Thirty

“Thirty”

Thirty.

Thiiiirrrttttyyyyyyyy.

Rhymes with “dirty”, “flirty”… and if you’re a Texas ranger, “purdy.” As in, that’s one right purdy filly there.

Why my interest, you ask? Well, today, my friends, just happens to be my last day in my twenties. That’s right. As of tomorrow, I shall be thirty.

And until a week and a half ago, I was completely sure I wouldn’t be one of those people who freak out because of some societally trumped-up milestone.

Until my family asked me what I wanted to do to celebrate.

<Picture a camera rushing in on my face, exposing a close up view of me instantly panicking.> Kind of like…. this.

 

My cat Yoda!
My cat Yoda!

I know. How cute is he??? But I digress.

All of a sudden, thirty DID seem like a big milestone. And the panic? Was because for the latter half of my twenties, I haven’t been able to do any of the things I wanted, because this illness has essentially turned me into a hermit. Which, of course, left me feeling the way so many twenty nine year olds feel: that judgement day has arrived, and I’m about to cross some metaphysical line… and I’m not prepared.

So here I am, feeling like someone’s about to hand me a church steeple when I haven’t even laid the foundation yet (odd metaphor, I know, but it’s the first one that came to me, and I’m going with it) and I’m a little excited, but mostly, I feel like I’m not ready.

Which, again, is totally odd, because due to my vastly unique experience of living like an eighty year old for the past four years, I have no problem with aging. When you’re old, you can be crotchety and opinionated and stubborn, and no one will call you out on it. But here’s the rub. I’m not old. And all those societal cliches? Don’t apply to me.

So once again, I have to redefine thirty to fit with my set of circumstances.

Thirty, for me, is not going to be anything other than “adios” to half a decade of illness. It’s going to hopefully be the start of the decade where I finally get my health back. And it’s going to have absolutely no bearing on how I feel about myself, how I measure my self worth, or how I compare myself to what other thirty years olds are doing.

So fare thee well, twenty nine. With the exception of your involvement in finishing my first novel, starting two more, and having a wonderful family, I shall not miss thy reign.

Oh, and thirty? Just in case you’re planning on being as ornery as twenty nine? BRING IT.

Cheers,

The Foda

It Is Easy Being Green: Kate’s Magik Review

It Is Easy Being Green: Kate’s Magik Review

 Oh, my back. Oh, my head. My eyeballs have a pulse. My hair hurts. I can feel my blood. (One should not feel their blood whilst inside one’s veins.) I’m walking like an arthritic ostrich. GRAVITY, WHY DO YOU PLAGUE ME??!!! WHHHHYYYYYYYY???!!!!!!!!!

 Welcome to the interior dialogue of anyone who lives with a chronic illness. Okay, fine, welcome to my interior dialogue. So it should go without saying that finding some kind of relief from said woes is rather remarkable. Well, what if I told you that not only did I find it: the ever elusive ohmigosh-this-is-amazing product that will relieve what ails ‘ya… but that will also make you look and smell <hair flip> très, très chic?

Two words: Kate’s Magik. (Click here to peruse her website.) Some items are also available on Amazon.

IMG_0278

My obsession started small. A bottle of reiki-infused lotion, labeled “Water,” designed with all natural scents meant to be most pleasing to a Pisces like me. I found it right after I started writing my book, Elements, which has to do with– you guessed it– a secret group of people who embody and manipulate the earth’s elements. I saw the bottle, and it was like it was made for me! That, and it smelled delicious. And it did what no other lotion or oil could do this winter– heal my chapped, cracking hands. (And I tried a LOT.) Sidebar: It also may have caused Mandalf to exclaim upon touching my arm: “How is your skin so soft??!!” To which I said: “Magik.” (Heh. Heh.)

Then I was curious. I had to know more. Was there more? What else did this Kate make? Days later, I had a shipment of goodies. Different products specifically selected to (hopefully) help manage my chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and, well, the general side effects of being debilitatingly sick for four years. (Her website offers a resource of which products she recommends for whatever your intent: health, peace, abundance, etc.)

I was astounded. The Peace and Purification anointing oil when applied to my temples, throat, heart, and behind the ears helped alleviate my constant headache, and I felt immediately calmer, in a peaceful (non-drowsy) sort of way. (A week later, and it’s now officially on my stranded-on-a-desert-island list.) Next, I slathered on her Moonlight oil twenty minutes before bed, not really expecting much. (My insomnia is legendary. And I don’t do well with strong scents.) But I could actually feel it bringing me down into a sleep-conducive state with each inhale. Now, I attribute it as my most effective sleep aid. (Take that, insomnia!)  I also got a bar of Monsoon Rain soap, because it was described as having anti-depressive qualities, and hey, let’s be real, being “all sick, all the time” is a real joy-sucker sometimes. I loved it and would love to make it a staple, but fancy soap is a luxury in my book, so it will remain a special occasion purchase. The same goes for her Blue Morpho perfumed body oil. Amazing, absorbs well, a great subtle scent, (and named after my favorite butterfly for its transformative intent) but for me, more in the luxury category as apposed to the I-NEED-THIS because it seriously improves my quality of life category.

