Categories
Self-Care

Give Me a Break (No, not like that!)

I lost the central vision in my right eye nearly three years ago. The vision in my left eye has never been great, so I’m legally blind. Other than constant typos and having a hard time reading anything that doesn’t have a zoom or text-to-voice option (which is just as well, because I have yet to encounter one that isn’t awful, grating, and annoying), I’ve adapted reasonably well to having limited eyesight and no depth perception. (Unfortunately, my brain still scrambles voices, so my auditory processing hasn’t improved as a result of my loss of vision.)

My lack of depth perception led to a truly awful accident. I was putting a bag of cat food on top of the refrigerator to keep my orange goofball of a cat from eating it (because if it’s anywhere he can reach it, he will tear into it and eat until he makes himself sick). Unfortunately, I had the brilliant idea to keep the fire extinguisher on top of the refrigerator, too, so that it was close to the stove but not within reach of curious toddlers. Thanks to my lack of depth perception, I couldn’t tell that it was too close to the edge of the refrigerator, and the cat food bag nudged it off. I did my best to get my huge feet out of the way of the falling fire extinguisher, but I didn’t quite make it, and the second toe of my left foot fully felt the impact.

TW: Description of a couple of foot injuries and medical procedures follows. If that sort of thing makes you squeamish, best to stop reading now.

I don’t know what it is about my feet that makes them so sensitive. I can take injuries pretty much anywhere else in my body with no problems (and yes, that includes being in labor with my children), but any sort of foot injury hurts more than any of them. I cried a bit when I was in labor before the epidurals kicked in, but when they inserted the needle to give me anesthetic to sew up my foot after it got cut open by a piece of glass in the yard, I involuntarily screamed. The noises I made are best described as “horse being eaten alive.”

So, yeah. The little kitchen fire extinguisher somehow managed to break the second toe on my left foot, and it hurts even more than it did when I broke my arm when I was 11 years old. I’ve had to alternate ibuprofen and naproxen to keep the pain under control.

The worst part isn’t the break itself, though. Apparently, some fractures get these things called “fracture blisters.” From what I can gather, they’re supposed to help cushion the bone as it heals. I can get behind that. What bothers me is that it does this by pushing serous fluid between the epidermis and the dermis. The pain and pressure from the blisters actually hurts worse than the fracture itself.

Feet have a lot of nerves, which probably explains why I hate having anything on them so much. I’d rather run the risk of cuts and breaks than wear shoes. I can tolerate them for a certain amount of time, but I have to take them off afterward to allow my feet freedom from irritants. (And yes, I avoid public transportation because I know people get upset if one removes one’s shoes in public for any reason, even if your feet are telling you that the rest of your body is suffocating.)

It’s been a week now, and my foot and toe are healing as well as can be expected. The pain makes it hard to exercise, but I work around it as I can. I also rest as I can, which is difficult with a toddler, especially now that she’s having a sleep regression. I’ll do my best though, as always.

Categories
Reflection

Between the Shadow and the Soul

“How can I be substantial if I do not cast a shadow? I must have a dark side also if I am to be whole.” ~ Carl Jung

My husband Michael is part of Mankind Project. It’s a movement that is working to help men fully embrace themselves and feel comfortable expressing themselves honestly and fully as the people they are. They are combatting the toxicity that has created a society where men are only considered manly if they express themselves with only a handful of the emotions all humans possess. Since I’m not a man, I can only bear witness to what comes of the Mankind Project within my husband and his friends, and what I have seen is a lot of positive changes and growth for both of us.

Michael is a therapist, and while he cannot and will not act as my therapist, there are things that manage to osmose through the professional life/private life barrier. Some of those things are from his education, and some of them are from seminars and what he has learned from the Mankind Project. Michael has created a safe space where I can express my emotions and separate my feelings from my thoughts. I didn’t even differentiate between thoughts and feelings until we had one of our many long talks. Sometimes those talks started as arguments that evolved into us sharing our truths and expressing our true thoughts and feelings. Our relationship keeps getting better and stronger as we become more mentally healthy.

One of the things I have resisted very hard is the idea of the “shadow self.” I’ve denied its existence and tried to justify everything I’ve ever said or done in a way that allowed me to maintain the illusion that there is no darkness within me.

But there is darkness.

Oh, yes, there is darkness.

Michael has shared with me the saying “That which you resist persists.” I take it to mean that the more I deny the existence of my shadow self, the greater the risk of the things I want to keep hidden breaking out. I must accept everything about myself in order to be the person I want to me.

Will I be sharing the details of my shadow work?

No, I will not. The journey of acknowledging and accepting the shadow self is very intimate and personal. My journey is not like anyone else’s, and my work is not like anyone else’s, so sharing the details of that work won’t be useful or helpful to anyone else. However, I may have future blog posts that are inspired by what I discover and the work that I do.

That being said, it’s time to get back to work.

Categories
Self-Care

We interrupt this series of introspection for a change!

While I’ve been working on the exercises in Jenna Kutcher’s book, How Are You, Really, I was inspired to make a change. I’ve been waiting for all of my hair to turn gray so that I can experiment with bright, fun colors. I’ve tried using dyes meant for dark hair (my hair is naturally a dark variant of Titian that looks straight-up red in bright sunlight), but the results have been disappointing.

Due to some recent, unexpected, and heartbreaking losses in my circle of friends, I realized that life is way too short for me to wait for my hair to turn gray all over before I do what I want to do.

So I bleached out my hair using a bleach from Feria that was supposed to lighten my hair to platinum without damaging it. While my hair was not damaged by the bleach, it stunk to high heaven and fell somewhat short of the promised platinum. It was nearly there, but apparently my hair was considerably darker than I thought it was, and it took me back to having hair a color I hadn’t had in at least 30 years. I went from Titian to Venetian!

I wasn’t done, though. I didn’t want to be a bleach blonde–I wanted to be a peacock! To that end, I gave my hair a couple of days to recover from bleaching, then used Manic Panic Atomic Turquoise, carefully following the instructions. While I wasn’t impressed with the consistency of the product or how my hair felt after I rinsed it out, the color is pretty nice. My husband and my daughters love my new color, too, and that makes me feel even happier that I did this!

On the minus side, I’ll probably have to invest in a deep conditioning mask or two to return my hair to its previous softness and shine, but that’s not something unusual after bleaching and dyeing one’s hair. The part that perplexes me is that the bleaching process wasn’t what dried out my hair or made it dull!

As for future coloring, I’ll probably go back to using Overtone when I can afford it. It is more expensive, but the consistency is better, and it does a better job of moisturizing hair while it colors. I might give Strawberry Leopard and/or Arctic Fox a try, though. I have more options now that my hair is lighter.