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Going With My Flow

wooden lap desk propped up on bed with open laptop and coffee mug that reads "see you next Tuesday"
Photo Cred: Sincerely Media / Unsplash

I don’t feel good today.

The amount of work I planned out far exceeds my physical capacity.

I woke up at 8:23 am and grabbed the bottle of ibuprofen. The P.I.C. looked over from his side of the bed, laptop resting on his toned thighs, and lovingly rubbed my forehead. As if pulled into an anesthetic slumber, my willpower waned under the weight of my lids and I went lights-out with my two fingers hooked inside the bottle. What could have been anywhere from 10 seconds to one minute later, I succeeded at peeling open my puffy eyes (at first one at a time, groggily, until I could manage both) and planting the pills on my tongue, washing ‘em back with the glass of water on my nightstand.

It was all I could do to get a load of laundry going, feed house panda and pad back to bed with a glass of iced green tea before the morning cramps and painful period poos kicked in. I put on a meditation to distract me as I curled over myself on the toilet, bleeding, breathing through the spasms of my cinched colon, already exhausted by the agony that would only intensify over the next two days.

For six years, my periods have grown progressively worse. I’ve been unofficially diagnosed with endometriosis. An official diagnosis would involve an expensive and invasive procedure to identify a condition for which the conventional medical system has no truly healing solutions. Sure, they push birth control because it “can” help symptoms for some women. I could always get my uterus removed. But neither of these feels right for a million and two reasons I’d rather not go into at the moment.

I’ve paid for doctors' appointments and energy work sessions, consulted a homeopath, made dramatic dietary changes, taken herbal supplements and hopped on the CBD train—all in varying degrees over the years. I’ve experienced hints of relief here’n’there but I’m basically out of commission three days a month. Sometimes my mind goes dark inside the belly of my pain body and that time takes on the illusion of an eternity. This morning, after managing the very few things I listed earlier, I fell back asleep and snoozed until almost 1 pm. I think it saved me but then the guilt rushed in.

I have all these plans for @elysehugheswriter. These Big Blogs, the SelfLoving Sisterhood Book Club, an app! Gosh, I have a novel written and I’m working on a self-care handbook for sensitives. I’m in a powerfully productive groove and because of that my flow is really fuckin’ things up. I want to keep going and do it all like I normally do but today my body says: Nope. I’ve been chipping away at a really cool Big Blog called Herding Raccoons and gave it maybe an hour’s worth of additions, but the pain dulls me just enough to not have the edge required for the level of writing that story demands. I had to stop. Take a break. Make some food. Light the candles. Burn incense. Play piano music. Start again, here, with myself. The one that’s desperately wanting to keep my commitments and show up consistently, build a career and thrive but is challenged in ways by physical setbacks, energetic limitations . . . that many days thinks, “I have what it takes,” and others, experiences something that feels like failing entirely.

On some level, I feel like this illness is my fault. I beat myself up for not doing diet and lifestyle perfectly . . . I feel wrong for being sick.

I can’t keep resisting what’s happening within me at the moment because all it creates is additional stress and tension. The last few days I was short with The P.I.C. on a sprinkling of occasions, slammed by waves of overwhelm, knowing I wouldn’t be able to get everything done with the way my flow goes out the gate. It came four days earlier than last month and I was beside myself thinking it may repeat, arriving on the first day of a trip planned next month. With a condition that has me homebound, between bed & bathroom for a concentrated bundle of days, I can’t even imagine trying to navigate this while traveling. Airplane bathroom?—no fucking way.

The idea of having debilitating cramps, a bloody flood and cringing poops in a public setting, well, No, just, No. If it comes on the day of, I’d have to tell my friends that I can’t attend any of the activities we planned—why even go if that’s the case? And I certainly don’t want to put myself in the position of having to explain this to anyone (I’m not sure why I’m doing it here). It’s one of those conditions that’s TMI city no matter which way ya slice it, which of course, leaves those of us experiencing endo in a castle of solitude (which to my personality type kinda sounds nice, but in this case, it isn’t). I’ve tracked my flow for years and just when it assumes a pattern of regularity, it jumps—I’m a week late or early! I can’t crack this crystal ball and it’s made planning ahead impossible. But canceling? Do I put the kibosh on the trip because I might get my period during it? More stress. More unknowns. Indecision reigns.

Maybe I can “let go” and trust that I’ll know what decision to make in regard to my travel plans within a reasonable amount of time. I’ll go ahead and set that intention.

Every month living with this presents new challenges. How can I rearrange my work schedule or plan ahead to accommodate my needs when my flow is completely fucking unreliable? I track PMS symptoms, cataloguing my body’s indications, but even those change. Once a month, I’m thrust into full-stop pain and things are tossed off course.

It’s messy. In the midst of my flow, I flip-flop between devoted self-care and guilt for inevitably neglecting todos in all other areas. I hunker down and cycle between bed, bathroom, and laundry, snuggling panda in pockets when the cramps subside to let him know I’m not ignoring him, I’m just not able to cat mom with the energy and commitment I do most days. My joy of eating leaves but I fantasize about the most perfect truffle potato chips that only one little market in town carried and no longer does.

I’m really trying to go with my flow and that process is just about as imperfect as this disjointed conglomeration of words I’m going to go ahead and publish. I don’t have it in me today to strive for finesse or perfection or an overarching life lesson. I’m just going through it, as we all are, so much of the time. Another day in one more month where life will accept nothing less than my surrender to it’s impossible-to-pin inner workings. Ok Universe, I threw the crystal ball out the window. The flow is here, it’s happening, and all I can do is go with it.

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