Friday, May 21, 2010

Glandular Fever

In November 2009 I felt like I was in the prime of my life. I was rid of emotional and spiritual parasites, I was pursuing my new-found dream of working with children by becoming a teacher, I was healthy – something I have learnt to value to a large degree due to my undiagnosed illness stemming from Pneumonia a few years ago, which lasted for 2 years, and I was fit from paddling running and being up for anything else that was on-the-go. On top of all this, I felt loved and accepted by my friends and family – who could ask for more? Life was busy and brimming over with plans and excitement – the way I love my life to be. I felt SO good and it was radiating out of me – people said so and I could see it.

Why is it then, that this was the time that Glandular Fever hit me? When I had never felt better? Was it because I was over-doing things? Was it because everything caught up with me at the end of the year? Was it that my immune system was caught off-guard while in this blissful state of health and happiness? I don’t know – there are plenty of stories that I’ve told myself to try and find the cause – mainly so it won’t happen again – and it is probably a little bit of all of these. I didn’t recognise myself at Christmas time – one of my favourite times of the year – I was absolutely and utterly exhausted. I couldn’t face Christmas shopping – I couldn’t move my neck further than 45⁰ either side of looking straight ahead and there was no apparent reason for this. Every joint in my body ached and screamed in pain. My neck was visibly larger with inflamed glands and swallowing caused physical pain.

Two weeks later the symptoms had only become worse while I tried to fight this ‘flu’ and get back on track with my training for the ‘big canoe race’in January. I was adamant the last 7 months of training were not going to go to waste because of this ‘silly cold’. By this time my eyes were totally swollen as well – there was no doubt about it I wouldn’t even have blended in in Singapore! When my doctor called to say I’d tested positive for Glandular Fever and that my big canoe race was off, I felt like my world was crumbling around me.

Sooner than I knew it, it was time to go back to work – I was sure I’d put in more hours of bed rest than was humanly possible and my mind said – “I’m over it – let’s start 2010 with a bang!” I went back to paddling – slowly as recommended by the doc and only ran every second day. It wasn’t long before I was sick again and in severe neck pain. I took a break for a couple of weeks tried starting even slower and the same thing would happen. I was beyond frustrated. Once, while paddling, I was trying to make it to the quarter-way mark of my usual training route and the pain was the only thing holding me back – I had the will power, I had the drive, I had the mind power but nothing right then could push me through that pain and complete absence of energy. I broke down in tears – right in the middle of the river – out of pure aggravation of not being able to do even a portion, at uber-slow pace, of what I used to. I got off the river that day and decided that I would see my doctor again and tell him that I was prepared to do anything for as long as it took, in order to get better. He said, ‘No sport until further notice’. He referred me to a Neurosurgeon for my neck, who sent me for an MRI scan. Two of the disks at the base of my neck were putting pressure on my spinal cord, which caused inflammation in the membrane and acute muscle spasm. I knew it wasn’t a deathly serious injury from the beginning – which made it all the more frustrating that I couldn’t continue with my life as I always had and had to take (for me at least) such drastic measures like stopping sport.

Essentially, it is the fatigue and neck pain that I have been left with as post-Glandular Fever symptoms. I have had to sit up and take serious note of the fact that every cell in my body was inflamed with a serious and potentially very harmful disease and that I could be overdoing things without even knowing it. The effects will only be visible in my body not recovering. I haven’t done any sport since early February – in the beginning I was grumpy, agitated and short with those close to me but my mind, for the most part, came around. My emotions would fluctuate between being strong mentally and knowing I could take this on to the frustration to a disgruntled, miserable feeling. I came across a website (http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~jchap/tvgla7.htm )which was written by someone who has had Glandular Fever for the past 15 years. He has a lot of readers who have written in to tell of similar stories(http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~jchap/tvgla8.htm). It was a great relief to find others who have experienced similar things to me and who all desperately want to feel ‘normal’ again. One person said “I miss my life. I miss myself.”

What really made me sad was how many of these people had been told by doctors, friends or family that they were looking for attention or that it was all in their mind. I’ve always known how great you all are but it is when we face adversities such as this that we learn who our friends are and who we want to be standing at our side in times of trouble. I am so blessed to have such a strong network of friends and family who believe in me and support me. I know I am on the mend – this week I started to feel some of my old energy seeping back into me when I had energy to wash the dishes! I cannot explain the elation I felt to feel some of the old me coming back!! It may be a long slow road of getting back to where I was and I’m fine with that. So long as I’ll get there, I will say ‘slowly…slowly…slowly’ while I’m walking before I’m running and swimming before I’m paddling again.

