Monday, December 31, 2012


New Year's eve is typically a time for self-reflection and resuloution-making, so obviously, I have a lot to think about tonight, As I was contemplating tonight's post, I signed onto everybody's favorite website, Facebook, and saw this:"Goals for 2013: STRENGTH. Strong body, strong voice, strong choices. No weak, passive, lame-o behavior. " It was a status update that one of my astonsihingly, brilliant and insightful friends posted and I rhought, "Huh, was that meant for me? It certainly seems like it is; strong body, let's get my vessel back in fighting shape, strong voice, I would love it if I could finally embrace my new speaking voice, or accent, as I've begun referring to it, strong choices, well, I decided a few weeks ago that 2013 will be about me getting my swagger back, so I will be following my heart and my instincts as much as is reasonable, the kicker was  the part about no weak, passive or lame-o behavior. Lately I've been getting really annoyed with the constant whining that I allow to fly out of my mouth, well, no more, my life is perfect, the way ir is and I'm gonna stop complaining about it, damnit! And stop feeling sorry for myself, because that's awaste of my time and precious energy.

So, while 2012 was about getting my physical independence back and accepting the circumstances of my life, 2013 is about a new, more positive, compassionate and forgiving  perpective towards myself. Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Credit Where it's Due

I had some very special visitors ta few days ago , my two cousins, Julia and Leah, I basically grew up with these two women Leah just got married a few months ago, I had to miss it, I was heart broken about that, I haven't seen her since she got married and I have't seen Julia since the stroke, most importantly Julia hadn't met Charlotte yet

In an effort to allow Matt a chance to sleep in I decided to get up and get Charlotte put together for her two guests. I was nervous about getting her dressed; If I were to say that the stroke took out what little self-confidence I had, that would be the understatement of the century. As I apprached Charlotte's changing table to pick out her outfit a million self-doubting thoughts flitted through my head, could I pick out something that wopuld match? I don't know what still fits, I can't get her shoes on by myself. But I stopped and told myself to shut the hell up, I am perfectly capable of dressing my 13-month-old. And I did! Shoes socks and everything! She looked cute too! It's like I'm turning into a real Mom or something.

I wendownstairs and proclaimed my accomplishment to my brother-In-Law and my friend, who both cheered for me, then later that day my bro-in-Law threw down another challenge for me: since we werehosying Christmas at his place he was more than a little stressed, so he had to run some errends to prepare, he asked me to wrap a present for him while he was out. My immediate thought was,"I can't wrap a present with one hand, is he crazy?" Well, jeeze, that's no way to go through life, is it? I was immediately annoyed withmyself for thinking that way. Wrapping presents has always been my favorite thing about this season, like hell I'm gonna give that up. So I wrapped the damn thing, it wasn't perfect, but it looked better than I thought it would be, so I've now decided that it's time for me to start giving myself a little credit instead of instantly assuming I' can't do something, because everytime I try something I think I can't do, I manage to accomplish it, go figure!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tis the Season

Christmas of 2012 was a bit different from Christmas of 2011, just a bit...

Last year, I was released from rehab for one day on Christmas and had to return at the end of the day, which sucked, because I was being released from rehab two days later.

I woke up so excited on Christmas day, so excited to see my family to eat real food in my home with my baby. Matt wheeled me out into the crisp December air, I had barely been outside since early November os being outside was quite an event, we drove home, I sat in the passenger seat, staring blankly out of the window, excited, and anxious to get home. I believe Matt wheeled me into the house, either that or I hauled myself in on my cane, I wasn't walking freestyle yet. I remember sitting at dinner, still in my comatose state, the state I lived in for the first four months post-stroke, so I sat at dinner, mindlessly shoveling food into my mouth, bsrely tasting it, embarassed because there was someone I didn't know very well at dinner that night, I was incredibly self-conscious about eating in front of people because my mouth was still not working well enough to makes it a neat process, my attention span was also so terrible that I made a huge mess out of myself and anything close to me when I ate. So, I sat at Christmas dinner, trying to pay attention to the many conversations going on around me, battling, my insecurity, in fact, I barely remember any of it., at some point we retreated into the living room and Matt was nice enough to put Ian McKellan's Richard III on for me to watch, because I had been quoting it non stop, "Now is the winter of my discontent." and so on. I immediately fell asleep in the chair I sat down in, and Matt took me up to our bedroom where we lay down for a nap and a chance to cuddle, one of our favorite activities, which we hadn't been able to do for two months. I sank into the familiar an soft matress and nested down into the manny layers of blankets that live on my bed, nesteled myself deep into Matt's arms and cried my face off, our bed was so warm, so familiar and so comfortable, the thought of having to go back to the hospital was torture, even if it was just for two daysm I knew it would be the longest two days of my life, After I got the tears out I had the modt restful nap of my life. Then we went back to the hospital and my routine there.

