Hurts So Good

We’ve spoken about pain before, and how to push through our perceptions of what is bad and good. The gallbladder implosion incident has given me for the first time a decent idea of what bad really feels like: I’ve broken toes before, but the pain of those is lost to the mists of time. First and second birth were so highly medicated that, to be honest, I couldn’t reliably tell you how it felt either. How do you know when you’re looking at a trip to the hospital?

This is particularly tough when your 14 year old is coming to terms to what an allergic reaction feels like, and the circumstances where she’d need to use an Epipen. It’s about understanding first that she has the symptoms: remembering what they feel like and how that affects her body. Then, it’s telling her that as soon as her major bodily functions became impaired (breathing, cognition) it’s vital to seek medical help and then self-medicate. Learning how your body works is an essential part of the process.

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The process of pushing myself physically comes with its own sets of challenges. Last night, for instance, for a brief and glorious period of less than a minute, heart-rate creeped up above my normal threshold. The physical consequences of this are many-fold: breathing loses any kind of rhythm, brain struggles to keep focused and, literally my chest hurts. Last night, however, I was prepared for all this. We didn’t stop, just slowed down. We kept moving, and experienced the sensations properly.

It wasn’t about speeding up last night, or pushing through any kind of barrier. I just needed not to stop, and so that’s what happened. Fear is the biggest killer, means by which you will never move past your static goals, because it is the possibility something bad is going to happen that prevents you from ever making the effort. Nothing bad happened, I didn’t fall over or pass out. Making it to the end of the class, for the first time in several months, really felt like an achievement.

Those of you who don’t have to worry about this kind of stuff are very lucky indeed. You individuals who can just run without thinking, exercise without consequence. I wonder, do you realise just how lucky you are? Is there ever a moment where you stop and think what it might be like not to be able to do everything you want… or is this never a situation that ever crosses your mind? These are the days when overthinking becomes a distinct curse.

Pain has all sorts of consequences, and not just the ones you’re unlucky to feel.

Cold

Accumulated snowfall is about eight inches now. Both kids have been given the day off. This is a first for them, my son’s never seen a Snow Day in 17 years. This part of the World is particularly good at not getting snow, and has been for as long as I can remember. The last big fall, as memory serves, was back in the late 1980’s. I have pictures of our first house covered in snow, though there’s the possibility I could have imagined the volume even back then.

I have a PT today: I’ll walk in (slowly) and stay put for a massage later on, assuming my Masseur makes it in from outside. After that, there’ll be cookies baked, work done and (I suspect) much lazing about. Although it was blue skies at dawn, half the sky is already clouding over. I think we may have more snow to come.

Time to make a cuppa and start the day.

[EDIT: No massage. Nobody in the Gym. Only kids outside. Betting this is gonna last at least until Friday.]

Today

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Look, I don’t want to jinx this, but this week’s going remarkably well. The whole ‘upping the step count’ thing’s moving amazingly to plan, there’s gonna be two sessions of PT instead of one, and it’s only taken me until Wednesday to sort about 80% of the To Do list. I keep looking over my shoulder, expecting summat rubbish to transpire, but it has as yet failed to materialise. I know what is driving the push to get stuff done, however, the reminder from various quarters this week that we are only visitors to this existence. Each day needs to be lived well, and with a passion.

That is certainly how things are coming to pass this week.

Also, this week I have given my daughter something that, a decade ago, probably wouldn’t have existed. I’ll be chaperoning her and a friend to see Dan and Phil, Internet superstars, on their 2018 World Tour. If the levels of squee in this house yesterday were any indicator, I’m going to need to invest in earplugs for the night. Fortunately, this is taking place at my favourite London venue, the Eventim Apollo, where I’ve seen both Elbow and Kate Bush… at least it’ll be familiar surroundings. Maybe I can watch some videos before I go, so I don’t look like an utter n00b when I get there…

Right, just enough time to get another load of laundry on before I have to walk to the Gym :D

This is Mine

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There’s a ‘thing’ doing the rounds currently on Twitter, which promises that for every ‘like’ one can garner, a fact about that person’s life will be revealed. Here’s a fact for you: I’ve been doing this for seven years, on and off, across multiple platforms. All you need to know is here, if the time is given to sit and read, but that’s the issue with social media. If it takes longer than 45 seconds to consume, you’ve forgotten it anyway. Needless to say, there’s one simple trick to knowing me better, you can just ask. Or, if you subscribe here I can promise, every day, to reveal a fascinating fact about myself if you read to the end of the post. I won’t get mad if you skip the other stuff either: at least you turned up.

