Bone 4: Of arrghs, fears, pains and couches.

Today’s bone, my self expression and writing exploration exercise is brought to you by fear, twinges of pain and really crappy memories.  With a side note of arrgh.

Quite the menu to fulfill.  Mmmm, menus, not so bad as getting lost in a six page menu, though.  Have you ever tried seeing how many dirty things you can come up with in a menu?  Dennys is particularly useful for this.  It all started with “Pam is available upon request.”  And if you don’t get how that leads to fun, dirty sex talk, well, we need to work on your filth quotient.

To argh first or to argh later, that is my question.  Whether tis nobler to tag it on at the end or just spill it all out at the beginning, placenta on that hospital floor, first expression of life all tangled up with death.  Booya.

I have decided, I shall argh.  Suitable warning is wrapped up in the arrgh.  And the arrgh is this:  when I write about a nasty/painful/scary/fearful/depressed/etc moment and I say I’m not doing it for sympathy, I really, truly, honestly mean that I’m not looking for sympathy.  It actually makes me uncomfortable to receive it, cared about, yes, but uncomfortable.  Because I didn’t want it.  I share because it’s healthy to be honest, to be bald and brave and bold and put real feelings out into the world, fuck whether or not they’re positive or negative.  I share because I believe it’s important that we see all of the world.  I share because I want everyone else to realize that it’s okay to feel all these crazy, mixed up, painful emotions.  And that they can be shared without a need to be fixed.  That I can sit with the emotion, give it its own time, its own space, acknowledge its essence and being, without needing to smother it or, gods forbid, “fix it”.

So that is my arrgh, should the universe, or some spark in it, decide to empathize, then low-five friend, just no sympathy.  No insult, no rejection of anyone as a wonderful person, just stating my own needs and boundaries.

Right, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into those freaking emotions.

And I am freaking out.  It’s at this weird, deep, quiet level, but it’s there.  I herniated a disc nearly a year ago, 11 months actually.  And the last two days I realized that I’ve done something bad again.  And in the last week I had an exercise that showed that there is damage in my back due to the herniation which may just be causing other lingering pain and may indicate a degenerative situation.

Degenerative disc, horrible fucking phrase.  Bite my ass, phrase.  I’m going to take you to the good doctor and get some real answers.  But in the meantime I’m phased with the results of my own, in hindsight foolish, choices.

I figure that I have either re-injured the ligaments in my back, have another herniation or both.  I so hope it’s the first.  I’m most fearful that it’s the last.  Mostly because I have this little zip of a pain sliding down my ass into the back of my upper thigh.  That’s nerve shit.

So tonight I lie on my couch, typing awkwardly on my laptop and determinedly not thinking about that which I cannot fix.  I have made what arrangements I can to try and heal faster and solve the problem.  Now I wait.  No, now I lie, prone and lost on my burghundy couch.  It was here for my last time, and it still supports me.

Do you ever think about that?  About how when you sit, the furniture you are on supports you.  It is uncaring but also endless in that support (minus a Three Stooges moment).  It asks for nothing and gives its very essence over to us instead.  Is there anything more selfless than a piece of furniture?

Picking the right couch has always been important to me.  First test is naturally the sitting one, is it comfortable?  But for me this is immediately followed by the lying down test.  I need to be able to rest my head on one end, feet up on the other, and be comfortable.  This eliminates about 80-90% of couches.  After that it becomes a matter of looks and additional features (recliners, for instance).  Even our couches come with extra features these days.  We really are never satisfied with simple and plain, are we?

I want to keep writing, keep tossing my existence onto the whiteness of this screen.  But NaNoWriMo calls my name.  As a potentially contributing factor to my situation (the extra sitting during all the extra typing these past two weeks), I considered being pissy and saying ‘fuck you’ to it.  But then the injury wins.  And that just makes me crazy.  So instead:

Today, today I write!

Bone 3: Peeing

I find it very strange to sit and pee and listen to someone else peeing.  And have them listen to me peeing.

