Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View)

http://www.nyhabitat.com (photo NY-14516D71)

 

I live in New York State, currently in one of the 5 boroughs, less than 10 miles from Manhattan.  Until I became ill and had to move out of Manhattan, I lived in NYC for 20 years, in the same apartment building.

Manhattan was great when you are able to walk around, take public transportation and have enough money to order in meals. But once I became confined to my apartment because of my illness, Manhattan became a horrible place to live.

Parking was a nightmare and none of my friends or family  could come visit me during the day, even on weekends it was difficult. I was a prisoner in my apartment, when I lived in the busiest city in the country, the city that never sleeps.  I sat in my apartment day after day,  looking out my window, seeing the world pass me by, as I tried to figure out what my illness was.

If I had to leave the apartment, I would count the steps required to walk up the block to the bus stop and then would picture in my mind how many steps were required to get to the doctors office that I needed to get to on that particular day.  My social life consisted of doctor visits and occasional phone calls when I had the energy.

My living room became my solace and I can still picture every last inch of it.  It’s etched in my mind and I loved being in that room.  I had lived in my apartment prior to my marriage and then remained there after my divorce.  Once my divorce was finalized, I redecorated the place so that I would have a fresh start.  I love to decorate and to pick out colors.  I don’t look at this process as work, or as a chore, like so many people do.  I was enjoying this process and everything I choice, I loved.

So if I could be transported back to one place, I would love to be able to go back to my old apartment in NYC and be healthy and once again enjoy what Manhattan has to offer.  I would visit the WTC Museum and have lunch at my favorite neighborhood place, which served the best grilled chicken salad, with hearts of palm and roasted artichokes.  Then I would walk cross town and go see the Broadway play Aladdin.

I probably wouldn’t have wanted to live in Manhattan forever, but I would have wanted to leave on my own terms and not be forced to leave because I became ill, went on disability and got fired from a company where I worked for 15 years at a job I absolutely loved.

Advertisements

Women Power & Purpose

womenpower

 

We have just passed the sad anniversary of when I went out on Disability.  I have been thinking about the 4 years since that happened and what has occurred in my life.  And what has stood out to me, has been the stand out and stand up Women I have met in this time.  I have met 4 women, through the course of my new journey that are Powerful, Grateful, Kind and Loving all in different ways, but all in ways that reach out to you.

3 of these women, I am proud to call my friend.  The 4th is a recent addition to my world, but she is unlike anybody I have ever met, as she is a Nun, who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist.  I went for a massage yesterday and also received a blessing as she prays at the beginning and end of the session.  I am not religious and not even Catholic, but yesterday I felt the presence of God during the session.  I so wish this woman was my grandmother, as she has spunk beyond her years and a twinkle in her eye.

All these women have their own life stories to tell, filled with their own trials and tribulations, yet all show up every single day with a welcoming smile on their face and are just grateful to be here another day.  Another one of these woman is a Reiki Healer and being with her is like transcending time.  When you are with her, an inexplicable peace just fills your body and you feel calm and relaxed.  There is an energy emitted by this woman and it too envelopes you beyond which any words can describe.

The last 2 women, are either struggling with their own illness, or the illness of a close loved one, yet they are grateful and appreciative for everything good thing in their life and try not to dwell or drown with the bad part.

I am so eternally grateful that my illness has brought these 4 Amazing Women to me.  They are role models and mentors in many ways and I hope they all know how much their friendship means to me.  I think about how they struggle, yet always sound cheery when we speak and never complain about these troubles, just talk about them as part of their life.

When you are struggling with a chronic illness or dealing with a chronic illness the illness creates your “new normal”, in such that now it is part of your new life and going back to your old life is not even possible.  Right now all I can do is accept my “new normal” and be thankful that I have these “new friends” to share them with.

 

Anger

holdingontoanger

 

Today it was pointed out to me by someone who’s opinion I trust and respect, that I very rarely get angry.   This wasn’t the first time this was pointed out to me and I wanted to explore this further.   I said anger is an emotion I am not comfortable with.  I hate the emotion when it is displayed in others and especially when it’s directed at me.  I try very hard to live and act a certain way, so as not to hurt or anger anyone.  My intent is always pure and I expect others to act the same way.

But is it healthy not to get angry?  Can’t I be pure and good and nice and still display anger.  Am I harming myself  by not getting angry when it is warranted?  Shouldn’t I be angry that I am chronically ill and have no idea when (or if) I will ever return to health?  Shouldn’t I be angry that I had to stop working and go on disability?  Shouldn’t I be angry that I had to sell my co-op that I owned for 20 years and move to a neighborhood near my mom and sister, so that I had a support system near by.  Shouldn’t I be angry that I have been removed from society for 5 years and not able to move on with my live?

