I must admit that I’m inclined to isolate

My back pain feels like the night sky made of nerves. Sharp pangs come out of the blue, with no rythm, no pattern. It’s traumatic, and I’m not being dramatic when I say im afraid of my own body after so many years of this .” Shark week” makes it so much worse, and today I’m shaking in my legs because of it. I compulsively tug my hair, because somewhere along the way I developed that fucked up coping mechanism. It’s better than tugging out my eyelashes, like I used to. Pain eats into you, wraps you up in ribbons of anxiety that’ll trap you in your head. I do not enjoy hiding behind my anxiety or using it as an excuse. It’s an unwelcomed aspect of myself that I’ll do almost anything to hide. I’ve got what a former boss referred to as “resting nervous face”. My best friend lives 45 minutes away from me. I drive down to see him about once a week, where he will make me a large glass of a disgusting tea that in about 30 minutes neutralizes any pain I have for about 2 hours. We don’t talk about what it feels like because we both know, and no one has to pretend they’re fine when they’re really not.

At its worst, I’ll sit almost immobilized, thinking jagged thoughts, staring into the middle distance. The anxiety I have with this pain tells me lies about my friendships, triggers my natural tendency to not share anything beyond the epidermis of my being and uncontrolled, it’ll spiral into self-loathing, remembrances of mistakes I’ve made, things I may have messed up, and I’ll take fault for things that aren’t mine to take Fault for.

I used to delete all my socials, stop returning texts. In person, I’d become sharp, turse, abrasive. That still happens, but I have to have it pointed out to me which I both hate and need.

I married a man who is incredibly brilliant, very logical,and very kind. He’ll do almost anything to help me find what I need to help myself not be in this kind of pain, but he doesn’t understand that so many of the negative things he dislikes about me stem from just years of coping without pain management or actual relief. I am filled with regret that he received a twisted version of me and lately, I’m struggling to feel good enough. I’m struggling to feel like I’m good enough to make up for my past mistakes. I am struggling to get through this post because I hate talking about this. I’ve developed some unusual coping mechanisms for dealing with my pain. I can visualize it at my own body. I can compress it, and try to move it to a place deeper inside myself that’s harder to reach.

I haven’t been comfortable in 12 years. It’s impossible to be prescribed medication at my age because everyone is afraid of the addictive properties of medications that actually work effectively. I don’t fucking care if the medication is a Band-Aid. Sometimes you need a fucking Band-Aid.

Do you understand what happens when you don’t treat people with chronic pain? You end up with dead people.

Do you understand how hard it is to be listened to as a woman with pain? It took me 10 years before someone actually did an MRI of my back. I have to permanently atrophied spots on my back from an idiot Doctor who decided to treat me for fibromyalgia instead of fucking listening to me. Everyday that this is beyond my control, I become furious and then I hide it, because no one wants to see an angry woman. Not everyday is like this. I love my life and I love the people in it. But underneath everything that you see is an explosion in a collection of tattooed and fragile bones.

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Militant dandelion

I’m standing at the top of Bishop’s Peak, eating a mango like an apple. My backpack is painted in dust with a suggestion pasted to it suggesting correctly that (for me) ‘death can wait’. I am crusted in dirt and a sunscreen resemblent of a thick, white paste not unlike like Elmer’s Glue. I’m basically in my underwear, drinking a tepid combination of water and sugar free monster from a canteen covered with stickers bearing slogans about feminist topics and one or two from the Airfield Supply Company, Twitter, and various breweries. I look like freckled, happy Delores Park Trash. The beautiful blonde Cal Poly kids that started the same time as me, just reached the summit and look like death, with their collapsed and sunburned little shoulders.

