Until It Is Carved In Stone [an Excerpt from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach]

It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Visiting old cemeteries can be very illuminating. They are so still and silent. So quiet. Old cemeteries remind us that until it is carved in stone, realizing our heart’s desire is possible every day if we recognize what it is that makes us happy.

In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town a deeply poignant scene takes place in a graveyard. Ghosts comfort the young heroine, who has recently died in childbirth. Emily, still longing for the life she has just left, wishes to revisit it one ordinary, “unimportant” day in her life. When she gets her wish, she realizes how much the living take for granted.

Eventually her visit is too much for her to bear. “I didn’t realize,” she confesses mournfully, “all that was going on and we never noticed … Good-by, world. Good-by, Grover’s Corners … Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking … and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths … and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you’re too wonderful for anybody to realize you.”

This is the season of Epiphany, when the renewal of light and revelation are celebrated in the liturgy of the Catholic, Episcopal, and Eastern Orthodox churches. On our new path we seek everyday epiphanies — occasions on which we can experience the Sacred in the ordinary — and come to the awakening, as Emily finally does, that we cannot longer afford to throw away even one “unimportant” day by not noticing the wonder of it all. We have to be willing to discover and then appreciate the authentic moments of happiness available to all of us every day.

[excerpted from the book Simple Abundance; A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach]

I have to center myself.

I feel the inactivity of this blog really reflects the inactivity in my life. I have been at a basic standstill since Lola was born. I have gotten out of the writing habit, my home has descended into chaos, and I am at a low point health-wise. Emotionally, I am dealing with feelings of worthlessness, anxiety, and am overwhelmed by all I feel I should be doing. Overwhelmed by the thought of digging myself and my home out of this mountain of, well, shit that is burying me. Financially, I have not been doing what I know I should be doing, I have not been a good manager of our household funds and my fear and anxiety related to money have caused me to often procrastinate on paying our bills in a timely manner. I hate to sit down and face it. In fact, that’s what I should be doing right now, but instead I am writing in this blog that I haven’t touched in a year.

I guess this is just my soul’s way of telling me that I want things to be better now. I want it to be more purposeful and I want to do the work necessary to eliminate these feelings of panic, anxiety, overwhelmed-ness, and the only way I can do that is to just GET STARTED. I guess I can come back to this blog as part of the life raft I will need to make the changes I desperately need to make.

I’m scared though. I’m scared I won’t be able to stick with it. Not sure how I should approach the changes. There are so many that ultimately need to be made. I’m screwed up in almost every facet of my life. I guess I just need to start working on what’s bothering me the most.

So, off I go. I will also cling to the life raft of FlyLady to help me not give up. I will go fetch my timer now, and face my fate. Wish me luck. Hopefully I will make some progress and then I can come back and write about all the good things I do have in my life. Until I dig myself out of all this, I can’t really enjoy those things.

The once prolific writer goes recluse; makes surprise appearance.

Hi there.  I know, I know, I haven’t written in a while.  I look back on my past writings, years where I wrote two, three, sometimes four entries in a day.  I suppose that has to do with being the mother of a small child.  My time really isn’t my own?  No, that doesn’t ring true.  I think I have lost my voice.  Having a stalker on the internet kind of sucks.  You can’t say what you really think or feel for fear this person will find out your information and spread it around like today’s hottest news.  When I came to wordpress I found that I could password protect entries, and hide myself from internet searches, which is great for keeping the stalker from reading my entries; however, with moving so much, and the reduction in my journal entries, I have lost a lot of my readers and now, blogging seems pointless.  Especially since I am not searchable on the internet, and no one can find my blog “by accident” unless they are surfing through wordpress blogs.

I guess even if I were to make my blog available through public searches, and the stalker found the blog, she still couldn’t access my deepest thoughts because of the password protection.  However, other new blog visitors will miss out on the good stuff as well, as most of my entries have to be password protected for some reason or another.

My daughter, Princess, has started a new blog.  I suggested it to her for a venue to practice her writing skills.  She really loves to write, and we are considering it as a possibility for her to pursue journalism in college.  So far, she is doing well.  If I decide to go public, I will add her to my blogroll.