It is an odd form of intimacy.  All alone in my wide stall (I like the one in the corner that’s for wheelchairs, but not for the size but because it has a railing and I got used to using the rail to hold my back brace during the recovery months) with the unmistakable sound of streaming water into a big white bowl keeping me company.

And it isn’t mine.

Creepy!

I admit it.  I want solitude in my physical expulsions.  I want to sit in isolation when eliminating the unused portions of my food.  I want to be alone when I pee or take a shit.

It is just downright weird to me to listen to someone else’s plop plop fizz fizz.

And almost (though not completely) equally weird that the other person is listening to me dribble it out.

It’s not supposed to be that strange, right?  That’s why we have multiple stalls in places?  Mind you, it’s not so bad in say a movie theater where there are plenty of people coming through, plenty of noise to cover the personal sounds.  Or plenty of distance between the stalls.  It removes that intimacy, the closeness, the unavoidable awareness of the pure physicality of another person at their most base level.

And their awareness of me.

Maybe it’s my own animal nature made naked before the other person that really bothers me.  Tomato tomato.  That just doesn’t work the same in writing.

And look how quickly I skip right off that concept.  It’s still there.  The uncomfortableness but hey, I can avoid if I want.  So there.  :P  Ah, the joys of immaturity.  We should never let that go.

In fact, if I’d kept some of that childhood viewpoint I probably wouldn’t be so conscious of shared peeing in the silence of a small bathroom.  Kids never seem to mind.

Ah, to be young again.

~Samantha, a skeleton woman

Setting Quiet Pages Free

Last night that line from the song Ravens in the Library by S.J. Tucker was stuck in my head.  Endless, relentless cycling on four words.  Occasionally a few other would sneak in, but always back to those four words.

Setting quiet pages free.

The full chorus is:

My friend bids me come and see
the ravens in the library
setting quiet pages free.

I want to set my pages free.  I’m afraid they are gone, fluttered out of my insides into nowhere.  Where are my ravens plucking at my insides, ripping out my pages and spitting them out onto the canvas of life before me?

Do I even have ravens?  Gah, no ravens, no pages, nothing to set free, just an empty wasteland stretching wide and pointless inside me.

Not that I’m prone to whining and self-pity.  Oh wait, that’s just what I’ve done.  But it is how I feel.  Empty but for jumbled half-form nothings that clutter and confuse my insides.

Dear Ravens, you are cordially invited to enter in, find my pages and set them free upon the world.  Or at least the screen.

Ravens?  Hello?  Am I getting through?  <thump thump>  Hello?

No answer.  Shit.

Just me and my non-existent pages.  This is going to make my nano words very hard to come by tonight.

I wish I had more to express.  But I am quiet.

And my ravens are napping.

Writing my bones

I’ve been reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.  It goes well with NaNoWriMo imo, getting all inspired and shyte.  I’ve also been going through an existential writing crisis.  Can you even be an author if you don’t go through them periodically?

Tonight, though, is not about the crisis or where or how it might get resolved.

