Body power

At the gym today, someone asked me what I had noticed as the biggest difference from having been at the gym for so long. I immediately thought of my muscles, the obvious strength in my shoulders and arms – a strength I love to see whenever I pass a mirror -, my near constant touching of my own muscles, the shape alteration of my hips and waist and thighs, the lines (as we call it) on my leg muscles… but those all seem like small things to me, and none stands out as significantly more prominent in my mind than the rest. Perhaps it is my energy levels or my endurance capabilities. Or perhaps it is how I no longer just feel comfortable in my own skin, but I feel capable in it…, ready to take on anything, bidden or not…

I really wasn’t sure, and I thought on it for quite a while this afternoon and evening. However, when I was preparing to take a shower, I went to take a look at my body. Naked and tired from having been worked hard this afternoon at the gym – I felt like fighting someone, so I went to the gym, even though I had planned to go tomorrow instead of today – it stood its ground nonetheless. What stood before me looked nothing like a tired body. Truly, what came to mind when I saw it was simply the word, “woman”. It was woman as she was designed to be. It was the young hunter-gatherer of a clan from so many years and generations ago, when we first became the ingenious homo sapien sapien. It was Ayla from The Earth’s Children book series.

And I realized that that was the greatest difference I had noticed in myself since joining the gym. When I see my naked body now, I do not frown at the shape, nor find sorrow in the excess fat areas. I see simply woman, and I am both grateful and proud to be the host of that woman. I have worked long and hard, and I shall continue to do so, because it feels not just good but right to be this woman. This is part of who I’m meant and made to be. And I am grateful.

Post-a-day 2021

Unexpected feedback

I go to the workout today. We start with a warm-up, then move into strength. The strength work is squats, and then supersets of 60 seconds of plank and then 60 seconds of continuous Good Mornings.

I am doing the Good Mornings. My shirt was discarded a while ago. The coach (and gym owner) corrected my stance a bit at my first round of Good Mornings. Everyone is in different places around the gym, working on whatever part where they each are.

The coach comes walking up to me, doing his sideways stance, head dropped slightly, as though conspiratorially – his usual stance when speaking so that only the one person receives the information.

“I’m gonna say somethin‘…,” he begins. I am immediately nervous. What did I do wrong? Am I doing wrong? “…I don’t want you to take it the wrong way…”

Shit. I messed up somehow. What did I do wrong? Is it about my not wearing a shirt? Is it too much? Wait… other girls go shirtless, too…, though I can’t recall who at present…, but some do, I’m sure of it… maybe that I’m not pushing hard enough to have ditched the shirt, so it’s just too soon isn’t he workout to be in just the sports bra up top…?

What??” I say more than ask, resignedly, looking at him sidelong, my face set in obvious trepidation.

He looks me in the eye, and then says, calmly and gently, and completely genuinely, “Your butt…” He makes a sign with his hand, pressing the first finger and thumb gently together, extending the others outward. It is the sign that is common for describing something, usually food, as ‘perfection’. He makes a corresponding shape with his lips, and tilts his head slightly to the side in the same motion.

My eyes gape. “REALLY???” I ask him, like a kid who’s just been told that Santa Claus wants to meet him.

He nods, reaffirming the hand motion and head tip.

Tears are almost instantly at my eyes. “You’re gonna make me cry!” I declare, eyes brimming.

He tells me not to cry, that I shouldn’t be upset – it’s something to be happy about. I tell him that I am extremely happy and that they are tears of joy and gratitude. He understands and believes my obvious honesty.

“I tell people, ‘I made that,’” he then says.

I laugh and immediately declare, “You did!… You totally did.”

After class, I thanked him for having shared with me. I have worked very hard, in many ways more than just physically these past two years. The past six months have been a near explosion of finally seeing and experiencing some of the goals I have had my entire life, regarding my physical fitness. Some of them were even just dreams, not goals. Yet they realized nonetheless. And, basically, all of it was made possible because of him and his training and coaching and support. Yes, I put forth the effort, but he provided the tools and guidance and support for almost all of the physical stuff, and a good chunk of the mental stuff, too. (He’s also the one who turned me on to Goggins, by the way.)

He also happens to be one of the fittest and, truly, sexiest people I have ever known. (No, no Eros attraction to worry about. I am merely describing his physical appearance here.) And I know how hard he works for that fitness for himself.

And he, of all people, complimented my buttocks. And not just any compliment, either. It was a You say it best, when you say nothing at all, silently communicated “perfection” compliment. He thinks my but is perfection. Sh** all else, if that is not one of the greatest and most powerful compliments one could receive regarding efforts like I have made. (Haha. I know, it’s a terrible phrase.) He knows how hard I have worked, and he helped me to see a success today that I had not known that I had.

Afterward, I took a photo from the side, just standing normally. And, wow…, I agree with him. It looks like a butt model for pants, the photo.

