Tag Archives: Growing into myself

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

Almost three weeks ago, I attended a beginner’s yoga class. I’d attended that one a couple times before, along with some more advanced classes.

As always, I only did a few chatarangas and planks, backing off before shoulder pain set in. I took full wheel, which went smoothly (as usual).

Later that evening, my shoulder was in agony. The agony persisted to the next day. And the next. For almost two weeks.

The standard muscular soreness lasted a couple of days, as I’d expect. It was a workout for my shoulder, so I expected the tightness.

But the rest was weird. My shoulder kept clicking and thunking in the socket, and I couldn’t get it to sit right. (It’s done that at times in the last year or so when I overworked the shoulder, but typically not this painfully.) The familiar daily “pulling” pain was constant and present with a vengeance. By the end of each workday, I’d taken the max recommended 4000 mg of acetaminophen, which left my evenings… rough. It was difficult to keep schlepping up to the northern side of town twice or thrice a week for church board and committee meetings when I really just wanted to lie in bed–the best way to relieve the constant downward pull on my shoulder.

Over the last 3 years of this shoulder pain, I’ve made accommodations and found a new normal: wearing pants/jackets with pockets, keeping small pillows at desks, always using chairs with arms, doing rehab exercises, and daily “spoon” calculations. The pain was still present daily, but I could get through the workday without much issue most days.

Plus, I’ve found my perception of the pain has become… strange. The line between discomfort and pain is a blurry one for me now. There are times when I’m genuinely not sure if I’m just uncomfortable or in active pain; sometimes it’s whether I can’t sit still and I feel feverish (things that are out of my conscious control) that are the deciding factors. The fact that I still have an emotional/anxious reaction to incorrect joint behavior (e.g., feeling the shoulder not rotate smoothly in the socket) also complicates the issue.

But this renewed pain was worrying. So I “caved” and called the sports doctor I’d seen back in 2011. I’ve been pretty judgmental to myself over the years about this pain. I must have done “dumb” or “bad” things to cause the spur to develop. (Plus, I’ve never been particularly kind to my body.) I shouldn’t “whine” about the pain; just suck it up, especially at times like the Iceland trip where surely the awesomeness should totally outweigh the pain. (And it does… but ow.)

So when I went to the doc on Monday, I was surprised to hear them say I shouldn’t still be in so much pain. That the clicking/thunking/instability is likely a sign of a different issue, something that wouldn’t have shown on the normal MRI I had done in 2011.

They’ve scheduled an MRI with contrast and gave me some tramadol to help manage the pain, particularly with the upcoming Russia trip.

That was… a relief. I had assumed that I’d be stuck with that “normal” pain forever, with it only eventually worsening as I aged or did additional damage. I’d assumed that I was being weak by being hampered by this pain.

I’d assumed it was my due.

Now I’m faced with the idea that, if it’s what they think, surgery may be a viable and helpful option. Not that that would be painless, of course, and there’d be more focused rehab afterwards, but the idea that by the end of 2014 I might be pain-free? Pretty shocking.

My MRI is two days after I return from Russia, and my follow-up to go over the results is already scheduled for the Monday I return to work. For now, I’m enjoying the most pain-light/free time I’ve had in years.

APW 2013: Intellectualism, Anarchy, Privilege and Power

(This is the fifth in a way-too-long-running series on APW 2013.)

I am not educated on anarchy or intentional communities. I consider this a lack in my education. (Seems like reddit may have a good starting place for me.)

Dennis Fox is a psychologist from Boston who focuses on a few interesting topics: intentional communities and critical psychology.

What is critical psychology, you ask? When speaking of truths, Fox said, “current psychology’s truth is in finding ways for unhappy people to adapt to the current world, rather than in changing the current world.”

That really resonated with me.

So many of the unhappinesses we struggle with derive from trying to live in ways our society deems correct: working a 40+ hour per week job in which we produce something of “value” to society and for which we receive money and (if you’re “lucky”) fame. Then we should partake in monogamous relationships that last for years, build wealth, and strive to have bodies like those of people in magazines.

When we fail at those things, we go to psychologists, who have techniques they teach us for how to set goals, how to love ourselves within this framework, and how to persevere in doing what’s good for us.

I do hope that doesn’t sound like a rant. I don’t mean it do.

I attended a couple panels that dealt with power dynamics and/or community building, which I touched on in the previous post (regarding the sociopathy concerns). Dr. Eli Sheff focused on things like gender, racial, and sexual privilege in relationships, while Dr. Fox spoke more on changing our (individual/community) world to find our own truths.

I, of course, consider these rather related.

Being a bisexual or bi-romantic female in the poly community is a powerful thing–like having O negative blood in a friggin’ donation facility. Hell, “hot bi-babe” is a term through around a lot in podcasts and in the community.

Being the third or newcomer in a triad? A distinctly un-powerful thing.

Being legally civil unioned? Powerful, because you can “pass” and be a gentle, suburban face for polyamory. On top of that, our culture at-large values relationships with a potential for raising healthy children, and nothing screams “family stability” like being legally married. Or so they tell me.

Financial privilege and social mobility is huge when you have a lifestyle that could cost you your job. I’m very privileged in working in a field where 1) I make a fair amount of money, 2) my work environments tend to be liberal, and 3) I have the ability to get a new job pretty quickly if I lose my current one.

But I don’t want the communities I’m part of to size me (or anyone) up by those metrics.

So how do we either 1) live (safely?) outside of that to have our own truths, and/or 2) change the world around us to be more accepting of those truths?

I don’t know.

APW 2013: Codependency and Identity

(This is third in a series of posts about Atlanta Poly Weekend 2013.)

I was utterly delighted at how many panels and discussions touched on questions of identity and codependence. I mean “identity” here as a self-discovery and self-listening process, rather than the external application of labels.

I’m early yet in my own exploration of codependence and the unhealthy behaviors I’ve harbored for many years. One of the things I’m focusing on is (re)discovering my own life patterns and identity. It’s a large component in why I moved into my own apartment.

When I saw a 5-7 adult family (with kids!) at APW, my first thought was, “Holy fuck, how do they stay themselves?”

Continue reading APW 2013: Codependency and Identity

Choosing the Unconventional Path

Last year, Greg and I expanded the boundaries of our relationship pretty drastically. It went really badly, but has resulted in an immense amount of growth for me: I’ve never been so independent within this relationship, so free to say “no” and feel my feelings without justifying or suppressing them.

And here you all probably thought I was kick-ass assertive 24/7.

Continue reading Choosing the Unconventional Path

Inherent Worth and Dignity

I’ve been struggling for a while to quantify something I’m taking issue with lately, and I finally think I hit the nail on the head.

Imagine, if you will, that you work with someone in a standard American corporate environment. Let’s call her Jane. (Jane’s a good, strong name. Speaks to her background.)

Now, you totally get that Jane’s probably a good person outside your work environment (yeah, sure), but at work, she’s a total loser. Can’t do her job, whines all the time, and really just gets in the way of progress. You’re there to get a job done, and Jane’s clearly just killing time and collecting a paycheck.

She’s absolutely worthless, and then has the gall to dislike you for being good at your job. Not your fault she sucks and you had to fix her mistakes.

I’ve seen this scenario played out a hundred different ways, and am not immune to it myself. Continue reading Inherent Worth and Dignity