Tag: poetry

Thoughts on Quiet

On such a night, or such a night,
Would anybody care
If such a little figure
Slipped quiet from its chair —
So quiet — Oh how quiet,
That nobody might know
But that the little figure
Rocked softer — to and fro —
On such a dawn, or such a dawn —
Would anybody sigh
That such a little figure
Too sound asleep did lieEmily Dickinson

I haven’t shared with you all any poetry in a long time but I found myself thinking of this verse today. You see, my house was empty and I was trying to recover from this darn cold and I couldn’t think of anything to watch so I found myself sitting and thinking.  In the words of Gaston ‘a dangerous pastime…’ It’s just so quiet sometimes when you are alone.

And I know you Moms are probably thinking ‘I would love nothing more than a quiet house all to myself for the day’ and there is some truth to that.  But I bet you wouldn’t find the quiet so refreshing if you knew those little voices weren’t ever coming back…

This is not an ‘oh feel sorry for me’ post.  It really isn’t.  It’s just a ‘today  I was alone and I noticed’.  What’s wrong with admitting that?  We all have our lonely moments, sometimes when we are surrounded by people.  It’s part of being human.  After all, if we never felt alone why would we need to turn to God?

But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish for a companion to share these kind of experiences with.  Yeah, yeah I can hear you all saying ‘marriage is hard’ and ‘grass is always greener’.  Well, it is also ‘not meant for man to be alone’. Humans need companionship and sometimes I wish I had it. But I know God has His plan for me and I am doing my best to humbly follow His timeline for my life.  That doesn’t mean I don’t feel a little sad on those days when the house feels extra quiet. Again I’m only human…

I saw The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel this week and it is not a great movie but I liked it.  One of the things that I stood out to me is Maggie Smith’s character is a single woman who has never married.  However, she has found this place to live where she has an urban tribe of other seniors and a ‘child’ to help nurture in the Dev Patel character.  I had more of that in my 20s when sociability and friendshipping was so much easier but I hope I can get it again.  If I never meet Mr Sunshine I hope I can find an urban tribe like she does and maybe even a young person to help mentor.

In my 20’s I also had much younger siblings who looked to me for advice and guidance and family that lived nearby.  Now they are all grown up and my nieces are far away.  It makes me a little sad sometimes.

But again I am not trying to make anyone feel sorry for me.  I am greatly blessed. Mostly I have the miracle of all of you who are there to share in my silly life. Goodness knows why you have all read all these years but I am sure grateful.  I have a job I love, a social media presence that I think helps people, hobbies I love, great friends, a beautiful home and most importantly a faith in Jesus Christ that ensures I am never really alone.  That is never forgotten.

Thanks for letting me share and I love you all.  Can any of you relate to the quiet times when maybe it feels a little lonely in life? I’m sure I am not alone.  God bless.

Nanowrimo Winner and My First Poem

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

So I did it!  I finished my second year in Nanowrimo.  I’m not saying the book is great.  It’s not as good as my book from last year but that came from my heart so its hard to compare.  Still, I learned something from thinking about my characters and their lives.  Little details like how they manage their time or a scene that was captured in a satisfying way.

It may be that I take side characters and flesh them out more.  There may be more to say with them than on the 2 main characters.  I think it would be fun to right a children’s book from the perspective of the little girl Callie who reads and can’t quite decide what she believes in including Santa.  I think there is a story there.

Anyway, I enjoyed writing it and I learned a lot.  It has also motivated me to work even harder on my book from last year because I know it is better.  I know it has more potential.  It’s energizing!

One of my goals for this story was to do a bunch of writing firsts.  I had never written complete fiction before and I have never really written poetry before.  I had a couplet that I wrote in college and it just about killed me.  Very difficult.

So, I did my best and wrote a Christmas poem to share with all of you.  It’s not really here for critique.  Just a first stab at a medium I love (which reminds me I need to do a poetry post soon).  Here goes!:

lonely_bear_christmas_by_kilroyart-d4jny1u

The Lonely Christmas

The tree and lights, the hot cocoa and marshmallows

The presents and bows, the mistletoe and couples

It was Christmas time and all seemed to be matched

But for me and my ring finger had yet to be catched.