I have extremely high expectations for myself. It was valuable beyond compare today for me to hear such feedback from such a knowledgeable person on the situation. I have been frustrated a lot about my struggles and failures elsewhere on my body and in my performance lately. And so, it was nice to have a stellar success pointed out to me, and by someone whose opinion I cannot disregard (even if I’d wanted to do so).

Thank you, gym. Thank you, owner. Thank you, butt. And thank you, God, for this beautiful combination for my life. Thank you, all.

Post-a-day 2021

Healing

Someone said something very hurtful to me on Monday. This is someone who is very dear to me. I have been dealing physically with an inner virus the past couple weeks, so I have been exhausted and unable to sleep well; workouts have been annoyingly difficult, due to the fatigue; I almost sent myself to the ER the other weekend, for fear of what was happening inside my body one morning. Put simply, it has been a tough and rough couple or few weeks for me physically, and then emotionally due to the physical strains and struggles. When this person made the comment on Monday, I just couldn’t take it. I simply started crying and got up and went home. The next morning, when I mentally didn’t want to go to the gym, because I wasn’t ready emotionally to deal with that interaction, I found that it didn’t matter: I couldn’t walk, and so certainly couldn’t go to the gym.

By Thursday morning, I could walk with almost no twinges of pain at all, and so went for a run. It felt really, really good. By Thursday evening, however, my legs were starting to hurt, and not just in a sore muscle way. They were hurting in a twisted muscle sort of way. I have rubbed them intentionally and often since then, and they are doing quite well now, with only some tightness and discomfort in the right leg and hip remaining at present. But that meant that I did not go to the gym Friday either. I considered not going today, actually, but I had agreed that I would make up the pull-up cycle stuff I had missed Tuesday, and today was the only option for that. So, the plan was always to go today, no matter what.

And so, I went today for the weightlifting workout, and traded out certain parts for the specific pull-up cycle work from earlier in the week. By the end, my leg was feeling a touch better, which was a positive sign. But the knee and hip and thigh are totally still iffy, to say the least. (Essentially, it sometimes feels like my top and bottom halves of my leg aren’t connected anymore, and my knee will give out suddenly, as though my lower leg is breaking…, even though it isn’t. That’s just how it feels, somehow, and so walking gets really shaky, as well as standing up or squatting down or doing stairs up or down. My knee just sometimes gives out, and usually in an odd direction.)

Anyway, I got fully clear before going to the gym about where I stood and what I needed to say to be complete around what the person had said to me. Once I had started working, I was kind of on my own to the side of the gym – there were only a few of us in this particular class, but loads of people had been on the previous class, this person included. This person came over to me before leaving, and asked me about my not having given a greeting. (I hadn’t intentionally avoided it, but I also hadn’t sought it out.) I shared what I needed to share – how I don’t share much detail about my physical struggles, and so he couldn’t have known, but how his comment, which was joking yet quite judgmental, hit me very hard and painfully, especially since he is someone important to me and whom I trust, and that, because of my fatigue and exhaustion, I hadn’t been able to deal with it emotionally until now.

The whole interaction was really great. I cried almost immediately, yet still was doing my exercise. He caught himself about to give a BS non-apology, said that, and then said that he truly wants to apologize, and then did apologize. He also requested that I tell him if and when he is being an a**hole. I laughed, and told him that it very much had been a total a**hole of a comment and was definitely judgmental. We both laughed. I reminded him that I love him and am grateful to have him in my life, and not to make fun of my physical body problems, but he can definitely tease me about my phone (It’s smaller than most these days.).

I was extremely satisfied with the interaction, and had a bonus follow-up message from him later on the day, which boosted my tired spirits when I was at work in the late afternoon and early evening.

I’m still not at full energy – or much anywhere near it, really -, but I am doing much better now, in large part due to my rest this week physically. But that rest helped me deal with my emotional struggles, which then helps somewhat further physically. (It all really is connected.) I am grateful to be healing, and in all ways, albeit somewhat slowly. But I can feel and see the healing happening, and I am relieved and grateful.

Thank you, God and Cosmos.

Post-a-day 2021

Volun-cheering

Today was awesome, yet stressful, but both in very good ways.

First, I had an awesome time volunteering with my gym at sunrise for the Bayou City Tri Series 2021 Sylvan Beach Paralympic Triathlon. We had the honor of physically and verbally assisting paratriathletes in their transitions, as they worked toward earning points to be part of Team USA. I think we all look forward to the next such opportunity – it was a blessing and a blast for us all. ❤🤗🙏 💪👊🏻

And it brought me to tears multiple times, it was such an honor to be a part of it all.

It also brought back memories of my many sports volunteering days, and had me wondering yet again if I don’t want to find actual work in that world, somehow… There was a lot that, unfortunately, had not been sorted out properly for the event as a whole – there were other races happening this morning, too. Our little crew took it upon ourselves just to go ahead and handle many of those things, making a tremendous difference for all athletes that were out there racing today. And I enjoyed doing even that stuff.