To my friends and family, Thank you for your love, support and encouragement – a lot of you are scattered across the country and even the world but when I hear from you my day lights up and in that, I am healed a little more, a little quicker. Thank you for being so special and caring for me the way you do. You have no idea how much it means to me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Keep Dreaming

The section that I read in A New Earth (Eckhart Tolle, 2006) last night was about us allowing ourselves to loose our concept of time. Not 'clock-time' obviously - we need that for the practicalities of life, appointments, planning etc but our perception and concept of time - being our obsession with the past and/or the future. By disregarding 'time' we are able to be freed from the horizontal restrictions it has on us and therefore giving ourselves the gift of being able to expand vertically - into an entirely new dimension of living in the now. If we say we are going to give ourselves more time (for example - we'll loose the ego later) we are in fact giving our self (the ego) more time to develop.

I loved the way it was described - Tolle says when we wake up from a dream we think 'it was just a dream' and we continue on with the day. And isn't all of our life like that...? Our memories, events, people, places, emotions, fears. They may seem 'all-important' when they come barging into our lives but once they're done and we move onto the next thing we need to deal with, they dissappear into the nothingness from whence they came... therefore our worrying about them gives them their importance. These 'things' are therefore as whispy and have as much priority as a dream. All of life is like a dream - Me being the person that absolutely loves dreamland thought this was one of the most beautiful statements I had read. Life becomes more beautiful with every new discovery about it that is made.

Keep dreaming beautiful dreams...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Comedy or Tragedy?

Having stopped dead in the middle of Stranger than Fiction by the compulsion to share something, I am inspired by the question facing Harold Crick (played by Will Farrell) asked by Jules Hilbert (Dustin Hoffman), "Is the story being written about you (Harold) a comedy or a tragedy?" I find this question remarkably relevant to my life right now.

Having travelled to Asia to teach in Thailand, falling in love with teaching, I returned to a wonderful job in the field of design and am studying a full time teaching course in the part-time hours I am afforded with a full time job. The teaching course includes a ten-week long practical teaching component in which I attend school full time. So my days, for the past ten weeks have looked like this:
5:20am Wake up and eat breakfast
6:20am Leave for school
7:00am Arrive at school
2:00pm Travel from school to work (ETA 2:30pm)
4:30pm Leave work
5:00pm Arrive home and continue with the work that I missed that day.
After completing ‘work’ work, I study for my teaching course.
I have felt nothing short of emotionally and physically exhausted over the past couple of months. My teaching practice is nearly over and immediately following that, I have my mid-year exams. A couple of months ago, I (literally) put my neck out. I do believe the start of this is strongly related to my latest ex-boyfriend, however that is another story but basically, on top of this complete exhaustion, I am facing intense tension headaches and throbbing upper back and neck pain.

I felt like so much had come right when I began seeing Tom, someone who I had met about 6 – 8 months ago and we linked up again recently. Tom was flattering, adored me and all I was about. I got swept up in the situation and began to let myself develop feelings for him. We had so much in common and spoke for hours. I felt like I may have met my match. I broke every rule in the book with him. I made contact initially, I replied to his messages immediately, I called him back, and I let him kiss me on our first date. It felt right, it felt like me. I hate playing games and this seemed to work so beautifully and come so naturally. It was by no means perfect but it felt real-which makes it perfect for me.

On date number two, a Wednesday, I had had an intensely emotional and busy day. I was calm and a little reserved at dinner that night. He asked what was wrong and I said that I thought it was not a lack of attraction; it was a case of being ‘once bitten, twice shy’. He was sick and I think that added to it. When I left, he said we could take things slow. I felt like I made it very clear to him that I did like him but something felt off to me, I don’t know if I was picking something up from him or what but I felt like I had blown it. On Friday morning he sent me an email saying that he was sorry but he still had unresolved issues that needed to be sorted out. He didn’t want to put those issues onto someone else and I deserved someone without those issues. The dramatic irony of this situation is that I didn’t read this email until this (Sunday) evening. He had said we could do drinks on Sunday evening, after I got back. When I hadn’t heard from him all weekend, I sent him a message on my way down, saying that if he wanted to do something, he should let me know. As noble as his email sounds and as much as I agree with him, I don’t think he’s telling me the whole truth. Its situations like this, when you think you have found a vital puzzle piece for your life and it turns out that it is actually from a whole different puzzle, that makes you doubt people, relationships and love altogether.

