I can’t live my normal life right now, it makes me angry to think I have to live a worse one, so I’m trying the best I can to live a “different” one.
My favorite ice cream is home made melon, but I also like black cherry, mint, and guanabana.
I’m been having severe abdominal pain in what I guessed is my kidneys, but honestly don’t know yet. The combination of confinement cancelling my return to my summer home, the mystery pain, and increased stress level of my loved ones draining me has showed me I’m a weaker person than I thought.
I saw my doctor, had a blood and urine test, scheduled an ultrasound for the soonest, which is far, so far there isn’t anything indicating clearly what is wrong with me, but that’s not because there isn’t anything.
As a child I had severe allergies that very surprisingly went away last year, asthma, and was generally more unwell than well.
As an adult I had a horrible IBS string of years that runs in my family from my father’s side.
I really struggle to take myself to the doctors at all because they have never helped me get better. I know they help others. But it hasn’t been me, ever before.
My grandmother died on the operating table trying to remove a brain tumor, I was born to be her first grandchild, so she could have her wish come true. My mom was 18 during the pregnancy and 19 when I was born. In my opinion, 19 going on 5 in maturity…
My grandfather payed a lot to the surgeon for the attempt and the resentment seemed to be an additional member of the family the rest of his life.
I had migraines starting at 5 years old, the doctors indicated I was lying for attention, I had stomach aches and hives most my life (from food allergies), the doctors thought I was lying or that I was stressed. I had two doctors treat me as if I was a reasonable human being that had no reason to spend my day lying about symptoms and that was wonderful. But now I have a new doctor because mine retired.
She has done a fine job as far as getting the standard treatment ordered, but she doesn’t suggest what could be wrong while denying what I think may be wrong. It’s hard to seek treatment in the first place, dealing with someone who doesn’t believe you is harder. I think when this is over I’ll find another doctor. I miss my doctor who retired so much because he gave my unconditional professional regard. He couldn’t do a damn thing to treat my allergies, but he read them all, it was the first time anyone had done that. He marveled at the way I would have to live my life with the amount of allergies I had, no one else had ever done that for me. I should take his example more often in dealing with others.
My goal today is to incorporate two really good lists into my new normal.
Tips starting from Nomz’s article include:
1. Protect Your Energy.
2. Don’t Apologize For Who You Are.
3. Take Care of Yourself.
4. Be Patient With Yourself.
5. Your Body Is Not A Reflection of Your Worth.
Thus the backstory about my sickly childhood and the feeling of going to the doctors and not only not getting effective treatment, but being called a liar, being scorned for “wasting” my parents money and the doctor’s time.
Protect Your Energy.
We are often concerned with what other people think of us that we frequently go out of our way not to offend or hurt others at the expense of ourselves. We will speak quitter, shrink ourselves, act submissively, or overly cheerful in order to gain approval we think we need or to avoid conflict.
– Nomz (Messages From Alison Rachel)
Don’t feel guilty about wanting to remove yourself from a situation or the company of people who are draining your energy or putting a strain on you.
One way I’m not doing this is by staying with my new primary doctor who is most likely a great doctor, but not for me. The way she talks makes me feel ridiculed when she doesn’t need my business, it’s a huge area, and I don’t need to choose to see her because there have been doctors in my area that I did click with who are respectful enough to bypass the internal trauma to seeking treatment that I still have. We both don’t need each other, but I didn’t think of stepping on any toes by changing unless I had a “real reason”… Maybe my comfort is a real reason? Maybe I won’t switch, but it’s interesting that I thought I couldn’t, because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. If I stay it should be because it’s working out well for me.
Don’t Apologize For Who You Are.– Nomz (Messages From Alison Rachel)
You are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does not matter. There will be others in this world that you will connect with so deeply it will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Don’t change yourself in order to get other people’s approval and don’t feel the need to apologize for who you are. The right one’s will love and appreciate you just as you are.
