I'll admit, the heart attack scare seemed a little far fetched given I'm 33 years old, but the symptoms were real and it was scary. Now I am suffering from sciatica, and not only has it been real, but it has been hell. My sciatic nerve began flaring up a few weeks ago and I tried stretching and taking ibuprofen as a means of dealing with it. The pain intensified when I was at a Halloween party and by the next day, I was stuck in bed. Once I got to the point of barely being able to walk, I decided it was time to go to acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a pretty amazing treatment.* Tiny needles were placed between my eyes, my arms, hands, legs, tops of my feet, tips of my toes and even my ears, all meant to relieve pressure on my back. Once the needles were in position, I had to sit still, relax and trust that the pressure points are going to relieve the pain. I didn't have a book to read or a movie to watch; I didn't have a lap top or a notebook to write in nor did I have anyone to talk to. I had a recliner to lay in, a CD playing the sounds of waves crashing and Japanese flute, origami stars hanging from the ceiling, needles sticking in various spots on my body, and my thoughts.
I thought I would lose my mind.
I am not one who sits still very often. Granted, I like to watch a good movie or TV show; I like to write and read and all of those things require my sitting still, but I'm still doing something. Even at night, when I'm falling asleep, I set the timer on the TV and fall asleep while it's on so that I don't have to lie still and think. My mind is always on. At any given moment, I'm thinking about social justice, gender constructs, politics, music, poetry, friends, family, this blog, ex-lovers, new lovers, potential lovers, bills, taxes, and anything else one can think about. When I sit still, those thoughts run rampant and it's hard to reign them in.
|Autumn, Chimayo, New Mexico|
I wrote a while back that I am a tree with roots, but when I wrote it, I don't think I understood what that meant. Looking back, I realize that I wasn't a tree but rather a woman holding onto the tree trunk for dear life. While I aspired to be a tree, I wasn't one - yet. I wasn't ready to be happy, I wasn't ready to accept being single nor was I ready to be alone. I was still waiting to be saved by someone else's love. While I was in the process of becoming stronger (and certainly felt stronger than I ever had), I still wasn't a tree.
For a long time, I refused to sit still long enough to learn how to be alone. I was writing the blog and on strike but I wasn't letting myself plant roots. Finally, it took meeting A., letting him into my life, and being hurt once again to truly understand that not only can I let someone into my life - I can be hurt and alone and survive. The entire time I was on strike I was so afraid of being in a relationship and getting hurt again, and when I finally let someone in, I got hurt. Instead of running out and distracting myself after A. dumped me, I simply sat still and felt the pain. Now that enough time has passed, I've realized that I wasn't so much into A. as much as I was into the idea of him - and the idea of being loved by someone. Once I made that realization, not only was I able to get over the hurt (and him), I found myself happier than I had been in a very long time, mainly because I didn't have the need to find love immediately, nor did I feel the need to go back on strike. I simply felt the need to be happy.
Happiness is an indescribable feeling. There is a calm and a confidence that comes with being happy. I don't have to use every fiber of my being to be solid and strong, I simply am. I finally understand what being a tree means - even if I am the only tree standing, as long as I'm there, then I'm doing great. With happiness comes being open and the willingness to be patient, which is not a trait I'm good at. The funny thing is that I don't obsess over being patient - it just feels right. There isn't a sense of desperation or anticipation but rather a calm feeling that I didn't realize existed within me.
I'm learning to sit still. Having sciatica has taught me to appreciate movement and health, and sitting still isn't as horrible as I thought it was. Planting my roots and learning to be happy and patient isn't scary or horrible either - I simply had to learn to do it. I sit, I wait, I'm patient.
Next time: I'm Too Sexy For This Blog
*Acupuncture worked great for me, but in no way am I giving medical advice or endorsing any one method of pain relief.