Resistance Training

I’m sitting here, during week 42 of my writer’s group – one that has occurred in the same week as the 42nd anniversary of Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a work of comedic fiction that I deeply appreciate) – and am having to fight off the urge to be quiet… because quiet doesn’t entertain anyone, myself included.

It doesn’t help that there are several people tugging at me for attention. Taking the hour every week to check in with a small social circle and then sit and write, with purpose, for a short period of time? It’s one of the most important parts of my self care routine. In fact, without it, I wonder sometimes whether I am a self or just RoboMommy. (I am programmed to love, beep borp!)

That is, of course, nonsense. But it’s the kind of nonsense that overwhelmed parents of small children think and then have to refute. I find, more and more lately, that I spend an inordinate amount of time and energy correcting my initial thoughts/reactions to pretty much everything in life. And that is exhausting in part because it is literally always met with internal resistance.

The thinking goes: your initial automatic thought is your conditioned response. Your response to that response is your true self. And so giving yourself a pause – even just a deep breath to let yourself consider things when you’re about to address a situation with a toddler can make a huge difference, not only in your response and ability to tolerate behavior and discomfort, but also in programming your baby’s self esteem.

Asking yourself, several times a day, “Is this something we can clean up/fix easily? Then don’t sweat it!” is simultaneously very helpful and very tiresome. This is, in no small part, due to the messes that inevitably are a part of this dance of acceptance. As someone who struggles with executive dysfunction thanks to neurological and psychological disorders, things can get unwieldy. And the guilt that accompanies unmet personal expectations can feel very impossibly heavy. 

I’ve started to wonder, honestly, how anyone keeps their home clean with a toddler. I’ve decided they don’t. At least, not if they’re in our position, on month 19 of covid lockdown with no help with child care. The idea of a clean home? It’s a myth. It’s social conditioning. It’s not real. Clean homes are ones that aren’t being used for living. The only way to keep them clean is to keep everyone out of them.

And so, I’m trying extra hard to let go of the stress and negative self judgment that I constantly feel internally. I’ve been following KC Davis on TikTok, and she keeps stressing that “care tasks” (the evil formerly known as “chores”) are morally neutral. Reframing spaces as “functional” or “nonfunctional” instead of “clean” or “dirty” has given me the ability to take a break from the internal self-flagellation.


That’s part of the reason I’m so excited my friend Liz is starting a literary magazine featuring the work of fellow Jewish authors. She’s just opened submissions, and I have til Halloween to send her some poetry.

I wonder if all artists, when called to submit something, wonder if they should just craft something new or find something they’ve already created to polish. I wonder how many times William Shakespeare retooled a sonnet just to try to get laid or to pay for his rent.

Being a content creator is so weird. Like, I know I’m just a vessel for whatever comes out of me. And if I don’t submit or publish, nobody else gets to experience the art. But also, that requires me to legitimize my own work.

Yep. You heard me. For any artist to succeed, they must self-validate.

I think that’s why the act of submitting works has been something I’ve felt intolerable resistance to. I’m not sure which thing feels worse: asking someone to judge your work (the act of which is both subjective and bile inducing in its consideration) or not asking someone to judge your work (and therefore allowing it to die on the page).

What’s always harrowing is wondering who is judging your work and why their opinion matters (or should matter) to you. At least in this situation, a dear friend is starting a passion project. I’d be a fool not to show her my support by participating.

BTW – if you are also a writer and Jewish, and you want more information about her project, ping me. I will absolutely get you connected.

Anyway! The point of this post was supposed to be about how challenging your resistance is almost always the way forward. I totally forgot to write the paragraph about how resistance training works in bodybuilding. lol. Whoops. If you know, you know. And if you don’t, now you do.

Right now, I’m resisting some necessary self care. I need to go make myself eat lunch. I’m taking way more time than I intended, writing this, and Adam’s being a very good sport about it.

I hope you have a good week. I aim to write more next Friday. I’m also strongly considering starting at the beginning of the Tao again and seeing how it hits at this phase of life. ❤ Not sure why I feel a transition so strongly on the horizon… but I do.

I have no idea what I am doing.

Week 41. That’s where I am with my Friday writers’ group. Today, we’re supposed to craft an essay around our favorite childhood memories. I have, instead, opted to actually post in this blog — something I haven’t felt called to do in quite some time. My inner child was all about some good stories, so I’m certain she’d approve of my choice to pick up my digital pen in a place where someone else might actually get the chance to read the work.

Today is October 8, 2021. There’s nothing particularly special about today. It’s beautiful outside. 67 and partly sunny. Things are joyfully normal at the moment. Henry and Gabrielle are upstairs with Adam, and I’m in the basement on a Zoom call with some of the best people I know, writing together, separately.