One way I haven’t been doing this is because I’ve been sick. When I’m sick I need to do less, but I have an insane drive to do more. My husband has been complaining about my clutter on a desk which should be for art. It’s been very difficult serving 3 meals for our two kids (4 & 1), washing the baby, supervising the shower of the older one, washing diapers, towels and clothes, trying to impart life values into the rules and routines we have, feeding the baby, picking up toys because the eldest will help, but not clean alone, but then I see the table and imagine getting it done too, to show my husband I’m a good mother… but 1. that would be like apologizing for who I am (sick) and 2. he always finds one more thing I haven’t done (ironing the baby’s clothes ext). It would be nice to tell him the ironing isn’t done because he hasn’t done it yet. Yesterday night I threw up all my food undigested in the shower ext and it was as much evidence as I needed to understand why I was tired that day, it’s common the extent others would doubt me, but sad the extent I’ve internalized doubting myself.
Take Care of Yourself.– Nomz (Messages From Alison Rachel)
Self-care comes in many different forms and looks different to all of us. Some care for themselves by being physically active while others care for themselves by doing the opposite and spending the day in bed with a book or a movie. Whether it is eating a nutritious meal or a delicious piece of cake, going for a long run or having a long introspective session of self-assessment, whatever you need to do to take care of yourself… do it.
At this moment I’m having a pain flare up and I have to decide between three anti-inflammatory options ibuprofen which works well, a prescription anti-inflammatory or a tea. It’s hard to stop writing, I’m holding my sleeping baby (or toddler? he passed one year last month) and I don’t like breaking the writing flow… but I should. There a water and an ibuprofen. Just googled it, my son is a toddler now, it’s just a bit sad to me, but if I don’t stop calling him baby I won’t see him for what he is. My babies are gone, lost to aging.
Be Patient With Yourself.
We are all out here just trying to do our best and be our best, but it is impossible not to be scathed by the ups and downs of life. These knocks often leave bruises and scars and make us scared to try again or move forward. It is normal and natural to be cautious and want to protect yourself from pain. However, this self-protection can hold us back from living life fully. To be happy and whole, you need to be patient with yourself.
– Nomz (Messages From Alison Rachel)
I would like to add to this that, I know most of us feel like our lives are stuck because of the Virus but I want to reassure myself and you that this too shall pass and our lives will move forward again.
I can do this today, my blood work is all normal, so despite pain I know I’m not getting kidney scaring that I had been afraid of at first. I saw Warren Buffet giving a classroom speech to high school students asking them to imagine they were going to be given a car that day, any car they wanted, but it would be the only one they ever get. He asked them how would they take care of it knowing if they messed it up they would be stuck with it. So, yes
I had a fear that the pain I’ve had this last month was damaging my body and I still don’t know for sure, but I’m glad that it doesn’t seem that way now. Our bodies are so complicated and complex, I have a high pain tolerance to most pain, but also very sensitive internal organs, so maybe whatever is happening isn’t the biggest crisis, but maybe it’s fine to be patient with myself if I’m in pain, wither or not it’s the worst condition or a mild one. I’m not even asking others to accommodate me, I’m just asking myself, but still it’s hard. There is so much time between when something goes wrong with health and when it is 100% verified and labeled to know if it does of does not warrant social or self pity… I wonder why the hesitation to just be kind to myself without any verification, just on the honor system at least with myself.
Your Body Is Not A Reflection of Your Worth.– Nomz (Messages From Alison Rachel)
We live in a world that highly esteems good looks. The more a person adheres to beauty standards, the more society values them. Since “beauty” is a social construct that varies according to time period and location, it seems bizarre to apply such a standard in the first place, not to mention assigning worth to people based on this ridiculous criteria. This value system disproportionally affects women and trans-feminine people, and although men are also judged based on how they look, they can still easily become highly successful people socially, economically, and politically despite not being considered conventionally good-looking. It is a lot more difficult for everyone else to navigate their way through the world if they do not have “pretty privilege.”
