Every month I have great plans to take part in link up parties and then life seems to get in the way of writing. One link up that I particularly love is Sheryl’s on A Chronic Voice where she gives prompts aimed specifically for people living with chronic illness to express themselves and share experiences. January seems like the perfect month to join the party again…..so here goes!
This is a great prompt for a new year isn’t it? It could also be very cheesy!
I think that I would like to be dedicating more time and energy to working with fellow bloggers this year. Sometimes I see others who give so much of their time to commenting on and sharing the writing of others (Sheryl at A Chronic Voice, Caz at Invisibly Me, Esme at Esme Salon, Sue at Sizzling Towards Sixty – to name but a few) that I feel a bit inadequate in my feeble attempts.
So maybe I should say that I will try dedicating my own time to working effectively and to stop procrastinating. I had a teacher at school (Latin) who used to ask us “what is the thief of time” to which we 11 year olds would chant “pro..cra..sti..na..tion” without having a clue what it meant. Sir…I get it now!!
I really need to start establishing some proper self care routines that will see me through both the good days and the bad days. For me self care revolves around reducing stress levels, which in turn will help keep the pain at bay. At the moment “self care” – healthy eating, regular exercising (in our neighbours’ gym – so lucky!), pilates, meditation, mindfulness, rest etc etc – or maybe I should just say putting myself first in my schedule, well it seems to come way down the list of priorities and almost feels rather decadent.
I’ve written before about chronic pain and illness being my constant companion and there are so many times that it feels like my companion is putting up barriers for me or tying me down in knots. I want to be breaking through barriers and ties, physical and mental, that are holding me back and stopping me from feeling like the person I used to be, being the person I can be.
This might mean breaking some of the rules that I self inflict and wrap myself up in – one is the need for a clean, tidy house! The biggest problem is that my idea of clean and tidy does not quite match with the rest of the family……this causes me more stress than anything else, and whilst I will try to be more laid back, this will be a tough one for me to break!
Breaking crockery is also something I’d like to do less of in my kitchen!! Dislocated wrists and thumbs frequently equals dropped plates and mugs……BREAKING!!
Strengthening has to apply to my core!! Whilst I was still mobile and fit, I practised yoga daily and attended classes several times a week, and had even been asked to train as a yoga teacher by my teacher! My back has been troublesome ever since my surgery aged 21, so it has been important to keep my core muscles strong to support my weak back. I wouldn’t boast a 6 pack, but I had a very flat stomach which pinged back after each of my 3 caesarian sections! But….since turning 40 and my mobility and health have gone into free fall, those core muscles have gone into hiding……apparently muscle memory is a thing, if I can only coax them out.
I am not very good at just allowing myself “to be” – to accept my own limitations that come with my condition, to acknowledge the bad but to celebrate the good.
I want to allow myself to take a rest without beating myself up; allow myself to say “no”; allow myself to sit and just be without feeling guilty. Most of all I want to allow myself to accept my conditions, warts and all – accepting is not a weakness, I believe it is a strength and liberating!
So there we have it – my ramblings to add to the thoughts and writings of other bloggers that can be found here on A Chronic Voice. I hope you enjoy them all.
Update….as I type I have a new cleaner in the house – a lovely lady who works for a friend who said she could fit me in…..hurray. Now I just need to make sure I don’t fall into the trap of cleaning before she comes – just nagging the kids to make sure that the floors in their rooms can actually be seen to vacuum!!
I have been saying for months now that I would get my act together and join in with Sheryl’s Link Up Party over on A Chronic Voice…..so this is finally me getting my act together, just in time to sneak into June! Sheryl provides prompts so that we bloggers can learn just a little bit about each other – and ourselves!