I also purchased the Muscle Works massage oil to help with my wayward nerve endings that, if unchecked, lead to some rather wicked migraines. Only I can’t review that, because I haven’t had to use it yet. Possibly because the anointing oil is also said to help relieve headaches, and since using it, I magically haven’t gotten any… Fascinating, yesssss… <Strokes imaginary beard quizzically.>

So for all my readers who are chronically ill like me, or who are working towards an intention, whether it’s peace, mindfulness, or whatever your pleasure, I know a lady who just might be able to help. Her name is Kate. And her stuff is wand-erful. (Get it? Magik?)

So check it out. Now where did I put that anointing oil…

Snnnniiiiiiiffffffffffff. Ahhhhhhhh. That’s the stuff.

The Foda

P.S. For people like me with scent sensitivities, I’ve had no issues with any of the products I’ve tried.

P.P.S. I have not been paid, coerced, or hoodwinked into saying any of this.

Long Live the Misfits

Long Live the Misfits

 I didn’t want to tell this story. This story is sad and unjust. It’s teeming with discrimination and humiliation and I’ve tried for the past week to find the words. I wanted them to be poignant, yet light. Personal, yet above it all. Victorious. Poetic. I failed. 

The truth is, last week I paid $100 dollars to go to a mandated workshop on how to prevent bullying and discrimination in NY schools. It was the last requirement I needed to obtain my masters– something I’d had to fight to finish once I became too ill to travel to campus. I called ahead, letting the instructor know that I was ill and that walking or moving around was very difficult for me. “Being a teacher myself,” I explained, “I know that many ice-breaker activities involve movement. So I wanted to give you a head’s up.” My assurance? “No one’s going to make you stand up if you don’t want to,” the woman laughed. I was led to believe it wouldn’t be an issue.

A week later, I was sitting in a conference room with forty other people, listening to this woman speaking about the perils of discrimination and bullying: about the eleven protected classes, one of which is people with disabilities. Then she asked everyone to stand up. I hobbled over and discretely reminded her of my limitations. She told me to sit back down, and announced over the microphone that people should come talk to me. Humiliated at being singled out, I sat, breathing a sigh of relief when it was over and everyone returned to their seats.

…Until twenty minutes later when she instructed everyone to stand and move to the open space on the other side of the room. I locked eyes with her, and she waved me off, as if to say, “you just sit.” That’s when I realized that even though I called ahead, even though any good teacher would have taken this information and tweaked their presentation so that everyone could be included, her version of “accommodating” me was to have me just watch everyone else. She drew a line in the sand: able-bodied, and not. And I was the only one on the other side. Ostracized. Humiliated. Marginalized.

Forty pairs of healthy eyes drilled into me, wondering, “why is she sitting? What’s going on?” A curious woman asked, “Oh, are you not with us?” I mumbled something, mortified. After several exercises, the instructor had them do an activity where they all made a long line. Which they made. Facing me. Staring at me. Cementing every fear, every piece of personal shame I’d ever had to quell since getting sick: that in a world of normal, healthy people, they were on one side. And I was the freak on the other.

I stared at my pen, too humiliated and too furious to do anything else. The irony that I was paying to have this woman teach me how not to marginalize people with disabilities was not lost on me. I got my certificate and waited until I was in the car with my husband to cry.

I have tried to write this story many times. To share with people that just because someone looks normal doesn’t mean you know their story. That disabilities don’t just come in the form of wheelchairs and visible impediments. That just because someone is an adult doesn’t mean that ostracizing them based on physical ability won’t be just as scarring.

This happened a week ago. I’m not going to pretend it won’t bother me for a long time to come. But one day soon, I will wake up, and realize I’m still here. Still breathing, still living; I survived this humiliation. And I’ll give up the shame, toss it aside like a tissue. For I know in my heart just how much I have to give. Just how much I am worth. After all, most anyone can walk about on their healthy two legs. But I know a truth they do not: of the value that’s found on the other side of “have-not.” Of “surmount-this.” Of freak. Of misfit. And a smile will steal my lips as I realize my strength; a strength that surpasses having two workable legs, and will live on long after that instructor’s body withers with age until it’s crippled like mine. She will have none of the tools. And I will be fine.

So to the woman who did this: I see your humiliation and I raise you fifty years. Until then, I declare: Here’s to all the freaks breaking the mold. Long live the misfits. 

Freak out,

The Foda

*For all my readers with Lyme Disease, I welcome you to join my Google + community: “Lyme Disease: A New Hope.”