When my eyes popped open Tuesday, July 3rd, at 6 am, after not getting to sleep until close to 2 am and having restless and interrupted sleep, I was surprised to discover that while there was still some pain and discomfort from the previous day’s unaccustomed activity, it had dropped to level 1.5 or 2 on the 5 point pain scale…whose idea was it to decrease the pain scale and make it less accurate and more limited? But I digress. The point is that I was able to roll out of bed within half an hour of waking and with less discomfort. For anyone who experiences chronic pain and fatigue flares, this is significant.
Following through on FlyLady’s baby steps, I did my morning “routine” and washed my face, did a couple of light stretches, fixed my hair (which means it got combed and clipped), and got dressed to the shoes. Once that was done, I gathered all the things that Luna and I would need before we left to get her to school. Since the previous night I had looked at FlyLady’s Big Tent site and found that Tuesday was planning and agenda setting day, I mentally planned and created an agenda for getting some actual food into the apartment before July 4th, when Luna would be home all day, again.
Because things were still cluttered and disorganized it took more than a minute to locate the WIC vouchers for the month, finally I remembered I had made the effort to be organized and responsible and put them up and away in the closet in a folder next to our little, unlocked, lock box that holds our important documents. Next, I discovered that the allotted amount of food benefits that were supposed to have been authorized for this month had not fully been loaded onto the benefit card. It was too early to reach anyone and no voicemail option meant I would have to remember to call them later and get the problem fixed.
At this point it is very important for me to recognize, acknowledge and celebrate that there is some forward movement in my personal progress. Historically, these two things, both of which were relatively simple to resolve, would have triggered feelings of agitation and anxiety, as well as frustration with myself for the clutter and disorganization, which would have then flowed over and factored into the remainder of my day. I’m not going to lie, I did experience agitation and annoyance with a dash of panic. However, instead of continuing with the internal monologue of catastrophe, I was able to stop, breathe, and ask myself and God for the clarity and help I needed to not truly engage in the chaotic and familiar feelings of toxicity. That’s progress folks!
Because I didn’t entertain the devil with my agitation and antipathy, I actually had time to eat a bowl of cereal and attend to some housekeeping duties in the Bloggers Unite! tribe I founded the day before. In it’s first day and a half it grew from 1 (me) to 25 members. A little over a week later and it’s holding steady at 44 members.That is fairly astounding to me. I’ve never done anything like this and it’s got a huge learning curve, but is also hugely satisfying and exciting. The best part is that I’m building community, making friends, and opening myself back up to the world at large.
That last statement is very important, opening myself back up to the world at large. I used to be a very open and engaging person. I was the one who would smile at you even if you frowned at me and seek eye contact, instead of slide my glance the other direction were you to look up at me. I never learned the lesson to never talk to strangers and my kids would frequently get impatient or embarrassed by my conversation with someone I’d met in line at the grocery store. Somewhere along the way, I’d shut away that part of me.
However, on Tuesday, July 3rd, after dropping Luna at school and doing the WIC shopping, I found myself on a bus bench next to a man who seemed withdrawn and closed off. Something prompted me, perhaps it was God, or my conscience, or just me reconnecting to my inner being, and I asked him how he was doing. “Ohhhh, I could be doing better…” and I began listening to his words and hearing his story. I won’t go into details, because it’s his story and not mine. However, it is one of the many examples of people and families struggling with mental and physical health issues who are falling between the cracks of the various agencies they are being “served” by. Since the only person helping him to navigate the “system” (which isn’t a system at all but a series of bureaucratic agencies and clusters of overwhelmed social workers having to do more with less.
I don’t know if there is much I can do to help, but I’m willing to see if I can at least help him get the agencies working with him, talking to each other and help him get connected to someone in a position to advocate for him and his 16 year old daughter, since he’s too sick and she’s too young and they’re both too overwhelmed to find their way without someone to walk along side them. Maybe my efforts will help, maybe they won’t. The point is that I’m getting out of my self and making an effort to pay forward what others have done to help me when I’ve not been able to help myself. The rest is up to God.