I am definitely going to try to come and blog more often.  If you are a new reader, message me here for the password for the protected entries and I may give it to you.  Make sure to leave a valid email address.

I will spend more time writing entries about what is going on in my life these days, but at a later date.  Right now, I wanted to comment on the fact that a few months ago, I signed up on Twitter, just to see what it was like.  I really didn’t find it all that interesting, and never used it once I signed up.  So for months, my Twitter account has been inactive, yet almost every day, I receive an email notification that someone else is “following” me on Twitter.  I’m like, did you look at my past tweets and say, this person is witty and fun, so I will follow her for future tweets?  I think not.  Since I have not “tweeted” once.  What  was the protocol you used to decide I was someone to follow?  These are complete strangers, mind you.  Weirdos, I’m thinking.  Usually that’s a compliment in my book, but in this current scenario…it’s definitely not!!

I think I will toy around with my layout and my widgets this afternoon.  I am going to try to put a new daily quote or thought (the “P.S.” section) at the end of each of my entries, along with a playlist of songs I listened to while I blogged.

Fondly,

CG

P.S.  If there were no one to watch them drive by, how many people would buy a Mercedes?

Songs to Blog by:

Have a Cigar – Pink Floyd
Get on the Floor – Michael Jackson
I Don’t Want To Talk About It – Rod Stewart
By The Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Parachutes – Coldplay

Thoughts and Ruminations

OK, this is just going to be a stream-of-consciousness thing so bear with me.

1) Since I quit my job on February 4, everyone recovered from their illnesses within just a couple of days, and haven’t been sick since.  Hm………

2) We got a motorcycle.  We traded our truck for it, since we couldn’t seem to sell it.  It is a very nice motorcycle.  A Honda Goldwing Aspencade – a real touring bike.  I look forward to summer.

3) Sometimes I feel like my husband doesn’t love me anymore.  Tell me I am a dumb ass.

4) I have a ton of things to do around here to continue getting ready for Lola’s birthday this weekend.  I am not doing them.  I am writing this.

5) I have a job interview on Wednesday.  I am not going to say anything further because I don’t want to jinx it, but Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m., if you could send some positive energy my way and prayers or whatever medium you prefer; that would be nice.  This job would be IDEAL.

6) I cannot believe my Lola bean will be Three Years Old tomorrow.  I cry.

7) I feel happy and unhappy.

8) I need to go out and get birthday stuff, including cupcakes to take to Lola’s class tomorrow, and ordering a birthday cake for Saturday.  I do not want to go out tonight.  But I guess I have to. 

9) I am feeling some resentment towards my husband.  I have so much to do and he knows that, and he has not asked once since he got home “Is there anything I can do to help?”  The only thing he has done is take the laundry down to the basement for me.  Now he is outside working on the bike so he will not come back in until I complain that I need him to come in and then I will be a bitch. 

10) I hate leaving on an odd number so I’ll write this to end on.

Bye.

Liz

Ok, so I give up on giving up.

*sigh*.

I am just trying to keep afloat through a downswing.

However, I am just taking some time this weekend to babystep my way to getting some of this weight of stress off me.  Little things that are just geting in my way as far as concentrating on my plans for the future.

Clean my house.  Do my laundry.  Get the clutter and the chaos out of my face.

It’s kind of hard to do when your daughter has a raging ear infection in both ears.  And now the hubby is sick too.  The big girl went to her best friend’s birthday slumber party so she’s not here, and its probably for the best.  Her mom took 5 bottles of pills and tried to kill herself last Sunday.  We only just found out about it yesterday (Friday).  Princess is broken hearted and feeling pretty betrayed – both the fact that her mother did that and the fact that no one would tell her what was going on just because they didn’t want Hubby and Me to know.  It really sucks. 

