There are so many parallels between having a chronic illness and being imprisoned. –Fiona Martin, journalist visiting from Sydney, Australia who became my friend on Alcatraz Island.
I am joyfully celebrating publishing two of the thirty intended posts for the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (HAWMC) 2015. Here’s why:
First of all, that’s two posts more than I wrote for HAWMC (pronounced HAH-mick) 2014.
Secondly, I have a gung-ho habit of pushing beyond my limits in a way that interferes with my healing. So this year, I promised myself that I would find a way to participate gently, within my limits, and sustainably. Days 1 to 10 of this challenge went by without any submissions from me. I began to day dream about doing the whole blog challenge in one day. It was very hard to give up my Mega-Type-A-Overachieving ways!
Finally I got myself to my desk. Slowly, mindfully, I promised myself that I would get the post written and published in an hour and a half. I was going to keep it short and simple, allowing my perfectionism to stay in check.
An hour later, I celebrated being on track with my goal. “Why don’t I take care of the battery message that keeps flashing at me”, I thought. “If I wait for my mouse to totally die, it’s only going to take up more time and effort than replacing it right now.”
I got up, walked around the corner from my desk to grab batteries, and as I headed back to my chair I stubbed my toe so badly that I screamed in pain for many, many moments. When I called a nurse, I thought she would give me instructions for proper care. Instead she insisted that I go to the emergency room. What?!
“It’s broken”, the person in charge of my case said quietly, as he returned from examining my X-rays. What??!!
I managed to publish another post the next day but spiraled downwards. I now had even less wherewithal than when I was struggling to start the blog challenge in the first place. Finally, on the morning of day 22, I sat on the edge of my bed preparing to meditate. “I need a sign”, I said out loud to nobody in particular. “If I could end up seeing the exhibition on Alcatraz despite the fact that the tickets sold out ages ago, I would take that as a sign that I’m okay.”
Having temporarily released the pain from the depths of my soul, I began my meditation. When I opened my eyes an hour later, there was a message on my phone. It said, “My name is Gaul and somebody in our group can’t make it to Alcatraz. Meet us on Pier 33 at 8am tomorrow.” What???!!!
I immediately began to prepare. First I needed a strategy for getting to the pier by 8am (alert my hosts to my disability, Uber, pack breakfast to have on Alcatraz, lots of alkaline water, all my pills). I paced myself carefully but it still took me about a week to recover afterwards. This did not dim the fact that more amazing coincidences than I can recount here took place that day. I noticed my mojo beginning to return and after six days began posting the pictures and video from @Large by Ai Weiwei on Instagram.
Some of the political prisoners depicted in one of the installations have been released since the exhibit opened in September 2014. I realized that I too can use Creative Dissent to help improve the lot of other “prisoners” like me. Thank you to Ai Weiwei, FOR-SITE Foundation, Gaul Culley, Kim Martindale and Alcatraz Island for supporting and inspiring me. Having been quiet on Realitynibs.com for over a year, I am now preparing to return to regular blogging. Maybe I can choose a few of the HAWMC 2015 prompts for future posts. Wish I Would Have Known from day 30 is already catching my eye…
Please see the rest of my pictures and video from @Large on instragram.com/sfhealsme.
You’ve crossed the #HAWMC finish line. Recap the past month for us. What did you enjoy, what didn’t you enjoy? Favorite prompt?