It has been, to put it mildly, a very trying week. I am not even going to pretend otherwise. There are times when it is better to lay down one's arms, stop trying to rule the known world and simply admit defeat; to say to the dragon 'come out, come out wherever you are' and let it flame you for a few moments before taking up shield and sword again.
Even princesses in shining armour need a break every so often.
I was talking last week about not sucking it up. And yet again, I may sound as though I am having a bit of a whinge. In a way I suppose I am, because I am talking about being in physical agony. But I am also talking about gratitude, and how I feel about normally having it - well, normally having it pretty damn good.
Planet Pain. It stinks. It is not a nice place to be - at all. I don't like visiting, and I cannot believe that I used to basically live here on a full time basis.
What I also cannot believe is how much I take for granted now in terms of how well I am generally, and how grateful I am for the progress that I have made, and continue to make, in terms of staying healthy and fighting what my body and brain would quite like me to give in to at times.
I am also grateful that I know the reasons behind my pain this week, and that I know there is a 'most of the time I am fine' end in sight. For so many people whom I know who have Parkinson's or Dystonia - or both - they are not so lucky. They hurt all the time.
All. The. Time.
Imagine being 30 years old. Or 35. Or 40. And you wake up in the middle of the night and your back is twisted, and your feet are in cramps so severe that they form circles, and your jaw is trying to make its way through your collarbone just for the hell of it. And it just won't stop. Not just for minutes, or hours; but days. Or weeks. Or months.
I have only faced days at a time.
My beautiful Rogers - and in fact so many people I know - face, and have faced, the latter.
Sometimes I underestimate her bravery because of her silly sense of humour and because she is so gorgeous that you forget about the lean-over. And she doesn't talk about the pain.
But then whenever I end up as a pretzel I remember.
And I think all over again about how amazing she is. How amazing all of the wonderful people that I know are.
And how grateful I am for their strength.
I will say this, and it is something it has taken me a long time to learn; if you are in physical pain, don't be afraid to admit it. I am not talking about sitting there and constantly griping 'I'm hurting', because believe me, people will get sick of it pretty bloody quickly. But - if you don't speak out, then nobody will understand just what is going on, and when you are irritated, or sharp, or simply aren't coping, they will be puzzled, and perhaps angry, because it will be out of the blue. If you are factual and admit to what is going on with your body, then understanding from those who care about you will be there. Not from everyone - but from those who care for and love you, yes.
I am constantly and consistently grateful for those who express empathy to and for me. Not in a 'keep me in an illness box' way, or a pitying way - but in a 'let's get you better, constructive, slay that goddamn pain dragon' way. Particularly the Dread Pirate who has been very good (in a piratey fashion naturally).
It helps me put the armour back on, however heavy it may feel, and get ready to fight the good fight again.
Mistress of the Universe?
You bet your sweet... donkey.
Works for me.