Tuesday, December 27

the hardest fight

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year, even though I occasionally conform to peer pressure and complain about busy shops and berserk traffic. I love re-living the story of baby Jesus...and singing carols which give me shivers, especially O Holy Night. Right now, I am sitting in my lounge and there is an intoxicatingly beautiful scent filling the air – my white lilies. I love lilies, and the smell of a pine tree, and my family, whose company is perfect, and the excitement of wrapping up & giving presents, and the magical lights at night....and then there’s the food!

The last couple of years I didn’t indulge much because of my diet, the one where I keep off sugar, yeast, cheese e.t.c, because processed foods don’t help the body to heal. But two Christmases of looking at the sauces and desserts and drinks had built up this insurmountable urge to eat delicious food. I was salivating! So I ate. And it was good. Glazed ham, and Christmas pudding, and custard, and pavlova.. I woke up at 3am on Christmas night having had a nightmare: my throat was so red and swollen that I was shocked, especially when I looked at it in the mirror. Somehow, my eczema had also flared up during the past few hours, painfully. My ears were thoroughly blocked. Thankyou body, for reminding me of my illness. I didn’t regret my carefree eating, because I knew there would be consequences and I was ready to face them. On Boxing Day, I consumed lots of Olive Leaf Extract, and Apple Cider Vinegar, and vitamin C, and no sugar or dairy – which helped my body. Taking foul remedies is easy compared to exercising, but I knew that if I wanted to feel better, I needed to hop on that bike of mine and work up a sweat. As if that’s what you want to do on Boxing Day when you body is punishing you for delighting your tastebuds. It took me till 8pm to work up the courage, because here is a true word: I do not like biking or swimming, and never have, and possibly never will.
To be fair, I do receive approximately three minutes joy during my bike ride. The first three. My quads are fresh as daises, and the route begins with a long descent...I feel the wind flying past my face and there is some kind of exhilaration, a feeling of freedom. Very quickly though, I feel despair. While I’m riding, I pessimistically liken my bike ride to my life: hard slog with a few bright moments. My thighs ache. My heart thunders. I feel the little beads of sweat forming all over me. Then a strong male with hefty quads overtakes me, and I never see him again. I don’t like him, he makes it look like a joy ride. After some time, the big hill is looming and here I start telling myself that I must be fitter than the last time I tried to get up it, so this time will be better. Alas, even when I have my bike in 1st gear, the hill is a monster. I am ashamed to admit this, but I sometimes whimper as I’m creeping up it because I think that if I start crying, I can convince myself that exercising is too hard, and I should go home. Momentarily I feel some sense of success when the hill has finally ended, but my body is moaning for a break. My face feels like it’s on fire, and it pounds with blood. I bike as slowly as will keep my balance for a while, to allow my thigh muscles to relax....unclench a little. Eventually I reach the turnaround point, and crawl home on my bike; alternating between motivating mental speeches, and thoughts of giving up. Once home, sweating on the couch, I feel satisfied. I did it, I actually made myself do it. And now I have hours and hours ahead of me of no exercise!

