Episode XXIX: Be Curious Like George

Episode XXIX

Be Curious Like George

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Be Curious.”

-Mantra on my tea sachet

 The Foda’s Take: Years ago, I had a professor who answered every student’s question with “Hmm, that’s interesting, I’d like you to ‘stay curious’ about that.” Which, in point of fact, was a bit infuriating, seeing as that didn’t actually answer the question! But what I now realize is that what she really meant by “stay curious” was stay open. After all, the saying is that “curiosity killed the cat”… and you are smarter than a cat, aren’t you? So I think you’re safe.

 Welcome back friends! I’ve been thinking a lot about curiosity lately, so I almost choked when I went to take a sip of my ginger tea today and saw the mantra be curious scrawled across the sachet tab. (Ironically,  yesterday’s mantra was be well. To which I narrowed my eyes and said- out loud, mind you- I’M TRYING!!!)

So why is it so important to be curious?

This led me to several moments of deep conversation with my house guest, Professor Momgonagall. And our consensus was that by remaining curious,  you give yourself time to really look and observe what is in front of you instead of snapping to quick judgements. Which, let’s be honest, is what we do most of the time. That girl in all black with kohl-rimmed eyes? Goth. That boy with the glasses and quiet disposition? Nerd. Spilling coffee all over your new suede jacket? That’s karma, cow-killer! Uh, I mean… sad…. so sad… for you…. hee? Hee hee? Hey! Get out of my closet, you, there’s NOTHING TO SEE HERE!!! Oh. You saw those leather boots, huh. Gulp. Yeah, that happened. <Sheepish look. Baaaaad girl. Pun intended.> But I digress.

For me, the act of practicing curiosity when you’re dealing with a chronic illness like Lyme Disease means keeping your mind open to the possibilities, instead of slamming a door every time you flare up and go from how-could-it-possibly-get-worse to I-didn’t-mean-that-as-a-challenge, universe! TRUTH. After all, when your life is already so tenuous, if you’re not curious about how each moment will turn out… how will your mind ever stay open long enough to find the bright spots amidst the proverbial trenches of the Death Star?

I wrote recently about what it meant to be a warrior while combating a long-term illness, and how important it is to redefine what that archetype means to become more malleable, more flowing, and now, more curious. Try it next time that special person gets on your last nerve. Instead of throwing your house slipper at them or switching the sugar for salt in their morning coffee, try thinking… Huh. That’s interesting. I wonder why he/she just did/said that? I’m finding that when I make a point to be curious, there’s less miscommunication, less anxiety, and less woe-is-me-my-life-is-oveeerrrrrr!!!!!! 

It’s no miracle cure, but it really helps on those days you’re feeling especially low to think- huh. What could this be? How could I help? What could I do? And if the answer is stop trying to wash the dishes and lie down and watch a movie, crazy lady! Then that’s what you do. If it’s immerse yourself in something rejuvenating you love, you do that.The past two days have been a little tough for me, but I’ve really focused on staying curious when my migrating symptoms roll through, and it’s helped me not spin into the Quagmire of Anxiety like I used to. (Always a wild ride, this condition! In the words of Forrest Gump: Lyme’s like a box-a-choc’lates. You nevuh know what you’re gunna get. Oh, that’s not right? Hmm. A thousand pardons, oh great one.)

So in closing, I ask you- what would your life look like if you were more curious?

Curiously? Yours? Forever?

The Foda

P.s. As I finish this I realize I’m very hungry… I’m now curious if my husband will make me dinner? If I ask? Very nicely? OH. So-rry. Didn’t know you were on a conference call.

P.p.s. Kitten? How ‘bout you? No, I can’t eat your toy. It is shaped like a dog, but we don’t eat dogs in this country. Especially if they’re made out of felt.

P.p.p.s. I’m now curious if it’s possible to learn how to use the Force in the next five minutes so I can make dinner from the couch… Yes? Yes? Sigh. NO.

Episode XXVIII: Walloping Your Inner Wampa

Episode XXVIII

Walloping Your Inner Wampa

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.”