I have had very few relationships in my life because most of them are long lasting, which I quiet like but it makes my experience, somewhat limited – let’s put it in a nutshell of lesson’s they’ve taught me:
Tristan  I don’t want to be controlled in a relationship or the places or people I interact with to be dictated to me by a boyfriend. I want my independence in a relationship. I am not stupid and I do not want to be demeaned or patronised in a relationship. Change comes from within or from external situations but primarily from one’s own desire to change – no exceptions.
David  I want someone who will love and adore me like David but I don’t want to be worshipped – I am not worthy of that and it makes me uncomfortable.
Ivan  I want someone spiritually mature. I want someone who loves my personality and encourages my misbehaviour but I don’t want to be controlled or have my family and friends criticised in order to manipulate me. I don’t want to be an emotional crutch to someone who has unresolved issues although I am happy to help them out if they are willing to do the work required.
Tom  I am worthy of someone great, who will love and appreciate me. Don’t get too caught up too quickly in something that hasn’t actually happened yet.
Brent  I am special and I don’t even know how special. Some people think of me without even knowing how or why.

I am so sad that Tom won’t give this a chance. I felt like we could give this a shot and I don’t know if any of my actions or things that I said put him off this. I do know that I felt like it was over on Friday morning, so if nothing else, I am picking up on people’s ‘vibes’ a whole lot more than I was realising because the feelings I felt on Friday morning were of regret and I couldn’t understand why I was feeling that.

One cannot change other person (Thanks for the lesson Tristan). I don’t want to change his mind. I want him to want to change it. I think he is scared and is retreating. I was scared. I was scared by what I felt for him and the crazy chemistry we had. I was scared by how much he liked me and how he spoke about long-term so soon (first date).

In the past year, I had David confess his undying love for me, which I said ‘Thanks but no thanks’ to. I had Ivan sweep into my life, blinding me with spiritual waffle and forcing his insecurities onto me, leading me to believe that my father’s infidelity that I witnessed was ‘just him (father) trying to survive’, my mother an emotional ice-berg (the warmest, most inviting woman I know…?), my friend a lesbian (I have nothing against homosexual’s but if you knew this friend, you’d know how impossible it would be to imagine her not gawking and drawling and every male object that walks past) and me, a person that apparently cheats on him with a friend of mine (which also conveniently happened to coincide with him meeting someone else to pursue a relationship with and, in turn, someone else’s life to turn upside-down). After Ivan, I decided to get to know someone before I leap head-first into a relationship with them, which led to my slow start with most guys and although I kissed Tom on our first date, I brought up that I wanted to take things slowly and I don’t know if this didn’t scare him off a bit. I think I may just be making excuses for him.

My other problem is Brent, my step-cousin and someone who I have basically spent the summer with. On Friday night, after his farewell, Brent and I stumbled back to my parents’ house in our drunken stupor and, I can’t remember how it started (my memory is severely impaired from this night) but he said he wanted to talk to me. He loved getting to know me this summer, loved my energy and he didn’t think I knew how beautiful or special I was. I have liked Brent for quite a while but didn’t think it was mutual as he never made a move. He bought me a bracelet when he was in Nepal, I think. Not intending to buy it for me - he “just found himself buying it in a curio shop and kind-of knew he was buying it for me.” He was much better than I was expecting and we made out for hours, only briefly interrupted by my mother and I don’t know what she saw but we’ll just ignore that for now and pray like hell that it never comes up ;-) I told Brent that night that I thought it was crazy and would hurt the family (especially the kids) – he said he didn’t think his parents would mind and that his Dad already knew he liked me – wish I could remember that story, I thought it was so funny that night.

This is why I feel like my life is a tragedy, because all the guys I like either turn out to be arseholes that use me or aren’t interested in me. Guys I’m simply not attracted to profess their love to me. Now there is someone, who is interested in me, who I have grown to love and who, when I am around them, I simply cannot stop laughing and guess what…? We’re related. Is this some kind of joke? Not the comic-relief kind - the black-humour type. The irony, the pain, the cleverness of how it is all put together makes me feel like I am the lead character in a brilliant but shattering, Romantic-Tragedy, rated 18 F for fear of ruining the youth’s perception of what could happen in their lives.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pot-Hole in One

So, while my computer is backing up and I can't do any work, I have no more excuses to not catch you up on my exciting life and times :)

Seeing as I havn't been in touch for a while - I'll fill you in from where I last remember filling you in.

The online dating thing has been fun, however with the good comes the bad... (are you getting a sense this story may be good...?) So I meet Jason for coffee (or my new 'pre-date' - initial short, to the point meeting to see if there's anything there) but it was just before christmas and I was rushing off to a Carols by candlelight at the Botanical Gardens and there wasn't all that much time to meet. The conversation was great - attraction was on the negative scale. He is in his last year of Law and has been studying elsewhere and recently moved back up to my city with his parents. So I rush off to my carols, feeling a little bad that it was so short and don't give much more thought to it.

A little while later, Jason asks if I'd like to meet up again. I feel so bad about the short, rushed coffee and I enjoyed the conversation. I'm also really trying to open up my mind to 'different' kinds of guys, hoping I may just be pleasantly surprised (This, for the most part, has yet to happen) So I agree. Jason suggests that we play putt-putt.... mmmm - now this would be a great idea on a Friday or Saturday night clubbed together with a few drinks and festive vibe, where we could go off and party with our friends afterwards or something but it was a Monday night... Yup. He was about the only person who thought it was a good idea for that night. No one else was there and there was even less of a vibe. I tried to make it less awkward and fun but I don't know if I pulled it off.