When I read this, I’m thinking of course I should be angry, but I’m not.  Or is this anger so suppressed  and buried deep within me, that it is keeping me ill and I don’t even know it.  It would be a lie to say that my life and my health haven’t changed for the worse, but I think I am making the best of a difficult situation and I just don’t see how being angry that this happened to me is of any use.

I grieved for the loss of my pre-illness life, as I would a loved one.  In fact, I was going through this period of mourning my old life, when my dad past, so I grieved for them both at the same time.  Just as I deeply miss my dad, I deeply miss the life I had, but as time moves on and you become more removed from the past, the new normal is your reality.  While I remember and have flashbacks of my dad when I see a mailman on the street (as that was his occupation), or when I have to parallel park (as he taught me how to expertly do that), I also have flashbacks and pangs of sadness when I think back to my working and dating days.  But not anger, never anger or rage.

I’m starting to wonder if this is normal.  I never really thought about it before like this.  What good is constantly reliving the past in our minds, it only holds us back from moving forward.  I have so many physical constraints, I don’t want to think that my mind is causing me to prolong my illness and recovery.

I strongly believe that a very important component of me getting well and feeling better is adapting to my new reality.  Even though my life is difficult, very difficult at times, I still have an inner peace that sustains me and helps me go on each day.   There are days when I feel useless and not productive, but I never feel like my life is without value or worth.

My particular chronic illness is an extremely physically draining one, but I would be foolish to think that it isn’t emotionally draining too.  The more I adapt to my current surroundings and my new limits, the happier I feel I will be.  I am very thankful, that before I became ill, I was a very resilient, easy going individual and this resilience has served me well.  I also am thankful that I have a social support system that is available to me when I speak up and ask for help.

So as suggested to me, for the next 30 days, I am going to keep a diary of situations that occur and my response to them and see if anger is warranted in any of the situations when I review the day in my diary.  I am hoping I don’t have too many entries!

 

Where have I been hiding??

hiding

 

I haven’t posted in a while, but have been lurking in the backgrounds reading post of the bloggers I follow, but I’ve been feeling very uninspired.  I also  haven’t been participating in any of my on line support groups and I have been wondering why I have shifted my focus away from these communities.  Instead, I have been reaching out to certain individuals from my past that I miss and that I really want to reconnect with.

For the past 5 years, I haven’t cared or thought much about these individuals.  They really, in my opinion, abandoned me when I became ill and when my illness became a problem for them.  So why now am I reaching out.  I’m not sure.  Is it because I am trying to reconstruct my old life (which I know I can’t do), is it because I need to let them know how they have hurt me in order to move forward or is it because I miss human interaction with people.  Not just any people, but people that I have fond memories of.

I’ve heard a million times that time heals all wounds and maybe the hurts I felt are diminishing and I am ready to see these people again and discuss how their actions have hurt me.  I am trying to arrange to see one person in particular within the next week or so and this will be a big meeting for me.  I wonder how I will act and if when I see this person, will all the hurt I’ve been carrying around with me  just dissipate or will I have the need to rehash why I felt hurt and slighted by him.  These are my truths that I’ve been carrying around, what will his truths be?

I hope I have the opportunity to find out!

 

Water, water everywhere!

oakbeach

 

This is where I was yesterday afternoon…Oak Beach, NY.  While this water is definitely not the prettiest or the bluest, to me it was a lifesaver.  I sent out an SOS yesterday to a friend and needed to get out of my apartment and change my scenery.

Since a week ago, I have been down and just out of sorts.  It all started when I met a friend of mine for lunch at the coffee shop on the corner.  The routine usually is my friend will pick me up in front of my apt, drop me at the front of the restaurant and then go find a parking spot.  The same routine is usually done in reverse on the way home, but this time I wanted to try something new.  I wanted to see if I’ve made any progress with my physical stamina and when it was time to go home, after a very nice lunch, I said I’m going to walk home.

Now to anyone else but me, this would seem like a normal sentence, but to me this was monumental.  The restaurant is on my corner, my building is in the middle of the block, piece of cake you say!  NOT.

I walked very, very slowly, even cut some steps out by walking in the middle of the street, but by the time I got to my apartment, my body was shaking, my legs felt like jelly and they couldn’t support my body weight.  To bed I went and in bed I stayed for the rest of the day.

Now was this worth, definitely not in hindsight, but I was hoping for a much different body response and the one I got really put me in a downward spiral.  How could I not have progressed any since last spring?  Will it be 10 more years before I am physically able to walk to my corner?  What goes on in my body that causes this and why can’t any medical doctor figure this out?

