(by meridith, about 6 weeks ago, and the curator of this blog is just now getting around to posting it, and she publicly apologizes)
I should start with a disclaimer: those with a low tolerance of whining need not read on. Normally i try and have a pretty good perspective, the half-full type. Not the sickeningly sweet, annoying kind, but a pretty even keeled positive outlook. But, I am not feeling normal: not mentally, not physically, not emotionally. Three weeks ago I stepped on a broken glass, requiring 17 stitches, surgical boot and crutches. The first week of recovery was fine with plenty of well wishes (and wine) from friends and an overall feeling of "it isn't SO bad". By day ten, the novelty of crutches had completely warn off and I was antsy from not being able to exercise and, in particular, do yoga. Day 12 rolled around, got my stitches out and once again began looking forward to being able to do all my normal activities.
*a quick aside to say that I live in northern MI where we torture ourselves by living in the cold nine months of the year so we can bask in the delights of summers by the water. Water that I cannot swim in because I don't want to risk a skin infection (the medication I was on to prevent such an infection made me incredibly ill)
If you are rolling your eyes at this point, well, you were warned. So, for a few days it seemed calm, manageable. Then, the storm. I have MS. The Summer has been exceptionally warm and the heat triggers my flare ups. So, the day after I had my stitches out and was back to being positive I awoke with a numb, painful leg. It's hard to describe being simultaneously numb and in pain and I don't really feel like trying. But, my leg was painfully numb and felt like it was on fire. Then my lip was numb. Then my lower back. I just want to punch someone, shake them and ask "what am I doing wrong?". I try so hard to take care of myself: I eat well, get a good amount of rest, exercise etc. Yet, my body seems to be constantly at war with itself. Why can't we all just get along? I have a really mature way of coming to this conclusion: fuck it. I give up on trying to eat well and have cookie dough for dinner instead of vegetables, vodka tonics instead of water. This inevitably makes everything worse and I only end up questioning my motives. I just feel so torn between positive and negative, happy and depressed. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground. When I feel "well" I enjoy every moment, trying to squeeze everything into the days where I am not collapsed on the bed exhausted. But then I just run myself ragged and end up feeling crummy. And I get so damn tired of explaining why I can't do things, saying that I'm tired, making excuses when all I want is to feel "normal". Every time I complain to friends I end up feeling guilty when they give sympathy. I feel isolated. Tired. Miserable.
I realize how much I miss yoga. How it really isn't about the flexibility or great feeling of finally "getting" a posture, making it into a headstand. It's the only time I have to focus on myself. I don't have to take care of any kids, go to any meetings, answer emails or phone calls. All I have to do is breathe. I could lie on the floor for ninety minutes just breathing and no one would care. No one would ask me to do more. No one would ask why I wasn't working harder or not feeling well. It's the only place where I can really be me. I can cry and laugh without reason. Those minutes are so liberating and they feed me. They make me a more patient, kind person. The kind you want to be around. The kind that has a good perspective in the midst of turmoil. The kind of person who doesn't throw in the towel when life gets hard and can take sympathy without feeling like a failure or a burden.
I'm finally able to do yoga again (as of yesterday)! I was amazed and humbled by a new perspective and gratitude for my yoga practice. I was able to approach the sixty minute class with joy and gratitude and not worry about if I would still be able to touch my toes. As my sweet dear friend (and yoga inspiration) Liz would say, "the hard part is showing up, now all you have to do is breathe". And, of course, I cried at the end of class. I was so happy to be back on my mat, able to surrender to myself and give in on trying to fix everything. I left in a great mood, feeling blessed to have the opportunity to be in that space, blessed to have such wonderful people in my life who support me even when I am being impossible.
I love all of you.