Wow, have I had a whirlwind of a few months.
Sitting with Dawn over hot chocolate the other day, I talked about how I feel like myself, finally, for the first time in months. She smiled and said, “That’s the fibro-fog. You were stuck in it.”
Isn’t it always when someone else says something, you suddenly realize you knew it all along?
I started July with two family members in the hospital. I battled with 100F+ temperatures to film and complete True to You 2. September saddled me with carpal tunnel + fibro so bad, I couldn’t use my hands for two weeks. At all. I only got full use of them back in October, and by then, I was so buried by months of being behind, I was digging myself out.
Here’s the thing about fibromyalgia -- it’s always there, in some way, every day. As I type this, I have orthopedic gloves on, a wrist brace on my right hand, and my wrists are on a nice, bead-filled wrist pad for my keyboard. I’ve all but given up on typing on my laptop, and have tried to cut down on IMs, if only so I can save my hands for my 2,000 words a night for NaNoWriMo.
But I’m doing it. I’ve finally dug through all the sludge and come out on top, ready to tackle the world, a little wiser. Here are a few things I’ve learned these past few months:
1. Better safe than sorry. When my hip started to hurt, riding my bike wasn’t the best idea. And I could have spared my wrists if I’d only been kind to them instead of pushing myself.
2. Journal all the time. I couldn’t write for a bit in there, but I could paint with my fingers and cut things out. When in the hospital, I had my journal on my lap to relieve stress (you can see my visitor’s badge from the ER on the cover of my current journal). There is SO MUCH you can do even if you can’t use your hands, or are tired, or are in pain. I am blessed to know so many strong ladies who do art every day with FMS and other chronic conditions.
3. Know it is okay to say you can’t handle things. This is a lesson I’m still trying to learn. Especially with trying to make a living online, and thus having to deliver content and actual items. I dropped the ball with journal orders and prints in the Etsy shop. I am so, so sorry. And don’t say that I don’t need to be, because I do. I need to be more up-front about what’s going on. But always know I am doing my best.
4. I’m thankful. If it weren’t for my FMS and surgery in college, I would have never picked up a pen and started to draw. Or a paintbrush to learn watercolors (simple, simple watercolors!).
I know there isn’t much art-talk in this post, but that’s okay. I’m writing to those of you reading this who can identity with these journal pages. To those who struggle. To those who overcome.
Tomorrow, I’ll broaden my gaze. But tonight, I want to give you all a hug and show you that you don’t have to let your circumstances or illness keep you from creating beauty in the world.