I Feel Happy

Six weeks ago, I went out dancing Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday night. I also went running two of those days, and I went running Monday. Fifteen years ago, when I was struggling with stress fractures, I was sent to a sports clinic where I learned to diminish injury by not placing impact on the body for more than three days in a row.

I knew I was over doing it, and I had a feeling my body would break down in some way; I just hoped it would not be serious. Sports injuries are frustrating because they happen to people who like to move, and often, the treatment is to rest. For me, those rest periods have been six weeks from stress fractures to over eight months with both my sciatica and a torn hamstring.

I have felt so good physically this year that one of my fears was that I would injure myself and have to cease activity once again.

On the Monday that I went running, my left hip hurt, but I ignored it, despite that nagging voice in my head telling me not to.

The run felt good, but the pain worsened.

So, I took a break from running, I modified my dance style to put less stress on my left hip, and I made appointments with my doctor and physio therapist.

I had a feeling that it was not going to be as serious as my past injuries because walking did not hurt; it just hurt to sit down and during impact.

Fortunately, I was right.

My diagnosis was that I stressed the lateral rotator muscles in my hip, and it would only take about a month to heal. In the meantime, I did not have to rest entirely; I was encouraged to keep walking, and I could still dance as long as I avoided stressing my hip too much.

I have kept up with the core exercises I learned when I had sciatica, and I have kept up with my leg exercises when I damaged my hamstring. Now, I have exercises to strengthen my lateral rotator muscles. In addition, I do breathing exercises that I learned in voice lessons that help keep me calm. Every second day, it takes me three episodes of The Office to get through them all; on the other days, it only takes one episode.

I started running again two weeks. The first time, I was only allowed to run for five minutes. Then I was able to increase it by five minutes each time as long as the pain did not worsen. A week ago, I ran for twenty minutes, and I felt fine. I took a break for five days while I was sailing on the west coast with my parents and two younger daughters. Now that I am back, I will start at ten minutes then increase from there.

In addition, I went for Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) treatments. It’s kind of like acupuncture except the needles go into the muscle. It hurts, but it stimulates the muscles, resetting them, so they can be strong again. I firmly believe that without it, my sciatica and hamstring would never have been cured. Because I have responded well to IMS in the past, my physio therapist started treatments right away.

To deal with the pain from my injury and IMS, I drank more red wine than I usually do.

Writing a blog while drinking too much is not a good idea.

My last blog was sloppy and went off on tangents. When I realized what I had done, I edited out the sloppiness and the tangents.

I might come back to those tangents some other time.

In the meantime, I finished my IMS treatments a week ago, and my pain is completely gone. Soon I will be able to run 8K again, and I have more exercises to make me stronger which should help to prevent more serious injuries later on in life. In addition, I am learning to relax more.

I have an amazing voice teacher who has a Zen approach to singing and to life. She has taught me to trust in myself, to be mindful, and to not work so hard to make things happen. As a result, I feel more present, time has slowed down, I feel comfortable with my life, and I feel happy.


Most Times, I Don’t Drink Enough

I miss being on Facebook, partly because every time I had a new blog, I promoted it on Facebook, and I enjoyed the conversation that took place afterwards. Now, the only comments I receive are negative, but I’m not going to let that stop me. If anything, it spurs me on.

The latest comment referred to me as anorexic, alcoholic, mentally ill, delusional, and deserving to be alone. I thanked the person for writing it because I really did not think anyone read my blog any more, which is fine. I have said before that I like to write, and I don’t care if I have an audience. While it is nice, I can do it without the extrinsic rewards of likes and loves.

As for the recent comment about me: I am not anorexic, and I am not super skinny. I could lose another six pounds, and I would still be in a healthy weight range. I could also gain another twenty-four pounds and still be in a healthy weight range. I brought my weight up in my previous blog because I have maintained my weight for at least seven months now which is healthy. Also, I have dealt with sport injuries for the past fifteen years, including stress fractures, sacrolilitis, sciatica, and a pulled hamstring. All of those injuries have made me more aware of my body, including my limits. So, I feel comfortable in my skin. As far as weight goes, I do not like being too thin just as I do not like being overweight. I only weigh myself once a month, and I leave it at that. People who suffer from anorexia have an obsession with food, and I do not. I eat when I am hungry. Other than that, food is not that important to me. For example, I am not going to down a pint of ice cream because I am depressed. Instead, if I am feeling down, I turn on music and dance, or I go out and dance. It’s a healthier solution, and it is more fun.

As far as me being mentally ill, the blog I wrote about my experience with bipolar was the scariest one for me to write because I felt that people would always see me that way. While I do get sad sometimes and excited over things other times, I feel those are normal, genuine emotions. There is such a thing as emotional intelligence, and because I have experienced a wide range of emotions throughout my life, I do feel that I am emotionally intelligent. That helps me as a writer and with getting along with other people. I am not suicidal and I do not have racing thoughts. If I stopped my medication, yes, I would get that way. However, I know that is a bad road to go down, and I am not going to do that. I take care of myself.