I tried to be cheerful and ignore the stares of pity

But alas I was cold and couldn’t be witty.

Leaving the party I grabbed my coat and hat

And went for a walk to try and find some merriment.

I looked at the snow and it seemed icy and alone

The wind whistled and let out a deep moan.

Out to the street I walked a block or two

Until I came to a church with an empty pew

The stained glass shined on the alter of white

And I asked God ‘why did I have such a plight?’

Why couldn’t I be a mother, wife and friend?

Why did everyone’s life start when mine seemed to end?

No answers came and I couldn’t help but cry

When a man with an old gray coat caught my eye

Even inside he was cold and looked awfully weary

I gave him a smile and said ‘I hope your Christmas is merry’

He shrugged and said with a sigh ‘life had been hard’

Then he showed me an old battered Christmas card.

‘Merry Christmas my dear’ said the writer with a flourish

And then she added ‘our love I will always cherish’

“She left me on Christmas and it hasn’t been the same”

In fact, for years Christmas took the blame”

“I’m sorry” I said “How did you make it through with hope?”

He smiled, laughed “I certainly did sit around and mope

But one day I prayed for God to help me find Christmas again

And He said to me ‘get down to the church and watch who comes in”

So I went and watched for the a spot in the pew to be filled

And each year there appears someone who needs a rebuild”

Then he looked at my eyes and placed his hand over mine

With a pat and a look sincere we went up to the shrine.

Next we lit a candle and the alter seemed ablaze.

Wishes  were scattered on papers amidst light rays.

“Take the cancer away” one said, “keep Tom here” another.

“Free Sally from drugs” and “be with my baby, love mother”

“Now look up” the man said. In the glass I saw the Lord on the wall

Feeble and tired, lonely and scared he suffered to overcome our fall

“Look at His face on the cross.  His Christmas day was full of pain

So how can we be called Christians if our days are not the same?

He loves us but on Christmas Day He wants us to know

why He and all His followers must have an occasional blow.”

I looked at his face and then at Lord “but how do I pretend to be full of glee?”

The man looked at me and said “You don’t and neither did He”

“But He does know our wishes and He does listen to our pleas.

If that reason alone we should remember He always calms the seas.

Christmas is a time to be merry for sure but its also much more.

It’s to remember why we are happy and sad and then to share.

Transfer our love of the Lord and His great day as our present to all.

And only then will we have a true reason to stand tall.

“You are right” I replied “He is my greatest companion and friend

His gift is for all and brings us Christmas till the end.”

A tear comes out of my eye and the old man gives me a hug.

“Merry Christmas” he says with a wink “There is still time to love”

I look at the old man’s eyes and I think of a girl who is often weary

“I’ll find her and make sure that her Christmas is merry”

I get up to leave the chapel and look back at the old man in pew.

But to my surprise the room is empty and my curiosity grew.

Searching the pews and alter I noticed something new among the wishes

A Christmas card and written on inside said ‘now go find your missions”

As I went back into cold I smiled at the snow and looked at North Star

Christmas wasn’t about what I don’t have but how I could spread joy far

One thing was for sure. If I knew Jesus lived I must make it clear.

“Whether young, old, single or married, Merry Christmas to all everywhere”

——————————————-

Hurray a winner and my first poem!  So exciting!

Dream Deferred

This will be an intentionally cryptic post.  Sometimes I wish I could be more forward than I am on my blog. I know I’m pretty forward but I honestly wish I could be even more so.   However, I try to only talk about myself and allow others to publicize their life if they chose to (which I highly recommend as it is thoroughly therapeutic.)  As the song says:

I am what I am
I am my own special creation
So come take a look
Give me the hook or the ovation
It’s my world that I want to have a little pride in
My world, and it’s not a place I have to hide in
Life’s not worth a darn ’til you can say
“Hey world, I am what I am!”
I am what I am
I don’t want praise
I don’t want pity
I bang my own drum Some think it’s noise I think it’s pretty
And so what if I love each sparkle and each bangle?
Why not try to see things from a different angle?
Your life is a sham ’til you can shout out loud: “I am what I am!”