This year, we got up on Christmas morning in our comfy, warm bed, I was greeted with the familiar faces of my family, the laughter of my daughter as she played with her cousins, I walked down the stairs on my own and sat on the couch, watching intently as all of the kids and others opened gifts, paying close attention to everymoment drinking it in, happy to be having such a normal Christmas morning, I drank coffee and ate my traditional cinnamon rolls that my mother-In -Law bought for me, so I could participate in my famiily's Christmas morning tradition.

It was certainly the best Christmases I've spent, it was everything Christmas is supposed to be, filled with love, laughter and people you care about.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dark Night

Man years ago, I went to breakfast at a Denny's in Connecticut after my apartment warming party and sat with a girl who would eventually be one of my closest friends there, we sat for hours, smoking cigarettes,drinking coffee and talking, is there anything else to do at a Denny's?

She was a religious girl so our conversation turned to an intense discusion about the crisis of faith I experienced at 15 when my grandmother passed away.

After decades of devoted service to the church and a deep faith in God and Jesus, losing my grandmother, my soul mate, was too much, so, I basically told God to fuck off, stopped going to chuch and started practicing Wicca, with a hint of Norse practice tossed in for good measure.

My new friend and I talked about the dark night of the soul that day, I had never heard of this phenomenom, so when she told me about the poem, it made perfect sense yes I had gone through a dark night, and reached a higher concsiouness as a result a more sure and secure sense of faith be cause of it.

As the "apocyalypse" fast approaches, there is a lot of talk about wat it means, for a long time, I have thought it portents a large social shift, but I am finding myself in the midst of a dark night again. Lately I've ben experiencing some pretty negative emotions and lots od delf-doubt and a general discomfort with myself, I feel uncomfortable in my skin and I'm not sure how to act. I want to resuurrect this Old Liz person my husband seems to miss so much, because we're not so crazy about Liz 2.0. So, this past week has been tough, I've been plunged into a dark place of awkwardness andin security, but all I want is to present a strong face to my child, I want her to have a strong example of womanhood, and that's what she's going to get, damnit. So, am I in the midst of a dark night? I was reading some new age websites on the subject and apparently travelling through a dark night can result in a higher level od cocsiousness, so, wil that be MY apocyalypse? is the apocalypse somply a shift in consciouness? Or is the social order going to change? I dunno, but I'm excited to come out on the other side od this tunnel of sad I'm in and see where it lands me.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The One Where I Attend the Church of the White Way of Delight

I've been following this blog for a long time, I stumbled across it during a time that was really tough for Matt and I Obviously, I've been using many of the tips Gretchen Rubin suggests, especially imitating my spiritual master, Anne Shirley. The Anne books have captivated me since I discovered them as a young girl, Anne's dreamy way of looking at the wolr has always spoken to me and I use one of her most famous quotes at the end of a bad day, when I have one;"Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it." So when I'm getting ready for bed at the end of a bad day, a day when I make a lot of mistakes due to not paying enough attention to what I'm doing or a day when I let my fear get the best of me, I look at myself in the mirror and repeat this phrase to myself and simply tell myself, "Tomorrow will be better." Ifind these little nudges I give myself help a lot, I worry l and fixateless on what I would normally view as failures, but take them as lessons to take into the next day of what not to do and what to pay attention to, behavior to change, and that's the best anyone can do with any day.

So is it posible my approach to processing bad day has improved? Gee, maybe this stroke thing isn't the tragedy I thought it was!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The One Where I Start Using A New Vocabulary

My BFF Sheila came for a visit today, from the beginning of this ordeal she has been a wall of strength for me, always letting me know that she believes in me and finding me support in places I never would have looked for it. She is always full of advice for me, ways to fight depression and hoplessness when it creeps in she also fully beieves in my body's ability to heal itself and makes sure that I have the same belief as well.

I have a tendency to use self-deprecating humor to diffuse any discomfort my disability may cause ain others, so, I have a tendency to refer to myself in less than positive terms, usualy to get a laugh, I will refer to myself as brain damaged, which is, in fact, true.

Because my self-confidence has taken a hit because of all of this, I haven't quite gotten my swagger back yet, but I'm working on it, I tend to be pretty negative when I talk about myself, I will call myself stupid, constantly insult my speaking voice and second grade quality writing and, generally be down on myself, which I'm sure makes lots of people uncomfortable, because no one likes that person.