I read a book that explains this further, The Science of Attraction: Flirting, Sex, and How to Engineer Chemistry and Love by Patrick King. I would not have picked out this book, but it was super enlightening as to WHY is it like this (Ie objectification of woman as the status quo standard practice)? Your body shouldn’t be a reflection of your worth, in my opinion, but it totally is a reflection of your social worth. A healthy body is attractive for choosing a life partner who has a good immune system, we are too much physical beings for that to not matter at all, so if it isn’t ethical it goes underground to subconscious thought. Orchestras hired different people when they could see the musician and when they couldn’t, it may be a conscious bias of some, but I think it’s perhaps worse that it’s a subconscious bias of all of us. Even though I think it’s wrong, I objectify my son. He is super handsome, I used to call him handsome all day and all night. Now I try to say “I love you, just the way you are,” or notice something else to say… Also to some extent you care for your body with mindfulness and self love so at least being groomed is something that is your body looking well, but is perhaps a valid standard. When I say groomed I mean as opposed to the mental health cases who have clearly let go of that… I don’t mean a new hair cut, but lack of lice, large tangles, nails growing inwards ext. But having said all that, even if you love your body in a holistic way, it should always be second to or equal to the driver of the car, a car shouldn’t be above it’s driver.
What I can take away from this right now is that even if my physical body is holding me back from greater productivity it doesn’t make me less of a person, Stephen Hawkins will always symbolize that to me.
The next 4 tips are from Thomas’s article: 4 Life Hacks to Thrive during the Covid-19 Pandemic
#1: Now is not the time to fix your relationships.
#2: Now is the best time to start meditating.
#3: Don’t try to be productive.
#4: Be grateful.
#1: Now is not the time to fix your relationships
… but protect and savor them. I know it’s tempting to finally have that talk you’ve been postponing to the time when you both would finally have nothing else to do, but don’t go there. It’s a crisis, life is even harder than usual, and, therefore, we should practice even more (self-)compassion than usual. Like during a zombie apocalypse, we should be grateful for every survivor in our party and just try to get through this alive.– Thomas 4 Life Hacks to Thrive during the Covid-19 Pandemic
100% agree. At the beginning I fantasized about having popcorn with my husband and kids on the sofa in the rain we have been having, watching movies, discussing values. Taking time to do some slow cooking. Turns out my husband is “essential” so he isn’t even home, at all. So… my daughter who is 4 loves going out more than anything in the world, she has already cracked and is mentally throwing make believe birthday parties everyday to try to cope with the lack of parties… When my husband is home, my daughter is horribly behaved (probably from the stress) and I out of anxiety or good parenting am protecting my daughter from my husband (probably from his stress). I’m trying to not judge anyone for this period of our lives and bury any idea of enjoying this time to reconnect six feet under in the back yard.
#2: Now is the best time to start meditating
… because of so many reasons: Can’t leave the house, bored, stressed, anxious, and tired of content and screens? Meditation helps with all of these! You can do it anywhere, it is genuinely interesting, it helps with negative emotions, and it cleans your mental palate. From my own experience, the journey inward is often more fascinating than a journey to a foreign country. Because it’s a land you haven’t even heard of and you don’t know what to expect. I recommend the Waking Up app by Sam Harris. It has great free content and you can unlock all the premium content for free if you just write Sam and tell him you can’t afford a subscription (please don’t abuse this option, though).– Thomas 4 Life Hacks to Thrive during the Covid-19 Pandemic
I’m going to try that meditation app, but I’ll also recommend some meditation I like humorous guided meditation, kid’s guided meditation (I am the pond and loving kindness), ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) meditation with Russ Harris, and radical acceptance meditation. There are also kazien, self leadership, and stoic meditation, so just be aware there are many flavors if you don’t like the first one you try it doesn’t necessarily reflect on the other types, it’s like shoes, meaning best fit varies.
#3: Don’t try to be productive
… because nobody really is in times like these. We all have to adapt to this new situation and we should grant ourselves the time it takes to do that. What’s up with the obsession with productivity anyways? Don’t get me wrong: If you have a job, do it and do it the best you reasonably can. But life is about so much more than work and productivity. Actually enjoy your free time! You don’t gain anything by being instagrammably “productive” or “awesome” in your free time – now more than ever. We’re all going to die and nobody will remember the seemingly enviable projects or activities we pursued (which were pretty petty in the bigger picture anyways). This might sound morbid and depressing, but I think it can be quite liberating and fulfilling. If today was your last day on this earth, how would you enjoy and savor it? A sip of cool, fresh water, a genuine conversation with a friend, a walk in nature (if that’s possible in your area right now). It doesn’t take more than this, if you’re fully there (#2 helps with that, btw).– Thomas 4 Life Hacks to Thrive during the Covid-19 Pandemic
I love this, I felt so guilty for being thrown off at all. Today I unplugged my google home screen so my dad can’t call and it felt amazing. Nothing against him, I just need some time to not have to feel like I have to answer and be polite.