(Btw, is there a better description of me than that song?)

As I was saying.  I was sitting alone at night lost in my thoughts, and I started thinking about a question asked to me by a friend when discussing a problem in my life.  She said ‘What do you hope for?’.  It’s such a simple question but so hard to answer.  What do any of us hope for?

The answer is simple and complicated at the same time.

I hope for an eternal family with a companion who loves me forever.

I hope to always have good friends. Friendship is hope.  Almost all the love I’ve had in my life has been from friends. I love that in the Greek language the word love is actually 4 different words, agape, philos, eros and storge.  Agape is especially moving as it means a love so great we would sacrifice all for it.  Fits with the scripture- greater love hath no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).

I hope for a healthy body that can really be used to inspire other people.  I am healthy now but I know if I looked healthier to the average Joe I could do more good.  This motivates me to keep trying.

I dream of writing a book based on my life and my struggles.  My sister is the writer in the family but I have lots of ideas, both fiction and non-fiction that I think would be terrific books. Its starting and having the time to keep at it that keeps that dream deferred.

I dream of the ocean on a daily basis and can hear the wish, wish of the tide accompanying my life and keeping me calm.  I feel sad that this year will go buy without a glimpse of the ocean.  Someday I want to own a house near a beach.  Any beach.

I hope to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.   I think I do but I want to do more.  I want the world to know Rachel existed. I still haven’t figured out what my big contribution is going to be. Maybe it’s this blog and if it is I better be sure to make it authentic and the true Me.  Hmmmm

There are many more things I hope for.  I could spend all day.

But at the moment many of my dreams  are deferred.   I think a lot of us have to defer our dreams.  I love the Langston Hughes poem and had it on my mind today:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I don’t know what it does?  Probably some of everything?  That’s all I will say, but I have moments where it dries up, festers, stinks, sweetens, sags, weighs me down and even explodes.  I’m a bit of a control freak and a dream deferred  is the ultimate loss of control.

It’s a dream deferred and I don’t want to wait!

So those are my thoughts and as almost nobody reads my pondering posts, I will say goodnight to myself, and try to do some actual dreaming. Sigh…

Hopeful Poetry

I haven’t done a poetry post in a long time.  The concept of hope has been on my mind lately.  We all have our little disappointments in life, where things don’t turn out as we had wished. Experiences where people disappoint us or even God seemingly lets us down.  We have to remember that He knows the path and knows what will purify us the most.  He loves all of us more than we can understand.  Hope and trust in His mercy is what gets us through it. I liked how these poems express both the disappointment and hope that we often feel.

I wish I was more of a poet but at least I can enjoy and be uplifted by the gifts of others. I was particularly thinking about this with some challenges of late but especially with my friend who has a very little one in the NICU (1.8 lbs!).  To hope and pray is sometimes all you have, and that’s a lot.  God be with little Sara Elizabeth.

Hope by Emily Dickinson (who has a lot of poems on hope!)

