Cute Day!

Cute day 032313I am having a cute day.  What is a cute day?  A cute day, when you are a woman, is when you feel good and feel like you look good.  When this happens it shows in everything about you.  Although you cannot see much of me, my outfit is cute because this shirt goes perfectly with a gold lame’ skirt I’m wearing.  My hair is clean and smells terrific and the sun is shining brilliantly outside.  It is not warm but is warmer than it has been and the pressure is steady, which means the physical pain is not quite so horrible.  The pain is still there, of course, but, with a little medicine like ibuprofen, I am actually able to handle the pain today.  

I needed a cute day.   With the way the weather has changed over the past few weeks, the moving, the house cleaning, the unpacking and putting to rights; the organization that has to happen in moving, and all the pain had me pushed down pretty far.  The swelling in my hand hasn’t gone away in weeks!  Thankfully it has decreased some, though.  The pain in my back and shoulders and other joints has made being positive and having a life difficult.  Both Carlos and I have been pushed to different limits and we have met the challenge of them.  My limits, of course, are a lot different from his, but I am not going to say his is any less than mine.  Carlos has managed to get us moved, put some things away, take care of me and the dogs, cook a good number of the meals, and still make it to work and tai chi.  Sometimes I am literally in awe of my husband.  

It used to make me feel horrible that I couldn’t do as much for him as he did for me.  I used to make myself feel absolutely miserable by mulling over all the things Carlos did for me and all the things I did for him were so great and small – small on my part.  For a while there I almost convinced myself there was absolutely nothing I could do that Carlos would be able to appreciate and love  me as much as I appreciated and loved him.  You have to admit having a disabled, chronically ill wife is not easy.  There were a lot of things that helped to change my own perceptions of my part in this relationship and marriage , but the main thing was that I finally accepted all of who I am.

I am one of those people who isn’t ever going  to be perfect or visibly “normal” like other folks.  I can’t do housework the same way as someone with a perfectly good body can do housework.  I need help with a lot of things, and will always need help.  The one thing I had not done was give the idea of actually trying to show Carlos how much I loved and appreciated him a true chance, because I had not completely accepted that last bit of abnormality in myself.  It was quite shocking for me to realize I had things, disruptive things, in me that needed to go because I was pretty sure, up until a few months ago, that I was through accepting this life God has given me.    I have always been quite proud of myself for having as close to a “normal” life as I had up til this new discovery.

The main thing I was doing was waiting.  I waited for different things that really never came, or could come, like an absence of pain.  Carlos told me it was OK to not push myself on bad days, and he even encouraged me to try new things physically and some of them were actually not as painful as I expected them to be, like tai chi while standing on my feet.  This is something my body can’t do often, and some days I can only maybe take one step in the form, but it was a step taken that hadn’t been taken before.  

I am who I am.  I am the way I am.  I can get better, but I am never going to be “well”.  But, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be  happy or strive to make someone else happy.  This is my life.   I thought I had accepted my life years and years ago, but the truth is I had only accepted 3/4 .  There was a 1/4  that was subconsciously convinced I was incapable of making anyone else happy.  How could I with all of these limitations and imperfections.  I dreamed of making Carlos happy, but I never fully believed I could..  It wasn’t because I didn’t love him, it was because a part of me believed I couldn’t.  Then, one day, as I was practicing Section 1 of our tai chi form, I saw drastic improvement in the smoothness of my movements from the wheelchair.  I saw how my waist turned, moving better than it had in years.  The movements came more naturally, almost without thinking – I don’t know the form well enough not to have to think about it  – and it had happened because I had kept trying and working at it.  This activity wasn’t in my head, like writing or reading; knitting or anything else.  This was a physical activity and I could see marked  improvement.  No one else had done it for me either.  I did it myself.  I practiced, practiced, practiced and I also relaxed so the learning process would not be so difficult.

So what if my moves weren’t exactly as my instructors’ or Carlos’s  – the moves were getting better and my instructors could tell what movement I was doing (all tai chi movements in a form usually have names like “grasp the bird’s tail” or “embrace tiger, return to mountain”, just to name two) by looking at what I was doing.  If I could do that with tai chi, my heart and head realized together, it was possible to do for Carlos.  I was so used to putting road blocks in front of me I actually sat still for almost an hour waiting for the negative answers to start coming, but they didn’t.  There weren’t any negative reasons why I couldn’t genuinely try to do all of those little things I wanted to do for the house, now apartment, and for Carlos.  

I had been pretty sure I had overcome all of those old worries and fears when I was younger, but I hadn’t put them away with my family, especially Carlos.   I was shocked!  

I felt like an idiot for several minutes once this revelation slapped me upside my head.  And, from that moment on, I have made sure to accept me, ALL of me.  It isn’t easy some days, of course.  It is hard to keep accepting and moving when your body hates you and each movement is agony, but it’s possible, do-able,  and Carlos has relaxed  a couple of times by some little thing I’ve done to help him, like using my wheels to get something for him so he doesn’t have to walk when he is tired from work when he is cooking.   I have worked very hard to do for him, as well as for myself.  This also taught me self acceptance isn’t just a one time thing you have to do in your life.  Each individual person learns and grows and you should actually examine yourself and grow and learn internally as well.  Christ really encouraged us to do that, and, like many others, I had pretty much ignored that lesson.  i am so ashamed of myself for putting myself through such misery.  It was no one else’s fault.

“Turning a new leaf” isn’t easy, nor is it impossible.  It just takes willingness, determination, and action.  The action part of it is one of the more important things you have to do.

Now Carlos is having to slow me down a lot more than he used to because he doesn’t want me to over-do my body, and I keep wanting to do things, not only because of being determined to get whatever project I have begun finished, but because I am enjoying myself!  Carlos appreciates this new side of me.  

Who knows, maybe the “cute” days will increase.  One of the greatest things about today’s “cute” day is Carlos agreed!

About Henrietta Handy

I have returned home to the mountains. No more am I "a mountain-girl far from home." Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 2 1/2, I understand pain, fatigue, laughter, joy, and love all while on crutches and in wheelchairs. This blog is just about me, mostly the writing side, but there are forays into so many different topics. I am married to a wonderful husband who puts up with my writing, knitting, yarn, with the love of a saint. We have fur babies, and one cat who rules us all.
This entry was posted in 2013, arthritis, bad days, beautiful, celebrations, doctors, dogs, family, friends, I feel, IMPORTANT, independence, knitting, Lent, life, marriage, novels, pain, tai chi, the internets, wheelchairs, Writers, writing, writing projects, yarn and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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