Saturday, October 26, 2013

The wisdom of not doing it.

Rogue Valley Roasting Company
Soy Vanilla Butterscotch Steamer

I missed the blog last week because I was shopping for accessories for my Steampunk Poet costume.  (Which reminds me - did I give someone my quill?  Damn it, I think I did.  Oh, well).  Yes, I will post piccies post Halloween.  I think next week will just be a Fall Photo-spread.  You're welcome.

So, last night I went to get tattooed.  Today, I have a partially shaved wrist and no new ink.  I had been anticipating this for so long.  Nine years, in fact, since I got my first moon tattoo.  Now, when I finally had the doodle for my suns in hand (there's a whole other story I will relate later on), and words to live by ready to be permanently inked onto my hands and wrist, I had to stop.  I hadn't been feeling great all day (serious lack of sleep, among other things) and at that moment in the chair, literally as the tattooist was about to apply the stencil, a wave of nausea hit me.  Fortunately, I know my body well enough to know the risks of continuing and potentially puking and/or passing out on the nice young man about to inflict intense pain upon me.  As much as I wanted to push through the discomfort, I am wise enough to know that you don't mess around with the physiology. 

It was the wise thing - courageous, even - to speak up for my body and reschedule when the queasiness did not subside.  And trust me, I can tell you from experience, your tattooist is much happier when you don't pass out and pee on their chair. (Let no one mistake me for a bad ass...)

But your body is a much more tangible thing than your mind.  So it's easier to defend your choice to back out of your previously stated plans when it's your body that is impairing your efforts.  It seems much less forgivable when you tell people something is just "too much" for you - your psyche - to handle right now.

As I proclaimed a few weeks ago, I started school at the beginning of this month.  I knew it would be difficult to manage with two small boys and my high levels of stress and disorder.  But I was going to "Do it anyway!"  By my first day of my physics class I knew I was in trouble and that it would take a considerable effort to catch up and stay caught up.  I shared my fear with some of my new classmates that I might not be back for our second class.  I was met with a challenge from a woman who pushes through obstacles...  Why wouldn't I make it?  Little ones?  So?  She has kids, too.  And works full time, of course.  You just do it anyway.  You find a way.  You push through...

Rather than joyfully inspiring me to achieve more than I believed I could, she just pissed me off.  She might be a lovely person.  I truly do not know.  She struck me, however, as someone who lacks empathy and understanding of people not like her.  She had also irritated me earlier in our lab by jumping into our lab experiment without reading all the instructions.  I might legitimately be slower than I ought to be (especially sans coffee), but there is value in not setting yourself up to fail by plunging headlong into a situation before you're ready.  Just sayin'...

Needless to say, I did not make it to my second class.  If the drop date hadn't been just days after the first class, I might have stuck it out a little longer to see if I could get on track fast enough.  I think I stood a chance of pulling it off.  But I risked academic probation if I couldn't make it work, and another "W" would suspend my financial aid, so I made the the best call I could at that moment.

But why couldn't I do it?  What was my excuse? If she could do it, why was I failing? 

Because, unlike her, for reasons known only to ourselves, my mind was deeply nauseated.  And I did not want to risk the consequences of inflicting more pain and stress on it when my children were in fallout range of emotional projectile vomit.  That's not an excuse.  That is the wisdom of not doing it.  I might have been able to do it, but it was better that I didn't.

When someone says something like, "I didn't have time to do (whatever)," a truer phrase might be, "I didn't have much time to do it, and I elected to not put myself through the difficulty of making it happen."  And maybe that's a weak stance for them and maybe that's a wise choice.  Only they can say.  It's not for other people to decide for them which it is.

When I say, "I have kids," by way of explaining the state of things, that's only a piece of the explanation.  It's a useful shorthand because most people understand the intense stress of caring for a couple of miniature crazy people.  And if someone gives you crap because you don't have as many kids as them and you deign to be more exhausted and stressed out - screw them.  One kid is plenty.  One kid is more than some people can handle.  No one has exactly the same circumstances, psychology, or physiology, and the same results should never be expected for everyone.

It is entirely acceptable to challenge people to do their best, but it is never okay to tell someone what their best is.  It was incredibly difficult for me to let school go again.  But I realized that that was the "it" in "Do it anyway."  I was afraid of being stuck in this cycle forever and never going back, but the best thing I can do for my children is to put off the extra stress until I feel a little more stable, got a few more duckies in a row.  There's no shame in that.  It does not make me inferior, it just makes me different.

And one final story to drive it home...

A few weeks before giving birth to my second child, I heard a story about a woman who ran a marathon at 39 weeks and then went and gave birth.  That's great.  It's always inspiring to hear about someone pushing the bounds of human excellence.  My birth story a few weeks later, however, may be more inspiring. 

Though I have fibromyalgia, though I was in so much pain during my first delivery (even with an epidural) that I couldn't push my son out and almost had to have an emergency C-section, my second son was delivered by a water birth - no painkillers.  I had taken what I had learned about myself and my body and used that knowledge to prepare myself for the second go-round.  And that effort was rewarded with a completely natural childbirth experience.  Boo-yah.

Marathon lady was a runner to begin with, I was damaged at the start.  We both achieved something, and the fact that I didn't run a marathon before giving birth doesn't mean that I was a failure.  She excelled.  I overcame.  We both achieved something. 

But I do think my story is more relatable.

1 comment:

  1. The wisdom of not doing it is the key.
    Wise words.
    Keep them coming. x