At any rate, I’m hoping the Succubus stays in medical treatment somewhere and gets some help; although that has not worked for her the last 5 to 7 times she’s attempted this.  One thing I must say is that she has never taken these many pills before, so I’m thinking for once she really meant to do it.  As bad as I have felt, I can sympathize with her for feeling that hopeless.  I’ve been there, and I’ve been there in the recent past.  However, every time my mind started to stray down the path of “not wanting to live anymore” I would remember that there were indeed people who, although they could manage without me, I could not deny that my doing something like that would hurt them tremendously.  When I would think about the ripples in the pond that my suicide would have made — made me realize I do have some value in this world and the fact that I have so much love for those people that I would never want to give them even a mild bit of pain with  my passing, makes me realize life is worth living.  A good time with them once every few months is worth all the rest of the mundane days, and the crappy days, and the despairing day every now and then. 

So although they don’t know it – these people saved my life, and will continue to do so; because of them, I know my life is way more good than bad: Hubby, Princess, Lola, Kitty, Mom, Dad, Lois, Jim, Nate, Tiffy, Joey, Brian, June, Tina, TayTay, Stewart, my other nieces and nephews, even my SIL and BIL, my cousins, Nicole, Kath, even my online precious friends Y and Karen and others.  I guess that’s a pretty good list of people.  This shows me I’ve done something in my life that I can be proud of.  I have the love and/or friendship of all these wonderful people.  I have two beautiful daughters.  I have a wonderful husband. 

I often feel unworthy – that I have nothing real to contribute anymore.  I often feel like people would be better off without me sucking the life out of them, or whatever.  I feel guilt  for needing more than I think I should.  I get so tired of slogging through life every day, never having enough money, always worrying about where our family is going next, worrying about whether or not I’m ever going to find the peace within that I crave.  How I will find the energy and the drive to do the things my heart and soul long to do.  Sometimes I get so frustrated that the thought I wish I didn’t exist goes through my mind just because it’s such hard work to just live today.  But the thought never goes far.  And that can be frustrating too because sometimes I feel so bad, because I’m *pinned* here!  But ultimately, that’s the best thing in my life.

Right now I am reconsidering the job I have taken.  It is very stressful and I’m not sure if that is the best thing for me.  I really need to decide if the extra $ from this position is worth the stress of it all.  I’m not certain that it is.  Hubby and I really need to talk this through and figure out what is best for us as a family and me as a mom.  The ultimate solution would be to get the damned transfer to Tennessee anytime soon!!!

Well, I am going to get off here – I am making progress around the house so I better take advantage of that.

Songs to blog by tonight:

Lady – Styx
Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik
Respect Yourself – Bruce Willis
Southern Cross – CSN&Y
Can’t Stop – After 7
Big Log – Robert Plant

Hey, it’s ok

It has been almost a month since my last post.  Because we had gotten so behind in the money department our internet service was cut off.  We don’t have it back up yet but probably in the next week or so. 

Life is otherwise going well.  My new job is stimulating, exciting and HARD.  Kind of like my man. LOL

I love working in the courthouse.  Not only is it cool to be in the courthouse, but by virtue of my job I’m right in the center of all the activity and all the stories, and all the people.  I am enjoying it right now, and trying like crazy to avoid any horror stories of criminal trials but I know that soon that will not be an option.  I have only been in the official position I was hired into, for about a week.  I really enjoy it, and the people I am working with.  I am very sorely missed up in the Probate department too so that is sweet to know.

I am doing some wonderful, special things for myself.  This weekend I am getting my teeth whitened!  And I’m having another skin consultation, and probably will schedule the first few weeks of whatever skin treatment I decide to go with.  Probably microdermabrasion or peels or something.  This is to work on reducing the appearance of the acne scars.  After that I am going to see a local, very well known and respected cosmetic surgeon about getting neck liposuction or a chin or face lift.  😀 

In the meantime, my BIL and SIL found a treadmill for me, and I’m looking for an exercise bike and mini trampoline for my fitness regimen.  I decided that with everything else I have going on, going to a gym is not something I want to try to fit into my day.  With the treadmill I can do walking or running for 30 to 45 minutes before I get ready for work every day.  When I come home from work I’m going to do 30 additional minutes of cardio every other day, and the alternate days some flexibility or strength training. 

