The Library Book Project – 22 September 2010

To read more about the library book project, click here.

I sit stiffly in the physiotherapist’s waiting room, trying to be more aware of my posture. Across from me, numerous flyers and leaflets hang limply from the walls. I read them all, despite having read them a dozen times before while waiting for my previous appointments. I would have brought my library book, but I was too busy getting together my physio outfit. I’m past the point of caring that the tracksuit bottoms are hardly flattering, but I draw the line at tops that haven’t been washed since last week.

I hope he doesn’t give me anymore exercises to do. The chart on my bedroom wall is already full of gaps from the odd day where I only had time for one or two routines. I close my eyes and suppress a disgusted sigh when I realize I have forgotten the chart. I can only assume that when physiotherapists are trained, they also teach them how to use this particular tone of voice that is 100% effective at making patients squirm. Mine always deploys it when I say something like, “No, I haven’t found a new bag yet.” or, “I didn’t do my exercises this weekend,” or, “I forgot my chart.”

Not that I’m complaining. The exercises are definitely helping, and I’ve heard horror stories about ignorant physios on the HMS forum. Hypermobility syndrome, I run the term through my head again. I’m used to it now, but when my GP said it, I almost laughed. Hypermobile? I’ve never been able to touch my toes. I was doubtful, but when I did research, and when I visited the rheumatologist, the little problems all began to make sense.

The way my hands would sometimes seize up when writing, the way my joints sometimes hurt inexplicably. I would never have thought to connect them to my shoulders, which popped out and grated with the slightest provocation. The rheumatologist seemed certain I did have this thing, this hypermobility syndrome, and I felt slightly cheered on knowing there was an explanation for these little things that I’d always taken for granted.

The cheer was short lived. The physiotherapist wagged his finger at me on the first appointment. No ice skating or volleyball for you. I had to be more careful,  he shook his head, or I would end up in A&E before you could say “dislocated shoulder.” He lifted my bag and proclaimed it too heavy. I laughed because I’d already half emptied it before coming to the appointment.

My smile faded. I’d always assumed disabilities were about the things you couldn’t do. Where did I fit in with all the shouldn’ts?

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The Library Book Project – 5 August 2010

To read more about the library book project, click here.

I’m going on a diet. Right now. Seriously, what is all this? I’m soft and white all over. It’s the crap food I eat all the time. I went to the kebab shop yesterday and they layer all the meat over your fries. They absorb all the leaking fat, leaving you with heavy, greasy carbohydrate that tastes good but feels very bad. They turn to rock overnight in your belly. I press my hand against my stomach and grimace at the mirror.

I pick up my book and head into the bathroom, anticipating that I may be in there for some time. I wonder if it’s kind of gross that I’m taking a borrowed library book to read on the toilet. Nyaah. It’s not like I’m wiping my ass with it. I find myself slightly distracted from the words as the muscles in my gut clench painfully around my intestines.

I breathe and rest my forehead against the pages. After this I’ll go to the supermarket and buy fresh fruit, vegetables and all the other things that are meant to be good for you. I put down Then We Came To The End and wash my hands thoroughly. The towel is missing so I have to wipe my hands on my jeans before picking the book back up.

I’ll go to the supermarket and buy those things. But I’ll just finish this book first…

The Library Book Project – 18 June 2010

To read more about the library book project, click here.

I take the brown bottle out of the paper bag and place it on the kitchen counter. I stare at the label. The paper bag crackles as I scrunch it into a ball, and the noise seems to be obscenely loud. I throw it in the bin, almost angry with the bag for making such a racket. My mouth is dry as I walk back to the counter, where the bottle sits. My expectations aren’t heavy but my desperation is. The brown glass shows my face, contorted like my emotions. I’m not even strong enough to summon self-hatred, just more self-pity that rains down from the clouds of my consciousness, free flowing and plentiful.

I struggle to even open the bottle. After a couple of attempts I laugh at myself. I sound hysterical and wounded. The noise is so pathetic it spurs me on, and eventually the cap gives way and I’m looking at the little white pills. These are not my saviours, I know. But they might help. And at this point I’ll try anything, anything at all. The doctor thought they might work. But they might not. And I wonder if I can wait long enough to find out.

