‘Twas horrible to think
that she suffered
an unspeakable childhood.
Every day they reopened
the contentions –
that she could not
Mischief and dread
became more likely
than right and wrong –
causing heads to hit
hard against circumstances
almost as good
as she once was.
(Blackout poetry created from a page of “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens)
It is strange how negative words can stay with us for a lifetime and hurt long after they are spoken. Today, I was reminded of a conversation I had way back in middle school. My friends and I were having a conversation about birth order statistics and how the oldest is often the smartest and most responsible in the family – which apparently was the case in all their families.
I mentioned how that hadn’t really happened in my family as I was the youngest and yet I was the one in the gifted program, the one who got straight A’s, and the one who was least likely to break the rules. My sister was very smart in her own ways, but not overly academic or intellectual.
One of my friends (or more likely a frenemy) replied, “Well, maybe your sister is the pretty one then.”
Before I could digest this insult or respond, one of my other friends chimed in assuring the group that my sister was no looker either, which made everyone laugh. I didn’t let on that I felt anything, but inside I was crushed. I felt ugly and I also felt bad that my friends had insulted and made fun of my sister.
To this day, remembering this conversation makes me feel ugly, plain, and rejected. I wish my friends had been more careful with their words.
While I was painting this acrylic picture last night, trying to capture the burgeoning depression I could feel weighing on me, the REM song Shiny Happy People came on the satellite channel I was listening to. I felt that song perfectly captured how I was feeling, as I always felt it was a rather tongue-in-cheek, mockery of a song. I decided to name the artwork after the song, so here is my version of Shiny Happy People:
Check out all my art currently for sale on my ebay store.
That headline isn’t exaggerating. I had a horrible dental cleaning experience yesterday. Now to be fair, my teeth are extremely sensitive, just like everything else on my body (thanks autism), so cleanings are never fun for me anyhow. There are always at least a few painful nerves hit during the process.
However, yesterday the lady who regularly cleans my teeth was on maternity leave so I had a new lady who was incredibly slow, annoying, and seemed to manage to hit about every nerve on every tooth, at least on the front ones. I can’t recall the number of times I flinched from the pain. At least a couple times I teared up. I was starting to wish I was having a filling instead, because at least then I would be numbed up some.
I feel bad calling the lady annoying, but to be frankly honest, she was. She was one of those people who just talks and talks and talks, which drives me crazy. It was especially hard not to be annoyed when I was already having a bad experience. A few minutes into the cleaning I was tempted to get up and say “I’m sorry, but I just can’t do this today”, and reschedule for when my normal person gets back. I managed to tough it out though. Glad it is over and my regular cleaner should be back before my next cleaning!
I’ve been feeling rather sad and isolated the last few days. I think a lot of it comes from the stress of dealing with chronic illness and chronic pain. Anyone who has chronic illness is probably familiar with spoon theory, an illustrative way to describe why you have to choose carefully how to use your energy to do things when you have very limited physical ability.
In other words, sometimes you have to choose whether you would like to go out and socialize for a short period of time, spend that energy getting some much-needed housework done, work on a hobby or personal interest, or even simply take a shower…because you just don’t have the energy and the physical ability to do them all within the same day like a healthy person could.
Most of the time I end up choosing to spend my “energy” and limited abilities to either spend time with my husband, work on my art/writing/blogging, or take care of personal hygiene or light housework. Prioritizing these things leaves no extra energy or time to socialize on a wider scale or do much outside of the house, other than maybe occasionally going out for dinner or doing a little necessary shopping. Even the thought of going to a movie is often too exhausting to contemplate.
All of this makes me sad, especially when I remember how I used to enjoy so many other things I can’t do any longer. I used to love hiking, playing tennis, roller skating, bowling, dancing, working, swimming, being a foster parent, and going out to various activities with people I know or share interests with. I’ve pretty much lost all of that for good. And that is depressing.
I’m a paper doll
with third degree burns.
Dress me up,
make me pretty,
and please, simply ignore
all the raw, peeling flesh
falling onto the floor.
(Poetry by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)
I’m still struggling with bad neck pain. Yesterday it felt a little bit better, so I figured I would try to get out of the house for the first time in a while (other than ER visits). Unfortunately, once I got in the car, the vibrations from the car itself and the movement from driving kicked the pain back into high gear. I did at least make it to Wendy’s so my husband and I could get some dinner, but then it was straight back home because I was in too much pain to do anything else.
Honestly, after two weeks of these headaches and severe neck pain, I’m starting to worry this might be a long-term problem, just like my right shoulder blade and the arches of my feet. I’ve been incredibly depressed the last few days, partly because of the pain itself, partly because I can’t do much of anything, and lastly because I worry if my body continues to deteriorate at the rate it seems to be going, I may eventually become completely home-bound. I believe that all these chronic pain issues are mostly related to my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which sucks even more because there is no cure for connective tissue disorders 😦
I came across these “Twittering Tales” writing prompts yesterday and thought it looked like a lot of fun. The challenge is to take a photo prompt and write a short story, poem, or whatever comes to mind, but you have to keep it under 280 characters, just like a tweet on Twitter. I decided to go ahead and write a twittering tale for last week’s prompt as well as this week’s prompt.
Here is the one I came up with for last week’s prompt (photo from Pixabay):
Hearts and stars. Hearts and stars. Simple shapes that any preschool child could identify, but symbolic of so much more.
The heart…love, obsession, passion, heartwarming, heartbreaking, blood pumping.
The star…cosmic, mysticism, alchemy, popularity, holidays, holy days.
And here is the second prompt (photo also from Pixabay). This one took a bit of a dark turn, but it was what came to mind for some reason:
It starts with one word:
Helium. A harmless word? Parties. Balloons floating around the room. Rough, gruff voices becoming chipmunk squeaks.
Or do you picture tragedy? Helium tanks hooked up to hoses. Bodies lying still with bags over their heads. Voluntary euthanasia. The end.
Let me know if you guys enjoyed these. Maybe I’ll do more!
I wish you could see
the spectre of depression
haunting my days…
dragging his knuckles
through the miry muck
and leaving a trail
of icy numbness behind.
(Poetry by Maranda Russell, marandarussell.com)