Two months ago, a knot developed in my right lower back, just above my glutes. There it has stayed in spite of massages, heating pads, and stretching. Bending over both hurts and is a bit dangerous, so I’ve stopped doing it. Dropped things remain dropped until Neal retrieves them.

Portrait of the artist after getting her own breakfast plate.

I am a mess.

There is shit all over my house. Each room has two to four items on the floor — discarded clothes, a rogue noodle, an eyebrow comb, a tampon that leapt from its cabinet like a story from the “It happened to me!” section of YM magazine, etc. As I type, I wear a bra attached by a single hook (which took four attempts). I pulled my hoodie on backwards initially, leaving me briefly blind and disoriented.
My legs ache. It’s a soft ache, humming along my IT bands and pulsing quietly in my calves and ass. I’m no stranger to MS-related discomfort, but I’m not used to hurting. Walking is awkwarder than usual with the added bonus that sometimes the aforementioned knot will shout “WHAT ABOUT ME!” inspiring a wince and a need to brace myself on whatever is nearby.
Do you know that I started a new job at the beginning of October? I work from home *and* part-time. It’s magical, freeing me to both make and attend daytime appointments without worrying about nearby cubicle dwellers wondering why I disappear for hours or keep whispering about Botox injections into my phone. This is nice since I have made FIFTEEN calls over the past two months trying to get approval for bladder Botox. I recently was told we’re “very close.”

A disadvantage to working from home is realizing just how horrible the stairs in your charming row house are as you haul your uncooperative body up and down them throughout the day.

An advantage to working from home is randomly bursting into tears without scrutiny, which I have done frequently of late.

I am in a trough, friends; it’s a sort of mini-depression inspired by circumstance. I have at least ten ideas about how to improve my lot, from meditating to eating less meat to alternating cardio and strength training to reading more. What do I do instead? Play gin rummy on my phone while listening to podcasts.

Please remember that image next time you think of me as an inspiration. Sometimes I’m strong and brave. These days I’m more likely collapsed on the couch kicking myself for being undercut with a matching Ace.

P.S. I edited this the following day with a properly fastened bra. Perhaps things are looking up?

4 thoughts on “A View from the Trough: In Which I Contradict the Notion That I Am an Inspiration

  1. Ahh – \”things\” are looking up, including breasts once the bra is properly attached. Assuming you are using a front attaching bra? In the grand scheme of things, please don't be so hard on yourself: we're sure that you are an inspiration to MANY and your writing is wonderful! Good luck with your new job. Lovenhugs, Momma J and Poppa J


  2. If it helps (it will not help), know that I've never thought of you as an inspiration.Shut up, let me explain.I used to think of people who cope with varying challenges in that admiring way–my uncle Chris, who suffered from (gasp) MS, was one of my earliest targets–people that you think of as cool and funny and (always) oh so brave and strong–people that \”go through SO MUCH\” and \”are SO amazing\” and blah blah blah you've heard variations on this forever.But–and I want to be clear, here, this is just how I think, there are ABSOLUTELY people who legitimately admire you and I don't want to suggest that they share my many (MANY) flaws of character/temperament–I gradually found that the more I admired someone challenged, the less I was able to, you know, hang out with them. Because I couldn't think of them–and feel about them–anything that didn't jibe with \”SO amazing, SO brave.\” Which–that's not the majority of your day, is it? The majority of your day is A. normal, boring stuff that everyone does, and B. stuff that only you have to do but it's not terribly interesting, and C. sleep. Only in distant 4th is D. stuff that used to be simple but is no longer and which you now handle as best you can. Only a lot of the time, you DON'T handle it as best you can. A lot of the time, you half-ass it. Or fail, and quit. Or just don't bother to try. Because you're a goddamned human being, not an automaton of noble purpose and swelling background music. You're a person. And persons generally suck as much as they can get away with, and lie about it afterwards, and that's just what being a person is. And the people we love are just as prone to doing that–hell, the reason we love them is usually because we suck in compatible ways. But I couldn't think that way about people I was supposed to admire, dammit. And so the admiration became a barrier for me–and worse, it was depersonalizing for me. (Again: for ME. Not others. This isn't about them, good people that they are.) It made the person I admired limited to a meaning that was entirely about their challenges, and not the thousands of other aspects of personality and habit that were what drew me to that person in the first place.Or, to put it more simply:Admiration kills quirks. It smooths out all the stuff that's incompatible with admiration. And I love that stuff.So, look, everyone gets to relate to you however they want, provided it's respectful. Me? I just LIKE you. And I figure you're as capable of sucking at your life as anyone else. Which is good. Because stuff you suck at, makes for the BEST STORIES.


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