Yesterday, I missed my first daily post since starting this blog. I had an unpleasant obligation in the afternoon that disrupted my normal writing schedule and I forgot to come back to post. Perhaps that is why I continued to have strange dreams and felt restless!
After this unintended mini-break, I decided to reflect a bit on what this blog has meant for me. I began posting to this blog last September, first with recording simple pleasures and then expanding into topics like card draws and meditation. I’ve also chronicled aspects of my journey as a trans and non-binary person and discussed life as a person with disabling PTSD and other chronic illnesses.
I am proud of the fact that lots of aspects of who I am are able to show up in my writing. This blog functions primarily as a personal record of my life, but there have been days where I feel that I have a message I need to share with others. Something about having to craft my words to be comprehensible to an audience functions so much better for me than trying to write a paper-and-pencil journal.
I don’t have a particular goal or “next step” set in my mind for my writing, but I am looking forward to more free time in about a month and a half during which I hope I can further reflect on where I am at in my life and what I’m learning. Writing on my blog feels like exercise most days, something that I don’t necessarily always want to do, but something from which I benefit every single time I engage. What does your blog mean to you? What do you get from it, and what goals, if any, have you set regarding it?
Well, I just typed and lost an entire post for the first time so here goes a re-write!
As I noted yesterday, I am feeling under the weather with some sort of respiratory illness. I’m coughing a lot and my voice sounds as though a frog is trapped in my larynx. I selected the teeth and jaw card from my Daily Presence deck, and was shocked to realize these areas of my body are feeling better than they normally do.
I’ve been diagnosed with both TMJ and trigeminal neuralgia. My trigeminal neuralgia has gotten better after having a tooth extracted last year, but a recent visit to the dentist showed me it is still active. She merely manipulated my jaw in her evaluation (no cleaning or dental work) and my pain starting spiking on my drive home.
Today, though, my jaw feels loose and my teeth do not hurt. Simply noticing this feels like a sign that I am living with more awareness. It has been easy for me to focus all of my attention instead on what is going wrong with my body. There are of course times where my pain becomes so severe that I cannot ignore it and during which I need to use additional resources to help myself cope. For me, living with chronic pain has been about learning to work with my body as much as I can.
As I grow to fully inhabit the landscape of my body, my attention has widen and my care for parts that are healthy has improved. This awareness has increased rather than diminished my ability to respond to what my body needs when it is ill. Which parts or body systems are working well for you today? How is your jaw and tooth health? How do you balance responding to your body’s needs alongside appreciating what is working well for it?
As a person affected by multiple chronic physical and mental health conditions, including trigemnial neuralgia, complex PTSD, neck and arm radiculopathy and an undiagnosed systemic illness that has left me dehydrated and exhausted after multiple episodes last night that included digestive distress, fainting and low body temperature, I have no spoons to give today. The daily chores that must be completed to keep me fed and my house cleaned seem significantly more insurmountable than they do when my physical state is healthier. Taking time to engage in a simple pleasure on a day like today is another task rather than a bright moment of joy, but I felt determined to persist as I know giving up when I feel like this will only restart a cycle of depression.
As I use my Simple Pleasures cards, I am giving myself permission to adjust their instructions to a certain extent. Today’s draw was actually to buy up to five dollars in lottery tickets, but I know the excited anticipation they could perhaps bring would be missing with me feeling as sick as I am. Instead, I decided to use the money to buy myself flowers, which have a coalescence connotation which feels appropriate to my current state. I like the fact that they will last at least half a week and will continue to uplift my spirit as they fully blossom. Everyone deserves to have the ability to engage in self-care when they are feeling down; I am grateful for the privilege of being able to do so for myself.