-Frank Herbert

 The Foda’s Take: I remember reading these words for the first time in Frank Herbert’s “Dune” chronicles, and it’s as profound for me now as it was then.

 Fear. It’s what makes us human. A lot of us probably question why we’re hardwired to even have this emotion, since it has a tendency to run rampant and wreak havoc on our lives if given free reign. However, fear is historically there for a reason: to tell us to RUN! Run awayyyy!!!!! when a rancor is about to chew our heads off. Only in today’s world, there are no rancors. (That we know of. Wink.) And for most of us, it’s not very likely we’re going to have a face-to-face encounter with a bengal tiger any time soon. Which is why people get so mad at fear. Why do we need it? Or, the question I’ve been quandering: How do we tame it?

You see, for me, I view fear like a Wampa Snow Beast. (Click link for picture.) All huge and primal and bloody teethed from chowing down on an afternoon snack of Tauntaun-on-ice. Remember that part in “Empire Strikes Back” after Luke cuts off its arm? He’s all WAHRRRAAAAHHHHHRAHHHH!!!! flailing around and making all that racket?

To me, that’s what my inner fear looks like. A big white snow beast making all that fuss over a threat that’s halfway across Hoth by now. And I’m sad to say, that snow beast with the pea-sized intellect made a lot of my choices for me for a while. (Pause for moment of silence while I sheepishly duck my head into the neck hole of my sweater. 3… 2… 1… ) And we’re back!

So, yeah, it’s true, at first I was afraid, I was petrified…

……Kept thinkin’ I could never live without you by my side….oh, Wampa Snow Beast….. But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong and I grew STRONG…..

Whoa. What do you MEAN that sounds awfully familiar? PLAGIARISM? Psssh. Plagiarism, my Bantha. (Calm down Aretha Franklin fans, I’m totally kidding.)

But I digress. The point is, I lived a lot of my life being afraid. Afraid to tell people I was sick, afraid to put myself out there, afraid to go after the things I really wanted, even when my body was healthy enough to get them. But the amazing unexpected part of this whole chronic illness? Is that years of trial and isolation have forced me to face my inner snow beast and tell him to SHUT THE HOTH UP!

It’s the best outcome of this whole struggle. I’m not afraid anymore. (Except for spiders. And snakes. And bears. And pretty much anything creepy or that could legitimately kill me.) But so far as life goes, yeah. My actions are no longer dictated by fear. Hence, the publication of this blog a mere two months ago. (Which was a big deal, seeing as for the three previous years, I couldn’t even say the name of my illness out loud.)

And you wanna know something incredible? Since I stopped letting fear hold me back from putting myself out there, all of a sudden, these… THINGS…. are happening.

All of a sudden, when I’m having the most horrible of days, praying for some little nugget of hope or love to help boost me up, things are happening. A get well card from a former student showing up in the mail. A bouquet of flowers from co-workers who haven’t seen me since I got too sick to work. An e-mail from an old friend sharing a personal story with me containing her silent struggle. Little things. But as we’ve discussed in The Small Things miniseries, the small things sometimes mean the most.

I always wondered why, for all those years when I cried out for help to the universe, I wasn’t getting anything in return. But now I believe that the reason why is because my rampant Wampa went all willy-nilly on my brain, blocking me from putting myself out there “AS IS.” (No substitutions, exchanges, or refunds!)

So today, I want to share with all of you who are battling your own Wampa Snow Beast: once you realize the voice in your head that’s holding you back is a primitive fictional character unable to even use the gift of legible language? It makes it a LOT easier to shut it up and put yourself and your dreams out into the world.

Because just like a boomerang, you have to throw it out there to ever get it back. 

And if you’re still all, I don’t know, Foda, this sounds kinda iffy… Just picture your fear like a lumbering white nincompoop getting hit in the head with a boomerang. And if you do that right, you really should be laughing right now, which is a WHOLE other type of totally fear-canceling emotion…

(Ha! Take that, Freud! Or some other psychologist who didn’t maintain the problems of mankind always stem from a woman’s desire to be anatomically male… PEJORATIVE PIG.) 

Now Go Wallop that Wampa!