My ultimate plan is to get to feeling as good about myself (my appearance, etc.) as possible.  Because a lot of the things that bother me can be worked on.  Thus the plan.

I made a list of all the things I want to do or set into motion as a regular thing and I’m going through it trying to make those things happen.

I got a fabulous new haircut too, and I would love to show you a pic but I am not really feeling like uploading pictures at this time.  It’s SHORT! and it’s all newfangly and shorter in the back than the front.  It’s really quite mod and sexy.  Hubby loves it and I have gotten tons of compliments from everyone. 

Long story short — feeling tons smarter, more valuable, and prettier.  Also feeling tons more tired and when it’s been a long hard day, I am not quite being the nicest mom in the world.  This is something I need to work on. 

I am off meds as of last month.  So far I have not seen the need to go back on.  My doc was going to take me off them soon anyway if I continued to progress because now the doc and my therapist think maybe I’m not so much bipolar as someone who is affected by my environment to an extreme degree.  I have been doing so much better since I went back to work that they feel that this alone should help me get back into a more steady mindset.  So far, it has done just that.

And a few more paychecks coming in should improve our financial situation drastically.  We are well pleased.

Lola is really doing well in daycare, so I think everyone is benefitting from this arrangement.

I love my babies and my man.  They are my world and I’m so glad that everyone seems to be doing well in this situation.

This was supposed to be a quick update but turned out longer than I thought.

I have to go…I have limited time online and I need to check on all my buddies.

CG

A New Job!!!

Current mood: accomplished

Ok, as some of you know, I went back to work about 5 weeks ago.  Through a temp agency I was placed at the local county courthouse in the Probate Court.  I have really enjoyed working there and although it took me a few weeks to get over putting Lola in daycare, I have recovered.  Lola loves it so much that I wouldn’t even think of taking her out now.  It really has been to her benefit — she is happier now that she has playmates and plenty of interaction outside our little nuclear family; she is learning even more, her facile little mind is just soaking things in; her potty-training has actually leapt forward and she is almost there; she has much more structure in her day and is willingly eating all 3 meals a day (this was something she resisted at home).  She is going without the beloved binkies from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. every day so that’s an improvement. 

I have enjoyed getting out of the house, doing something productive, and making a bit of money.  My moods have really improved and I am beginning to realize how helpful it is to be out of the house with regard to my emotional/mental wellbeing. 

Anyway — let’s get down to the news…last week, I interviewed for the position in Probate Court that I have been doing.  My interview went great and I was told by my supervisor that they had submitted their opinion and that it was that I was the one they wanted to hire.  Unfortunately, on Tuesday she came to me and told me that they were not able to offer me the position.  She was not able to tell me why, because she could lose her job, but that it had nothing to do with me.  I know why now, but I can’t really say because I wouldn’t want to get in one of those “public blog” scandally things.  But I do know it’s not about me.  My supervisor and the head of the department were very upset and disappointed.  They wanted me to know about another position in a different department, and they were going to help me any way they could to keep me in the courthouse.

So anyway — my supervisor took me down to meet the supervisor of that department.  I already knew him and he let me know that he was interested in me applying for the position.  It is in the trial court, and what I would be doing is working with 2 or 3 specific judges, doing all their courtroom scheduling (hearings, trials, etc.).  There’s more to it but that’s the main function. 

Yesterday I interviewed for the position, and an hour later…I was given the job!

So as of next Wednesday I will be the Trial Court Assignment Coordinator!  And what is really funny about the whole thing is that this job pays MUCH better than the Probate position I tried to get; and it’s a union position which means much more job security.  And I’ve got all those delicious county government benefits.  They even pay most of the cost of your parking (I only have to pay $20 a month). 

So, anyway — I got a great Christmas present.  I am making a bit more than I ever have in any previous position–and that’s just the starting pay!  My hubby is happy happy happy.  And life is going to get a bit better, and it will be a bit easier to breathe (and pay our bills).  And I guess I’m still viable in the work force!  I was beginning to worry when I was looking for a job.  But since I have 2 department heads arguing over keeping me in their departments, I must still have SOMETHING to offer. (*end of brag*)

Tonight we’re going to a 15-year reunion for my hubby’s high school.  I need to go and get a few things in preparation for that.  So, I am going to get off here.  Just wanted to share the good news.