Because I can’t do this. It is now 5 o clock. He will come home in an hour and I will make dinner and then I’ll clean up and then we will watch TV and then we will lay in bed together without touching. I will lay there and think. And think. I will try not to shake as I cry. If I wake him, he’ll be annoyed. Silly woman. Yes, yes, I am a silly woman. Nothing more. The thought makes me want to consume every last tablet in this bottle, so I can escape.

I can’t escape.

I’m trapped behind this face. This face is not depressed. This face calls the children and chirps cheerfully down the phone at them. This face goes to work and natters with the office staff. This face is a regular at the local library.

This face swallows a pill.

Biological Clock Vs. Inspiration Time.

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When I started NaNoWriMo, I told myself that I’d get up early every day and try to finish that day’s word quota by lunchtime. Before coming to university, I was always quite an early bird. This probably had something to do with the fact I was forced to go to church at 6:30 most mornings by my parents. I did this when I was 14 – 18, and so I was really used to getting up early, and didn’t even understand how someone could possibly stay in bed until the afternoon.

Even now, if I continue to go to bed late and sleep in, I start to feel really awful after a while. Unfortunately, I often find myself inspired to write at like 10 – 11PM. When this first happened I’d be like, “Forget about it! I’m going to bed!” Now I know that, if I feel like writing, I have to do it, especially while doing NaNoWriMo.

This is possibly the reason I’m so susceptible to illness of late. I’m feeling loads better than I was, though. I only have a slight cough, but apart from that, I’m feeling really good. However, I am looking forward to a point where I can straighten out my body clock. And get on top of my laundry pile. And I seriously, seriously need to sort out my room. And help out with the housework. (My housemates probably hate me right now.)

So far I’ve written 30,000 words. 20,000 more to go!

Your invite to my pity party.

ParacetamolKleenexDon’t feel obliged to attend. I’ve never been particularly sympathetic when others are ill, especially people who claim to have every illness under the sun. If I were a superstitious kind of person, I’d say karma had a hand in this.

However, if you’d like to  sympathize/revel in my unhappiness, keep reading.

I have been struck down with the plague.

Okay, maybe it’s just an ordinary cough and cold. I seem to have developed toothache on top of that, which means my head feels so pressurized, I’m slightly scared that my head will explode every time I’m about to sneeze, or at least that I’ll burst a blood vessel. My housemates have started walking rather widely around me whenever we cross paths, and I don’t blame them. I think it might be the luminous red nose, bloodshot eyes and the trail of kleenex I leave behind me that’s putting them off. And maybe the occasional whimpering.

Combine this with the 30C weather, and it’s been difficult to sleep. I got maybe two hours’ worth last night? Also, I’ve not been eating very well, because when I try to eat anything I start to feel nauseous really quickly. Which means it’s difficult to take painkillers.

Poor, poor me. If you don’t feel sorry for me, I feel sorry enough for myself. #sadtimes etc etc.

BUT. I am not the kind of person to retreat to bed in times like this (even though it would probably help me recover), it just makes me feel worse. So I’m continuing on with my NaNo quest, in the hope that the distraction makes me feel better. Hope other NaNo’ers out there are faring better than I am.

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – Waiting For The Shadow

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Copyright – Alastair Forbes

This prompt is from Alastair’s Photo Fiction.

Time isn’t silent anymore.

My grandparents have a large, beautiful house in the South. When I was younger, we visited every other weekend. If it was sunny, I’d spend most of the day in their garden. It was like another world to me. I was fascinated by the exotic looking plants and well-placed rockery. Best of all, there was a sun dial placed in the centre.

I’d stare at it, waiting for the shadow to move. I knew it did slide across the dial, just never when I was watching.

I have a feeling, if I looked at it now, I’d see the shadow steadily marching across the stone. I wait in the hospital room, linked to numerous tubes and machines, and I can feel time passing. I can hear it roaring past me. Unlike the flow of water, time doesn’t slow as the supply runs low. The last drops run the fastest.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

There’s nothing wrong.

You’re not trapped here, you can go outside, she thought. In fact, that’s a great idea. Let’s go to Tesco and get some lemonade.