WAHRRRAAAAHHHHHRAHHHH!!!!

The Foda

Episode XXVII: The Division of Self

Episode XXVII

The Division of Self

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

 The Foda’s Take: Can I really expand on this? As my father, Dobiwan would say: BEAUTIOUS.

 Hey there, neighbor! (Admit it- how many of you are now humming the Mr. Roger’s themesong? Would you be mine… would you be mine?!) It’s so good to see you again! So, how’ve you been? Mmm-hmmm? I know, the weather’s been, just, like CRAZY lately, all that flux and such. But Spring is FINALLY here! (At least, so the calendar says.) And this actually brings me to my topic for the day: The Division of Self. AKA what happens when something appears to be one way on the outside and totally different on the inside. Like, say, having freezing temperatures in late March. It’s SUPPOSED to be spring… but if you didn’t have a calendar, would you really know that? (Granted, it is supposed to be getting warmer, but not consistently. Or so Mandalf the amateur meteorologist tells me.)

Sidebar- is it wrong that I expect all men to be able to predict the weather just by looking at the same sky I’m seeing? Yeah, that’s what I thought, too! Totally reasonable. 

Anyway, this whole seeming one way on the outside when the reality is actually quite different is one of the most difficult calling cards of living with a chronic illness. You LOOK fine, and you’ve been dealing with it for so long now you’re likely an AMAZING actor, so you truly do SEEM fine. So what do people see when they look at you? One Fine Fellow Earthling! But what do you see when you look in the mirror?

Probably someone totally different.

I once took a class on Expressive Arts in Leadership arenas, and in that class, we had to do a LOT of self expression through any kind of creative media. I wound up drawing a picture of a healthy, smiling girl looking in the mirror. Yet staring back at her from the glass was a drooping, wrinkled old woman. Stark, I know, but that’s how I felt inside. And this is what people with invisible illnesses face EVERY DAY. Very Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of us, I know.

So what can you do? Surprisingly, if you’re a caretaker or a friend, sometimes the WORST thing you can do is offer advice. It often comes off condescending instead of caring. (Which, of course, is your real intention. You big doll, you!) Why? Because members of the Invisibility Cloak Club have already thought of whatever you’re advising, I promise you! What we really want? Is someone to validate the EMOTIONAL side of our condition. Now isn’t that easier? I mean, you may not have our illness, but you DO have emotions, yes? You TOTALLY have experience with fear, frustration, doubt, isolation, etc, right?

Well, guess what. That’s how we heal the division of self: Is validating BOTH parts of us. The body that houses us, and the fighting emotional soul inside. Because both are a part of you. Don’t make the same mistake I made for the first three years by thinking of my body as a traitorous womp rat, with my mind/spirit/soul being the “real” me. This only made me hate MYSELF… because I live, after all, in both places. (I know, I know, seems obvious, but I humbly admit it was a part of my subconscious for a long time.)

So today, dear reader, whether you’re sick or strong, happy or sad, Princess Leia or just plain Laid up, I hope you get that validation we all need and know that you are making the right choices. Every time.

Well.

Unless they’re wrong.

But probably, they’re totally right.

(You do get that I’m giving inconclusive validation on purpose, right? Okay, good. Kiss, kiss! Oh, no, not you, sir… you get a handshake. ANIMAL.)

Much Love,

(But only the appropriate amount)

The Foda

FWW: They Call Me Lazy

Free Write Wednesdays (FWW) 

They Call Me Lazy

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy.”

~ C. JoyBell C.

 The Foda’s Take: I love this quote so much that it has inspired my new idea for… drumroll, please… Free Write Wednesdays!

 Howdy, folks! So I’m thinking of starting up something a bit new here, called “Free Write Wednesdays.” While I may not do this every Wednesday, I’ve been using this therapeutic format of writing for years now, although I usually call it “Beat Writing” a la Jack Kerouac. (But Free Write Wednesdays just sounded better- and that’s essentially what Beat Writing is… stream of consciousness with no analyzing, no editing, and usually, no punctuation. But I will use punctuation. Because I think it Makes. A . Point. Ha!)