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

———————————-

Hope is a strange invention — by Emily Dickinson
Hope is a strange invention —
A Patent of the Heart —
In unremitting action
Yet never wearing out –Of this electric Adjunct
Not anything is known
But its unique momentum
Embellish all we own —
———————————-
The Hope Of My Heart by John McCrae
I left, to earth, a little maiden fair,
With locks of gold, and eyes that shamed the light;
I prayed that God might have her in His care
And sight.Earth’s love was false; her voice, a siren’s song;
(Sweet mother-earth was but a lying name)
The path she showed was but the path of wrong
And shame.”Cast her not out!” I cry. God’s kind words come —
“Her future is with Me, as was her past;
It shall be My good will to bring her home
At last.”
——————————-
Perfection Eluded
This morning I woke up,
Bursting with confidence,
Overflowing with excitement,
I was convinced I’d done it,
Convinced I had succeeded
When I heard the news,
I was crushed,
Feeling empty and broken,
But somehow I managed,
To pull myself together,
Determined not to cry
Determined to be fine.
Disappointment can be bitter
You feel as if you have lost your worth
But without disappointment
We have nowhere left to go
Hope can be amazing
You feel lit ready to face a better future
Because without hope,
We are forever lost
This morning I woke up,
Grasping for perfection,
Tonight I fall asleep-
Perfection eluding me,
But hope residing in my heart.
———————————-
The Disappointment by Jane Taylor
In tears to her mother poor Harriet came,
Let us listen to hear what she says:
“O see, dear mamma, it is pouring with rain,
We cannot go out in the chaise
All week I have longed for this holiday so,
And fancied the minutes were hours:
And now that I’m dressed and all ready to go,
Do look at these terrible showers!”
“I’m sorry, my dear,” her kind mother replied,
The rain disappoints us today;
But sorrow still more that you fret for a ride,
In such an extravagant way.
These slight disappointments are sent to prepare
For what may hereafter befall;
For seasons of real disappointment and care,
Which commonly happen to all.
For just like today with its holiday lost,
Is life and its comforts at best:
Our pleasures are blighted, our purposes crossed
To teach us it is not our rest
And when those distresses and crosses appear,
With which you shortly be tried,
You’ll wonder that ever you wasted a tear
On merely the loss of a ride
But though the world’s pleasures are fleeting and vain
Religion is lasting and true;
Real pleasure and peace in her paths you may gain,
Nor will disappointment ensue.
—————————————–

Ingrid Michaelson

So today I am sick again.  Sick and trying to work and keep my mind off of being sick.  One of my strategies aside from using an entire box of tissues,  is listening to music.

(Isn’t it strange how such a sad song can make me feel so much better?  I don’t understand how that works but I love it.)

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE music!  I have done many entries on various music groups and songs that I love, but today I found myself turning back to one of my favorite artists, Ingrid Michaelson.  In 2009 Anna and I saw Ingrid live and it was a fantastic experience.  This is true despite the fact that it was in a tiny club, with no seating- a situation I normally despise.  She was so warm, personable and her voice so wonderful that she won me over in spite of my circumstances.   It is exactly how I would wish to sound if I could sing well. Her songs are just what I would want to write if I could translate the thoughts in my heart adequately.

The way that Ingrid came to fame is emblematic  of the major changes that have occurred in the music industry in recent years.  With the near-death of album sales to the mp3 world of Itunes, there are basically two ways an artist can become well-known:

1.  He or she can get their music featured on itunes or amazon.com.  Usually this is after developing an internet following and being picked up by a major label.  Three examples of this that come to mind are Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat and Priscilla Ahn.  All were popular on myspace or youtube and then featured as ‘free singles’ by Itunes.

2.  The second way is to be featured on a television show such as American Idol or the Voice, or to have your music used within a popular  show, movie or advertisement.  The examples of this range from the Fray being discovered as the theme song to Grays Anatomy, to Regina Spektor headlining a target ad, to Cold Play (and a million other artists) getting a start in an apple ad.

Ingrid Michaelson is no stranger to such promotion her songs have been all over shows like Greys Anatomy, One Tree Hill, Drop Dead Diva, and ads for Motts Apple juice and Old Navy.   You think the musical purist in me would have a problem with such a commercial thinning of my favorite most beautiful music but I don’t.  I think music has always been a commercial endeavor simply because of a need on the part of the artist to survive- and hopefully thrive! In some ways the commercial potential opens the doors to artists that could never have seen the album covers in the old days of dusty bars and agents.

This song was on a Greys Anatomy show but I still LOVE IT!

By placing her music where people are actually going to hear it, Ingrid not only entertains a wider swath of people and creates new fans, but she educates and widens their musical palate.   Even as a big fan, there have been times when I’ve heard a song on a show, and then realized it was on an Ingrid album I’d listened to a 100 times and never noticed it before.  I think it is great that people will hear a new song and think of the artistic director’s interpretation first, and then hopefully by listen 20 or 30, they have come up with their own views.  Ingrid’s songs have such depth to allow for such diverse interpretations.