#4: Be grateful
… because no matter who you are: You can. And it’s one of the most sure-fire ways to happiness. The pandemic has taken a lot from us. For many, the best case is that they “only” have to self-quarantine, which already means temporarily being stripped of important freedoms. Others have lost their jobs and may fear for their existence. Again others have lost loved ones and probably couldn’t say good bye or attend their funerals. Once more, we must be especially self-compassionate in times of loss like these. Yet, all of us have so much more to be grateful for than to mourn after. That our bodies work as well as they do. Even with (chronic) illness: It could be so much worse. That we know the people we do. That we have one more breath in this miraculous and deeply fascinating existence of ours. As Epicurus has put so perfectly in one of my favorite quotes of all time: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.”– Thomas 4 Life Hacks to Thrive during the Covid-19 Pandemic
This is the only thing I’ve been doing to cope, being grateful, and it’s been doing a lot for me. It doesn’t give me the mental flexibility of exercise, but it gives my hope and well being and perspective and joy and that’s a lot. I’ve found that happiness doesn’t equal what you have, it equals:
Happiness = (What you Have – What you Want) Multiplied by Gratitude
Really this year has been the best year of my life and I’m grateful for it and for the wonderful authors I can read at any time, the music I can listen to at any time, having enough enough food, being able to access the health care system that usually doesn’t help me, knowing history so I know how good things are right now in comparison, and especially not needing to sell my two kids, because in some places it still happens and where I live it used to happen… today is wonderful, weird, but wonderful.
7 thoughts on “Living a Different Life”
agree with so much of this..its like so many things have been turned upside down.. and i am sure not feeling comfortable with the doctor situation doesn’t help. I hope my upcoming appointment doesn’t get cancelled but it probably will since its just a check up and they are overwhelmed here at the moment. As you have stated there are things we can do differently. It isn’t a good time to “fix” things emotionally in any way, i believe.Better to stick with fixing the house and other externals.I am glad that you still maintain positive attitude! i seem to have lost mine lately…i’m numb and uninspired…ugh
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen “Life of Brian” the satire, but at the end, there is a crucified thief singing “Always look on the bright side of life,” and that’s kind of me, I’m dark and cheerful, bitter and optimistic, since always. I was vomiting in the shower a few days ago at 4 AM, very happy, because I remembered a family friend talking me through the situation of being so drunk you have to choose to either poop or vomit in the toilet, when I was 12 years old. On the other hand, I didn’t enjoy any of my wedding, so it’s quite weird in real life the times that it’s possible or not possible to be happy, but I try not to let any of the small pleasures life throws me go unenjoyed the best I can. 🍒
i love that movie..i only watched it for the first time a few years ago..so much irony..and hilarious!!
Oh sorry to hear about the illnesses. It is not easy. But I also love your list, especially the first one. I hope you can incorporate it into your new normal successfully. As you said, take care of yourself, and be patient with yourself.
Thank you! I was almost embarrassed to write about being sick, knowing many people are much more sick ext, so much so I didn’t write for a whole week, but in the end, it’s just kind of part of being human and something I know where I struggle to accept myself at face value so it does become relevant to the overall idea of self-acceptance. For me unmasking my dark side is marrying the productive and unproductive sides of myself more than a “good” and “evil” sort of cartoon villain… 🎭
I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for sharing these parts of you, you’re a great mother and wife and I hope you never doubt that. I also hope that you feel better soon and stay hopeful. Xo
Thank you so much for inspiring me again, it’s great to be able to do something good (even when you can’t do everything you want) and you have amazing ideas I’ve never thought about before especially when it comes to internal growth and self-reflection. 🌠