In order to get to the present faster I will have to cheat. There is no other way. Plus, to be honest, November was a blur. Between dealing with the pain and... dealing with the pain, it seemed that all I could do was deal with the pain. I struggled, I got frustrated, I over-analyzed, I wanted to break things numerous times and so... life went on. My balanced days were gone. I was swimming in muddy waters once more.
You will get some info in the form of uppers and downers. Like so:
Upper:I went to Romania for a quick lil’ visit.
Downer: While traveling from Bucharest to Bacau (to surprise my family), the bus driver of the "bus from hell" almost left without me, leaving me in a gas station in fucking Adjud. You may not know what Adjud is. Look it up. I dare you. I double dare you, motherfucker.
Upper: I got to eat a lot of yummy stuff in a very short period of time.
Downer: Got very sick because of that and suffered stabbing pains all through my last day in Bucharest AND on the flight back to Dublin.
Upper: Going back home, to maybe die in my bed. Of stomach ache. And regrets.
Downer: Intense turbulence throughout the entire flight. Yeah, add panic and nausea to my already desperate situation. Pain was just not enough, apparently.
Upper: Learning to calm my tits all on my own, using the very magic of yoga breath.
Downer: Appearing very strange to my fellow passengers.
Upper: Not really giving a fuck about that at all.
Downer: Having to choose which goods to make and which to throw into the oblivion cave.
Upper: Having more time to chill and watch movies while eating basic-bitch chocolates that I haven’t allowed myself to eat in years.
Downer: Shopping in full Holiday season, surrounded by waaay too many people. Getting confused, tired and very fed up with it all.
Upper: The comforting thought that these gifts are going to make my family feel better and somehow distract them from the almost unbearable sadness that my dad’s death left behind.
Downer: Being wrong. No gifts in the world can do that. Except maybe the gift of life - but I am not Jesus.
Upper: Realizing this while drinking hot tea and eating a scrumptious mince pie.
Downer: While alone, in a coffee shop surrounded by shopping bags and regrets.
Special section. The “What triggered it?” section
Well... I was sitting there, wiping delicious crumbs from my face, when I saw this older man standing in line. He ordered his coffee and then went back to his seat. While I was watching him, I realized he had a very specific walk. I do that sometimes, notice people’s walks or general mannerisms. I smiled and I kept watching, my train of thought slowly but surely navigating the rail. I remember noticing some sort of familiarity in that walk. Hmm, who do I know that walks like that? Oh, maybe my grandfather! Mmm, kind of... but his was more elegant... more like a bird... less rocked, more proud. This one was a bit silly and… Oh. The penny dropped and I burst into tears. It was my dad. Weird, I had never thought about his walk before. Not like this, at least. I stood there. Surrounded by shopping bags, chatter and Christmas carols. With bits of mince pie around my mouth and tears pouring down my face mingling with the crumbs on their way down. I didn’t want to wipe any of them off my face anymore. It all felt useless now. And foolish. So unshakably foolish.
Upper: Going home to see my family and friends and maybe snow.
Downer: There is always emotional distress ahead in such situations.
Upper: Made edible gifts for everyone. Spiced nuts and chocolate salamis.
Downer: Back pain got more vocal.
Upper: But hey, I got to make the biggest chocolate salami ever!
Downer: Then I had to re-shape it into many average sized if not tiny chocolate salamies.
Upper: having a house filled with friends that you haven’t seen nearly as much as you wanted to and couldn’t wait to talk to them.
Downer: having a laryngitis-type situation that made it really difficult to speak. Sexy at times, but extremely frustrating.
Upper: Playing games and drinking wine.
Downer: Having wine spilled on my crotch.
Upper: Having great conversation with awesome people. In your pajamas!!! What more can one ask for?!
Downer: Eating sunflower seeds and pistachios uncontrollably during these talks.
Upper: At least it wasn’t lasagna.
Downer: We did have lasagna, though.
Upper: It was gooey and cheesy and meaty and hot! It was everything that a boring person ain’t not!
Upper: Ending the year on a high note.
Downer: Party’s over, people! Come on, wrap it up and go home: each to their own adopting country.
January was the beginning of a beautiful friendship with a lil’ gal I like to call Illness: the cold-blooded white-walker of our times. It hit hard and it played ball like an iron-willed bitch with an ass that won’t quit.
Downer? Uhm, yeah, definitely! I laid on the couch bathing in my own sweat while popping pills like Judy Garland and trying to breathe using my nostrils, like a normal human being! Or even a manatee! I bet they were breathing better than me at that point - and they’re underwater! Not exactly my idea of a good time.
Upper: It started snowing heavily and it kept snowing until Bacau became the new Narnia and it was in everybody’s closet!
Downer: I could not enjoy it because I was too busy saying “farewell” to the world from the comfort of my own couch.
Upper: Eat ALL the soup!
Downer: Taste none of the soup.
Upper: Finally seeing a doctor to get confirmation that I was really as sick as I felt.
Downer: I was, she gave me antibiotics and prescribed that I not breathe the outside air.
Upper: I welcomed the pills into my system with abandon and hope. It worked. I was free, free at last!