Even her largest hit Be Ok has undertones of sadness if you listen to the lyrics and set aside the peppy melody.   One of the verses says:

“Open me up and you will see
I’m a gallery of broken hearts
I’m beyond repair, let me be
And give me back my broken parts”

I don’t know how many times I listened to that seemingly happy song before I realized there was another layer.  To me, such realizations are the beauty of art and music. Its what makes a painting profound every time you look at it, or a song touching each time you sing it- there is no end to the layers of thought and introspection beautiful things can provide.

What would it be like to write a line, a verse, a song, with that kind of power?  I marvel with envy at those with such talents.  When I was in college I had to write a poem for a class and it was rough going.  It took me almost 2 weeks to write a pathetic little couplet.  I think I was born to appreciate others gifts and Ingrid certainly fills me with such gratitude.

Not only does she write the words so achingly and beautifully well but she sings them perfectly also.  It inspires me in many ways.  All beauty inspires me.  After all, as a mantra of my faith I seek after anything “virtuous, lovely or of good report or praiseworthy”.

Anyway, I love Ingrid Michaelson.  Its tough to say who I love better Ingrid Michaelson or Sara Barrielles?  They are both fabulous!  Here are some of my favorite of her songs.  Go- check them both out and have even your sick days made lighter by beautiful music. 🙂

This is one of my current favorite Ingrid songs

I’ve never heard a version of this song I haven’t loved.  I have 13 different versions on my ipod!

Put on a Happy Face

How happy is the little Stone
by Emily Dickinson
How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn’t care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears —
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity —
(If there was ever a poem that describes me this is it)

Today I went to a large church social and was doing my best to mingle with the crowd (not my favorite activity).  Eventually I came across a group I had not seen in many months.   As we chatted about our summers and the latest movies one of the girls perked up and said “Rachel, you look happier.  What’s going on?”.

The question caught me a bit off guard.  I wish I knew the answer.  I’ve always felt like a very happy person but I did go through a tough couple of months at the beginning of the year.  It was a lot of bad news in a short amount of time.  Plus, it is always hard for me to put on a happy face when I am not feeling well.  I’m afraid I’ve inherited some of my father’s complete inability to fake an emotion or to be anything less than genuine.  My entire family will tell you that I am a big grump when I’m sick, tired or hungry (so if you see me being crabby check one of the three!).

That said- the strange thing is I didn’t even realize an increase in my happiness had occurred until she pointed it out.   Isn’t that funny?  We can be happy and not really appreciate it or understand it?

I think a big part of my current happy heart is the  aloha spirit that I still have inside me.  I know that sounds cheesy but Hawaii was so good for me.  It made me feel active and alive in a way I have not felt in over 2 years.  With all the exercising and conditioning I never had a moment where I wanted to exclaim “Yes, I’m so much more capable physically than I was before”.  However, in Hawaii that happened again and again with surfing being the ultimate moment of triumph.  If I can surf, I can do anything!

Since returning home I dove immediately back into the fitness rat-race (in a good way) challenging myself with new routines and goals.  It is exhilarating!  In fact, on Saturday I completed my first mile-long swim since high school.  It still took me an hour but its a start.  Like I said, if I can conquer surfing I can conquer anything and that’s SO EXCITING!!!

My health has also been steadily improving since I gave up the various medications in May.   On  Thursday I have a check in with my endocrinologist, but I have a good feeling that the last 6 months of 2011 will be much better than the first.  Its a feeling in my gut that I find difficult to explain but its great.

I know there will still be challenges but Hawaii gave me hope for the future.  If I can be that happy on vacation then I know I can be happier in real life.   HOPE IS AWESOME!

One of the exciting goals I am setting for myself is to compete in an open water swim.  These are marathon type swimming races that are usually 1 mile, 3k and 5k.  There is one on August 13th that I am trying for but if not there’s another at the beginning of October in Vegas.  Can you believe that I can even think of signing up for something like that?  18 months ago you wouldn’t have believed it!

It is perhaps this feeling of accomplishment and balance that is putting a smile on my face- a smile which this girl noticed even before I did.  After the year I’ve had I’m grateful for every smile I get and I certainly don’t take it for granted.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who point out my happiness, so I don’t just let it go by unnoticed!

