Every time one of these personal blogs percolates in my head I get terrified THIS will be the blog that brings hate mail.
I think THIS will be the blog a new friend or acquaintance reads and judges me without knowing the whole story. But part of me knows that someone else out there is struggling to do what others take for granted.
My health sucks. I’m not as sick as others. I try to count my blessings. But lately I’ve been feeling weak and far too dependent upon others for basic things. Granted, I am blessed beyond measure with friends and family who help when I am not strong.
The honest truth is overcoming health roadblocks interferes with my dreams all the time. But lately it’s gotten worse.
One thing that was less affected until recently was my ability to work. Of course photo shoots are more strenuous on the body. But editing and painting were still therapeutic and something I was entirely capable of. Realistically, how long I could work shortened a great deal. But I could still work.
The past month was a whirlwind. My trip to Colorado was amazing and highly successful from a professional standpoint. But it was a true challenge on my body.
When I got home I was exhausted.
Understandably. But then I tried to edit and kept getting frustrated. It took several weeks of what I thought was shameful procrastination to realize something deeper was wrong.
My body wasn’t doing what I asked it to.
I struggled to do basic things like type. I posted what I thought was a joke on Facebook about skipping periods when texting. It wasn’t about laziness, it was about taking four or five tries to type nearly every sentence. I get frustrated and tired and losing a period doesn’t seem like such a tragedy when the majority of the words are legible.
Sometimes it takes the words out of my mouth. Friends and family tease when I say the wrong word over and over. My brain thinks it’s going to say “heated seats” and EVERY time I say instead “heat seater”. Or I try to say, “Did you smell that?” and instead say, “Did you hear that?”
And worst of all, I couldn’t draw.
I couldn’t hold my hand steady enough to draw a short straight line or even a short curve. I tried over and over telling my hand to do what previously came naturally.
I could edit photos through Lightroom and Photoshop but only if it was clicking on menus. Masking or editing by hand took many hours extra per image because I had to undo my terrible brush strokes over and over again.
The effect this has had on me has been fairly devastating. I identify myself as an artist. Yet I can’t make my body obey and do the very thing that makes me who I am.
So I cried. Then took a break.
I reluctantly realized I needed bed rest again. But I also knew I had deadlines that I’d already pushed for far too long.
I got on Amazon and bought an extra wide laptop tray to hold my laptop and my Wacom tablet.
The table would be simple for a healthy person to assemble. It took me longer because I get tired so easily.
After it was set up I discovered it wouldn’t fit over a bed or recliner very well because of leg placement. It’s meant to go over a standard desk chair. But I got it set up to where I only had to pivot my shoulders a bit to the right.
And something unexpected happened:
I had better control of my hand when my entire arm was supported. I still don’t have the finesse or control that I used to. But I am hopeful that with more rest and kindness to myself I will recover my motor skills. I can’t let myself fall into wondering what if. There is no what if, there only what will be. And I have to hope it will come back.
There is a good thing that’s come out of overcoming health roadblocks. I’ve been forced to slow down and depend on others. A very touchy subject for this girl.
And I’ve realized this isn’t a weakness.
It takes strength to say, “I need help,” and then wait for it. I have some amazing people in my life who can lift my spirits even in the face of embarrassing symptoms.
I’m grateful and oh so lucky.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, ImanWoods[dot]com.
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