Today, Sheila pointed out , multiple times that I need to change my narrative when I'm talking about myself and she's right, as usual. I feel embarrassed after spending an afternoon bemoaning my exsistence and saying nasty things about myself, because it's ridiculous, I've come so far from where I started, I never could have imagined having this much peace of mind when I began this journey. Do I still get mad? Yes! It's really shitty and this whole thing sucks! I want to hug my daughter with both arms, goddamnit! and I will, mark my words, some day I will and it will be the best hug I will ever give and the best hug Charlotte will ever get!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The One Where I Have to Wear Shades

We had a full staff meeting at work today.

Full Staff meetings hold a special place in my heart for a couple reasons: 1. We had one scheduled right after my stroke and I was pleading with anyone who would listen to let me out of the ICU so I could go to it so I could show my baby off anf show everybody that I was ok, unbeknownst to me, I was not ok enough to go, 2. Full staff meetings give me a chance to see my co-workers that I used to see everyday of the week, but due to my part-time schedule, that I never see. I look forward to these meetings, they are exciting, entertaining and make me feel like I am still woven into the fabric that is the co-op At the beginning of every meeting we have what we call check-ins, it's a way for every staff member to connect with the other staff members and let everyone know where they're at, mrntally and emotionally, because these check-ins can get long, our GM asks a question for us to answer as part of our check-in, today's question sent me reeling, as part of our check-in we had to say our name, what department we work in and answer this question: What are you most excited about for the year 2013? Well, As I was thinking about what my answer would be, it was hard to put my finger on one thing, as the mother of a quickly growing child, I am excited everyday to see what new, amazing thing she learns, today it was clapping! Plus, I am excited to see how far I come in my recovery in 2013. My answer ended up eith this: Maybe I'll be running in 2013, I plan to walk a 5k next summer and, I will hopefully finish and publish my book. As we went around the circle, my mind kept dreaming up the great things that are in stor for me in the coming years. Everyday is a new adventure and I never know what new, cool thing I'm going to accomplish, I have to say, these days, it's pretty exciting to wake up in the morning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The One With No Regrets

From time to to time, Matt and I  discuss what would have happened had I not gotten pregnant when I did.Now, let me be clear, I got pregnant very much on purpose, my clock's alarm was going off loudly and forcibly, unbeknownst to my husband  was using an online natural family planningwebsite and tracking my ebbs and flows, so, the night we concived Charlotte was planned,  I'm sure of what day it was because I had to do it that night.

Both Matt and I agree, we love Charlotte, at whatever her arrival may have cost us. I am so happy she is here, without her, I would have given up, long ago, I would have stayed in bed all day long in my first few days at home after I left rehab, seeing her is what motivated me to drag my depressed, scared ass out of bed.
I have no choice other than to suceed because of her, I want to be a good example for her, of how to behave when adversity rears it's ugly head; Do you give up? No. Do you rise to thr occasion and let it make you a better person? Hell yes.
So, what would I do differently? I would have asked for a c-section and refused the pitocin, if I knew would happen. ButI Wouldn't change a thing. Yes. things are kind of a pain in the ass now and it's harder to do things like change diapers, put my hair up and crochet, but I am slowly evolving into a person I never thought I could be. My life is perfect the way it is. I am perfect the way I am, because I'm here and doing my best everyday, which is something Old Liz couldn't claim, so I think I'm ahead of the gamre.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The oOne Where I Pay Attention To Stuff

When I dove into the New Age community at the end of my college life, I started hearing a lot of people talk about being present, I was never too sure what that meant..I'm here, doesn't that count as being present? No. It doesn't. Being present means taking in and paying attention to the moment, experiencing every moment of life for the beautiful thing it is.

I have made it my mission to be present everymoment of everyday, and let me tell you, it is challenging. I know I've mentioned my extreme exhaustion, well, that's cleared up a bit, but any extra excitement in my day sends me to the couch for a power nap and now, I've been put on muscle relaxers, in an attempt to loosen up the muscle spasisity in my arm, so I can move it around, these new pills floor me, I am constantly fighting against my closing eyelids so I am present with Charlotte, so I do not miss one precious moment with her, as she learns something new and cool, like how her Russian nesting dolls work as a result of this intense focus I force myself to maintain all day, so I am fully engaged with my husband and child, I am exhausted by the end of the day, but I feel ssatisfied ofthat I've milked every delightful drop out out of my day, so I go to bed, tired and happy, content that I did not check out once during the day, but paid attention to everything that needed my attention, no guilt, no regret, it's worth the work. It always is.