From there, after the sun was well over the horizon but not all that far up, I headed to a karate tournament that was nearby. It was my first one in roughly 18 years, and my first one ever in the adult division. I was absolutely nervous, but I had all day to get even more so, since my division wasn’t until mid-afternoon. But I had volunteered to take photos, and so I got to enjoy working with that throughout all the kids’ sparring all morning and midday.

I did take a good couple minutes at one point in a private room with myself to talk and make noise and jump and move, fully on my own. And I did give myself close to a minute to go ahead and experience all the pent-up emotion that had been building all day, just a short while before my category was going to be up. (Aka I cried brief tears of stress and anxiety, and let a lot go with them as they lightly tripped out of my eyes.)

I had someone record my match for me, and he did so well enough. It turns out that I actually did better than I had thought I’d done at the actual time of the match. After watching the matches of the adults at the end, the highest ranked individuals, I have been able to see styles of everyone, and how much comfort makes a difference in a match. When someone is comfortable, he or she almost always does very well. When someone is uncomfortable, he or she usually does not very well. That isn’t to say win versus lose – I mean doing well, sparring well, technique-ing well (both attack and defense). Yes, that usually also results in winning, if those are all done well. But it isn’t about winning to me these days, so much as it is about doing well. Winning when doing well, however, just adds to the fun and joy of it all.

I have some specifics on which I want to work – reacting with a point-earning move to being blocked, practicing different point-earning trio combinations, and backward spinning kicks (one would have created a beautiful point today, but I had neither confidence nor comfort in it, so didn’t even consider it – only the video afterward showed me the opportunity [I’d spun and everything, but didn’t even try to hit her with the foot]). Now, just to find the partner to work with me, and the place to do it.

Oh, and this was one of the very few times that I 1)didn’t lose a match at a tournament, and 2)didn’t cry after the match. Good start in my eyes, even just for those two facts! ;P

So, yeah… today was a really great-for-me day, all of its stresses included.

Post-a-day 2021

Ouch…

But seriously, who invented all the nonsense that goes alongside menstruation? Utter nonsense… ::facepalm

Anyway, this weekend, I saw the wife of someone I know. Though I had seen the husband many, many times, I had not seen the wife until this Saturday.

When I first saw her, it took a few moments to process fully what I was seeing. Then it took another few moments to allow for my initial reactions. And another few to crave indulging in them. And a final few to allow them just to be, and then, therefore, to release. Rather than being upset by what I saw, I knew I could have it be a positive experience – even if it took some effort.

“Body goals,” I told myself, letting it fall heavily from my lips, the initial sigh thereby dispersed. Music was playing loudly at the gym, so I had no overhearing ears. I really only could feel the words vibrate through my body, as it wasn’t loud enough for my own ears to hear over the music.

But I felt it… and in more ways than one.

After that, I kept going back and forth between awe at how amazing she was physically, and wanting to break down crying at how far away I am from that right now.

I knew pitying myself was neither necessary nor valuable, so I always let that one go. But that didn’t stop it from co to hint to pop up at intervals throughout the whole day afterward, and even the following day somewhat.

As a friend reminded me later, the wife probably wasn’t like that when they got married, and it probably took her years to get to that point. Same for the husband. (Though, he was always less intimidating or whatever, because he’s male, I suppose.) It wasn’t an overnight process for either of them, and they probably weren’t already like that when they first met one another or even got married.

That idea gives me hope… that I can find someone who is fit beautifully already and who values my own work thus far, but who will continue to grow with me and thereby support and empower me o to further-enhanced fitness throughout our future. I would continue this same road, but no longer on my own. I’d have a true partner in crime for it all. (So to speak, that is… haha)

Anyway,… there’s that ouch and the menstruation and resulting digestion ouch, and the utter exhaustion that they and all the other stress have brought for this evening.

Alas, I shall now go sleep… with an alarm every two-ish hours, of course, to use the bathroom. ::facepalm I swear…, whoever made up this nonsense must have been severely out of his wits at the time… Man

Post-a-day 2021

Back on the log*

I stayed in bed – with possibly six bathroom breaks (number one only) – from 7:45pm to about 6:45am this morning. My sleep was fitful. I did my feel entirely rested when I got up. However, my bowels functioned somewhat normally, and without any pains, and that was a total win.

I still felt slow, my lower belly and lower right edge were still uncomfortable (but not in pain), and I was somehow a bit clumsy, but I felt significantly improved overall. It still took effort to talk, but a whole lot more came out, whenever I did attempt speaking, and much sooner than it had taken every time yesterday. My mom noticed that part immediately when we finally spoke later in the morning.