Prompts for the Month
Over the last couple of weeks my kids lives have been galloping at a great speed, reminding me that I really am that middle aged woman who stares out from the mirror! The household exams came to a finish this week as our girl took her final GCSE – as a parent I have been through them 3 times and that is it, no more! Then my baby went off with her bag containing a party dress, shoes and makeup to get ready with friends for their end of year party – I doubt that she will let me post a picture, so you will have to take my word for it that the girls looked beautiful. Reminding me how long ago I was 16!
Son number 2 came home from his first year at university sporting a slightly shaggy, slightly ginger beard and looking skinnier and taller. Last night the hall was suddenly full of very large shoes as a group of 19 year old males gathered for drinks and football before heading off to a party. “Don’t wait up!” reminding me yet again that my youthful days of partying are long behind me.
The final straw came in the form of a large white envelope addressed to son number 1 bearing the stamp of Companies House. “This is really happening” said my girl at the realisation that her annoying big brother has finished university and is entering the big wide world with a tech Start-Up! Reminding me that I really do have adult kids!
If yours truly had remembered all that I read on a regular basis and tell myself about pacing, perhaps today (Saturday) wouldn’t have been a “crash & burn” day. It has been a major crash at that, meaning PJs and sofa all day. But it is not every week that hubby goes away on a school trip to France and my birthday falls slap bang in the middle of said week. Now of course hubby going away means that my new carers for the week are the kids, so pacing in the house goes out of the window immediately. But add into the equation several lovely groups of friends wanting to take me out to celebrate and the kids actually arranging a meal out too, then there is the recipe for an epic failure at pacing. It has been great though!
Recently I have recognised that “surrendering” to my diagnoses and accepting my limitations need not be a negative. Too often we think of ill health in terms of “cure”, and with ever changing medical advances there can be an unrealistic expectation of the medical profession to be able to put everything right. But the reality of many chronic conditions is that there is not a cure and the best that can be done is to manage symptoms and keep as healthy as possible. I know that some people didn’t understand why I started to use a wheelchair when I can still walk, and they will view my surrendering as something very different.
But for me surrendering to my conditions and accepting them has been liberating. No, I’m not “giving in” and am definitely not negative, but rather acknowledging that to live my life in the best way possible way sometimes I need a bit of extra help. If using a wheelchair means that I can still go round the shops, or on a family walk then so be it! If I need to rest and binge watch on Netflix, I won’t feel guilty (that is a work in progress!).
Much to the disgust of my kids, I think that my computer and social media skills are really improving. If you listened to them you would be forgiven for thinking that I am the mother who constantly posts pictures of my little darlings every move. Get over your selves, kids – I have other things in life to tweet, post to Facebook and Instagram!! I have finally swapped to a .com blog account with wordpress, I am now able to link up all the relevant SM sites on my book reviews, I have set up several Facebook pages and I am an admin to a group. Of course when I asked the then student engineer to set me up a blog when I had my spinal cord stimulator, it was just laughable in the kids’ minds that anyone would want to read anything their dopey mum had to say. But my followers have grown slowly and steadily from all walks of life, and this old girl is pleased to report ongoing, improving IT skills!
I’m going in a completely different direction with this prompt and want to share some fun that we had a few weeks ago. For the past couple of years I have made the birthday cakes for the daughters of a friend, varying from My Little Pony to Cat Woman to a magic unicorn tiered cake. This year the brief was sent by the soon to be 8 year old in the form a photograph with attaching note – NO fondant or buttercream icing! “OK, leave it with me” I said to mum, wondering on earth I would achieve anything vaguely resembling the finish on the picture. Then I learnt about “Mirror glaze” cakes!!!
So, with cake made and Youtube videos watched and admired, the lovely girl, hubby and I set to work creating. The covering is made using a combination of gelatine, white chocolate, condensed milk and a few other goodies. Then the colourings are added before pouring the icing over the cake until it is flowing down the sides and completely covers the cake. Depending upon when the colouring is added and how many are added to one layer will alter the final cake covering. It was great fun, the kitchen saw more flowing condensed milk than it has ever seen but for a first time I was pretty happy with our Mirror glaze galaxy cake!