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Yesterday was awesome, not gonna lie. To and from the Gym was a breeze, when very little aggravated affected muscle groups. The trick, of course, is to not do anything that might. The Octane was tough, but probably because there’s been no serious exertion for several weeks. That should get easier every day, and only under supervision will ‘serious’ weights happen, though press ups today should be doable and that can be an effective fill in going forward. Mostly, I am waiting for the all clear from my body to know when I can ramp stuff up again, and in the meantime working on all of my core to strengthen it and prevent the possibility of the umbilical hernia popping again. Once the work for the day is done? I’ll be off down the Gym.

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However what mattered more was finally organising a bunch of domestic shit that has laid dormant for a while, and might never have been completed were it not for my 12 year old’s searingly accurate take-down of what happens when parents stop focussing on the domestic. As a result, three bags of recycling are outside, and the front room is tidier than I can recall for quite some time. The trick of course is to learn from this and not let the issues pile up over time, which is why I need to make a day next week to go out and finally cancel a credit card, pay in some money and shut a bank account. Then there’s a list of ‘maintenance’ jobs to do and, as soon as I am back to lifting duties again, serious attacks on dirty parts of the house.

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Then there’s the Patreon, which I sat down and talked over last night with the husband. I’d not factored surgery into my timescales and as I’d planned to early launch tomorrow… well, frankly I’m not ready to go. The last time I rushed myself into a major project it was never completed and that’s not something that can afford to be done when I’m going to take people’s money. Therefore, we will launch in June, but not until the 15th, which means Early Access will now be available on the 12th. I’m still missing a Patreon reward that needs to be chased from the manufacturers, so hopefully I can get that in house too before the new deadline. All this will be detailed on the Patreon site later, but you heard it here first. Consider this an additional reward for your loyalty, or summat.

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So there you have it. Starting tomorrow, we’ll do a proper countdown and try and drum up some serious interest. I can do marketing, I’m sure we can make the whole shonky mess work and still look professional…


Fact of the Day

I told my first story to an audience in Primary School. I made it up, on the spot and it went down so well I made the story into a daily serial…

Mud Glorious Mud

I’ve never done a ‘proper’ Festival before and so, this year, here the Family are at Eroica. Unfortunately (or unsurprisingly, depending on your outlook) the rain chased us all the way to Bakewell on Friday, and this made for interesting times underfoot. However, there was no rain all day, and frankly the place was magnificent. In fact, if truth be told, it’s one of the best times I’ve had for a very long time indeed.

Our accommodation was last minute booked, and lovely, but caused some stress on Friday night when locating it in the dark was something of an adventure. However, even after five hours sleep, the view was worth all the grief, and the smell of burnt clutch that STILL does not seem to want to leave my nostrils. Yes, there are lots of hills. It was very late, and fifteen minutes earlier I had almost stuck the car in a hedge. I shouted at my husband. I am not a good wife or driver when tired ^^

Being an unashamed Jane Austin nut, I’d hoped we might get some time at Chatsworth, which is generally acknowledged as the inspiration for Pemberly in Pride and Prejudice, but that will have to wait (I suspect) for next year, when I’ll be doing the Baby Steps version of the course and taking part in my first proper bike ride. Of course, I’ll need to do this in costume, and that’s probably going to take a year just to organise. Mostly, I will be back in Derbyshire because it is amazingly beautiful, hugely inspiring and more green than is actually believable.

However, tomorrow is all about my husband doing the Hard Mode version of the cycle ride on his absolutely beautiful Bianchi. Crossing everything he does it, and is happy as he does. This is the best Father’s Day present I think we could ever give him.