I wasn’t sure how the day would progress, and was worried I might have to be home and, possibly, in bed most of the day. By nine o’clock, I had determined that I likely would go in to work. It was only for three hours today, and the prospect of being at home all alone, especially with the discomfort and all, was not a delightful one. So, I took a fitful nap, after eating some, and then got up and went in. I was slow-moving still, with a light sensation of my guts being as of yet undetermined as to when they might escape my body and in which direction they might choose to do that escape.

I adjusted after a little while to being able to talk to people quite normally, and eventually was at almost full normalcy on that front. I was able to walk around a bit faster near the end, and even jogged back inside, when I discovered that I’d left my smoothie near-dregs in the fridge. That surprised me, even.

I did my grocery shopping, and headed home to change. Since late morning, I had been messaging a buddy from the gym about running together this afternoon/evening. He hadn’t replied to my inquiry yesterday (about running today), and I knew he probably had been out drinking.

Turns out that he had arrived home around 3:30am last night/this morning. I told him that 13+ hours was plenty of recovery time, and that, though he claimed he felt like he was dying, I had almost ended up in Urgent Care, and so he and I could die together – it would be better to die in good company than all alone, after all.

He allowed that we could make it work, assuming he didn’t feel quite so terrible by the evening. We agreed that we would be in touch after I finished grocery shopping in the afternoon.

By the time, however, that he responded to my messages in the afternoon, he told me that he was out drinking… right then. Can we get a facepalm, please?? ;P

I considered running to the bar to meet him, partly for getting back at him for leaving me hanging, and partly for my desire not to be left alone with whatever was going on in my belly. It was gorgeous outside, and I knew it was an outdoor patio kind of place, only a 5k from my house. However, he was actually doing some one-on-one time with a friend from out of town, and so I did not do that.

(Okay, but when was he planning to run with me, if he had the friend in all weekend, anyway?? Either he’s a sneaky liar or wasn’t thinking, I dare say.)

And so, I went running in my own. What had intended to be a short little run, maybe two miles at most (plus a .05 as stretch beyond the goal), and at a slower, we-are-ill pace, turned out to be a full-on ladder run – with the 10lb vest, recall – that ended up being the third-fastest 5k I have ever done. Period. That means without any weighted vest for those fastest times. And I did my third-fastest with a 10lb vest on me, wondering the whole time if I might hurl or just sh** my pants at any given moment.

That is some other-world Goggins stuff right there.* Nearly end up in a hospital in the morning, have a panic attack, work out late morning, nearly fall apart trying to work in the afternoon, so go home and get ready for bed at 4:45pm. Sleep forever, wake up still sick, go to work again anyway, and then do one of the hardest and most successful runs of my life, considering if and when I might need to crap or vomit on the side of the road somewhere. (I actually did come very close to vomiting right after I set out!)

So, yeah… what a day…

*If you don’t get the references, read David Goggins’s book, Can’t Hurt Me.

Post-a-day 2021

Oh, snap…

6:40am: Wake up groggily, in need of a bathroom. I have slept in by over two and a half hours, and my body is demanding that I get up to relieve it, at last. I do.

As I re-ascend, a flea lands on my ankle. I grab it immediately, destroy it, and flush it down the sink. This cycle repeats itself once more, but this time with the bug landing on my shin. I head downstairs a get plates and tea lights, set up the traps in a few spots, hoping to nab anything left while it is still somewhat dark outside, and pour the soapy water and light the candles.

As I am just about to head upstairs to my bed – for I had not felt as though I had slept eight hours, and felt a real need for more – , a pain strikes my lower belly. Oh, no… digestion problem, I think, rushing back to the bathroom. Everything had gone as usual in the bathroom initially, but my father’s (and my maternal grandfather’s) GI tract genes had been passed down to me, so it is somewhat always a toss-up as to whether by bowels will be normal or ridiculously sensitive.

Back in the bathroom, I find that nothing is interested in moving – it feels as though there is nothing to depart from my body, even. And yet, I am suddenly crying out in pain, it has become so intense. But nothing seems to be happening inside me. Just pain exists, increasing to a point I have never known. I have had success pains before, but they typically end within a minute, as things readjust inside me, and then I am fine.

But this is somehow different.

The cries of pain continue to escape my lips, shocking my more and more. What is happening?

There is a chance it could be the appendix. The position of the point of the most pain is appropriate. But I’d need a second opinion to be sure. Perhaps I would do best to call my mom and ask her, since I know that she knows. The cries and the pain continue and increase, as the phone calls.

Straight to voicemail. I call again, in case it is merely Do Not Disturb. Voicemail immediately. She’s still asleep. I could call the house, but only if absolutely necessary, as it would wake more than just her. Wait on that.

Thinking is growing fuzzy. As I begin to get up from the toilet, my ears lose full hearing, filling partly with a fuzzy, humming noise. My vision is shaking. I might be about to pass out.

I rush to wash my hands, and rinse some cool water on the back of my neck. It helps briefly and barely. I need water. But my bottle is upstairs. If something goes wrong, I need to be downstairs. There’s a cold bottle in the fridge, I recall.