Friendship That Catches Fire

Lola woke up at 4 this morning, apparently a bad dream.  I tried everything to get her to go back to sleep either in her bed or mine, but the only thing that worked was to go out to the living room with her, turn on a show with the volume down low, and lay on the couch with her on top of me, and she went to sleep that way.  I, however, could not go to sleep.  I laid there until the alarm clock went off.  I yawned my way through the day. 

Tonight I am trying to get some things done around here — and I am trying to come up with a plan to get things done the night before work so we don’t have to rush around to get out of the door on time, and maybe even be able to sleep a bit more.

Lola seems to be enjoying daycare.  She gets upset when we first leave but she seems really enthusiastic about it otherwise.  Again, I just need to come to terms with myself, because she’s apparently all for it.  I just miss her, and I struggle to get through every day interacting with others, when I would just as soon not.  I also hate getting up in the mornings, I’m always so damned tired.

Work is going ok.  I am getting along good with everyone, and taking on more tasks.  I am hoping that they will start giving me enough to keep busy all day without walking around asking people “Do you have anything for me to do?”  I hate doing that because it makes me feel like I have no worth.  I need to start packing lunch because it’s too cold to go out on the streets to buy lunch so I’ve been buying it in the cafe on the ground floor and it is EXPENSIVE!!!  Delicious, but expensive. 

Oh, another bummer is that I don’t get to see Hubby very much now.  He doesn’t get home from work until after 8, and that is if he doesn’t have overtime.  Last night he didn’t get home until midnight, and I don’t even think I woke up when he came in.  I leave way before he needs to be up.

A good thing though is that as long as traffic moves smoothly, I leave work at 4:30 and can be walking into the daycare to get Lola by 4:50.  This makes me happy.  It’s just a few minutes but I’ll take all the minutes I can grab with my little one!

Princess is doing great – homework galore – but doing well.  She is participating in Drama Club again this year and they are putting on a play in a week or so — she is in Little Women.  She has all of a sudden gotten really interested in sketching and designing fashion.  She’s done a few drawings that are actually very impressive.

Well that’s the update.  Nothing earth shattering.  I’m looking forward to getting my first paycheck.  It will come in handy-as I have done no Christmas shopping as of yet for the kids.  Wish me luck shopping this weekend.

Lastly I shared with my Hubby a wonderful quote, that we both feel describes our relationship perfectly…

“Love is Friendship That Catches Fire.”

Isn’t that beautiful?

CG

I miss *us*

I am definitely in a down time.  I did, however, express to my husband that I felt like he and I needed to reconnect in a “romantic” way because I feel like he and I are not as close as we have been as far as that sort of thing goes.  He has been great to me lately, very supportive of the things I’m trying to do to change my life, but as far as feeling like we are in love with each other, that feeling has not surfaced in a while on BOTH of our parts.  I know he loves me, and I am just feeling that maybe my declining beauty and getting older is really affecting his attraction to me.  Plus the weight and all that.  I don’t *feel* sexy so I don’t want to have sex, etc.

I have been focusing too much on that lbs number.  I kind of lost sight of why I started working out and taking better care of myself in the first place.  It wasn’t about getting skinny.  It was about getting *healthy*.  If I am feeling healthier — that is, less pain, more energy, better moods, etc. — THAT is the goal.  Not a number on the scale.  If I achieve the goals and I’m still a size 16 then that is going to have to be OK.  I cannot happily focus on something like that.  I have to find my beauty no matter where I am.  If as a side effect of living a bit healthier, I lose some weight, then fine.  But that cannot be the purpose. 

It has disappointed me that I am having to watch my calories SO damned closely.  I can’t do that.  I am going to continue to track my food, and try to stay within the caloric range.  I am trying to include lots of water, veggies and fruit, and protein in the mix; less carbs; but I’m not going to obsess over it.  I’m going to try to focus on getting more exercise…and worrying a bit less about eating rabbit food all day, every day.  This is not to say that I am going to go hog wild and eat junk food all the time again.  I know that is bad for me.  That is counterproductive to the “feeling better” mission. 