Memories

To flee from memory
Had we the Wings
Many would fly
Inured to slower things
Birds with surprise
Would scan the cowering Van
Of men escaping
From the mind of man

Emily Dickinson

Memory is a strange thing and there are times I wish I could flee from mine.  Isn’t it odd how most of us  remember the painful moments with stunning clarity while the joyous times go by in a blur? Why is that?

In the excellent movie After Life (1998 Japanese film) the recently departed are required to choose one memory to be recreated and filmed for them to take on to the next stage.  After viewing the films the participant vanishes to an unknown fate.  The movie does a great job presenting different types of people who struggle to come up with a memory.  What is most important? What is the happiest memory in life? Some chose Disneyland or their weddings but others refuse to choose and feel their life is not worthwhile- not one memory.  If you have not seen After Life rent it on Netflix.  I promise you will get used to the subtitles.  It is well worth the effort.

The great Thornton Wilder play, Our Town, has a similar plot.  The lead character Emily must pick a memory to go back and view before moving on.  She tries to pick an inoxuious day- her 12th birthday but in reliving it she understands that no moment in life is without meaning and value.  In fact, it is the routine and ordinary that are often the most important.  As I mentioned in a previous post there is a filming of a Broadway version of Our Town staring Paul Newman that is worth checking out.

I bring this topic up only because lately I have found myself drifting to memories, some of them painful.  As much as I’d like to focus on the family vacations, hugs goodnight and nearly constant reading aloud, some of the memories that are the most vivid are the taunts, teases and frustrations.

There are two memories in particular that I can’t seem to erase from my mind (not that I want to).  The first one happened in the 5th grade (so around 10?).  As the chubbiest girl in school, I was repeatedly teased and called a ‘fat dog’ by my classmates.  One  day I was drinking from an outdoor water fountain and was trying to ignore the taunts.  Eventually one kid decided it would be funny to push me into the water and shove my dress above my head so my underwear showed to the world.  I remember this moment so well I could tell you the dress I was wearing.  It was nautical with little flags.  I’m a 30 year old woman and yet I still remember with pain the taunts of stupid 10-year-old punk kids.  Why?

The other memory which stands out I am almost hesitant to bring up.  My parents did such a great job with me that this was a rare misstep.   Around the same time of the teasing my parents sat me down for a talk.  I remember it as if it was yesterday.  We were on our deck in Salt Lake and they told me I needed to go on a diet and that ‘I weighed as much as some grown men’.  Then they gave me a tuna fish sandwich on pumpernickel bread with baby carrots.  It was the first time in my life  I was told I was fat by someone I loved and I think a bubble of childhood was burst.  I remember feeling confused and puzzled at how I had let this problem occur and what I was to do about it?  In the 20 years since, there has always been a part of me which has accepted my weight as my fault- as my great flaw, the one thing I couldn’t figure out or conquer.  How could a little girl be expected to overcome such a problem?

Of course, now I know that I likely suffered from insulin resistance problems back then.  In fact, with the early puberty, weight gain,  and fatigue, the diagnosis is obvious.  However, I did not know this information then- nor did my parents.  To their credit they did take me out of school almost immediately after they found out about the teasing and put me in Reid School– a decision which changed the way I learned and boosted my self-confidence at a critical junction (and made me a passionate supporter of alternative schooling for my entire life)

In addition, my parents have been unfailingly supportive of me, no matter my size.  The funny thing is I can only think of two other time’s growing up when they mentioned diets or losing weight again.  No parent is perfect and no child is ideal.  They did not know I had an insulin resistance problem and considering it took me the last 14 months to figure it out I do not hold it against them. I wish we had decided to get healthy as a family, instead of singling me out, but I know they did the best they could.  I always knew they loved me.  Like the Dickinson poem says I wish I could flee away from the memory.  I wish I didn’t have it and certainly that it wouldn’t be so vivid.

Perhaps, however, I would not be where I am today without such memories?  Who is to say?  I don’t know, but I think part of this life-changing process is coming to terms with how I arrived here- the good times and the bad.

What a Week!

Do you ever have those weeks where you think- “How did I survive it all and stay sane (or relatively so)?”