I bolt in a slow stumble down the stairs to the kitchen, and open the fridge, shakily. I manage to pull out the water and drink some, then hold it against the back of my neck.

But I cannot hold it there. Before I really know how it has happened, I find myself on my hands and knees, my head laying inside the fridge, my breathing heavy and intense.

I just feel so hot.

And I hadn’t five minutes ago.

Something is definitely wrong.

I call my brother. He does not answer. I call the house for my mom twice, but it just keeps ringing both times. Some emergency contacts, I think, somewhere far back in my brain.

I might hurl, I realize. But I might just need a bowel release. Either way, I need to get back to the bathroom.

Because I always put things away, I put the water away in the fridge, though something inside tells me too weakly to bring it with me. Too hard to hold.

I crawl back up the stairs, so hot, out of breath, the pain only increasing in my lower belly, just above my pelvic floor, especially on the right side.

I make it to the bathroom. Nothing is moving in my bowels, nothing wants to exit. As I have been contemplating where to seek emergency medical care, should I need it – though, I had wanted a second opinion on that, this the phone calls – I am now faced fully with making the decision myself. But I know I cannot see well enough or function well enough to find the directions to the right place on my phone. Urgent Care, not ER, but I have never been there, so I’m not certain we’re it is; just that it is near.

First that, then see if I can drive… or even make it to the car.

I have been very near passing out this past several minutes, I know I need someone else to know of my situation, to help if I do pass out.

I call a friend on EDT, knowing she would be awake by 8:20am, even if it is a Saturday. She answers.

But I find that I cannot speak.

I manage a greeting of some sort, I believe, but then just continue breathing heavily, crying tears of pain and confusion and frustration. I know she will remain calm and evaluate properly, but I need to communicate what is happening.

My arms have gone completely tingly, shoulders to fingertips. When did that happen?

With much struggle and murkiness, I finally manage to say what is happening. I am only in underwear at this point. My shirt was wrenched off in the bathroom when the heat first began – I had thought that I only was overheating somewhat, but my skin was completely soaked with sweat once I’d slid off my shirt.

She first tells me that her husband (hems a doctor, but not the first reason I was calling her) is not with her right now, but then immediately tells me that I might be having a panic attack – BREATHE. At this point, I am lying face-down on the floor, my cheek just hanging over the first stair step. My left hand clenches a soaked paper towel… soaked with what? Tears, snot, sweat…, probably all of them, but I cannot quite remember how it even got to my hand. My right hand is pressed into my lower right belly, at the point of the most pain.

Staring at the phone – on speaker – on the floor next to me, I focus on calming my breathing, deepening each stroke. I am still terrified, but I already feel immensely better emotionally, now that someone is here with me. That helps my breathing ease better.

We laugh at her comment on how I should probably be talking to an actual doctor, not someone searching on WebMD. My face is soaked and my body hurts, my arms still tingling, but my hearing has been restored and I can see clearly, though my processing is still slow – it takes real effort to make the words come out. But I tell her that, if we determine I need to go to see a real doctor, I first need to make it upstairs to put on clothes. We laugh at the prospect of my showing up in my car in just a pair of underwear, and I wonder if I would end up with a ticket afterward for indecent exposure…. and yet an ambulance would have taken me in just my underwear, and that would have made their jobs even easier.

I marvel somewhere in the back at how I can even have such thoughts right now, but can barely manage to mutter a single simple sentence aloud.

I tell her that, even if it just turns out to be digestion issues, I am totally okay with that. I’m still glad I was able to get ahold of her. I’d actually rather not have it go that way if I ended up at Urgent Care, however. Not cool. She is giving me options of what might be wrong, assessing my specifics on the pain locations.

Nothing quite lines up as well as the facts that 1)I am near beginning menstruation, and 2)I have bad bowel genes. I ate brisket yesterday, which I do not usually do, but everything else was rather normal in my food.

As we sit on the phone, the pain slowly begins to ebb away, bit by bit. I ask her to stay with me, and she agrees with a firmness that she had already planned on that.

After an hour, I finally have been able to roll to my right side, and curl up in a ball for a bit, and then lie on my back, knees up. The pain has finally begun shifting around slightly, no longer covering such a great area within my body, but it has shifted partly, though gently, to the tender area just above the pelvic bone and in front of the uterus. It is relaxing its grip, nonetheless. I make it to my hands and knees. My arms are only barely tingling.

I need water. I had wanted some already, and had laughed as I’d told her that my brain felt like she could get it for me, because she was here with me now… that fogginess hadn’t been able to sort out the different between digital and physical presence, obviously. But so, I have finally made it to my hands and knees. After staying there a while longer, I finally make it shakily to my feet, and then head downstairs. Perhaps I should eat food, too.

I have some calm, dry food, after I gulp some more water, and she tells me she’ll check in again later.