Tonight is writing about one of my bones.  I have at least 206.  And in my soul?  How many does it have?

~~~

I miss cable.  I miss losing myself.  I miss running far and wide away from any dreams I may have.

I miss living life as a dream.

Waking up is not easy.  Bah!  That is the language of fear.  Waking up is brutal, hard, painful, agonizing, exhausting and did I mention hard?

I want my cable.  I want my Big Bang Theory and my—gods, a second show doesn’t even immediately come to mind.  They do now, though, they want to flood my consciousness.  They want to sink back deep into me, my bloody sirens of the modern age, luring me to my psychic death on their shores.

Damn them.  Survivor, I remember you.  And new shows, with witches and fairytales.  Shouldn’t I be watching the fairytale one?  Almost like research.  But who’s fairytale do I really want to live in.  Mine or theirs?  I think theirs is better told.  But then, I have no faith in my writing in this here and this now.

I’m too caught up in the words, in the movement of my fingers on the keyboard and the truth becomes lost to me.

The t.v. mutters in the background.  One movie from my collection plucked out to put its story on the screen.  Not my story, just a story.  Love, death, hate.  All the big ones.  You make me miss cable less.  But you, I must choose you, make the effort, not just have it all served up to me with just a flick of my finger on a button to change channels at the appropriate moment.

It’s gone.  That free for all smorgasbord of programming.  Gone.  The land of endless distraction is closed to me.  And by my own choice.

What was I thinking?

That this would make me free?  Open my mind?  Give me time to seek out more of what I “want”?

Do I even know what I want?  My heart says no.  But wait, a whisper, deep inside, it says that we do know, just need to listen a little harder, a little deeper.  Deep, deep, deep, when do I get to be the light sparkling on the surface of the stream?  I want to be a glittering shimmer of light, effervescent and fluid.

I want
(to be a)
glimmering shimmer of light,
effervescent and
fluid

~Samantha, a Skeleton Woman

Nature Walk: Four Lake Trails

This post could also easily have been called A Plague of Frogs or Spot the Wildlife or the Walk that Became a Hike.

Given that it’s summer and I can move again, I’m endeavouring to get outside and see parts of my local scenery that I haven’t seen for years or ever for that matter.  Yesterday’s walk (ha!  Minimal elevation changes, the website said, minimal elevation changes the park sign said, you know what I say?  HA!  It may not have been up a mountain, but it wasn’t that minimal of an elevation change–of course, the wrong turns didn’t help) or make that hike was the Four Lake Trails hike at Alice Lake.


As I mentioned, I took a wrong turn right off (didn’t even start on the main trail) but that meant I got to see some random little wildlife:

He came out a little blurry, but you get the idea.  Poor thing, almost stepped on him before I realized what I was seeing.  There were a multitude of great trees.  I particularly liked this hand reaching out to grab unwary passerbys:

There were also a couple of exposed root systems from upturned trees that were unusually twisted and knotty.

And pretty much everything was covered in moss.  And yes, that’s why I took this next picture, because of the moss, no other reason at all.

Of course, much smaller things were also interesting.  There were mushrooms galore. Baby mushrooms, strange mushrooms, pretty mushrooms, rotting mushrooms.  I’ll spare you the rotting mushrooms. 🙂

And now it’s time for:  spot the animal!

This one is easy, a handsome woodpecker decided to stick around long enough to have his picture taken.

Yes, that was easy.  But this next one isn’t.  There was a veritable plague of frogs in a couple of places.  When I put my foot down, the ground started moving, skittering away from me in all directions.  I had to look close before realizing that it was a slew of frogs.  So cute!  The frog is pretty much in the centre of the frame.  I swear.

This last ‘can you find’ picture is about stones, not animals.  And a pretty easy one.  There are some stone piles (or cairns or whatever you call them when they’re stacked and balanced on each other).  And there are three of them.  I tried to make it easy for you…

Alas, there is no spider to be found (well, not that I noticed) in this picture, but it was a great spiderweb nonetheless.

For the most part I was enclosed in forest and so lacked much of a view.  But when I came out into a small riverbed

I did get a great view of some unknown mountain.

Despite my extra meanderings (oops!) there was one trail I did not take.  For some reason it didn’t sound appealing…

And then finally I was at the last lake, Stump Lake.

After that it was stumble back to the car, finally get lunch and head home to relax (i.e. lie exhausted on the couch for the rest of the day, I really must remember I’m still recovering and can’t easily do as much as I used to).