The next day dawns and I wake knowing that I have to go through the whole horrid exercise experience again. It is never over for long. Never an accomplished thing.
 Overall, I prefer swimming to biking, now that I actually can swim, it’s summer time, and I have a waterproof ipod. I wouldn’t have said that the first time though, when I arrived at the pool in my pink and white bikini, ready to drown. When I arrive in the change room, I am wishing with all my might that I get my own lane. Pleeease. I walk into the pool area, turn up my beautiful flute music and immediately begin sussing out the quality of the swimmers in each lane...the slow lane is occupied by a woman in her 80’s who is swimming so slowly it is a wonder she is still afloat. I feel sorry for her, while at the same time admire her...but all the same, this is not the lane for me. In the medium lane there is an overweight man in his 50’s with flippers and a snorkel, and another middle aged gentlemen in budgie smugglers. I avert my gaze from this unseemly sight. I will not pretend that I don’t have issue with some men in this age range.  In my experience, they are a splashy, large lot. As they swim past me, I am so completely misplaced in the water so that I quite lose my rhythm, and how embarrassing is this: I choke because I get water up my nose. Then I have to stifle my chokes because I would hate for the lifeguard to think I was actually drowning. Next time round, I brace myself for their coming – and yet, I am still thrown all over the place as they galumph past me. On seeing the men, I look to the fast lane, with is mercifully empty. I wouldn’t call myself a fast swimmer by any means, but I’ll take it for now. Bliss – I have my very own lane. I begin with 10 laps of kick-board as this is a very strenuous way to start my swim. Alas, two girls who spend a lot of time at this pool have arrived and decided that my lane is the most appealing. These girls are more here for the social swim than the lap swim, but as there is no playing section, they use the lanes. I don’t feel relaxed with them standing at the end of my lane talking. Then they take off with some leisurely breaststroke....(A stroke I’d love to learn). I have to wait until they’re over half way through the lane before I can start, or I will crash into them – and as I do a lot of backstroke this is a real issue. My heart rate drops each time I have to wait this long, and my exercise program is all about maintaining a fast heart rate...I know that my times are going to be slow today and it really upsets me that I must compromise my swim. One time, I set off a little too early and ended up crashing into the poor girl at the end of the lane. I felt so guilty, but to be honest it worked in my favour. They realised that they needed to move. Then a truly fast swimmer arrives. He’s strong, and swift and powerful, and absolutely no match for me. I know what it is to swim with a slower person so I move to a now emptier lane and finish my swim in peace. The music takes the sting out of the exercise, and I enjoy the sensation of propelling myself through the water. I fight to swim faster, to move through the water swiftly. I hop out after a kilometre and I am glad.
Sometimes people say that I must have a lot of motivation. I don’t think that word applies in this situation. I don’t feel motivated: I drag myself kicking and screaming to do my exercise. I whimper my way through it. It is something I must do, so I reluctantly do it with all the strength I can muster. I don’t feel the passion to go onwards and work hard that I usually feel in flute. Part of me compels me to, and the other part is constantly inventing possible escape plans. I so much want to be well that I make myself do it, against my own will. .. It’s an endless battle, the hardest fight.  

Gorgeous pictures in blog from Pinterest

Monday, December 12

slow down


Slow Dance
by David Weatherford

Have you ever watched kids
on a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Do you run through each day
On the fly
When you ask “How are you?”
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done,
do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
running through your head?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

Ever told your child,
We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
‘Cause you never had time
To call and say “Hi”?
You’d better slow down
Don’t dance so fast
Time is short
The music won’t last

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….Thrown away…
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over. 

Tuesday, December 6


I love words. I love that by deliberately selecting words and carefully arranging them, complex and emotional feelings can be expressed. It fascinates me that a novelist can create an entirely fictional world by words. That he can make scenes so vivid to his readers that they can see it all in their heads, and feel the pain of the imaginary characters.  But I think that notes are even more powerful than words. They evoke emotions in me that I struggle to describe adequately. The effect of music on me has always been strong. I used to listen to Tchaikovsky ballet waltzes – I was compelled to dance around the lounge. It was intoxicating and thrilling. Dancing was the only way that I could cope with the joy which seemed to be literally bubbling up my oesophagus from deep down inside my body. But since my body has become weak and fragile, the beautifully tragic melodies have captivated me. I don’t mind tears streaming down my face when I listen to music. I actually quite like it. Sometimes it is the only way to relieve myself of the intense feelings which are either buried deep or resting on the surface.
I can’t describe my longing to be free from the constant pain of this body, so please listen to this peice which explains it so much better than I ever will be able to.
Yann Tiersen - Amelie

it is cruel you know, that music should be so beautiful

Longing. Hope. For me this song is a yearning to run, to dance, to do things with no suffering afterwards, to be a fairy, to be carefree and unconstrained by this body...

live for today...
...hope for tomorrow

This song is my hope for tomorrow. Some days I can’t hope for a well tomorrow. I can’t visualise a well me. I don’t see that being completely well is an option, or a realistic wish. I mentally see myself always having to pace, always lying down and eternally wishing I could do more - be more. I feel hopelessness for the future. And then other days, all I can do is hope for tomorrow and I see today as worthless – I forget that what I’m doing right now does have some significance; it’s not worthless just because it is so tiny and doesn’t fit into our societies idea of achievement. Even if the only thing I have achieved today is learning empathy for other people who are suffering, that would be worth it, wouldn’t it?