Anyway, what I plan to do is choose a sentence to start with, and just go from there! What I’m hoping is that those of you who are also struggling with a chronic illness, personal trauma, or otherwise invisible ailment will join me in writing your own free write using the starter sentence I use. It’s amazing how when you let your mind just GO and stop analyzing the “rightness” of your thoughts, how it can bring to the surface so much you never knew was there. (Hence why it can be so therapeutic!) And of course, I would love to hear what you come up with! Just be sure not to judge where your mind goes. Allowing our brains to get in touch with the rawest form of our thoughts can be very powerful, and not always super cheerful- but once it’s said, it’s amazing how sometimes you can release what you never knew you were holding on to.

So let’s get started with our very first Free Write Wednesday! The starter sentence for the day is: “They call me lazy.” 

 They Call Me Lazy

Look at you, girl- all mashed up on the couch like a potato after it’s been beaten down

Shapeless and churned up like a milkshake

Why so pale, they say

Why can’t the Foda come out to play?

You’re young and you look so fine like good wine so let’s go have a good time- after all You look just the same as me

And what do you mean you can’t drive to visit, girl, can’t come to see your old college pal?

I can’t always be the one, you know, this whole “illness” has just got to go, because I’m Tired of being the one who has to work so hard when you don’t even have to work

I envy you, they say

No work, no stress, just stay at home in your jammies all day

How nice must that be, have a break from the fast lane, the always moving train, the Quickly changing game

You get to stand still, they say with a sigh

Or they avoid my eyes when it’s time to say hi

Because what do you say when you don’t understand

That I’d love to be working

Exhausted from earning

Instead of being what I am

Exhausted from breathing, from sitting, from being

But I have to say NO with no proof I can show

No marks on my body, no splints on my legs

My hair is still there, and I’ll smile for you, ma’am

To make you more comfortable with what you don’t understand

I’ll tell you the truth but I’ll couch it with a smile because you’ll get uneasy

If I tell it up straight

So they call me lazy

Or say I just need a nap

But what I need is much more, to know my healing light is in store

Wrapping me up in its beauty like a precious hug

Until my “laziness” is heard of

No more.

 I hope you enjoyed our first Free Write Wednesday! If you have a “They Call Me Lazy” you’d like to share, please either share using the Comment section below this post (if it isn’t there, click on the post title and it will appear at the bottom) or email me at TheFemaleYoda@gmail.com.

Get those creative juices flowing!

Yours,

The Foda

P.S. So I just read what I wrote here and want to say that you TOTALLY don’t have to rhyme when you free write.. apparently that’s just what my weird mind likes to do when I let go of the reins… CRAZY.

Episode XXVI: The Letters I Never Mail Out

Episode XXVI

The Letters I Never Mail Out

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make a soul?”

~John Keats

 The Foda’s Take: This quote totally reinforces my theory that gains gotten without effort and persistence are often not as valuable, nor as long-lived. (And if that’s not true, man, this whole fight against Lyme Disease just got super depressing because I am putting in epic amounts of time and effort!) This henceforth inspired my slightly different format today detailing The Letters I Never Mail Out. Enjoy piping hot with a double espresso and a healthy serving of sarcasm.

Dear Gray Hair,

I was fine when I saw you a few months back. I have, after all, been living a more elderly lifestyle despite my young age. Plus, Stacy London totally pulls it off. But now I see that you have been reproducing…. BEHIND MY BACK. Which, in my opinion, is quite rude, seeing as I was so welcoming when you showed up unannounced and uninvited the first time. Your visitation rights are hereby REVOKED. <Pluck> What? WHAT? What is this??!!! ANOTHER ONE?? 

Traitor. 

*******************************************************************************

 Dear Kitten,

You are only about 8 pounds. And yet you love to wrestle like a rampant bobcat. My arms are beginning to look like I ran naked through a thorn bush. I am clipping your nails. RIGHT NOW. Sniff. Big bully.

Ooooh, look how cute you are when you’re sleeping! I love you again. No, your nails are still getting clipped. Aw, you thought you could get out of it by snuggling up next to me? Adorable. Still getting trimmed.

