Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Image“Alright everyone, let’s get this meeting started.

First off, let’s discuss what we talked about last week. Then we’ll cover any new issues, and close with a look at what is happening this week.

Any questions?”

This sounds like the opening to just about any club or group meeting. In actuality, this is how a family meeting is structured in my house. Having a weekly meeting is a great way to make sure everyone feels they have a voice. It’s also great for keeping up with a full calendar.

Before you start looking on me as some sort of domestic hero, I must confess: we just started having family meetings last week. It’s something we had done in the past, but discontinued for some forgotten reason. I’m hopeful that we can keep up the family meeting routine for good this time. Even if our schedules aren’t busy or when the kids have grown, it’s important to have a forum for issues. Everyone comes to the meeting with an open and respectful attitude, so no one feels they are being attacked or singled out. 

Last week, my issue for consideration was housework. I know I haven’t been doing as much as I could, but I also need help. So I mentioned my problem at the meeting and am taking this week to work on my side of the problem. Next week everyone will have had time to think of ways they can help and we can come together with a solution. 

Having a chronic pain condition means that my expectations for myself are always shifting. Family meetings are a chance for me to let my family know what I need and to be surrounded by support. In return, I hear their concerns and am there to support them. 

Getting through life is sometimes such a balancing act. It helps to have extra support.

Haircut

Long flowing locks

A thick braid lying heavily on my back

The bouncy swish of a ponytail when I jog

Or if I really want to be cute – pigtails.

This is how my hair has been throughout most of my life. I never needed a certain hair style. I just went to the barber for a trim if I had split ends. But a few years ago I got it into my head to try it a little shorter. My first experience with taking a photo to a stylist and saying “I want my hair to look like this” failed. Miserably.

Though everyone around me said it was cute, I was not impressed. Just about the time it was long enough to almost fit into a ponytail, we decided to be a family team raising money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation. This involved a lot of fundraising leading up to having our hair shaved publicly.

I looked alright with no hair. I didn’t even mind it while it grew out. Once again, I had no style, but I was happy enough just leaving it to grow back out. Once again, I was waiting for it to be ponytail length, my hair style comfort zone.

As of last month it was finally long enough. If I put it in a ponytail while wet, it all stayed in place. Smooth, easy, and very sporty.

But oh did my head hurt.

It hurt when I shampooed, when I brushed, and my head was just generally sore to the touch.

So I said “so long” to my dream of having long hair again and chopped it all off.

I’m happy with my new pixie cut, but my neck is cold. It hasn’t eased the head pain, but most of my scalp is less sensitive now. But I’m really having to work on my self image.

The picture of me in my head just doesn’t match the real me.

Hair

Being Broke

When we married he promised his support.

But how could he know it would be so one-sided.

I may be there to cook a simple lunch,

to make the bed or do the laundry,

But who could have guessed that normalcy

would die when I turned thirty?

My attention turned inward by my own pain,

I fail to notice his

quiet determination to not trouble me

with his doubts or worries or regrets.

I push to make it through each day,

living not just surviving,

and I hope my chores add up to a fair effort,

Because I’m no good at balancing the books.

Yet, I’m the one who does it.

so I can hide from him how broke we are.

Money I mean,

Because somehow, our relationship isn’t.

The Warmth

I feel the warmth of

the sun on my face

as it rises in the Spring –

It is Hope.

Like the green shoot of a daffodil

reaching through the snow –

That flower ain’t got no sense

It just knows it’s time.

Time for a change.

So I could curl up in the snow

and let the hypothermia take me,

Content in the illusory warmth

of my own delusion

Or I can throw off the confusion

that sets in when all else fails

and raise my eyes to the Sun.

Can’t I see it’s time.

Time for a change

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All Is Lost

I just watched the movie All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford. It’s not the best movie, pretty sad, a bit slow, and all about survival without the hoped for character developement.
What I did get from the movie was that it could be an accurate depiction of life with chronic illness.

Watching Redford’s character struggle to survive kept making me think of my own struggle with chronic headache.
As he conquers a new problem you are filled with hope that he might just survive.

The same happens to us all while fighting our headaches. Each new medicine gives a new sense of hope.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I do hope your journey to wellness isn’t as trying as the character’s journey in All Is Lost.