I almost cried at physical therapy today, but not for the reasons you might think. My physical therapist said powerful words to me. She said, "You are strong." And I laughed. I just struggled with the leg lifts she had shown me. Leg lifts felt like lead-lifts. I felt weaker than ever.
"No, really," she said. "You are very strong."
This journey can be a trap with one disappointment after another. Limitations squeeze in from many sides. And my entire life, I heard about how weak I am. From doctors, from teasing friends, from strangers who didn't understand why I needed help carrying boxes. Inadequacy becomes a mirror that reflects disappoint and shame. Determined? Yes. Creative? Of course. Strong?
Not so much.
Strength is a choice, a journey, a smile in a rainstorm. Strength is faith. Strength is dancing. I told her that I do not fight through my symptoms. I am not going to overcome my disease. I am accommodating. And my big hope is to find out how to best support this tired, stressed, overwrought system that is me physically. My life is not a battle. It is a river, ever flowing, ever forward, ever changing.
I have said before that it takes great strength to be weak. But I feel like that is a quiet struggle. Where people don't know how tricky it is just to get through the day (some days).
Showing my physical challenges- how I need the bike with little resistance, and ten leg lifts are epic- those very real moments of weakness are tough to have anyone see. So to hear about strength in a place where I feel weaker than ever...
That was nice. The world is a tough place for me these days. My injury. The economy. My husband's unemployment. So many things drag me down.
Little words can mean a lot. I make a special effort to notice the good stuff when I teach. I share compliments daily with parents in front of their children. We are so quick to point out goals and troubles. When what we might need more than anything is a few nice words.
I did spend my morning photographing this happy witch. I love October! It's the season of make-believe :). She surprised me because, when I went to braid her hair, I had miscounted the strands. Too many! So I played for a few minutes and created fishtail braids. She had her own style-ideas, which I love about these fairies. They create themselves right alongside me creating them.
People ask how I manage sewing when my hands are so 'weak' and fussy. I accommodate. I balance my wrist against a chair arm sometimes for stability. I work in little chunks of time before I get too shaky. I take a lot of breaks between steps. I have muscle memory, since I do this often. And really, she has a lot of details, but she isn't the incredibly fine stitch-work that I see on Etsy and Pintrest. She is a variation on the fairy dolls that I make with children. She is my creative expression.
My neurologist also said I am surprising (ha, ha) because when he did electrocardiograph readings, he found some nerves were fast and healthy, while others were very delayed (decayed). He said it was uneven. And with CMT, I guess, it should be more uniform with nerve conduction fading from the peripheral on up arms and legs.
Go figure. I don't know. I just do my best and enjoy the time that I have left for creating them. Who knows how long my skills will last. Forever I hope :).
Teaching day tomorrow. I need to wind-down. Wishing you October magic! And kind words :)