Love,

Mom

*******************************************************************************

 Dear People Who Complain About Colds,

I laugh at you behind your back. Because you have NO idea what being sick is. But I admit, it’s not very nice of me, this scoffing at your whining Facebook status. Which is why I don’t say it to your face. I just think it. And cluck my tongue at you. And judge you. And, apparently, write it on my blog.

Glad you’re feeling better already,

Me

P.S. No, I’m not bitter at all. Why do you ask? 

*******************************************************************************

Dear HolisticHabits gal on YouTube,

You are fantastic! You give so much wonderful information about how to live a cleaner, healthier life. I had no idea there was more than one type of cinnamon, and that  the kind sold in the NorthEast is not “true” cinnamon, and is actually crazy high in liver-damaging properties when eaten frequently. (Which I do.) I am now the proud owner of REAL cinnamon- Organic Ceylon Cinnamon- and it is DELICIOUS.

Thanks ever so,

My Mouth, Liver, and Taste-buds

*******************************************************************************

 Dear Gluten, Dairy, and Sugar,

I miss you. When will you be in my life again? 

Love,

LymeLadiesWhoLunch

*******************************************************************************

Dear George Lucas,

Kindly Regard This Letter as my formal application for the role of Mara Jade in the continuation of the Star Wars saga. (Which you really should be getting on with, don’t you think?) I believe I would be the perfect candidate to play Luke’s nemesis-turned-wife. Also, I look great in leather and am willing to dye my hair red for the role. I will be expecting your call.

Your biggest fan,

The Female Yoda

P.S. I naturally expect to have in my contract that John Williams will be composing my personal themesong. Please and Thank You.

 

THE END 

 

Episode XXV: If Shakespeare Used The Force

Episode XXV 

If Shakespeare Used The Force 

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day.”

~ Shakespeare, Macbeth

 The Foda’s Take: For people with chronic illnesses (or Macbeth), it is so easy to anticipate the daunting doom and drudgery of days to come, fearing they will likely mirror the days that have past. Days filled with frustration and feelings of abandonment from the health and the life you once had. But I’m gonna go ahead and call it right now and guess that Shakespeare, although an epic writer, was a total bloody cynic who never had a Jedi Master teach him how to live in the moment.

 Hi everyone! Today I am obsessed with the topic of WARRIORS. Like blue Avatar lady warriors who swing from trees and let out guttural war cries. (Much like Ewoks, come to think of it. Say it with me: AaaaahhEeeeeeeYaaahhhhhh!!!!!!) And the reason why I’m thinking of this is because now that I have a beautiful dream I’m setting my sights on- (Yes, I discussed this in my last post, and no, I’m still not telling what it is. Tsk tsk. PUSHY.)- I have renewed my internal motivation to dedicate my daily choices towards doing all I can to honor and obtain this dream. A huge piece of this, of course, is putting the kibosh on this chronic illness of mine.

So what does this have to do with warriors? Well, my initial impulse was to strap on my blaster holster, craft up my double sided lightsaber (because, really, although The Phantom Menace was pretty hard to watch, that dueling scene with Darth Maul was quite spectacular. What color would my lightsaber be? So sweet of you to ask! I’m thinking cerulean blue. Or violet.) What color would yours be? Huh? Oh, right, sorry! Warriors. 

So yeah, I was all about to arm myself up, ready to give life a little one-two-three punch, when I remembered that scene in Empire Strikes Back where Luke is about to enter the dark tree. He asks Yoda what he’ll find in there, and Yoda replies: “Only what you take with you.” Sadly, for those of you who know the story, Luke didn’t listen and brought his weapon, and so wound up battling his own inner demons. So this got me thinking. If I approach this illness blasters-a-blazing, who will I really be fighting? ME. The Lyme Disease is, after all, in my own body. And while I want more than anything to battle this chronic illness, there is a difference between fighting for myself: body, mind and soul, and fighting coup for my kidnapped health by inadvertently throwing my currently invaded body under the landspeeder. (So to speak.)