I’m 2 days out from having taken a 6-day medrol dose pack for what appears to be a near-yearly beginning-of-October MS relapse. This is knowledge I came to thanks to FB memories. Reviewing my memories earlier this week showed me that I had a MS relapse 6 out of the last 10 years around this time. So, it looks like better than 50/50 odds that, in the future, I’m going to be feeling like shit on my anniversary. Considering that I had a flu-like virus and seizures at my wedding and still sang and danced and had the best day of my life, it only figures that our anniversary would remind me that having a good time has more to do with attitude than anything.

At the moment, my body feels normal. I’m no longer dealing with crushing fatigue or numbness on parts of my left side (back of the arm and chest most pronounced, which were the first symptoms that caused me to go to urgent care and end up with a diagnosis in 2007), and I haven’t noticed any seizure activity yet today.

Earlier this week, was, if I’m going to be honest, a total shitshow of pain (physical and emotional), memory issues, PTSD flashbacks, nightmares, and personal growth. I’m so grateful for corticosteroids, EMDR home practice techniques, and music.

And I’m grateful for TikTok, though I’m terribly slow to figure it out.

Recently, I’ve been watching it in the mornings and at night while medicating. (I smoke MMJ these days to help with seizures, MS pain and muscle spasms, and PTSD/anxiety/depression. It helps more than other medications have, but I’m strongly considering starting to buy RSO and making coconut oil capsules because I want to feel more in control of the dosage of my medication and to not be causing my voice damage. I’d buy the edibles at the dispensary that are already ready, but they all contain sugar. WTF is up with that? Like, if you’re making medicine for people with seizures, maybe, like, consider their potential diets. Just a thought.)

Anyway, TikTok has been an amazing resource for meditation. So many people make singing bowl videos or affirmation videos. I haven’t bought into the “Law of Attraction” (and I never will, because I understand the victim blaming part of that mentality, and I am not buying into a spiritual way to berate myself for existing in a way other than I would prefer), but affirmations are a science-backed way to help yourself create new neural pathways when you’re choosing to improve your self-esteem and change how you talk to yourself.

Sure, I don’t believe that “I am healthy, I am wealthy, I’m the shit, I am that bitch” –YET, but one day, I’ll get there. One TikTok video suggested putting “What If” before affirmations that feel like bullshit to help you consider the possibilities.

What if I am a bad bitch? What if I am, in fact, the baddest?

There are also a double fuckton of people just busking on there. I’m not going to pretend otherwise: it makes me want to do the same thing. I mean, could I go live, practice an instrument, and just let people send me money? Can life be that easy? IS THAT ALLOWED??? More importantly, can I allow myself to do so? I haven’t busked since Berklee.

One of the biggest downsides of being diagnosed with CVID has been a fear of crowds. I mean, it’s hard to want to perform in a venue (even not during a global pandemic), for an open mic night when you’re immune compromised. But where’s my excuse when I can perform from home whenever I want?

Of course, it also helps to have a seemingly endless parade of videos in my FYP (For You Page) encouraging me to make and post content. Need a pep talk? TikTok has your back. I have saved some of my favorites. I know they don’t know me! Do I care? NO! DIVINE ENERGY IS TELLING ME GOOD THINGS, AND I ACCEPT THE MESSAGE.

Do I love and interact with every single singer-songwriter, harmony stacker, poet, artist, or D&D nerd that comes across my feed? YOU BET YOUR ASS I DO.

Do I make ridiculous 1-shot videos with a goofy beauty filter to help encourage other people too? Um, yes. I very much do. In fact, I am low-key cosplaying as a bejeweled goddess of inspiration because it makes me laugh. Who needs a book and dice to play make believe? The whimsy is strong in me when I see the filter. It makes me feel playful, so I let myself play. And allowing for play? That’s sort of new to me – and a sure sign that I am conquering depression in the moment.

Yesterday, I read some of my first entries from this blog, and they made me laugh and have bittersweet feelings. I have grown and changed so much. I’ve been deeply committed to being who I am and doing what I can with life, despite my limitations, and that hasn’t changed.

In fact, it’s really cool to be able to look back over it. I wish I could send a love-bomb back in time to the Rae who was coming off of Cymbalta and Abilify at this time in 2012. That shit was super hard. It caused nearly constant suicidal ideation — but I’ve learned to treat the persistent, unwanted thought like sneezes most times. It doesn’t feel like an emergency. Probably because of the number of times my inner response to it has been, “Thanks for your suggestion. Our operator is currently busy. Death is inevitable. We thank you for your patience.”

I could never have envisioned the life I live today back then. Sure, I’ve had a lot of setbacks, but ultimately, I’ve been so successful. It’s impossible to look into my children’s eyes and feel any other way.

Gabrielle blowing raspberries.
Awwww, raspberries!!!