I have noticed that when I go a few days without drinking lots of water, my newly cleared-up skin starts breaking out like crazy.  I get canker sores in my mouth, my skin gets even drier than normal, etc.  So I know that water is absolutely imperative.  And I have been going kind of crazy with the pop drinking.  Because it is in the house.  Now that it is all gone (thanks to my binging), I can start over with that. 

I actually really enjoyed myself when I was holding out my streak on not drinking pop, and doing crunches every day, etc.  And I do enjoy doing cardio.  I wish I enjoyed strength training a bit more.  I hate doing it.  I hate calisthenics, and I hate dumbbells.  This is where I wish I was using circuit training machines.  Maybe if I had a workout bench, etc., and a specific place set aside for me to work out it would be easier.

I wish I could have time every day to do 45 minutes of (enjoyable) cardio, and 20 minutes of yoga.  The yoga I would prefer to do in the evening.  I *could* do it at night but after I put Lola to bed, I’m just so tired I want to sit and have a quiet moment or just go to bed.  I would do even more cardio if I could because I know it will benefit me.  The strength training I know I should do every other day 3 x a week.  It is just SO boring and hard to do when I have to look at the computer screen for every exercise and try to use things around the house for stability or balance. 

This has nothing to do with my mood except that I know that my lack of activity or structure really affects my feelings. 

After I shared with my husband today that I feel lonely and I miss our love and our chemistry, he came home with a card and flowers.  I love him.  I know he loves me and I just want to know that he still adores me like he used to.  I feel so scared that these inches of extra weight on me are draining his attraction to me.  And since I know my birth control pills are sapping all my libido our sex life has been nil lately.  I am switching back to my old pill at the end of this pack. 

I think I need to take a bit of time for myself — I mean, to spend a little time on being a *girly girl* and recharge my feminine batteries so to speak.  I need to color my hair, I need to get a pedicure, I need to go through my clothes and get all the prettiest stuff out for wearing.  I need some new shoes (as we’ve discussed), and I’d LOVE a little extra money to get some good outdoor walking clothes, and some Bare Essentials makeup.  Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely.

Money would help.  A lot.  As usual.

The Spoon Theory (copied from another source)

My friend Chuck shared this with me, and it is copied from another place (referenced at the bottom).  It was written by a person who suffers from Lupus, but it also really applies to people who are bipolar as well.  In my case, the combination of bipolar and fibromyalgia really makes it a challenge for me to just “get up and go” like so many other people do.  It is truly an act of pure willpower.  Of course there are many who will still think what they think, that I’m just wallowing in self-pity or laziness.  I really don’t know how I can respond to that because if you know me on one of my good days you know that lazy isn’t a word to describe me.  Self pity, however, isn’t even the word to describe me either — it’s more like self-condemning, self-loathing, self-ridiculing because I can’t psyche myself into being like those ‘energetic’ folks in my life that just get up and go and all the things they do, seemingly on autopilot, that have to be planned out and at this point in my life, fucking written down on a checklist so that I will remember or at least attempt to do them.  In fact, I fucking resent it.  But the indignation and resentment doesn’t fuel me to do a damned thing because instead of energizing me, it drains me further.  I wish I could make people understand this but the ones who I want to understand the most, just do not because it is totally foreign to them…But anyway–read this.  It’s very good.

The Spoon Theory

My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.

I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?

I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.” I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her a spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn’t even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”. I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.

We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.

When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.

I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn’t want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared”

Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”.

After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”

Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.

Stolen from But You Don’t Look Sick and can be applied to any chronic illness including mine.

End of Day 11.05.07

Miles Walked: 2
Minutes Walked: 30
Workout Heart Rate: 110
Strength Training (Yes/No): no
Days Without Soda: 1
Days of Doing 50 Crunches: 15
Yoga (Yes/No): no
Glasses Water Drank: 12+

Health wise today was good – I ate very reasonably yet still allowed myself a little bit of candy. Tonight I am feeling very irritable, I am assuming because I didn’t have caffeine today, and I’m tired.