It is almost 9:00 now. I use the bathroom once more – no BM or gas, of course – and head upstairs to rest briefly. For some reason, I have it in my head that I still need to go to the gym. I had already canceled the 9:00am cardio class, knowing that was neither an option nor a good idea. Not paying that no-show fee. But the 10:00 class is just calm weights, and part of that was something I had missed Monday and had been waiting to make up all week.

I couldn’t miss it… but that had been a thought I’d had before the morning’s insanity. However, my brain was still so murky that it was not able to notice that fully. It just knew that I had to go to 10:00. And that I had convinced someone to go with me, and had helped that person sign up for the class this morning… while I was lying on the floor in the hallway, shaking still…

(I know, right?)

And so, after a brief nap, I did go. Before we began, one of the guys asked about my morning so far – I think – and so I told him a brief summary.

‘And you’re still here?!’

My brain hadn’t even considered that yet. Life goes on, was all it could think, and so it had had me continue onward in my day.

It was still very difficult to talk, to make my body out forth the effort of creating and spitting out words, more than just a few at a time. But, once we got to work on our training, I didn’t really need words – not more than a few every so often – and so life felt somewhat normal. I was sleepy, exactly, but my brain felt something like sleepy, and my body was definitely tired. I had the wherewithal to take it all easy, but not to consider that I maybe should just go to bed or something.

I think I really wanted to be with people for a while. And whatever was wrong with me seemed utterly unlikely to be contagious. I’d even checked my temperature, and it was quite low. No elevation whatsoever. And I don’t feel that kind of sick, anyway. I just felt cloudy and a bit weak on endurance.

And I was. But I got through all that I’d determined to do for today’s workout, and I felt much improved by the end of it. Though, no longer having a specific, repetitive task in front of me, it was a struggle to walk to the car to get myself home. I stopped for bananas on the way, knowing I would want smoothies today and tomorrow, and feeling a call toward eating a banana, anyway.

I managed to make food and eat it, and drink some smoothie, and then shower and nap for a while before having to head to work. When I got in, I found that I couldn’t talk. Not quickly, anyway. If someone greeted me, I could only smile, and then wonder how speech worked, feeling mentally my throat and mouth. I set down my stuff, and acknowledged that maybe I couldn’t do this work today, despite my efforts to show up. My belly had begun aching again, but I wasn’t sure when. Every time I considered genuinely talking, my eyes started to burn.

I went a spoke to the supervisor. She reminded me what the store actually does, that they’ve been short workers before, and that it is significantly more important that I take care of my own health and well-being than suffer through helping there. They absolutely would make it without me, if I needed to go home. And the fact that I had shown up in the first place spoke volumes to my dedication. No, there were no negative repercussions for me, if I determined that I needed to go home right now. Think about it, she told me, and let her know. I had been crying from the moment I’d started telling her what had happened.

After a few minutes sitting there, chatting – well, sort of – with another coworker who had been in the room with us, I noticed that I was hunching forward. When I stood up, I could not stand up straight. The pain was too strong, and I was too weak.

I was going home.

Now, it is just after 6:30pm. I am lying uncomfortably in bed, that lower right spot gently twisting again. The aim is to sleep. The goal is to awaken healed tomorrow. We shall see what happens.

Post-a-day 2021

Just breathe

“I’m proud of you… everything that you do… Remember that.”

As far back as I can remember, it has been a bit difficult for me to be around very old people. If they are old and alone, that hurts me already, but , once they have reached a point that their bodies are beginning to fail them openly, it is as though a switch flips in my mind, and I suddenly struggle to breathe, to function, to focus.

My grandfather is at this point. Actually, he is much beyond it. As we talked today, I had to clear myself continuously in order to remain present with him. I have begun missing him more and more in recent years, as there has been less and less of him to see, with whom to speak and interact. I have seen him grow more and more frustrated with his own brain, his own body as a whole, as he has lost ability after ability… ones which he had is such intense abundance. Indeed, he was one of the smartest and most learned people I have ever known. And he didn’t even attend college. Nonetheless, he was the best resource we had growing up – even better than our teachers on most subjects, and more efficient and detailed in his answers than an encyclopedia. He was one of my greatest inspirations as a child and young adult, and I think so much of me longed to be most like he was. And he always made it so clear that we were loved by him. In almost very action, every phrase or look, every article or comic strip he saved for us or television program or clip he recorded for us, it was clear that he loved us.

