I didn’t die…and I missed you
I know it’s been a very long time since you saw me here. There’s so much I was unable to share with you. I moved. I’m about to move again. I fought depression, anxiety, allergies, physical injuries that chained into one another and lasted for a year and a half with some still-lingering symptoms. I fought writer’s block. I wrote. I hated it and never posted. I fought impostor syndrome. I discussed the pros and cons of writing a blog with my mother, who is both keen on and terrified of starting her own. I entered a relationship. I watched a friend of mine begin a Patreon and slowly grow his following (so proud of him). I lost what I thought was a solid relationship with a convention I’ve been heavily involved in and dearly loved. I pulled side gigs. I started a year long quilting project for 2019 that is (not surprisingly) not finished yet, but taught me so much about small daily progress.
I’ve been medically prevented from playing the harp since October of 2018. It was like I died. And then I died again. And then I died some more. No one wants to say the injury is permanent. The word is carefully and daintily avoided. Every milestone: you should try again and see how your body reacts to the harp. Nearly every time the result was the same: I paid for 5, 10, 15 minutes with 1 or 2 weeks of constant pain. After developing a second sympathetic injury in January 2020, a doctor finally stopped pussyfooting around. If you want the pain to go away, you have to quit your job.
Was I relieved that I finally had a medical reason to leave and pursue something else? Was I terrified of job hunting again? Was I afraid I’d make everything monumentally worse if I went ahead and continued to work at my job while I searched for another? Did I even qualify for short term disability while I searched for something else? Was I worried about my clientele and the current disputes I was working on their behalf? The hands on repairs sitting in my queue that no one in the house but me was qualified to handle? Was I brave enough to imagine a world where I controlled my day and rose or fell on my own ingenuity, skill and determination?
It was a very confusing time for me. I hauled ass through St Valentine’s. It’d be too much of a lurch to leave before then. In March, the Coronaclosures began. I was furloughed during the first wave, having already been away from work for several days as I had become symptomatic for influenza the previous Saturday.
I have been in social isolation for 5.5 weeks. I can finally play the harp for about 45m with only minor issues the following 2 days. I’m finally able to build up my strength again. However, if I do anything akin to the benchwork I perform at my job, I go right back to nearly a week of recovery. My former occupational therapist said she thought the bar minimum time off bench that would be necessary for me was 6 weeks. She’d prefer 8. How unexpected to have a global pandemic provide me with just that reprieve.
So here I am, getting back my typing strength, considering subjects for future posts, and packing my house for the next move. I’ve missed you all terribly and am hoping that if I take anything away from this experience it will be:
1. Stretch your hands and arms every day. Especially if you work with them. Even when it’s something you consider simple like typing. You’ve only got one set and it ruins so many aspects of your life when they’re not properly respected.
2. No matter how hard I close my eyes, the reality isn’t going to go away. Not my pain. Not the injury causing it. Not the virus. Not the depression. Not the fears. It’s time to go back to taking life by the goat horns.