There are two types of warriors. There’s the kind, like Han, who will blast his way out of trouble. This is a very masculine type of warrior. And in some situations, it works- but not when your enemy combatant has taken sanctuary inside your own body! But there’s also another type of warrior. The one that fights for what she wants without shooting first. She sits back, sees the problem, and curiously, openly, observes the moment, and finds a way around it. Oh, I’m stuck in a compacting garbage disposal? Okay, let me find something to climb on top of. What was Han’s first reaction in this scenario, you may recall? Shooting up a magnetically sealed door. So I ask myself- how can I be this more feminine type of fluid, flexible warrior so that I can fight for what I want without turning the fight on myself? How do I stay fluid so that I’m fighting for a better tomorrow (is this not the longest segue to come back to the quote of the day I’ve ever made?) without getting angry when my tomorrows don’t immediately change?

Simple. Perspective. When Shakespeare wrote this quote, he obviously was thinking in terms of the past, or the future, but definitely not the present. After all, the present doesn’t “creep by” because it’s right now. Like I said. Bloody cynic.

So to be the warrior I wish to be, I must be sure to stay in my present moment, accepting things as they come, and slowly, curiously, find my way around the obstacles I face. Otherwise, I will be fighting blind, entering the dark tree with saber drawn, expecting a fight where there may be none. Or, as my vocal professor in college once told me, live Smarter, not Harder.

So let us close with a rebuttal to Shakespeare’s depressing prose: Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow… will never come a’creeping if you choose to live every day in today.

La Vie Boheme!

AaaaahhEeeeeeeYaaahhhhhh!!!!!! (Warrior Cry)

The Foda

P.S. Okay, so I knocked on ol’ Willie Shakes a little bit here, but in all seriousness, how beautiful (if not super melodramatic and depressing) is this passage?

 “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death.

Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow,

A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more.

It is a tale told by an idiot

Full of sound and fury

Signifying nothing.”

 ~Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5

Episode XXIV: Dream A Little Dream

Episode XXIV 

Dream A Little Dream

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “You don’t age until your regrets outnumber your dreams.”

~ John Barrymore

 The Foda’s Take: I absolutely adore this quote, because somewhere in the hustle of grown-up life, it becomes all too easy to forget that dreams come in all sizes, and are not just for the young.

 Welcome back, friends! I’m happy to report that I’m beginning to see a smidgen of light from my Death Star of a rut (as discussed in great depth in “Episode XXII: Fight or Flight”) and what’s really helped bring this about is my new favorite topic of….. DREAMS! 

Now, the last time someone asked me what my dream was, I was in high school, and my answer was: well, to be on Broadway, of course! Preferably playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Or Maureen in Rent.  Or Elphaba in Wicked. Or pretty much any role Idina Menzel has ever originated, for that matter. (Sidebar- how AWESOME would it be if someone wrote Star Wars: The Musical? Because I would SO be all over that.)

But then I went to college, graduated with a degree in music education, and found a fabulous job teaching children to sing and play, and most importantly, how to express themselves through music. And I loved it! So life went on. I worked, I got married, I explored new hobbies, and that was my life. Until I got sick. And then sicker. And then I couldn’t keep that lifestyle anymore.

Now, I know at this point you’re all going ugh, Foda, this sounds, like, super depressing! Well, hold your Tauntauns! Because the silver lining is that all this has led me back to a place quiet enough to DREAM

Yes, I have lost a lot of things I’d love to have back right now. And yes, not many people would jump at the chance to live my current life. But one truly wonderful, AMAZING thing that has come out of this is that I have been forced to step back out of my previously hectic life and truly think about: WHAT IF…

What If?

What if the reason why I got sick is because I’m meant to be on another path- one I wouldn’t have found if I had just stayed the given course, doin’ the head-down hustle, all pedal-to-metal? What if this experience, besides gifting me with GOBS of wisdom and perspective, (aw, shucks, mental me!) is also designed to give me the time to cultivate a bigger purpose for my life? How amazing would THAT be?!!