I had a great dinner – 2 soft tacos made with ground turkey & taco seasoning, each taco had 1 tablespoon of refried beans, 1 tablespoon of mexican rice, 1 teaspoon of sour cream, and 1/8 cup of colby-monterey cheese. YUMMY! My dinner was a total of 600 calories. I thought it was pretty good considering how filling it was and the fact that there was refrieds and taco meat.

I didn’t burn as many calories today as I wish I could have, but otherwise the day went well. I got quite a bit of housework done as well.

Right now, though, I am very tired, and looking to finish everything I can so I can go to bed.

Trying not to let disappointment trip me up.

I am trying not to be disappointed in myself. I have fallen off the wagon as far as the gung ho motivation. I am going to kick my own butt this week and I am not going to allow myself to get lazy. I can understand that this last week I was hormonal and had a lot of money stress, but what I need to realize is when I am feeling like that it is the MOST important to me to take care of myself. Because not doing so just makes it all worse.

Today I have already walked my 30 minutes, and I have done my streches and 50 crunches. I’ve showered, dressed, applied makeup, etc., and gotten my toddler cleaned up, dressed, etc. as well. My husband was gracious enough to load the dishwasher for me while I was out walking, so now I only have a few more dishes to put in there (yes, they were THAT piled up), and I’m going to get all my housework caught up. We seriously need to get some laundry done so that is another thing I need to focus on today. I have a couple more household management type things to do as well.

As far as my own personal needs, I just need to make sure I eat within my calorie range, drink my water, and get a couple of veggies and fruits in there somewhere. I need to decide what vitamin supplements I want to take to make sure I’m getting all the nutrients I need. I am also going to need to get some glucosamine condroitin to help with my joint pain.

I went to the doctor on Friday, to talk about my body pain, to find out if maybe I was doing something wrong that was exacerbating the pain I am having. Basically it was a wasted trip, in that she had nothing to offer as far as my fibro flares go. She told me to keep exercising, but maybe to step back the intensity. The only surprising thing that happened, that redeemed the whole trip to the doctor was that she took a look at my walking shoes and deemed them “horrible”, and that I need to get a much better shoe and arch support. I am not surprised that she said “horrible”, they are WalMart specials with velcro instead of shoestrings. So I guess I need to invest in a good pair of shoes in the very near future. I’m sure that will help with the arches hurting. I noticed today that I didn’t have any shin pain walking at a slightly slower pace, but was really distracted by the arch pain. My achilles tendons are still sore but I am trying to keep them nice and stretched. I am taking advil a couple times a day as I can remember to help with the inflammation.

I haven’t been too good with the soda war. I have been indulging in it every day almost, and I am ready to get back into the 6 days off 1 day on routine. My hubby bought some pop and is going to keep it locked up so that I can only get to it with his consent. I really love having the caffeine boost but the calories are truly empty calories and I don’t have many to spare. I just miss it so much. I don’t like coffee or tea so I’m pretty screwed there. It’s water for me, and it can get pretty boring. I am not into those flavor things you put in the water. If I can’t have my pleasing confection of bubbles and cola, then I would rather just drink the water. It is a sad affliction to me.

Our money situation is causing me a lot of stress. This stress is adversely affecting so many things and it is really giving me a hard time in focusing on my health goals. I have not learned how to let go of the stress in regard to the money. I will spend some time balancing my checkbook and figuring out what the next paycheck is going to look like, and once I realize I have done everything I can possibly do, that is simply going to have to do. I just don’t know how to let go of the worry. It sucks so many units of happiness out of me, I cannot even begin to explain to you.

Well, I can’t stop the momentum, I need to get going on the tasks I have set for myself. Au revoir.

Today’s Inspirational Muse Brought To You by:

Shattered Dreams – Johnny Hates Jazz
So Alive – Love and Rockets
Rock the Casbah – The Clash
Try Again – Aaliyah
I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That – Elton John
No More “I Love Yous” – Annie Lennox
I’ve Been Thinking About You – Londonbeat