treated myself to a great cheeseburger topped with Swiss cheese, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, and the thinnest slice of a red onion. Instead of plain French fries, I had a side of poutine, which is fries all dressed up with gravy and melted cheese, and it’s about as Canadian as food can get. Also, for the first time in what feels like forever, I drank a root beer soda. The taste of each sip brought back some great memories. Root beer was a favourite drink when I was a child and there are some things you should never let go of just because you grow up.

However, I was in a good mood before those delicious flavours awakened my taste buds and my memories. I was in a good mood for the simple reason that I was wearing a new shirt that I bought recently because it’s the best shade of blue gingham I’ve ever seen. I know… I’m a total geek; and I’m okay with that because I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with finding happiness in small things. There’s also nothing wrong with dressing to look better than you feel.

 

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Pain Tears

Waking up and feeling pain so intense it makes me cry is becoming a regular occurrence, at least it seems to be. This morning, when I got up to take my early morning dose of medications I was met with such terrible pelvic and hip pain it caused my eyes to water. I didn’t cry for as long as I did one morning about a week ago, but getting to this point with pain is more common now. I’m not certain if it’s the arrival of colder temperatures or because my sleep is so erratic, but whichever it is, it’s taking an emotional toll.

I almost long for the days when after running long distances my body would ache in places I didn’t know could hurt. Because that pain was different. That pain reminded me that I was active. It made me think about whether I needed to improve or change something in my stride as I ran. It made me question if I needed a new pair of running shoes or if I needed to stretch more before or after a long run. That pain, the pain that erupted in my body after running 10, 15, or even 25 kilometers (6 to 15 miles), reminded me that my body was strong and I was using it and pushing its limits.

This pain makes me feel defeated even before I’ve risen from my bed. This pain that makes me cry tells me I may never run the distances I did in the past nor feel the freedom of unencumbered movement from a healthy active body. Maybe that’s the reason I cry. Maybe without being conscious of the loss, my body – actually, my muscle memory – is mourning deeply and the only way to express it is through tears. Tears that are sometimes brief and at others pour out an hour’s worth.

At times, like this morning, when the pain is so bad that all I can do is cry, I long for the days when my body ached from the known punishment of running for hours…

 

After InkTober 2017 Is Over

Now that I’m finished with InkTober 2017, I need to figure out what I’m going to do to occupy my time. Last year, I worked on teaching myself to draw better, which I believe paid off in this year’s challenge. What feels like the right direction for me this year, is revisiting the colourful geometric art I enjoyed creating in the past. What I created then ranged from simple shapes with basic colour to intricately combined lines with bright bold colour palettes.

In recent years, as I’ve searched for my artistic style, the geometric pieces I created keep surfacing in my thoughts. Because these thoughts are so persistent, I intend to use this style as a base. To this base, I will add the different artistic methods I’ve taught myself over the last four years as I’ve sought creative ways to cope with my illness. I’ll also make use of any new skills I pick up as I go along.

I’m looking forward to the new things I’ll create with old-established methods.

If you participated in InkTober 2017, what are you going to do now that it’s over?

 

InkTober 2017: Day 31 – Mask

I’m done. I finished the InkTober 2017 challenge. I’m a few days late but I needed to take time out for self-care at a couple of points, and I’m glad I did because it tells me I’m prioritizing my health. The last prompt for the challenge is ‘mask’, which is an easy word for me to relate to.

Psychologically and emotionally, everyone wears a mask. Some of us wear more masks than others do. Each mask helps us to fit into a specific situation. Who are we when we are with our family, our friends, or in our workplaces? Then who are we when we are alone when the mask(s) can come off?

I wear multiple masks. More than ever, I wear them to obscure the effects of my illness. I’ve become quite good at hiding what my body is doing to me psychologically and emotionally. I don’t believe anyone, even those who know me well, have a clear picture of who I’ve become over the course of the past four years. Because of this, I’m convinced these masks have to stay on, otherwise my family and friends might be the ones who can’t cope with what I’m living with each day.