The air outside seemed just as cloying and stale as the air in the house. She pushed her thumb through her keyring and twisted the keys round and round as she walked on the damp pavement. Dirt seemed the surround her. Abandoned plastic sacks of rubbish were strewn around like urban boulders. The grey sky hung above her, a great, unwashed bed sheet.

Despite the filth, she wanted to keep walking. She wanted to go past the shop and keep going, until she felt better. But she knew that she couldn’t walk forever.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy had taught her to treat her mind like a machine. Find the faulty thoughts and replace them, like they’re a worn out part. She searched and she searched and she could find the problem. It was between her breasts, a tight sensation that reached her throat and made her feel like she was choking.

She didn’t know what was causing that.

Sometimes there is no ‘why.’

NaNoWriMo – Disaster strikes

I have to admit, one of the major appeals of Camp NaNoWriMo for me is the cabins. The idea of being able to talk, support, and be supported by people who are undertaking the same goal seems like one of the best features of the camp.

In the forums, I found a small group of people who were in my time zone. This was great news, as it meant they wouldn’t all be sleeping when I was awake, and would probably be working at the same time I was. You can imagine my disappointment when the sorting bot failed to put me into the group! I was ridiculously gutted, as if it were a real life camp and all my friends had been put into a different cabin.

However, I’ve been sorted into a new cabin, and my new cabin-mates seem really nice. We’ve created a Facebook group and they’ve already given me feedback on an except of TBAM. I can’t wait for the actual writing to begin.

Unfortunately, new problems have arisen. I had to go to my G.P. today about some various pains etc. I’ve been having. They’re not very bad, but it’s been going on a while now so I figured it’s about time I stopped ignoring it. My G.P. was a little bit baffled, and sent me to have some bloods taken and asked me to make an appointment for a chest X-Ray.

I think this has spooked me a little bit. It’s ridiculous I know, but I think because they want me to take these further tests it makes me feel that I must be sick, and so I now feel a bit ill. It might just be an after-effect of having my blood taken this morning. I’ve never considered myself to be scared of needles, but I have to admit that staring at those little vials as they filled with my blood made me feel just a little bit queasy. In hindsight, it might have been better for me to look away rather than fixing my eyes on them with morbid fascination.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn’t affect my ability to write in July, and that the good people working in the NHS will know exactly what’s wrong with me by the time I have my second appointment.

Good luck to all you other NaNo-ers!

Hurting

Blood often comes easier than tears. Ugly scars lay testament to the payments I made for a release of tension. My body was full, and there had to be somewhere for the emotion to settle.

 “Attention seeker.”

 “Emo.”

“Pathetic.”

If I’m such a deficient human being, why does it matter if a little more damage is done?

Scars will heal with time.

I learned the hard way that words don’t heal with scars.

Taking Back The Crown: Part Six

Sonya landed on her back, in the main room of the training ground, panting. Seta must have already been inside the room. Within seconds he was standing over her, looking at her injury. He yelled to someone outside the room to get the medic.

“Seta?” Sonya’s voice was weak.

“Yes? What happened to you?” Seta was trying to sit her up so he could look at the laceration on her back.

“I don’t think my mother’s coming back.”

“Do you have any other family? A home to go back to?” He was now attempting to stem the blood pouring from her wound. Sonya shook her head.

“It’s not safe.”

When the medic had used his magic to treat Sonya’s wound, she was taken upstairs to a small room with a slightly thicker futon than the one she’d been sleeping on.

“Whose room is this?” Sonya asked.

“It’s yours now.” Seta explained. “You can stay in this training ground and learn our ways. I’ve seen you meditating and doing your exercises, you’re capable of graduating from this school.” He paused. “I… I thought the elders would resist. They don’t like strangers. But… they trust me. And they have a feeling about you, they said.”

Sonya sat, silent, for a few moments before responding. “Thank you. For everything. But why?”

Seta frowned. “You’re just a child. You shouldn’t be on your own.” He told her to get some rest, and then left.

Sonya buried her head in her pillow. Just a child! If he knew who she was, he wouldn’t say that! She was a Litian heir. She possessed magical power that other magicians could only dream of. No injury could kill her. She felt like a fraud, pretending to be defenceless when in reality she was just a coward who didn’t know where else to go. Ashamed, she cried until she finally fell asleep.