He, every so often, would call me “Honah Lee” (from “Puff, the Magic Dragon”), and still does. He’s always played around with pronunciations of words, both of English nature and foreign (e.g. jalapeños with a hard j and firm n). So, it was an easy step to get to calling me Honah Lee. After I had learned German, and we had long since begun to use it with one another (college and onward for me), he called me one day, and said that he wanted to share what he’d figured out so far. He then sang to me “Puff, the Magin Dragon”… in German. He had done his best to translate the lyrics. I think I might actually have cried while he sang to me over the phone. There was just something about it, I was quite overwhelmed with the expression of pure delight and love in that act. Indeed, any time he used German, I always noticed how he sparked to life, as though becoming, just for a few moments or minutes, a young child, excited for the unexpected adventure that life could and would unfold. He hadn’t been allowed to use German in school as a boy – it was forbidden by the school. It was his language of home, fun, love, and self-expression. But he hadn’t used it much beyond his childhood. And, by the time I was born he had almost never used German at all; not until I had begun learning and using it with him. And so, every time we used German together, it was like I got to know him as a child, free from the many pressures and stresses that naturally arise from adulthood, from aging. I just got to be with him. And I reveled in that.

And I still do.

However, talking with him today, discussing how, though he is to turn 91 years old in a few months, he hopes yet is not sure he will make it there, it was somewhat terrifying how easy it was to be with him. He was 100% present as we spoke about that, though is isn’t always these days. He said that he has lived a wonderful life, that he is grateful, and that he is not afraid of dying (despite the fact, as he said, that people say not to say that). I merely nodded, and cried as I said that we very much would miss having him here with us. I held his hand for a bit, and we shared multiple kisses on the cheeks and I love yous and Hab’ dich lieb’s before I had to leave.

And then, just before I had to leave, he said to me, slowly and intentionally, looking me directly in the eyes, – something he has struggled to do lately – “I’m proud of you… everything that you do… Remember that.”

And I will.

And I would not be surprised if today was the last time the two of us see one another in his life. We might see one another again, but it is not very likely. He cannot seem to eat almost anything anymore, and his body is, frankly, falling apart and shutting down on him. A could be causing B, and B could be causing A, but both are contributing to the other, and the result is the same: he does not have much likelihood of living in his physical body on this Earth for much longer.

And it’s terrifying for me.

My paternal grandfather died when I was in middle school. It was expected and not. And it was difficult yet not. The same was true of my paternal grandmother. I was in college when she died, but I was still very much in the child mentality, much more so than the adult mentality. Now, I am very much more on the adult side of life than I am on the child side, and it is an entirely different kind of experience to have this happening now. I suppose that, since my maternal grandparents had survived my childhood, something in me had felt that they would be forever present in this life. They had made it to adulthood with me, so to speak, so they were here to stay.

But they aren’t. No one is, really. But they are more obviously likely not to be here for that much longer. A small part of me had felt disappointed in myself for not providing them with what feels like would have been some of the greatest gifts I could have given them. I do not have a stable career. I do not have a partner in life. I have no children. I don’t even have a pet. I know they do not need those things for me. But that is why they would be gifts.

However, when Opa said that to me today, that he is proud of me… of everything I do…, it reminded me of why those other things have always seemed to matter. They are most often expression of success in living one’s life fully. At least, they are mostly seen that way. But, when the ultimate goal is that we live life fully… that we be true to ourselves and fully self-expressed…, I cannot say that I have failed my grandparents or that I have let them down. Indeed, I have fulfilled every wish they could have for me in relation to success in my life. All the other stuff – the marriage, the children, the house, the career – are tiny details by comparison.

I do not say this lightly nor boastingly when I say that I am one of the most loving people I know. I do not do well with keeping people at the standard ‘comfortable distance’ in life. I do not chat about the weather easily. Either I do not know you at all, or I want to know you, embrace you fully. Like Ender Wiggin said, the moment I get to know you, I get to love you. And I love loving people. It is terribly difficult and stressful for me to ‘try to get to know someone’. Just be yourself with me, let go of whatever you are hiding, let me see you, be with you…. let me love you. That’s all I want from the people around me. And that’s how I want them to see me, too – see all of me now, so that you can love me for me. Let us not waste time on pleasantries and weather. Let us dive right in, and have an absolute blast together. Indeed, that is exactly why dating is so difficult for me, why I cannot seem to ‘figure out’ how to interact with this guy with whom I went on a date recently. I don’t do surface level. I do the real you, the real me. And when people avoid that, turn or step away from it, usually in fear, it is so hard for me… it only makes me want to come even closer, that I might love you even deeper. And though this might sound like I am socially awkward, I truly am not. I can be quite quiet in certain circumstances, but I probably am the only person at the party who will know everyone else by the end of it.

And I am grateful for that. So much of who I am is love. And I have no idea what comes next for me in life. (Like… genuinely, I have no idea… please, grasp that for a moment…) But I know exactly who I am stepping forward into that unknown. And I love her and I am grateful every moment for her and for all that she is and for all that she is not. And I learned today that, more than I ever saw, my Opa feels the same way about her. He knows I’m not married, not settled in any way, not career-stable or financially stable. But he knows that I am stable, and that I am ready for whatever is through that next threshold as I step forward into it. And he is proud of that, and all that it involves. He is proud of me, of who I am, of all that he knows I will create out of who I am in this life, even though he will not be here in person to see most of it with me.