Although, I must say, wearing the many masks I do when I feel pain all the time is tiring. Always being hopeful is tiring. Always trying to be cheerful is tiring. Always trying to make others worry about me less is tiring. Most of all, always acting as if I’m okay so others don’t treat me different is tiring. Yet, I will continue to wear my masks because the alternative, showing the rawness of what I’m living with, isn’t an option.

 

InkTober 2017: Day 30 – Found

Wouldn’t you know it, I’m two prompts away from wrapping up my InkTober 2017 challenge and my mind is blanking. I have an image for this second last prompt, ‘found’, but I’m having a hell of a time thinking of something to write to go with the image I have in mind. My thoughts did turn to something that has raised many questions for me in life but it might offend more people than I care to. Discussions, or the odd jokes, about finding religion can hit sensitive spots or a low bar depending on one’s perspective. However, religion doesn’t align in any way with anything happening in my life now so I’ll save my thoughts for another time.

Therefore, I’m giving my mind a rest and I’ll draw my sketch as soon as I’ve found my glasses.

 

InkTober 2017: Day 29 – United

I can’t count the number of weddings I’ve been to over my lifetime. I’ve mostly attended them as a guest. However, I’ve also been a bridesmaid many times; and once I acted as a coordinator to make sure a couple’s day went smoothly. I wish I could say all the weddings I’ve attended have been wonderful but that would be a lie. Most of them have been incredible days for celebration, where I’ve witnessed two people deeply in love and committed to sharing their lives together exchange vows. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Not every couple united in matrimony should be. The worst feeling in the world might be sitting at a wedding ceremony where you have intimate knowledge about the people marrying that does not bode well for their future together. I’ve been in this position a few times; and it’s a terrible thing. Having the feeling in your gut, or actually knowing, the marriage won’t last but not being able to say or do anything.

When one of these marriages fails, which they inevitably do, there is no satisfaction in its failure. If you are close to either person, you become a witness to the painful unraveling and separation of two lives that may have united just months before. You get a front row seat to their pain, their anger, and their tears; and while they divide possessions and abandon the matrimonial home, the support of friendship(s) becomes just as necessary, if not more needed, than it was on the day of their union.

 

InkTober 2017: Day 28 – Fall

It’s been said that the closest humans would get to flying as birds do was to be on board a plane – don’t ask me who said that because I’m too lazy to look it up. However, since then, we’ve created countless devices to propel and suspend humans in flight. One of the most exhilarating ways is skydiving. I’ve only done it once, but it was an incredible experience and as soon as my feet landed on solid ground I was ready to get back in the plane, to climb back up to 12,000 feet (3,657.6 meters), and jump again.

A skydiving fall happens in two phases. The first phase happens as soon as you jump out of the plane: It’s a free-fall. It’s fast. It’s an adrenaline rush. The skydiver feels ice-cold air whipping at her/his face. However using one’s body the speed of the fall and the direction in which one turns are controllable. The second phase begins when one pulls the parachute’s ripcord. If my memory serves me correctly, the ripcord must be pulled when one reaches the 7,500 feet (2,286 meters) mark on the altimeter attached to a strap of the parachute pack.

When the skydiver pulls the ripcord, the opening of the parachute causes a hard pull up before a calm fall down starts. This calm part of the descent can also be controlled, but this time it’s through manipulating the parachute. There are cables attached to the parachute that one pulls to move right or left or to slow your fall. I remember that as I floated toward the ground with the wind blowing around me, I felt incredibly free. I could see everything around me, in all directions, for miles, and I wanted to stay up in the sky indefinitely.

When I finally landed, I could barely contain the excitement I felt and nothing could erase the huge grin on my face; and I was ready to do it again. If it weren’t for the fact that I was with a group of friends with whom I had more plans for the rest of that day, I would have jumped on the next flight back up to 12,000 feet. Thankfully, I have photos and a video of that jump to remind me of that day, and who knows that I might not have multiple jumps in my future.