While it wasn’t pointed out in the criticism, I do remember stating that like fine wine I get better with age. What I meant is that all women get better with age, as long as they take care of themselves. Ageing is one thing that does not scare me. I do not need to pretend my life is over when I am only in my forties, or when I am in my fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and beyond. I can be sexy well past the age of one hundred because it is a mindset, and we have the medical advances and knowledge to keep people feeling young. I know I have more energy than a lot of twenty year olds, and that is good enough for me.

As far as delusional goes, I do not know what you mean, Anonymous, so you might have to clarify that. I believe that it is important to keep learning and to push boundaries. So, please tell me what is delusional about that. You mentioned something about me being alone and deserving to be alone. Human contact is nice; I like touch and being with someone, but it is not the focus of my world. I do not need a romantic relationship to feel satisfied in life. If I do get into that kind of relationship, it will be because I want to, and not because I need to. My life is full, and, overall, it is happy; I do not need to rely on someone else to fulfil me.

As far as alcohol goes, sometimes I do drink too much (like when I initially wrote this blog–it’s a good thing I can edit). But the truth is, most times, I don’t drink enough. I also do not obsess over alcohol, and I can have a good time without it. So, no, I do not consider myself to be an alcoholic.

Good Enough to Give it Time

I am a teacher and a vice principal, working in the inner city where the majority of the students suffer from severe behavioral and/or emotional disorders. It is a stressful job, but also a rewarding job. I have a tremendous amount of patience, and I am good at seeing the potential in people. As an English 30 teacher, I have an important role in seeing students graduate, and it makes me feel good. It also makes me feel good to see my students develop their potential as writers and critical thinkers. I am so proud of them, and I wish them all well in life. I firmly believe that education is for everyone, and it is especially important to educate those who may not have had opportunities in the past. It is never too late to learn, and it is never too late to bridge gaps. Some students come from families where education was not important, some students come from families that have been torn apart so the parent does not want to push them to attend school, and some students come from backgrounds that middle class people cannot even begin to imagine.

It is summer holidays, and I have been off work now for a week. My estranged husband and I have an arrangement over the summer where we alternate weeks with the younger kids. The first week was his, and it gave me time to reflect on some of the things I have learned over the past nine months since our separation.

To start, I learned that I like to dance. While dancing, I do not have to think about anything, and I can be entirely in the moment. Years back, when I was on maternity leave, I remember watching Ellen, and she always had a segment where she played Lady Gaga’s “Let’s Dance”. It was always fun and she was always right: dancing does make everything okay. So, when I do not have my younger daughters, I go out and dance. I like rock and roll and blues because the music is gritty and the structure is loose. I also like Latin dancing because I admire the rhythms and the smoothness in how the dancers move their hips and feet. I have no training as a dancer, and I have no interest in taking a class, because that would take something fun and turn it into work. I just like to hear the music and let my body respond.

I have learned to accept myself and to be present. If I need to cry, I will cry, and I will not be ashamed because it is good to feel. I am forty-four years old, and like fine wine, I do think I am getting better with age. Many blogs ago, I wrote about gaining weight and losing weight; I have maintained my weight loss, and I feel good. There is a certain weight range for every height, and I am towards the lower end, but I am still within the healthy range. I do eat more than I did in the fall, but I have maintained good habits: I rarely drink pop or eat sugary foods, I don’t usually eat after supper, I watch my portions, and I eat a lot of salmon, eggs, and vegetables. In addition, I have maintained my exercises from physical therapy: core exercises that eventually helped to cure my sciatica and leg exercises that helped to cure my damaged hamstring muscle. I feel healthy, and that has given me confidence. Also, I continue to read a lot, and I do feel that I am getting smarter and wiser as time plods along.

Along with being present in the moment, I have learned to try new things. I tried learning how to play the guitar, and I didn’t really like it a whole lot. Maybe with lessons I would; however, it got me back into playing the piano again, and I enjoy that. There is something therapeutic about the repetition of practicing technique and learning new songs. While learning guitar, I realized I had to sing. I recorded myself one time, and there were parts that were okay and parts that were not okay because I was off key and/or ran out of breath. So, I decided to take singing lessons. And, I am so happy I did. I have only been taking lessons for just over a month now, but I have learned exercises to help control my breathing and to use my whole body to sing. I had never thought of singing that way before, so it was an eye opener to me. I enjoy it because I can practice breathing and singing while I am driving in my van or when I am cleaning my house. My goal is to eventually feel comfortable enough to sing on stage because I have suffered from severe stage fright all my life. To conquer that would be an accomplishment for me. Tonight, I sang for my seven year old and eight year old, and they are a tough audience. If I can sing for them, I think I can sing for other people.

Finally, I learned to set boundaries for myself. I know that everyone has something they need to work on, just as I have things to work on, and I cannot allow someone else’s struggles to become my own. People will say mean things because they are close-minded or they do not know any better, and I, as a sensitive person, have learned not to take another person’s struggles to heart.  I always do everything with the best intentions, and I am not out to hurt other people or get revenge; I just do not think that way. I have class, I carry on, and I try to grow to be the best person I can. At the same time, I do have a shell around me. When I go out, I do get hit on and asked for my phone number, but I do not feel the need to respond. I have a male friend who talks to me about his dates, and then he seems to feel bad as he asks me if I have been on any dates. I tell him that in time I will, but I just do not feel the need right now. I am happy being single, and I feel that I am good enough to give it time.