So since this incident, I just have been completely out of sorts and just uninspired to try to do anything because I was afraid of getting the same response.  But the weather has been so beautiful these last few days and yesterday I just couldn’t take it any more and needed to be by water.  So I was lucky that my friend was available and was able to spend the afternoon with me, surrounded by nature and peace and quiet.

It did me a world of good and I came back home in a much better mental state.  Although I am tired today, because I was out for many more hours than I usually venture out, the physical tiredness is worth it today because I feel good mentally and I know my spirit and determination are back.

Today, I wish I was able to do more than gaze out my window and view the life outside, but I am content again and at peace with myself and that’s all that matters to me this afternoon.

The Gift

thegift

Last week someone who I used to work with contacted me and asked how I was doing and if I was well enough to meet her for lunch in NYC. Unfortunately the answer was no and I explained that the fatigue and pain still prevent me from taking public transportation into the city. She understood and at the end of her email she wrote, “Health is a precious gift.”

How true is that statement and it is not often that a healthy person realizes that.  My previous coworker is enlightened and gets that health is the most important thing of all.  How come none of my other friends realize that concept?

Yesterday I was speaking with my oldest friend (Ms. E).  We grew up together, were college roommates, our parents were best friends and we have seen each other through many of lives triumphs and tragedies.   I said my oldest friend and not my closest friend as our lives have taken very different paths and we really haven’t been all that close lately.  Since I’ve been ill, my friend hasn’t visited me once (except when we saw each other at 2 funerals).  She lives about 60 miles from me, so I understand that she can’t casually drop by for a few minutes, but it is a little hurtful that in 5 years she hasn’t been able to visit me.  We do talk and text, but sometimes you expect more from some people.

While we were speaking yesterday on the phone, the instant she said hello, I knew something was very wrong with her.  Her voice sounded weird, had no life, no spirit, no personality.  It sounded dead and depressed.  In the 40 years that I have known Ms. E, I never heard her sound like this before.  I asked a few times what was wrong and at first she said nothing is wrong, but before the end of the conversation she told me she is very depressed and is currently taking 3 different medicines, prescribed by her psychiatrist.

Now I was concerned because she sounded out of it and was driving alone on a highway.  She assured me she was alright to drive and that she’s just been very emotional lately and they haven’t figured out the right dosage of her medications yet.

That made me feel  somewhat better, but then my mind starting churning.  While I was very, very sad that my friend was in so much pain, I couldn’t help but wonder what could Ms. E be so depressed about that 3 medications were required?  She has been married for 25 years, has 4 healthy children, her and her husband are physically healthy, she lives in a beautiful house and is wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.

Here I am ill for the past 5 years,  divorced, no children, rent a one bedroom apartment and I’m not depressed.  I don’t get what people expect out of life.  Maybe I’m becoming cynical or hardened but what does it take for someone to realize that when they have their HEALTH, the greatest gift of all, they have everything they need.

Sunshine Blogger Award

I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Kim Gosselin who blogs at Chronic Conditions & Life Lessons.  Please be sure to visit Kim’s blog at http://kimgosselinblog.com/

I would like to thank Kim for this award as she finds my writing inspiring and from someone who writes as a profession, I take that as a big complement.  I wish I was able to write more often but hopefully that will happen.

The rules for accepting this lovely award are as follows:

1.  Display the Award on your Blog.

2.  Announce your win with a post and a link back to the Blogger who awarded you.

3.  Present 10 deserving Bloggers with the Award-who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.

4.  Link your awardees in your post and let them know that they are being awarded.

5.  Write 10 interesting things about you.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Ten Hopefully Interesting Things About Me

1.  I have been blogging for less than a year and find it to be an extremely therapeutic and rewarding experience.

2.  I would love to take a cruise to Alaska and explore that vast territory and see some penguins.

3.  I have great intuition and a keen instinct.

4.  I am half Canadian, but can’t speak or understand a word of French.

5.  I’ve held and shot a gun once in my life, while I was on a trip to Cody, Wyoming.

6.  I talk with my hands and holding a pistol was a dangerous thing for those around me!!

7.  My most favorite place in the United States is Sedona, Arizona

8. I love the color purple and the smell of coffee.

9.  I went to art school for 5 years when I was young, but haven’t drawn or painted since.

10.  My birthday is in August and I’ll turn 55 on my next birthday.

Now on to the next part of accepting the award.  I need to nominate 10 Bloggers.  I promise to do that in a followup post.

 The 10 Bloggers I Award the Sunshine Blogger Award to are as follows:

 To be continued….