Friday, May 6, 2016

Life in Slow Motion: My Power Animal is a Sloth

I think I have a new power animal. And I think it's a sloth. Apparently having a chronic illness, especially when it hasn't been symptomatic from birth, can change one's primary power animal. But look at this little guy - there are worse things to feel like a kindred spirit to, right?

Look at that face.
I aspire to have the contentment expressed on that face. I strive to embrace my inner sloth. Right now I still seem to be kicking and screaming, because I still think I should be a tiger. Fierce and strong and lithe and powerful. In my youth, all the way until I had children, my power animal WAS a tiger. And in my heart of hearts, I still am. Somewhere inside me, the tiger still exists.

Hm. This is taking a direction I didn't expect it to, so let's explore and see where this is going.

So yeah. In my youth, I believed my power animal to be a tiger. I always loved tigers - giant cats, so cute and adorable, with intense eyes and so powerful, capable of untold carnage. In other words, never mess with a tiger.

I used to draw tigers on everything, everywhere - my first "handle" back in the day, when *gasp* BBSes were the first way to connect to peers on computers, the first chatrooms were boards like "Junk Drawer" and "Outer Planes" handle was even Tyger Chaz. 

See how cute and clever I was spelling it with a 'y' like that? Cute AND smart. Off the beaten path. Doing my OWN thing. Oh yeah, I was such a trailblazer, such a rebel!

 But I digress. (Again! What a surprise! Do I even HAVE the neural pathways it takes to stay on a topic anymore? Not if this post is any indication of said pathways. Did you know I started out with the intention of posting about ordering glasses? Until that sentence, have I even mentioned glasses once? 

And I seemingly won't, because this post just became something very different. Maybe that's what writing really is anyway. I digress again! 


So in my youth - tiger. When my children were born, I think I definitely went right to Mama Bear, and have pretty much stayed that way since. 

And sloth doesn't cancel out Mama Bear, don't worry - I still have all of my power animals in me somewhere. Hibernating perhaps? 

Mama Bear gets woken and takes over when she is needed. But primary right now? Yeah. Sloth.

And to be clear, I'm NOT saying 'sloth' in the way that one might refer to the seven deadly sins. NOT that sloth. I mean the kind of sloth where life has turned into slow motion. Where everything happens exponentially slower than the rest of the world, kind of like in a hospital. Or in the home of a family who has a member or members with chronic illness. Time changes, it doesn't work here like it works in the rest of the world. 

Everything gets pushed back because of brain fog and pain and anxiety and symptom flares, which are caused by so many things: accidentally eating the wrong foods, barometric pressure changes, weather changes, sleep or lack thereof, pollens and other airborne allergens, when the chemtrails are being sprayed (deny them all you want; my friends and I have NOTICEABLE reactions after they've sprayed), my stress levels, if I've had a big emotional reaction to anything, exposure to chemicals (yes, even being homebound I can have accidental exposures from things like library books (molds and perfumes) and things I order from Amazon). 

So all of these things can get in the way of my having a "Lucid Day". And what happens is everything gets done in slow motion. What takes regular, able-bodied families less than a month to accomplish takes us two years (I wish this were an over-exaggeration, but alas, it is not. Getting The RV Ready is my case file on this). My last email from my doctor that required my finding out a key piece of information before I could get back to her took me over a month. Not because the information was somehow unavailable to me, but because *I* was unable to access the information in any kind of timely manner. Brain fog is amazing the way it takes away capability. So is anxiety. 

And then I realize just how many things aren't done, or have been started and left half done, or tabs that are opened on my browser waiting for my attention. I scarcely ever know what to approach first. 
One of the things that paralyzes me and I can pretty much never manage to actually do is writing a blog entry. Only deep psychological exploration (or maybe just brain fog) could tell you why, but I'm not sure I'll be lucid long enough for that, so you'll just have to take my word for it that it's been darn near impossible. 

I am getting much better about forgiving myself for that, though, for not having been able to do it all, or even half of it, or sometimes even any of it. I'm better about just choosing a thing and doing that, or being okay with the derailment of my attention to something else (like how I was ordering my glasses and am now writing a blog post (or apparently three) that have taken the better part of my day now. But I'm inspired! So do it NOW, while I can.

Even when my body CAN move, it moves V-E-R-Y S-L-O-W-L-Y, because of stiffness and pain and did I mention pain? I am pretty much completely taken out of the equation on the Tasks That Require Physical Abilities front. Thinking about all of that, and also because I keep seeing sloths everywhere (why are they everywhere all of a sudden?) The thought popped into my head - my power animal is a sloth. 

And what can I do about it? It is what it is. Maybe my job isn't to try and force the Tiger to come back. Maybe it's to embrace the sloth and find its strengths. To find the way to live with my inner sloth and use what I can when I have it. Maybe this is the first step.

Here's a little fun fact before I go. When looking for photos of and doing a little light reading about sloths as I wrote this post, I found this fun article on sloths, titled: "
Life in Slow Motion: the Three-Toed Sloth". I couldn't help but noticing it was published in 2012, the same year my chronic illness really started kicking into high gear. Kismet?

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