I pray only that his love, his support, his guidance help me to move forward confidently and comfortably throughout the rest of my life. I am grateful for him always. And I love him dearly, deeply, truly. Thank you, God, for allowing us the opportunity to spend so much wonderful time together in this life.

In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Danke, Gott.

Post-a-day 2021

P.S. Frohe Ostern, folks!! Happy Easter, allen!! (Not to deny the weight of all of that ^, but it was because of Easter that I was able to spend the time with my Opa today at all. And I am grateful for that. And the Easter Egg Hunt in which I got to partake. Today really was a great day, filled with silliness and love and fun. But it also was very real one, in which, I believe, God was helping me to prepare for part of what comes next.)

Body Image

I intentionally look at myself in the mirror, nude – or almost entirely – every single day.  I look and I see all that there is to my body.  I fill myself with the experience of all that my body is, standing before that mirror.  And I love myself.  Through and through, from the tiniest hair to the German skin to the inherited bowels that are all too sensitive – I love my body for all that it is and for all that it is not.  This is my vessel, my space, my temple, my power, my source in this life.  And I am ever grateful for and in love with it.

That does not mean that I do not want to improve upon it.  One can love something and still want better for it.  Indeed, I believe part of loving something means always wanting better for it.  Such is the case with my body.  Every day, as I see the improvements from only a week ago or days ago, I am grateful that I have blessed it with such love… such love as it takes to get out of bed when I want to snuggle in deeper to the cozy covers, to get myself ready for bed early enough to have enough sleep, to choose these foods over those, to deny the casual pressure of those who do not have the same intentions with their food and drink and schedule, not to take the easy route, and just to accept the current and temporary convenience of eating this standard meal that I find before me, possibly even for free.

They mean no harm to me, I am sure, but such a meal is not free for me.  It has its costs.  Yes, it is utterly convenient, and significantly less socially odd and, sometimes, less embarrassing.  But, it is not blessing my body when I consume it.  Often, it causes my body actual pain, in some small way or other.  And, occasionally, it causes pain in some not-so-small ways… things I never noticed until I began to pay close attention.  I always thought eating meant one would feel ever so slightly ill afterward.  But that is only with certain foods, with the ones that do not serve my body, that I feel that way.  I have learned.

My food is my medicine – I take no other – and it is my daily blessing that gives me the energy for tomorrow.  It gives me my strength to exercise at 5:15 most mornings, as though it were a normal hour of the day.  It gives me the nutrition I need for my deep slumbers at night to restore and improve my strength and energy.

And it is not always easy.  Indeed, it often is difficult to manage getting myself the food I need, whenever I am doing things away from home, with others or alone.  Even at home, it takes effort.  And yet, after all this time, the effort seems like almost nothing.  Why?  Because it is so incredibly worth it.  I don’t even have to think about giving myself the right foods to serve me best, let alone thinking twice about it.  All because I love and want to take loving care of my body.

My body is merely the starting place.  If I am comfortable in my body, and it is ready and able for anything, then my spirit, too, with my body’s support, can take on whatever comes my way, and with a ready heart.  So, as I gaze at myself in the mirror each day, easily noticing the room for improvement, I also marvel at the beauty of all that I am, of all that I have become, and of all that I see I can become… all because I love myself for exactly who and how I am. I once was afraid to see myself naked – I couldn’t stand it.  Now, I look forward to that time of intimacy and being attuned to and connected in all ways with my physical self.  It is one of the most beloved times of my day, and it fills me always with love, joy, and gratitude for this life and for this current step within it.

Post-a-day 2021

Fitness vs Fatness

Am I at the focus, or is something else the A-liner? Fitness or Fatness? Lately, I have not been at the center – my health and well-being, this body that carries my soul, my spirit, in this lifetime. Lately, my tongue’s and memory’s desires have been the center of my food. It is no wonder I have had much more fatness than fitness in my life lately.

I have been wanting it more and more, but have yet to turn the tides fully over the past several months… I wonder what has been missing for me to do that… is it a question of self-worth in the midst of having to create self-motivation to create the time and the energy and effort for fitness all on my own? I think I have always reached out somehow when I have gotten to a point in fitness/fatness at which I do not want to be any longer. But turning to the groups is not exactly an option right now where I live, and also how I live (aka I can’t afford to spend the money on the one place where I could do the group fitness right now). But I also do not genuinely want to reach out this time. I want to resolve whatever this has been within me that I continue to have stop me from fitting myself (as I like to say in my head… or, also, fitnessing myself). And so, I will not join that gym. Right now, I’m a bit too tired to function effectively enough to work through all of this, but I intend to continue this conversation with myself tomorrow, and to search for and find those uncomfortable parts that I have allowed to run me for these past several years.

At that, goodnight! 😉

Post-a-day 2020