Where Are We Now?

Sometimes, I am an attention-seeking whore. There, I said it, because I know it still happens. I used to use this technique an awful lot more in my younger years, and there are parts of my memory I would dearly like to erase but which often come to haunt me during sleep. Those are the moments when I realise that I’m to blame for the vast majority of my own failings. Craving attention is a terrible thing, and often for some there are legitimate and acceptable psychological reasons for it happening. However, a lot of the time?

Everybody feels lonely. That’s part of being alive.

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Attention whoring? Discuss.

The whole ‘Selfie’ thing brings this phenomena full circle, that a photo of yourself shared on your own space is probably as narcissistic as it is possible to get… except that’s not true, at least in my case. I took a picture of myself yesterday, for instance, wrapped up to go walk around in temperatures that I thought were cold, but would be a Summer day for someone in Norway or Sweden. The concept of difficulty is relative to begin with, and then there’s the actual reasoning behind WHY I took it. So, I decided to do the exercise in my head: explain the rationale behind any picture you share in public. Why do you want people to see you? Is it to draw attention to yourself, or is it demonstrate in your own mind you’re confident enough to take the picture?

In my case, most of the time, I’m not here to show how lovely I look, because I’m not, and never have been in my head, anything close to attractive. Once you get the obvious out of the way, you’re then left with the deeper psychological reasoning. I take pictures to show I’m happy. There’s a damn good reason why there’s virtually no pictures of me in either pregnancy, because I was miserable as fuck and looked like a house. I didn’t take pictures when I was stuck in depression, and I don’t want to be reminded of the time when I was. There’s some ‘formal’ pictures of me with the kids and my parents that I was forced to take part in one holiday a few years back and I know I acted my way through a lot of the session, and that still irks me, because I can look at the smile I used then and when I compare it to the picture above? I know it was a lie. Holding a mirror up to myself is one of the hardest things I ever do, and even writing about this now brings a squirm of discomfort.

Having the courage to be pictured is, for me, exactly that on most occasions. It is very rarely you ever catch me off guard and comfortable when someone else is taking pictures, and those ones, as a result, are particularly precious.

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I fucking wish.

Then there’s the days when you just need to be loved, when all the reassurance in the World just won’t cut it, and this happens to us all. Most people, quite sensibly, don’t take to social media as their first port of call. That’s always the mistake, because when you start talking into a one-way mirror and you can’t see all the responses? Asking for trouble. I will, it must be said, ask for hugs on Twitter only as a last resort, because the default must always be reality in these situations. Best mate will tell you I’m awful at asking for help as a rule, because I sort of stopped doing that a while back and haven’t yet managed to rearrange the pieces to correct the oversight. However, things are improving. Mostly it is this constantly altering set of variables that includes not overdoing the pain and suffering when I hurt, and bordering on obsessive when I think I have a problem. In conclusion: overthinking. That’s why writing daily’s actually proving to be a surprising source of therapy, because it allows my brain to take the shit that’s bogging me down and give it a place where it can separate from my body and allow me to function correctly. So, learning to communicate, at least for me, is as an important a part of my process as it would be for other people to stick on make-up or trim their beard. I am nowhere near Fallon levels of Zen here, but it works for me.

My daughter’s got a throat and sinus infection right now. She’s struggling a bit but I know deep down she’s fine, so I send her off to school with a dose of Paracetamol syrup and a cuddle. She asks me how she’ll say her name for the register with a croaky voice and I suggest a sign with YES and NO on it that she could design, and she hugs me. I realise that my parents never really did this: when I was ill, I was wrapped up and kept away from school and never forced to toughen up , and in essence this contributed to my failings as I got older. I could spend a fortune in therapy bills trying to reconcile of this, or I could shut the fuck up and just get on with life. As it transpires, the latter works quite well. It’s not perfect, but having found my answers myself is, in essence, far more satisfying than having someone else give me a reason. I know not everything works in reality like this. However, at this point?

Finding my own way is what I need to move forward.