Upper: I was almost fine.
Downer: I was also out of time. Last night with my family before leaving for Bucharest where a plane will be waiting to take us all the way to Dublin.
Upper: Spending a bit of time in Bucharest, getting the chance to frolic in the snow and living to tell the story.
Downer: Snowy streets+Bucharest traffic+very low temperatures (-17)= frustrating times
Upper: Great chinese food at chinese place with chinese people.
Downer: It was cold in there, too!
Upper: Time to go back where temperatures never drop as far as -17 degrees. Ireland, here we come! Downer: Goodbye, people I like a lot and will miss.
Upper: Sleeping in my own bed again with my fat cat and my bear.
Downer: Back pain got back with a vengeance. Louder, bitchier and ready to cause some shit.
Upper: Hmm, I can’t seem to find one. Having to deal with chronic pain builds character? Is that what I’m supposed to say?! Cause it does, I’m just not sure anybody enjoys the kind of character it builds. It ain’t a pretty picture.
Downer: Confusion, panic, frustration, desperation. Pain, pain, PAIN.
Upper: Started a detective mission trying to figure out what triggers the pain from hell. Kinda figured out that everything I sit on and the way that I sit on them makes matters worse. I guess the upper is that there’s power in knowledge, right?
Downer: Some days I would just wake up, move around for 5 minutes, realize the pain was still there and have a wave of anger wash over me.
Upper: I did not inflict any pain on others. Not that I know of, at least.
Downer: Goodbye yoga! ♫ ♪ Hello binging, my old friend/ I’ve come to eat you up again! ♪
Upper: Inside, a storm was brewin’! I was reading Amanda Palmer’s "Art of Asking", watching Tony Robbins like a maniac and got a creative thirst that no man could satisfy.
Downer: Meditation stopped working. Headspace wasn’t doing it anymore. I found myself unable to go through a session smoothly and I couldn’t even listen to the voice.
Upper: Tried Tara Brach’s meditations for a change. Really had a breakthrough with the “emotional forgiveness practice”. It made me realize that I’m holding onto a lot of guilt and that I have trouble forgiving myself most of all. I cried my heart out but it was liberating. I would definitely recommend the experience.
Downer: As I said, back pain was still there, so I decided to go to a physiotherapist. Went to one in the past, was disappointed. I mentally prepared myself to have to go through a bunch of them until I would find a good fit.
Upper: A friend recommended Dell.
Downer:He was a man.
Upper: He was a brazilian man.
Downer: Still a man, though.
Upper: A gay brazilian man.
Downer: As I would find out on our last session. Too little, to late!
Downer: I had to take my clothes off. (Remember: at the time, I did not know he was gay and had no interest in my lady parts). Since the only other physiotherapist I’ve been to hardly undressed me or touched me (yes, I am complaining) I didn’t know the amount of wolf-skins I needed to shed. When he said: “I’ll leave you to take your clothes off” I had to ask “How many clothes am I taking off, exactly?”. He said “To your underwear”. Now the only question that remained in my mind was “What do I do with the bra? And what’s worse: to leave my bra on, when I should’ve taken it off or to take my bra off, when I didn’t have to?” We all know the answer to that, I assume. So, I left it on and put my head in the hole.
Upper: He unhooked my bra with minimal/no awkwardness. Now I know. I am not supposed to wear a bra.
Downer: Parts of the muscle manipulation hurt so much I thought I was seeing the light and waving goodbye to my alive loved ones and hello to my dead loved ones.
Upper: Other parts of it felt amazing. Also, he explained everything to me and answered all my questions. He gave me a big-ass bag of information, made a long-term plan to improve my back situation and he did it all with a positive attitude, thus giving me hope that one day I will again be able to do what I want to do.
Downer: For now, I was injured. I had to stop swimming, stop dancing and walk as little as possible. Also, improve my posture, sleep better and do the exercises he showed me.
Upper: Becoming aware of how bad posture is the main cause of the painstorm.
Downer: Sitting properly is exhausting and not walking is impossible, especially when your best friend is new in town and you wanna take her on all the fun rides the city has to offer.
Upper: I realized I walk a lot more that I think I do.
Downer: I was a bad, bad girl because I couldn’t help myself. That delayed the healing process.
Upper: A lot of delicious meals were had, movies that broke us or amused us were seen, plays that shook us to the core were attended, friends were introduced to each other and generally things happened. Fun things.
Downer: I was still advised to take it easy and stop fucking around.
Upper: It got better. Soon, I would go back to swimming and exercising.
Downer: It all got a bit chaotic. My mind got overwhelmed by it all.
Upper: This was a new kind of chaos, the kind caused by a crazy sense of possibility and the feeling that the time has come to build, build, build. We’re putting on our story teller hats and venturing into the world! Hold on, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride!
Downer: Said bye-bye to meditation. Couldn’t breathe, had reactions reminiscent of panic attacks.
Upper: Decided I had to accept that and let go of the things that don’t work for me anymore. They might work again in the future. If it doesn’t serve me anymore, why force myself?
Upper: That’s a wrap, folks. I had the weight of 4 untold months on my chest and now I finally feel free.
Downer: For a little while.