Let’s Try This A Different Way…

Being An Empty Vessel

One of the things I learned while translating the Tao De Ching was the importance of emptiness… that a vase or purse or cup only has value because its emptiness allows it to hold things. There’s been a lot of emptiness in my life recently because I haven’t been able to do much besides being online and watching stuff on TV. Here and there, I’ve berated myself because I feel like I should be doing more… as if reading books or practicing guitar has more value. (They don’t.) I’ve been frustrated and depressed because of how life has been during this relapse, but I’m starting to see the value in how I’ve been spending my time.

Are We Done Relapsing Yet?

It’s gotten to the point that I am having a hard time remembering what it is like to be healthy enough to go to the gym and actually work out for more than 15 minutes. It sucks, because I love working out, and I’m starting to gain weight. Super uncool. Still, gaining only 4 pounds after 3 medrol dose packs isn’t bad.

Actually, the truth is that working out is always frustrating to me… but I love the feeling of overcoming my own whining. I love beating the Blerch. I love feeling proud of myself for having done something difficult. And some days, just getting through the day is one of those things.

Back before I was diagnosed with seizure disorder, I used to experience this thing we called “the nods.” I would blink uncontrollably and fall asleep for a few moments. This could happen several times an hour. Doctors were talking with me about a diagnosis of narcolepsy. Later on, I found out that these were seizures.

I haven’t had this particular kind of seizure in years. Yesterday, however, I couldn’t escape them. I kept falling asleep over and over again. I felt so sick that I couldn’t even handle being in a car. From around 11 a.m. until we went to bed around 11 p.m., every several minutes, I’d have a seizure.

Fortunately, I’m only having simple partial facial seizures today. Still, everything in my body feels inflamed. My legs hurt. My back hurts. My skin hurts. I keep trying to tell myself that hurting is preferable to not feeling. Invalidating the emotions that come with chronic pain, however, does not help it stop. And my choice is to hurt and be awake or smoke some bud and be overcome by fatigue and sleep most of the day.

I remember when I used to have a long list of daily goals. Cleaning, laundry, studying, shopping, working out… I’d do all 5 of those things in a day and think nothing of it. After 6 weeks of relapsing, I have cut myself off at 1 goal a day.

Today, my goal is to get as much laundry clean as I can. I’m sure getting off my butt and actually putting up a load will improve the likelihood of achieving that goal.

Best Foster Kitten EVAR

A few months ago, Adam and I took in a litter of 4 black kittens. They were amazingly sweet and awesome to care for. We had them for a month before they went to PetSmart so they could be adopted. Only 1 of them has not been adopted yet. His name is Han (as in Han Solo), and he is the first foster kitten I’ve had that has made me actually, seriously think that I should give up fostering and just adopt him… because they don’t make better cats.

My Snugglebuddy

My Snugglebuddy, Han

What’s so special about this one? He’s a perfect companion. Yesterday, while I was having the nods, I fell asleep on the couch watching “The Croods,” and when I woke up, Han was in my arms, snuggled up close to me like a teddybear.

How can you say "No" to this face?!?

How can you say “No” to this face?!?

This kitty wants to be next to me all the time, and he even understands where on a laptop to walk and where not to. He’s super affectionate, and only gets vocal when we put him in the bathroom (instead of the crate) because we’re leaving the house or going to sleep. I think he might have separation anxiety, actually.

And if that weren’t enough, he and Brisco play well together. I have a feeling that if we don’t adopt him, I’ll end up regretting it… I’ve already broken the first rule of fostering: don’t fall in love. I can’t help but love this guy… even his annoying qualities. He tries to catch things on TV. It drives Adam nuts. It makes me giggle.

So, yeah…

I’m trying really hard to stay positive. I mean, I can feel my hands… so that’s pretty much all that matters to me. I just keep losing perspective.

Truthfully, I’ve been watching a lot of girlie schlock on Netflix…terrible Katherine Heigl movies… Drop Dead DivaMean Girls… and I’m starting to realize that it’s not such a great idea. When I’m not feeling bad, physically, I’ve been feeling disappointed in myself for having no sense of style, still being heavy, and not regularly wearing makeup.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, recognizing that. It’s inspired me to create a hidden style board on Pinterest, and I found 3 sites with clothes that I actually like in plus sizes (IGIGI, Ashley Stewart, and SWAK). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not happy or proud to once again have to admit to myself that I’m in the Lane Bryant club, but I’ve got to clothe this body, and at least I’ve been able to find clothes I don’t hate.

I’m tired of not feeling good about myself. The good thing is, that’s something that’s totally in my control. No one can change my opinion about me but me.

I mean, MS takes a lot from you, but at least it doesn’t make you look bad. It just makes it hard to exercise some days…and it’s made me permanently unable to shower until Adam comes home. Truly accepting that I have MS means I need to be more accepting of myself and stop holding myself to a standard that even healthy people have a hard time achieving.

I’ve learned that I need to treat myself with the same kindness I would if I were at goal weight… and I’ve been saving that self-respect and kindness for that mythical “someday” since I was 8 years old and in Weight Watchers. I think 25 years of self-hate is long enough.

Treating myself with kindness means buying clothes that fit me properly. It means an attitude makeover. It means trying to feel pretty by doing things that make me feel pretty, like using scented lotion and not constantly judging myself for whatever it is that I’m eating. It means giving up the dream of a flat stomach or bikini body and just being happy with being able to use my body as MS will allow on any given day.

Calling yourself fat doesn’t make you any skinnier or any happier. Berating yourself for not doing things your body can’t do doesn’t make you more able.

But maybe, just maybe, being less judgmental of myself will make me more happy. We’ll see.

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