This has been such a week for me.  I feel like I’ve been collecting medical diagnosis’- like a stamp collector but with doctors! It reminds me of a carnival barker yelling “come one, come all- get your diagnosis while they are still hot!’

The thing is I don’t feel like anyone has given me much of anything.  I am the health detective on the case of ‘Rachel’s Body 2011’ and while I’m deeply grateful for my doctors, none of them would have gotten to this weeks conclusions without my copious notes, my obnoxious questions and my stubborn insistence on finding a result.

You see, the problem is many of my symptoms for both the diabetes and the eyes can and have been explained in a variety of other ways. Over the years I’ve heard everything from chronic fatigue to fibermyalgia, to dyslexia and the common cold.

My favorite diagnosis is when the doctor says ‘Just the lose the weight and you will feel better!’  As if I can waive a magic wand and ‘oh the weight is gone!’.  If reading this blog over the last 14 months has taught you anything, you should be well aware weight loss is not an easy thing for me.

The most frustrating aspect to such a flimsy diagnosis is it made me feel like my lack of health was my fault, that somehow I was misusing, neglecting or hurting my body.  For years I subtly bought into this idea but felt there was nothing I could do to solve the problem.  For some reason 14 months ago I decided I was tired of the low energy and the fatigue and that I was going to do all in my power to fix things.

Naturally I started on the obvious route- watch what I eat and exercise.  While this had some marginal results for weight loss it was not what everyone had told me would happen.  In 14 months of exercising I never once felt energized, excited or good about working out.  My body was constantly tired and worn out- even more so then when I had started.  I expected such results for a few weeks but after nearly a year it didn’t make sense.  The weight loss was also slow, slow, slow.

Let’s just say it certainly wasn’t the simple solution to a new me that everyone promised.  Knowing I had done the traditional route and it still wasn’t working I began seeing my endocrinologist in January.  He has been amazing and his entire office has been great at listening to how I actually feel.

In January things started to move with my PCOS diagnosis and treatment.  I still believe in this diagnosis and feel strongly it is something I was born with.  If you look at the symptoms they match up perfectly with the story of my life. Early maturation, unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight,  energy problems, hormone problems etc.

While this was a significant piece of the puzzle I still felt like something was missing.  I still didn’t feel good. A side of me said ‘well, maybe that’s just how my body is- tired, haggard, weak?’ .  However, I was not willing to give up just yet.  I continued to keep track of my blood sugars and be super strict on my diet.  After 3 more visits with my endocrinologist we finally had the revelation of diabetes on Monday.  Like I said, the doctor may look at it as his diagnosis but I look at it as mine- my victory for my body.

The same story can be told with the eye problems.  I always wondered if there was something wrong with the way I saw things but when you see a certain way since you were born its hard to doubt it.  For some reason this year I asked the questions and have figured out the answers.

If you can learn anything from me don’t accept the lame answers like ‘just lose weight and you will feel better’.  How lame can doctors be!  Be your own health detective and don’t give up!

I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to know that this behemoth of a trial in my life was not solely my fault.  I’m not saying I was perfect in my food and lifestyle but NOTHING I could have done would have solved the problem without this week of diagnosis.  It really is a 20 year burden removed from my shoulders.

A burden I have felt since the first time my parents sat me down at around the age of 9 and told me I needed to lose weight and that I ‘weighed as much as some grown men’.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live- immediately I went from a floating little girl to someone who was unwillingly inflicting an evil on her body.

It seemed out of my control, yet somehow the world told me it should be in my control? I will also never forget the jabs, mockery and frustrations that came in each year that followed.  Eventually I worked out a self-confidence I wish all big girls had but I still deep down thought the weight and the fatigue was my fault.

Ahhh! It wasn’t.  I can’t explain how much that means.  I feel like shouting for joy and wish I could tell the whole world.  (thank you blog for allowing me to do that!).

