|It was a really narrow doorway...|
I did not bring a wheelchair the last time we stayed in this house a few years ago, so I didn't think about accessibility being an issue. But it's a midcentury house, and that means the doorways are really narrow. I was very proud of myself for doing the work at PT so that I was strong enough to not need the chair in the bathrooms at all. I felt like a superhero for that! I remembered that a few months ago, it was a challenge just standing to brush my teeth and put makeup on. I have to be careful about allowing myself to celebrate the progress that I've made. I'm not saying, nor will I EVER say that it's bad or somehow weak to need a chair or a walker. I used to think it was, before my injury. I am ashamed to admit that. This is truly absurd thinking, because I guarantee you I'm always going to need to have them as options.
I also did not need as much help as I expected to getting in or out of the pool on vacation. That's amazing. I'm trying to celebrate this, but I'm having some trouble. I'm trying not to compare what I'm doing now to what I used to be able to do, and also not worry that I'll ever get hurt or lose conditioning again.
I get ridiculously, shamefully jealous of paralympic athletes. I get jealous of people with c.p. that are able to work full time, or part time like I used to. I even have the audacity to get jealous of my former self, who made dinner from start to finish with no help every day! I know I had a lot of pain that I pushed through back then. I know how to do less now. I know how to save my strength for the tasks and times that are worth it.... But I don't know if I am getting any better at not punishing myself for not doing enough. What is enough, exactly?
While we were in Joshua Tree National Park, we saw cholla cactus gardens. I think the next time I have a bad pain day I'm going to tell myself, "At least you're not removing cholla cactus spines from your butt or something." Yowza. Those things look evil!
|"Difficult and painful." Got it.|
The point I am trying to make is that I think we all rock for dealing with our pain and challenges day in and day out. It may not always be cholla-cactus-painful, but it's there. Pain is annoying. Pain is persistent. Thriving with pain sometimes feels like fighting to thrive in an unrelenting desert. Pain is kinda like a lazy dog. He doesn't get motivated to move out of my way much. I have to work around it. You don't really move on from a chronic condition; you somehow adjust. Adapt. Thrive. Just like those Joshua trees that shouldn't be able to grow, much less flourish, in that arid climate.
I'll leave you with a few more shots of these magnificent trees. A piece of my heart is forever with those trees.
I understand them. I feel connected to them. Today and every day, I will stand tall like a Joshua Tree. I'll try not to get so lost. I've been lost...in wanting to unplug, lost in wanting to be on vacation, lost in dealing with some of the emotions that come up from blogging and reading others' blog posts about challenges... and I'm showing up today to say, "Let's celebrate our strengths and weaknesses." They're what make us human.