Now, I’m no foolish Foda. I know that just because I’ve been given a difficult road doesn’t mean I’m destined for a future of Best Seller Lists and Tony’s. But once you remember just how GOOD it feels to dream… why would you want to stop? Oh, because it might not happen? Umm… so? This is America! We work for what we want! It’s, like, engraved on the Statue of Liberty! Give me your poor, your sick, your dreams of book deals… (By the way if you really know what’s on the Statue of Liberty I’d appreciate it if you kept it to yourself right about now (funk soul brother!). Your superior knowledge is really spoiling my diatribe, here. Smarty Pants.) Hair flick. Pivot turn. Annnnnnnddd sashay. Wuurrkk it!

Oh. Um, sorry. Got a little carried away there. I told you there’s a thespian inside of me!

So sometime this week, I invite you to try and find a quiet moment. Put on your most comfiest of clothes, light a nice smelling scent (cinnamon and eucalyptus are great for revitalization), tip your head back into a ray of sunshine, and DREAM.

Because sometimes after WHAT IF comes…

WHY NOT?

Yours Truly,

The Dreamy Foda

P.s. What do you MEAN I never told you my dream? It’s like a birthday wish! You CAN’T say it out loud! Whaddya wanna JINX me???!!!! SELFISH. Hair flick. Pivot turn. Annnnnnnddd sashay.

Episode XXIII: My Invisibility Cloak

Episode XXIII 

My Invisibility Cloak

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

– George Eliot

 The Foda’s Take: Did you know this quote actually came from a woman named Mary Anne Evans, born in 1819, who wrote novels using the pen name George Eliot? So she meant this quote quite literally to the publishing world! How. Cool. Is. That.

 Invisible illness. It’s as elusive as a Jawa in Begger’s cayon. You can’t see them… but you know they’re there. Watching you. With those beady little glow-in-the dark eyes. Just waiting to capture you and sell you for parts. (Seriously- does anyone else think Jawas are the SciFi version of slave traders? Or is that just me??)

But I digress. Everyone’s been told the old idiom: Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Like The Force. Or Faith. Or Bigfoot. Having a chronic illness or long-term trauma usually works the same way. You know it’s there because you can feel it. But you look normal, right? And so how many times have people found out, smiled, and said: “But you look so good!” And you know what? They truly think they’re saying something nice! 

But it doesn’t exactly validate you, does it? That’s like telling someone who just lost a loved one: “Well, you look great! You must be already over it.”

Umm… no?

Henceforth, the conundrum of… Dum da-duh DAAAA!!! The Invisibility Cloak! Now this handy little contraption can be very helpful and super awesome. Just ask Harry Potter. There are some situations where it really is quite helpful to be under the radar. Like when your Aunt Beru is looking for you with a cup of that weird blue milk in her hand. (Fans, you totally know what I’m talking about. BANTHA JUICE, baby!) But now imagine… what if you had this cool cloak… but you couldn’t take it off?

That’s just it, you know. There isn’t a choice. (Unless you want to paste a couple of large braces on your legs or make super melodramatic groans and grimaces at random passer-byes.) Oh, you’re having a hard time picturing it? Here’s some sample text for you: Ohhh, woe is meeeeee!!!!!!

Although I must admit, sometimes I really like my Invisibility Cloak. If you meet me when I’m sitting down, I can usually carry on a perfectly normal conversation, pretend like my life is completely ordinary, and that’s just fine with me! After all, sometimes it’s nice to have a break from the How are you feeling’s and the What did the doctor say’s. But since people dealing with long-term hardships are often more isolated as it is, it doesn’t help also feeling like no one sees you, or understands what you’re going through. This is where being invisibly ill can create a real division of self. After all, if the world sees Princess Leia, but inside that body is a crazed Bantha… which one is the REAL you?

BOTH.

It’s not easy living this way, always feeling like you have two selves, with something to prove. And no, people aren’t really going to get it unless they’ve seen a loved one go through it, or lived it. But here’s the one part they don’t tell you about us cool kids who get Invisibility Cloaks. THERE’S A CLUB. And once you’re in, there are so many others, just like you, who will SEE you- all of you. You just have to find them. And until you do, well, you always have me. :)

Ciao for now,

The Foda

P.S. Are you a member of the Invisibility Cloak Club? Would you be interested in creating one here in The Foda’s Galaxy? Let me know! Subscribe, Tweet @TheFemaleYoda, or Email me at TheFemaleYoda@gmail.com and share your warrior’s tale, your thoughts, or even just your name. I’d be honored to hear your story.

