Thursday, June 28, 2012

Self-soothing and disability

Self-portrait on my phone. Picture shows me, wtih dark red hair, green glasses, black shirt. Background is a white wall with framed picture of a campus building.
Self-portrait on my phone- newly dyed hair!
Folks, it's been a really rough couple weeks pain-wise.  I've had a couple bad workouts at the pool, I've had trouble walking due to numbness in my legs, and I've been just trying to cope with life as it is right now.  I've given myself a chance to just attempts at going to the pool and swimming for 500 yards if I'm having too many issues.  I'm allowing myself to find movement wherever I find joy, and this sometimes means I play Rock Band on my Xbox for a while (I prefer the drums, but when I can't feel my feet very well, the pedal is hard), sometimes this means I play with the cats with a feather toy or laser pointer.  Sometimes this means I give myself a chance to just rest and meditate.

It's hard, this not-doing physical activity thing.  Even when I'm doing things I'm not particularly good at (for example, this used to be running, back when I could run), I'm still happy in the movement.  I like to be dancing, wandering, wiggling, expressing....just moving.  My body isn't cooperating and it's hard to cope.

So I've been coping through traditionally feminine venues, which for me is pretty unusual.  For example, I've been dyeing my hair since I was fifteen, but didn't start having a salon do it until this year.  My initial motivation for getting it professionally done was that I couldn't stand long enough or bend over the sink for the time needed to dye my hair at home.  I would also miss sections of my hair either due to pain-related attention issues or medication-related cognitive issues.  Since I love having red hair (versus my natural color that I call "rodent" and other people call "mousy brown"), I've decided to wiggle the room in my budget to get it done.

It's become a time for me to have someone pay attention to my body for reasons other than health problems or pain.  It's become a time where I have someone there to help accentuate the beauty in my round cheeks, my full lips, and my penchant for funky glasses.  No one at the salon pressures me to buy makeup (something that I'm pretty bad at doing, partially because of being blind in one eye).  No one pressures me to get my hair cut in a way that would take a lot of maintenance (something that I warned my stylist about...I'm not good at doing my hair, and with my pain, work, & school schedule, it's just not I just don't like doing it).  They make me feel good as I am.

Maybe that money would be better placed in something else (maybe a housekeeper or a PCA?), but being able to do this helps keep me in the mental space where I can keep working and can keep pursuing my PhD.  Sometimes it's the little things that keep us going.

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