Artist, Writer, Woman, Mother, Healer, Teacher, Biohacker, Gardener, Friend, Entrepreneur
All night the winds rage in concert with the hoot of a hungry owl declaring territory. Swirling, whooshing, and pounding against the windows of her soul, unrelenting the sharp fragments of the day bite into her skull. Shoulders ache from holding her neck against the onslaught, but she plods on one breath at a time hoping for progress. It comes with a darkness she welcomes. She startles awake, ergonomic pillow as soft as rocks bashed roughly from behind. She hears the song of the dove, soft coos alerting her it is morning, the dew on her body a sheen of sweat from a battle hard won.
Day 2: 30 days of selfies. This is how I look after five hours of sleep brought on by a cocktail of three medications designed to reduce pain, relax muscle, stop my legs from dancing the night away and zap faulty nerve connections into submission. Recently the addition of zonisamide to the baclofen and oxycodone has extended that four hours to five or six and one blessed night of eight where I awoke feeling like I was having an out of body experience. I take the lowest effective doses possible and am on a slow titration upwards with the zonisamide which has been doing beautiful things for my peripheral neuropathy.
Better living through chemicals right? I grew up in the 80’s when that catch phrase was a big deal. I first had to begin taking prescription meds to sustain life at the tender age of 12 when my thyroid was nuked with radioactive iodine due to Grave’s Disease and a goiter the size of a golf ball. This left me requiring daily medication for the rest of my life. You learn to accept that some things are necessary. Since then I have had a love hate relationship with pharmaceuticals, and most of the scales tip toward the hatred side because of nasty side effects.
For example, while this cocktail gives me the most rest I have had in two years, it also prevents me from being fully cognitive until about 10 a.m. and factor in all of my health issues and when I get more sleep, I feel better, so I pursue it, I honor sleep, and like an owl I mark out my territory and no one better disturb me during that time for sleep or they are going to feel like prey that has been slashed with my mighty talons.
It was hard for me to carve out that sacred space for myself. When it became a priority to focus on getting adequate sleep my family had to adjust. They needed to become quiet earlier to accommodate my medication schedule. My dad stepped up and began driving my eldest to karate because it was unsafe for me to drive. People got upset that I don’t answer the phone or engage online much after 7:00 p.m. Like the ability to breathe, sleep is hard for me. I have to practice it and not everyone can appreciate the need to practice consistently, with ritual. Making the time for sleep takes away from other possibilities, but it is so worth it when the winds stop and the darkness descends.
Things I Love:
I received Nilla the Owl Girl in a Mail Me Some Art Swap in 2013. I really wish I knew who CAD, that artist, is. I would thank her as this little paper doll has brought me joy for three years now and constantly reminds me of the power of possibility if only you are willing to dream believe, do.
MMSA is a really fun online art swap group started by Karen Isaakson in 2012. It looks like Honi Chassin has taken up the mantle this fall and the most recent swaps can be found on the MMSA Facebook page. I look forward to seeing what Honi does with the community.