Out of Mourning, a New Resolve

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I am sorry that this smile is gone.

My beautiful, young, full of life cousin just passed away in her sleep. Ashley was nine years younger than I am. She passed away at thirty-three due to complications with her ongoing lung disease. She will be missed by so many. I really admired her spirit and determination. See Ashley has had lung problems all her life. She spent so many days and nights in the hospital being watched over by her poor Mom and Dad who worried constantly. She was a slight little thing as a kid and grew into a rebellious youngster. All of us are rebellious at one point but when you have bad lungs smoking and drinking are even worse. Luckily this time was short. She pulled it out quickly and then focused on her health. Ashley died being a wife, a devoted step-mom who undeniably adored her charge, a spitfire (crazy smart opinionated women run in my family) and amazingly a weight lifter.

It would have been so easy for Ashley to ruminate on the fact that she was born with a set of defective lungs. She could have sulked and stayed in bed, but she rallied and built a full life for herself. Not only that but she built her body up. She worked out steadily and ate well. She built up a business. To see her do all that with the body she was given, makes me feel inspired to do the same.

The past two weeks I have been requiring myself to do yoga absolutely every day. You know that hashtag #yogaeverydamnday? I haven’t really understood that because I feel like it has a negative connotation and yoga has always been enjoyable to me. This past two weeks I have been understanding it. There are days when I have had to crawl to my yoga mat and start by laying on the floor to stretch lightly. I slowly loosen my creaky muscles until I can move without pain. Then I move on to stretches that require all my muscles. It has become a requirement for all of my days. If I don’t do it then I will be in pain all day.

I think that it would be easier sometimes to just stay in bed. I have spent many days this year in bed with the pain and I am sick of it. I hope the ritual I have adopted will keep my out of bed for the foreseeable future. I haven’t tested this theory during my dark days when Aunt Irma visits, but I guess we will see. My physical therapy is working and I am so happy about it.

I think this new resolve is coming from a place of remorse for how much I have let my body sort of fend for itself against my vices.

Perhaps I can take up her mantle of good health. Maybe someday I can be someone people look at and say Hey, she had all that pain but she still put her health first. I hope so. I just have to keep making that uncomfortable walk/crawl to the mat every morning. If I can build on that. I might be able to follow her example.

I Took a Mental Vacation

These are all the books I've been reading. I apologize for the blurry pictures in this post. Perhaps I was bliss-ed out.
These are all the books I’ve been reading. I apologize for the blurry pictures in this post. Perhaps I was bliss-ed out.

I was researching endometriosis for so many days that my brain was mush. I have been looking into treatments, diet, and herbal medicine. I was stressed at all the conflicting information and burnt out. I hadn’t written for fun in a while or done anything fun for weeks. So I decided I really needed to clear my mind so that I could think of something else besides that week every month I am in monster pain.

I arranged to meet with a good friend to write on Friday. It was a lovely morning at a coffee shop in Rittenhouse square called Elixir. We had a quiet table by the window but there wasn’t a plug in nearby so I got inspired by my writing partner Alice who writes in a journal and free wrote for a while. It was such a relief. I just sort of pushed out all the gunk that had been eating my brain. It was like my pen was shouting out word salad for thirty minutes. I tried to turn it into a poem. The process brought me so much joy because I hadn’t written only to enjoy the process of writing for what seems like a kazillian years. (Lately I have felt a pressure to only write what could someday bring in money.) This indulgence really seemed to liberate my mind.

The chaos in my head
The chaos in my head

Afterwards I worked on fiction and then we decided it was time for lunch. My friend and I then talked and leisurely walked over to a restaurant called Cosi. The walk there was so relaxing like all those scenes on TV when people walk and talk in the big city. I concentrated on being in the moment, listening to my companion and taking in the scenery.  At Cosi I had some delicious tomato soup and a Caprese type sandwich, talked, and people watched for a couple hours.

The weather was so nice, perfectly cool, and the corner wasn’t that busy. It was just calm and languid. I didn’t have a care in the world except for the interesting conversation with my dining companion about pain, loss, abuse, humanity and whether or not it could get better…you know the light stuff -leisurely lunch conversation. My mind was totally engrossed and delightfully challenged. I walked home in love with life and had forgotten all about my health problems momentarily.

When I got home I was so relaxed I wrote some more. I wrote two more chapters, cleaned my kitchen, and made a kick as vegetarian meal for dinner.

I was more productive and creative that day than I have been for months which made me realize I need more fun and less worry. I have been researching, writing, cooking, researching, cleaning, cooking…etc. for weeks now. I have decided to do something indulgent at least once every day this weekend. Luckily hubby got a free pass to a video game he wanted to play. So Saturday while he was tethered to the computer with his headset I took a long leisurely hot bath with some new bubbles Brad bought me. I went all in lighting candles and listening to the yoga channel on Pandora. I was in my bathtub for two hours reading blogs and meditating.

Don't tell Mom I posed for this
Don’t tell Mom I posed for this

Sunday I took a couple of hours to lie in bed, read magazines, and listen to my AC/DC channel on Pandora. It was bliss. I like the dichotomy of listening to Korn, Marilyn Manson, and AC/DC while looking at rustic décor in Country Living, or how to decorate pumpkins in the Martha Steward magazine. While bed dancing and singing at the top of my lungs, I read interviews with starlets and perused pictures in Coastal Living, Elle Décor and National Geographic.  I finished the evening doing yoga and cuddling with my very cute husband. BLISS!!!

Basically I gave myself a sorely needed mental palate cleanser. Today I am back at work, researching vegetarian recipes, looking up PCOS and Endometriosis, and writing with even more gusto than before. Except now, I am enjoying the process because I have less weight on my brain.

What I really love and am super proud of is that even though I have been frazzled and stressed, I figured out a way to work past it without a Domino’s pizza chaser. All week I have been eating fruit and veggie heavy, and no junk food. I worked through my sadness by indulging another way.

Elixir has a Chapbook dispenser! Isn't that fun!
Elixir has a Chapbook vending machine! Isn’t that fun!