I feel great. I could keep going, like a small, disheveled mountain sprite .

~~~~~~~Later

I made it down.

On the descent, the rocks were too hot to touch and the dirt radiated heat back up at me, like an asshole. An asshole complicit with the sun.

I need food.

Bishop’s Peak, you’re a beautiful thing.

I see a lot of legs shaved only to the point at which clothes usually begin or end from my vantage point here on the floor. Smooth ankles that end right at a French-cropped Jean that end on the lower half of calves, fuzzy backs of thighs. I’m propped up against one of those trash can that’s split into two Parts because we ran out of chairs and mostly out of floor space at gate 12b of Charles De Gaulle Airport. A number of women are sleeping on the floor, propped up on piles of bags. From the amount of people and agitation in here, you’d think we’d been here several days, not several hours. People have formed sub-groups.

There’s folks with kids, suburban #winemom types, schoolteacher types . Hermes bags and Italian men in another grouping with plastic-surgery grandmas. Another group seems to be students around 19, who’ve just finished a life-changing trip for the first time. Another stand out are People Probably In Bands. I ended up there because I have M&Ms and I share. Likely also because of tattoos featuring Greenery. Feral children roam the burgundy-carpeted wasteland.

My ass is asleep and A’s gonna be in Stockholm before I’m even on the plane. I’ve realized I missed a ring of hair surrounding one anklebone. Oh well. I’m in good company.

Gambrinus

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Sitting on a park bench in front of Gambrinus, a little blonde boy tosses a tiny Yorkie in my direction and in doing so pulls my eyes away from a little bird , presumably shitting in the grass. The little boy seems to have done so in an effort to get a bit of attention and a laugh out of me. He gets both.

I’ve been all over the city centre of Pilzen the past few days, and I’ve just consumed my first vegan meal since being here: I’m a , but I lean heavily vegan. A dearth of vegetables is hard on my ethical sensibilities as well as my digestive system. The food servings here are large, even by American Standards, the food all lovely and warm and mostly meat and potatoes, artfully arranged.

We’ll be here until Friday morning’s check out, then headed to Prague. I’d love to sit and write more about the general experience and I will, but right now I’m watching.

I learn more from sitting around in squares and observing and walking around watching people than I do from most other things, and this has been genuinely fantastic observation.

If you’re interested in photos of random travel things, follow me on Insta @blacksquirrelwytch

Ciao

Somewhere over Greenland.

The soul of humanity lies in quiet shadows of sadness in old mens eyes, so easily brighted by acknowledging what hides behind them. There’s softer thoughts than you’d expect, tucked away.

It lives in silent knowledge of other’s wounds.

It takes me by surprise on long flights, when everyone else sleeps and I stare at our shared moment, contained by a (possibly) decade-old metal tube somewhere over Greenland.

I’d like to think there is a great web of deities, all of different viewpoints preserving us, ever so slightly. My greatest fear is that we only have ourselves.

Humanity’s soul lives, planted in us all.

It thrives in kindness.

Please, let it thrive.

TimeemiT

I’m doing something I never do.

The  sun cuts through half-open blinds, and the not-yet setting light rays hits my seedlings,(or whatever you call plants that aren’t just sprouted , but too.. wobbly to really be plants) and  my bike,out on the patio. The torn-off fronts of craft coffee bags are tossed around me, and I’m trying to think of how to decoupage them onto the coffee table I’ve been covering for over a year. It’s nearly finished. Mr. Robot is on; I Remember  hearing  Pop Culture happy hour talk about it while I worked out at my old Gym in San Jose. I think that means this show came out in 2015?  It’s good so far. IMG_20180509_182340.jpg

I never watch anything new alone, because it almost feels meaningless to do so, somehow. I’d rather re-watch, but then I end up with pop-culture FOMO. I don’t sit on our couch at 7 pm and drink coffee and watch TV shows I haven’t watched before ,alone, as the light streams in through hanging blinds. I don’t do crafts instead of running errands, reading, or going to the gym, or any number of other things that keep my body and brain moving. I’m trying to slow down and be present.

I don’t think there’s even going to be enough time, somehow. I look at my husband and the sun and all the other brightest things I know, and think that.  I tell My husband this sometimes, Never enough. It’s possible he thinks I’m being morbid, but I hope he knows it’s just how deep down the love goes, how much deeper  I  go. Never enough time.

Maybe I’ll spend more time gluing hipster coffee bags to my coffee table.

Bruised fruit

Throughout my life,bruises have stood as shrines to the things I have loved that have hurt me.

