April 30, 2012

Hey you.

It’s been a minute.

This is probably the longest I’ve gone without posting since I started ze blog, and I’m not here to make excuses. I’m here to tell a story.

Two Fridays ago my life went from daily routine, work as usual, don’t mind me to what? I have to take a week off of work for medical testing? And surgery? What just happened here? The days prior to said surgery were busy, hustling from appointment to appointment within the same square block of medical buildings. In each waiting room, I was mentally constructing a post-op to-do list (because I am forever doing, and things like ‘surgery’ don’t register “serious” so much as inconvenient). By the time Thursday rolled around, I had a legal pad page full of to-dos once I got home from what was supposed to be an early morning day-surgery lasting a mere few hours.

But then we spent the entire day at the hospital, and I wasn’t released until almost midnight. And my father helped me to bed like a fragile two year old that completely lacked motor skills (a strange experience, indeed).

Before I go any further, let me just say that the surgery itself was not a serious one, so there’s no cause for panic or concern. It was outpatient (though I hadn’t bargained on spending the entire day there) and things are fine. Just sore and tired and uncomfortable and if you’ve ever been under the knife you know what I mean.

But enough about that.

Friday I woke up, my usual energy replaced with this painstakingly slow-motion version of myself who could barely make it downstairs to the couch, balancing a pile of pillows. My mammoth to-do list lying on the coffee table upstairs in my room, a vague memory.
For awhile, that was fine. I was awake most of the day, ate a little, napped a bit. Moving was painful, yes, but not required so I couldn’t complain. The doer in me nagged quietly in some dark corner of my brain that still hadn’t recovered from the anesthesia. I had my laptop, I lounged. I breathed. It was enough. Sort of. 

As my father helped me back up the stairs Friday night, I remembered my list and how I’d blatantly spent a day “doing” nothing. I’ll worry about it in the morning, I thought, unconcerned. I’m allowed a day off, I’m giving myself grace. My body is undergoing a major healing process. Grace, I thought. Yes, grace. Tomorrow I’ll get going. There’s plenty can be done from a reclined position on the couch. Plenty. Tomorrow.

Tomorrow came, and things did get done. I hobbled around doing chores, baking, pushing myself further than I should have. Making sure things around the house were running smoothly in typical Saturday fashion. But the list went untouched, and the Slow Down banner on my wall unheeded.  I reassured myself that this was still grace, that I was giving myself some physically demanded time off…right? The doer nagged, louder now, from a less cobwebby place in my cranium. Grace, I retorted. There’s time enough tomorrow.

By day three the doer was agitated. Why are you not reading? Why are you not watching? Why are you not making? Writing? Planning ahead? The doer was much louder now, infiltrating my every thought, stress and negativity bearing down as the hours passed. And I realized...giving myself grace had become an excuse for laziness. There’s been a lot of “JESSICA YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE UP. LAY DOWN/STOP MOVING!”  but you have to understand, I’m one of those people that has trouble stomaching a “wasted” day (or realizing that there is no such thing as wasted time- it's all a matter of perspective), laying around, or feeling unproductive. Maybe this means I’ve yet to truly embrace the beauty of slowing down, being patient, giving myself grace, indulging in small moments of self-care. That was my mission statement when I started this blog, to learn and grow and cultivate those things. But I don’t come by those things easily, and my post-op List of Things To Do That Don’t Require Much Movement is just one example of that. In the face of monumental change, uncomfortable news, fear, doubt, insecurity…I create. The fact that it is day four since the operation (a
routine-breaking but overall minimal procedure) and I’ve yet to do something personally worthwhile? Well, that’s a problem.

One that I went to bed with last night, and woke up refreshed this morning to do something about. The healing process isn’t just a physical one delegated by time. In this case, sure, it may be a vital component, but for the doer in me with a desire to create, always create, making is part of that process. No, I cannot go around town taking photos or throw together a fancy DIY or work on a dress that needs to be sewn up (or go to the Say Anything show last Friday, which I was really upset about). I can’t even drive just yet. But I CAN write, I CAN brainstorm, I can sketch, I can plan, paint, crochet, work on my art journal, read, watch a movie, have a meaningful conversation, be inspired, and love with my whole heart, and enjoy this time of rest, propped up on my little corner of the couch.

I’m sharing this with you because when I can’t hold myself accountable, putting these words on public display does the trick. Yes, my body is recovering, but my mind and soul need more creative therapy and less excuses. I’m not attempting a marathon here. I’m not going to overly stress my body; I’m (acutely) aware of my current physical limitations. But today is for creating, and that’s my focus for the rest of this recovery process.  

What gets you through a difficult time? Do you create, find security in community with others, go back to a favorite book or photo album? What keeps you inspired in a dry spell? I'd love to hear your thoughts! I’ve missed you lovelies, and I hope you’re having a beautiful Monday!

PS tomorrow is May?! Slow your roll, 2012!

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You're so sweet (: Thanks friend!


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