Episode XXII: Fight or Flight

Episode XXII

Fight or Flight

 Today’s Words of Wisdom:

 “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”

-Unknown

 The Foda’s Take: TRUTH.

 Hi there, friends! How’ve you been? I’ve been rummaging along myself, thanks.

Okay. I lied. I’ve actually been in a bit of a rut. A really ridiculously reprehensible rut. (Tee-hee. I totally have a thing for alliterations.) But before you cluck your tongue and start feeling all sorry for me, here’s some things you really ought to know.

First of all, to quote Han Solo: “I trusted them to fix it! It’s not my fault!” Granted, here he’s talking about a broken hyperdrive, and I’m talking about my health…. but same general idea, no? Yeah, I’ve done it all. Changed my diet, seen the expert, paid the crazy amount of money for the herbs and tinctures and pills, had the PICC, followed all the advice down to the letter. I even drank activated clay and charcoal for God’s sake! (So. Gross. Or to quote Princess Leia: “I’d rather kiss a Wookie.”) And yet.. I’m still in a rut. Hence: “It’s not my fault!”

So I’ve been doing a little.. okay, okay, a lot of moping the past few days. After all, it’s very frustrating to devote every waking moment of my life to getting well and not see more results. I’m sure you can understand, sweet doll-face reader that you are. (You too, boys. Unless being called a doll-face offends your sensibilities. In that case, please accept stone-cold fox as an adequate substitution.)

Anyway, I’ve decided there’s only one way to view this rut that will make it even remotely palatable to my SciFi saturated brain. Picture this:

I have just come out of hyperspace. My hyperdrive is broken, and I can’t fix it. And to add insult to serious injury, I am now firmly stuck in the Death Star’s tractor beam. (Just go with me here, this is going to be a massive mouthful of a metaphor. <— Oops, I did it again!) Sigh. Totally singing Britney Spears now. Focus, Foda, focus!

Okay. Now it is very clear to me that I have two choices here. I am stuck in a tractor beam that is too strong, and my ship is too small. My first option is to hit a whole bunch of lever-y thing-ys and try and bust my way free, likely frying my ship in the process and getting sucked in anyway. Or, I can let the tractor beam take me in, steal whatever armor I can find, and fight my way out from the inside. Scientists call this decision Fight or Flight.

Now, brilliant readers that you are, you know I’m not really talking about a ship and a tractor beam and all that. But the metaphor stands. I’m in a rut- and until I’m well, it’s likely going to always feel like the Death Star is sucking me in while I struggle to get out. So instead of wearing myself out and blowing my precious little energy trying to get away… I think I’ll stay and fight. Even if that means I spend some time laying low, all sneaky-like, elbow-crawling my way through the belly of the Death Star….. (I’m taking this analogy a bit too far, aren’t I?)

The point is: when you choose to fight over flight, it may not always look like what you expect it to. Allowing the tractor beam to suck you in may seem like giving up. But sometimes, you have to know which battles are better to lose so you have enough fight in you left to be able to win the war.

I’m not going to win every battle. Lately I’ve been losing the battle with wrangling those good ‘ol happy feelings to where I’d like them to be. But that’s okay.. because that’s real life.  And this week, I’m just plain old tired of trying to get out of my rut. So I’m trying something super crazy.

I AM EMBRACING MY RUT.

I’m done spending so much mental and emotional energy trying to deny where I am right now. I’m done dancing the foxtrot with the tractor beam. I’m letting it take me in. But what it doesn’t know.. what it can’t know… is that once I’m in, I will lay low. I will get stronger. And one day, when the time is right, I will SMASH my way out of that Death Star.

Or at least close the door behind me REALLY tight.

Yours Truly,

The Foda

P.S. Wasn’t this just the most sensationally sinful soliloquy of cinematic similes you’ve ever seen? Ha! Nailed it.