I still have a long road ahead of me but today I am focusing on having the most calming relaxing day I can have.  After the chaos and emotions of this week I could use it!  I am listening to my Enya cd and enjoying the beautiful spring day (while working of course!). I feel like I’m in the ‘vacant and pensive mood’ described by Wordsworth in his poem Daffodils.  I did it! As crazy as this week has been I know it is monumental in my life and I did it! Wow!   Thank you to everyone who believed in and loved me regardless of my size, energy level or other problems.  You will always be my treasures.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

The Big 30

Well I don’t have long to post but suffice it to say I am now officially 30 years old.  Shocking, astonishing, amazing but true.  I remember an interview I saw of a 103 year old woman.

When the reporter asked her “How does it feel to be 103?”

she said “Well, as you age you don’t really feel older.”

“What do you mean?” said the reporter

“Well, inside, my brain wonders about the same things it used to wonder about, it loves the same things it used to love, and it longs for many of the same things it used to long for.”

When I think of myself at 10, 15,20, or 25  I see many changes in my intellect, career knowledge, accomplishments, testimony and with many other areas of my life.  However, my heart, the core of who I am,  hasn’t changed much in those 30 years.  I still love a good book. (The books dearest to my heart are those I have loved for years- read again and again.They are like old friends.) I still love to laugh with my girlfriend’s over a stupid sitcom or reality show.  After all these years the Simpsons still makes me laugh (22 years and counting).  I still love to cook and explore new recipes. I still love a delicious meal ended with a lemon meringue pie  with tons of real lemon juice (anything citrus I love!)!

I still love to talk and to listen.  I still treasure the  kindred spirits in my life.  I still love a great play (or even a lousy one put on with gusto!).  I still love an entertaining movie or concert.  I still have passion for great music. I am still taking voice lessons after all these years and the music from Les Miserables still makes me cry.  I still enjoy politics and feel a grand sense of passion for my country.   I still love to pull together outfits and find cute jewelry.  I still hate camping and sleeping outdoors.  I still am not an animal or bird lover.  I still love a good, or even greasy,  piece of pizza.  I still get cranky when I’m tired or hungry, and I still don’t enjoy exercising (but now I do it anyway!).   I still love to travel especially New York City and any beach anywhere especially Hawaii.

The list could go on and on.-

There are many things in my life that I am proud of- that I feel are a part of my eternal plan and that I’ve worked very hard to achieve. However, of all my accomplishments, I am proudest  of the hard work I’ve put in to cultivating relationships and building friendships.  I love my friends and family more then I can adequately put into words. I will do anything for them and (as I’ve seen with my injury) I believe they would do anything for me.

This is not a great poem but it expresses how I feel today (so perhaps it is better than I am giving it credit for)

Moment in Time
by Cynthia Kepp

We talked,
We walked,
for a Moment in Time.

You passed through my life that day and left your mark.
You may never pass my way again,
Or you may stay for a lifetime.

No matter what,
I want to say thank you for the impression you made
that will stay with me for eternity.

I enjoyed the walk,
I enjoyed the talk.
I am blessed for that moment in time.

The first time I saw you I knew you would affect my life,
though your role I did not know.
I asked myself, “Why is he alone?
Why does he sit so quiet?
Is he sad?
Is he glad to be alone?
Is he alone?
Is he lonely? ”
There is so much I want to know.

I asked myself, “Why him?
When so many people pass through my life each day,
why him? “

What attracts me to you?
What makes me want to know more?
I want to know.

Even if my questions are never answered,
There is one thing I want you to know.
I have been blessed by the effect you had on me in that
Moment in Time.

 

Thanks for all the moments.   Thanks for all the walks, talks and especially the love.  I love you all.  I love My Lord, and I LOVE MY LIFE!

This song is appropriate given the day.

The Most Romantic Thing…

So today I stumbled across a poem that is the without a doubt the most romantic thing I’ve ever read…Lately I’ve been listening to music and floating away with fantasy.  I’ve been working so hard and I feel just  maybe I’m ready for something new.  I have no idea what will happen but it is nice to know I’m in a good place.  I feel beautiful, confident and am in the beginning stages of getting a balanced life (not there yet!).  Anyway, isn’t this the best poem?

i carry your heart with me by E. E. Cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Ah….Ok.  Wake up Rachel and get back to regular life! I can’t resist ending  this very sappy entry with what’s for my money the most romantic song ever…Ah again!