I used to tear the skin off of my little kid shins while running through fence rows filled with blackberry vines, and then go home sticky with blood and joy, purple with juice and bruises.

I’ve had collections of Chartreuse and black bruises from falling down skateboarding, bruises from dancing, bruises from people who loved me, from people who hated me, uncomplicated bruises from sex that left me happy in the pit of myself when I saw them. I’ve had several people’s share of the bruises from nights that are devoid of memories, nights when I’ve drunk so much I can’t remember details. Some of the things that have bruised me have almost destroyed my life.

The ones below are from trees. I’ve never been able to climb a tree and not be bruised like an apple. I will move my body ,coiling along the limbs and bruising my inner thighs, and slam my shins against the branches until they turn purple. I don’t know that it’s ever been comfortable to climb a tree, but it is joyful and invigorating and wild in a way often forgotten as an adult. So enjoy my bruises, because they will always be here, visible and vulgar.

Beware the ides of march and weeping MDs.

On march 23rd, I’m taking myself to be sterilized: I literally couldn’t be more excited about this, but I’m also bloody terrified because like most invasive surgeries, it means I’ll be put under. That fear is a small price to pay for not being made bat-shit nuts by hormonal birth control. It feels liberating to make that choice with minimal interference. Yesterday, I had an appointment with my GP to follow-up on blood work: It’s clear that I’d been previously misdiagnosed, which can happen when you have no insurance for all of your twenties and move all the time, leaving you with a broken chain of sporadic doctor visits for separate but inter-connected issues. That’s a clear perk of the American medical system, friendos. When I get to the office, She, a woman in her mid-to-late forties with a beautiful and grainy russian voice not trimmed by her 20 years in the US, (I know this because she gave me way more information about her than I wanted) tells my I don’t have RA, and long story short, have fibromyalgia. I have an MRI scheduled to rule out fractures in my spine, a possible result of my less-than-idyllic childhood. Here’s where think start to feel heavy and uncomfortable. She asks why No-one has done imaging of my spine. I tell her that I’ve spent ten years with no insurance. She asks why I had back pain as a child, and I briefly explain it was very abusive. I do this with my face made of stone, my tone the tone of someone who is used to this conversation and begging to have this over with. She begins to blubber. I know doctors have feelings, but this isn’t the first one who’s cried, and I am uncomfortable being put in a position to think about comforting someone whom I am paying for the time of. That horrible phase of my life, my childhood,has long passed. I left home more than 15 years ago. I rarely cried then, and I don’t often now. I don’t have the time. After what feels like 30 minutes of stilted convo about how badly women are treated and the #metoo movement, we move on to talking about my upcoming Tubal Ligation. She begs my rapidly angry-growing self to “think about it”. What if I realize I’ve mad a mistake after? Is this because of my childhood? I assure her that I have never wanted children. My life-plan involves travel and unencumbered fucking of the man I married for as long as possible without the risk of accidental procreation. She prescribes drugs. the conversation ends.

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It wasn’t until 3 hours later , sitting in my car after running a million errands and realizing how little goddamn time I have in a day, that I began crying out of frustration. Frustration at the American Medical System, at misdiagnosed illness, at the diagnosis itself, and most of all, another persons patronising gall . Frustration at how little time we have for life as adults, and how doctors visits eat up that precious time.

I have “thought about it”. I’m looking forward to not thinking about it. So, on march 23rd, I’m looking forward to starting the first day of the rest of my life unencumbered by the idea of childbirth and pregnancy. So save your tears, Doctor What’syerface, do your job, take my money, and STFU.

Words

I listen to spoken word while I cycle, not music: I feed Podcasts and NPR and books by people who I find too dry or too frivolous to read on paper,into my eardrums. I do this not because I don’t enjoy music, because I prefer spoken-word, but because music tears at my heart in a primordial way. I might tell you I don’t listen to Muse because they were only good for 10 seconds in 2010, or that I hate all music that got radio play between the years of 2006 to 2011, or that there’s a time and place for Major Lazer and it’s not in my ears on my bike, on a hill.

Those are partial truths.

Music hurts. It throbs in my heart. I feel it in my calves and toes.

All of it. It rings through my past and present and spoken word, mostly, doesn’t.

It’s not depression or sadness that causes this, but something else bigger inside of my soul,and while it forces me to create barriers, I wouldn’t change it for any quantity of books.