Happy summer!
~Samantha

Losing Weight & Eating Anything I Want

Wow, sounds like one of those really annoying ads, doesn’t it?  This post is NOT intended as a weight loss promotion.  Yikes, what a horrid thought.  Nope, just sharing what my experience has been (and I get asked what I’m doing now and again so I’m sharing it here for anyone else who is curious).  Oh, and I just think it’s awesome that I’ve lost weight while still enjoying everything that taste has to offer.

While my actual number loss has slowed (I’ve increased my activity levels so I’m putting back on a bunch of that muscle that I lost, yeeeha!), the changes in my body have not.  I look different, I feel different….and I’m loving it.

But the really fun part is this lifestyle change I made (which at its heart is to be reasonably active and keep track of what I eat with an eye to try and keep the calories at a semi-reduced level to encourage weight loss) makes it possible for me to eat, GUILT FREE, any and all of:

  • chocolate bars
  • potatoe chips
  • fish and chips
  • black forest cake and all kinds of other desserts
  • wine, MEAD and all kinds of other drinks
  • regular starbucks trips
  • and snacking of all kinds of natures

I’ve been to potlucks, restaurants, bbq’s and NOT sat on the sideline eating something “healthy” while everyone else indulged.  Hell, no.  I indulged.

In moderation.

That’s been the key, well, one of three keys.  The first key is that I have stuck religiously to my one and only rule:  I will record everything I eat (I’m using the iPhone app for the My Fitness Pal program).  That’s it.  That’s my one and only MUST DO.

The rest is what I want to do.  I want to lose weight so I choose to keep my calories down.  I want to keep my calories under the 1500 mark so that I’m likely to lose weight. And to do this we come back to key number two:  moderation.

In order to not feel deprived, if something comes up in the moment, and I really want it, I have a small piece of it.  And record it.  And then adjust the rest of my day accordingly.

If I want to have a glass or two of wine in the evening.  I plan my eating for the day appropriately (mind you, I do eat healthy and strongly believe in eating REAL food, not just processed things, I just balance things so that I can sneak in that wine).

I have had anything and everything I’ve wanted.  Some things I got in the moment but in a reduced amount.  And some things I had in full, but just not in the moment I initially wanted it.

Because there is a third key.  And that is, once a month I get to eat whatever I want (though I still tend to track it, but that’s cuz I have compulsive tendencies) and it’s on a fixed day so no emotional picking of the day!  I think that’s very important, actually.  If you give yourself one day a month that you can pick at random and you decide on say Friday that that is going to be your eat anything day, you’ve most likely chosen it based upon emotions rather than reason.  By having it be a fixed day, I can look forward and plan it, but can’t fall into the bad habit of every time I’m emotional and want to eat everything in sight, that it is okay to do so.

So by using these three keys, eating whatever I want but in a planned time, I have lost over 14 pounds and feel far better about my body.  And I’m not stressing about where I want to get to.  I’ve got my pattern of behaviour going, it’s working for me and I’m just going to keep trundling along with it and see where I end up.

And now, I think it’s time for that glass of mead I’ve been planning for all day…

Just keep writing

WIP:  Goth Girl and the Queen Cobra
Words:  ~1000

Many, many long (and frequently unpleasant) moons ago, I made a promise that I would blog each day that I write up until my trip to Mexico.  Well, then I entered the period of my incarceration (the not moving due to herniated disc in back).  And while I did not blog each day that I wrote, I also didn’t write much.  (Sitting and computers for any length of time were not an option).

And my trip to Mexico got delayed for a year since I couldn’t sit on an airplane and the thought of lying around all day was horrific (that was all I was capable of doing for the first three months of this year, and I crawled my way out of that situation very gradually, yuck).

But now I’m working on getting back in the habit.  Getting the writing juices flowing.  Insert any type of familiar metaphor you like into this spot.

It’s not my first day back writing.  But it’s my first really owning up to it.  It’s like getting back on that bicycle.  You may never fully forget how to do it, but boy is it uncomfortable if it’s been a long time.

I feel uncertain and clumsy.  But better that than staring blankly at a screen.

It probably doesn’t help that this new project is in a new style for me.  It’s a fun, dark romp though. And with that, it’s time to close up shop for the night

Happy writing, joyful reading!

~Samantha