Day 72 – Seeing sound

Just one of those days.

My head felt a little heavier when I woke this morning, so I can’t say I didn’t know it was coming. I always know. I’ve gotten used to the signals. The heaviness, the constant need to squint even in a dimly lit room. The steadily increasing pressure that moves up the back of my neck and settles into the space at the crown of my head between my brain and skull, making me feel like I’m wearing a helmet that’s a few sizes too small.

On a good day, I can take some meds, rub a little peppermint oil on my temples, turn down the lights, and keep the pain relatively manageable.

On days like today, I can’t chase it away. It settles in, making me dizzy and nauseous, and (on the really bad days) making me see halos and sound.

Tonight I’m just sitting, waiting for the meds to take the edge off so I can actually get some sleep, and hoping this damn migraine is gone in the morning.

Baby, You’re a Firework

The first time I ever heard Katy Perry’s Firework, I loved it. Hell, I may have even gotten a little misty-eyed listening to the lyrics. If you’re not familiar, take a moment to watch the video. If you are familiar, watch it anyway, because it’s just a good one.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been there–at the end of my rope, rock bottom, in hell, whatever you want to call it–that a song like Perry’s hits a little closer to home. If you know me now, you might never guess my life was ever so miserable. Hell, if it weren’t for the battle scars, I might not believe it myself.

But the truth is, I spent a lot of years dancing very close to the edge and hoping for a miracle.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that there was no miracle. There was no magical elixir, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, no miracle cure that I could hunt and track and chase down anywhere outside of myself. What I didn’t realize was that there was nothing wrong with my life or the world around me. The problem was me.

See, life has a way of getting you down if you let it. It’s easy to play the victim when the deck seems to be stacked against you. It’s easier to just roll over and wallow in the pain than to stand up and deal with it and fix things. And somehow, the pain just gets comfortable. You wrap it around yourself, like a blanket, insulating yourself from the rest of the world. It keeps you from getting too close to people. It keeps you from feeling much of anything at all.

At some point, we’re faced with a choice–let the pain overcome us and quit trying, or muster our last ounces of strength and courage and fight.

It’s amazing how different life looks after you’ve come back from the dead with a second chance.

There’s so much beauty in the world. So many good things to be thankful for. So many people who can teach us valuable lessons, if only we’d take the time to really look and listen. Perry’s right. We’re all fireworks. We’ve all got a uniquely beautiful spark within us. We’ve all got something to offer. We’re all here on this earth, right now at this moment, to do something extraordinary. We’re here to learn, to love, to listen, and to let our lights shine.

Anything less, and you’re wasting your time. So get out there people, and shine.

Hold On

“I know what I have to do now. And, I keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” – Cast Away (Tom Hanks)

There are still some days I wonder how the hell I got here, how I made it at all. I think if you were to sit and make a list and really tally it all up, you would be shocked that I ever made it to my 21st birthday.

And yet somehow, in spite of all my self-destructive behavior and my bad decisions and my blatant attempts to put an end to my own misery, I survived. My friends and family clung to me and refused to let me go. My heart kept beating. I kept breathing in and out. And life kept moving me forward, pushing me toward something I could neither see nor understand.

Pain is a funny thing. It grabs hold of you. It seeps into your pores and spreads like cancer, burrowing so deeply into your soul that you forget what life was like without it.

I spent a lot of years swallowing my pain, burying it deep. Like many people, I fooled myself into thinking that I could hide it, keep it locked inside and forget about it. The thing about pain is, it always finds its way out. Sooner or later, it always comes bubbling to the surface.

You can’t ignore pain. You can’t fight it. You can’t wish it or medicate it away. It took years for me to figure that out, and I was nearly destroyed (more than once) in the process. The only way to find relief from the pain you carry is to confront it, head on, to stand up to it, face it, embrace it, and let it go.

Pain is shortsighted. It blinds you from seeing anything beyond it. It blurs the bigger picture. And the hardest thing to realize when you’re caught up in it, is that pain is temporary. It won’t last forever. It can’t rain all the time. Wait long enough and the sun will return.

Hold on. Because someday, you’re going to see the bigger picture, and it’s going to take your breath away.

Here’s a glimpse I got of mine…

Yeah, that was worth waiting for. 🙂

365 Project – Day 295 – Migraine City

No blog tonight folks. I’ve been fighting a migraine most of the day and it’s kicking my butt. I’m going to go to sleep and dream about buying my dream house.

365 Project – Day 200 – Ouch

There is nothing that really prepares you for the realities of adulthood–things like monthly bills and mortgages, downsizing and job hunting, budgeting for groceries and hearing the doctor tell you that you have to start eating healthier, relocating and actually having to share your life, your property, your bed and small living quarters with a person you swore to love honor and cherish in both good times and bad. And there is certainly nothing that prepares you for the day you have to come face to face with the fact that you are not as young and invincible as you fancy yourself to be.

I’m getting old. There’s really no denying it anymore. I’m not going to be one of those people who celebrates their 29th birthday every year and lies about their age. Really, what’s the point? You can deny the cold, hard truth all you want, but unless someone actually finds the legendary Fountain of Youth or comes up with some sort of elixir like in the movie Death Becomes Her, we are all just being pushed slowly through the same inevitable aging process.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m only 30, so unless something drastic happens, I should be sticking around for quite a long time still. Even so, I’m not quite as footloose and fancy free as I used to be. And I guess there have been signs that I’m not quite as young and spry as I used to be.

Case in point–today I ended up with a rather painful injury at the YMCA gym. I wish I had some crazy or exciting story to share about it. Something like, I was using one of the weight machines when suddenly the band snapped, pinning me beneath the machine while all the onlookers stood helplessly. Then, just before it managed to crush me to death, I mustered one last burst of superhuman strength, heaved it off of my chest and managed to tear a muscle in the process.

But, no such luck. There was no death-defying accident, and I didn’t save others from being maimed by throwing myself in front of them, taking the painful blow myself and sparing their lives. Nope, not even close.

Here’s what did happen…

I spent 30 minutes going at a good clip on the elliptical machine, and then spent another 30 minutes making rounds at the weight machines, working my abs, my legs, my arms and my back. I was just finishing up my final rep on the ab machine when I saw Steven in the mirror, heading my way. I glanced at the clock and saw that it was nearly 7:00, so I figured he had already finished up.

I went to turn my head to talk to him and CRACK! I heard something in my neck snap and a bolt of pain erupted in the right side of my neck and ran down my arm.

Now, I like to think that I have a pretty high tolerance for pain. I mean, in high school, I had mono so bad that my throat swelled almost completely shut before I complained about having a sore throat (resulting in a 3-day stay in the hospital). And then when I had Cadence, I was in labor for almost three days and had nurses coming in the room just so they could watch the contractions spiking off the screen while I lay in the bed explaining to them that on a scale of one to ten, I wouldn’t even classify the pain as a two.

But this, this was painful. We managed to go pick Cadence up from the Child Watch room and headed home to make dinner. By the time we got to the house, I could barely walk it hurt so badly. I popped a couple of Tylenol and relaxed on the couch for a bit while Steven finished dinner. After a hot shower and sitting with the heating pad on my neck, I’m finally starting to feel a little relief.

Hopefully tomorrow I will be right as rain, because the last thing I need is to have to go see the doctor and try to explain to him or her that I managed to hurt myself so badly just turning my head. I mean seriously, who does that? Old people, that’s who!

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to everyone out there who is starting to feel the sting of getting old. Believe me, I feel your pain.