Out of politeness, I warned him that I was no good. Any idea what dear Jason did...??? He doesn't say a word but does a demonstration of how to hit with a putt-putt club. Stifling a giggle - I'm pretty sure I kept it quiet - I proceeded to warm up into the game but my darling Jason continues to do a demonstration before EVERY SINGLE shot I took. In the end I was beating him and he STILL proceeds to show me how to hit with a putt-putt club! I was ready to pummel him into the next hole with my club until I took a deep breath and thought - clearly this is not working, so just relax, enjoy the game and you won't ever have to see him again.

We got to the end of the game and Jason wanted to go for a cup of coffee. "Ok," I think,"I'm about to drop this guy, after a shit putt-putt game, the least I can do is go for a cup of coffee." Off we go and Jason then asks,
"Do I make you uncomfortable?" AWKWARD! I write my unease off to lack of sleep and severe stress and he seems to buy it. We chat for a while and basically it was as clear as sunlight that you couldn't have put two more different people together if you'd tried. BEFORE he gets the bill, he wants to know if I'll see him again (this oke's a sucker for punishment) I explain that he's a lovely guy but I just didn't see a romantic connection emerging bla bla bla - nice but firm and very clear. I'm proud of myself, I can do this breaking off thing without squirming :)

A week later however, 23:43 I get an sms from Jason "Do you want to have a casual relationship with me under the following conditions (How's the lawyer talk??!!) 1) The relationship is strictly monogomous. 2)We are always respectful and honest with each other. 3) we go and get tested together (!!!!!!!!!!!!) 4) it lasts as long as we both find it a fulfilling and uplifting experience. What do you think? We could be uncomplicated, passionate, generous lovers." Ok - hilarious but frrreaky!! So I decide the best way to get my message across is no reply.

He hasn't heard from me for a week. So what does he do...? He sends ANOTHER message!!! "Hey :-) Do you have any single friends that are looking to meet people and who you think I would get on with?" So girls... who's keen? Shame. Poor Jason is now affectionately known as putt-putt boy.

It was Triston's (long-term ex) birthday on Monday - March is a month-long celebration for that family as 3 members of the family have their birthdays then and I've been miserable for days and dreading the approaching date. Remarkably, I was fine on the day. I sent him a message for his birthday and a friend of mine asked me to play wingman for her up in my hometown (which also happens to be where Triston lives). Off we went - she was meeting Garth from the Tv show - a friend of hers. We saw Rod, a friend of Triston's, and his new girlfriend there. A little later on, Garth arrives and we chat to him a bit - he's actually there for a birthday party...mmmm - Triston's birthday....Rod's there.....mmmm - what are the chances...? Minimal - calm down. Nats (other wingman) asks him, "So, who's birthday is it?" Garth fumbles around for a name...."Ti, Te - Triston!" Nats gasps with horror, Nicole goes 'aw-aw' I laugh... seriously...what are the chances that on one of the hardest nights post break up - I have to be at the restaurant with him and his lovely girlfriend, singing happy birthday. Oh well. Take it like a man...

Triston walked past and saw my brother and stopped to say hello, then saw me. I gave him a hug and wished him happy birthday - he's put on weight and is not looking well. I felt sorry for him but happy for me. (I know its selfish but I needed that right then). Nats pipes up - Ew - you're way hotter - I wouldn't kiss that if you paid me! Seriously bud - you're much better off. She had us in stiches of laughter and lightened my evening no end.

I was so proud of myself for not falling apart and not wanting to either. It was a very big step in my little recovery journey and I was just so happy with how far I'd come. Seeing them all in their little uptown clan, prepping for Marriage and 2.4 children with the little picket fence house - it all came flooding back to me - the falseness and especially how his friends treated me after the breakup - they're not real friends and that's not the life I want. I'm tired after a late night and long drive back but I'm feeling so good and so happy about my decision. I'm still single but I'm not in a relationship where I can't be me and where I'm unhappy. I think that's an important epiphany. Ok - enough with the deep stuff. Shortly after this, although it will be out of order, I will tell you how I came to meet Triston's new girlfriend...now THAT'S a story and a half!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Its just that...very few people surprise me." "Yeah? Well you're lucky - most of 'em shock the hell outta me." - Pretty Woman

So my flatemate's boyfriend, Ron, broke up with Laura over the weekend and she was so heartbroken that she stayed at a mates house last night. My sleep is violently disturbed by annoying buzzing sounds that I really did not want in my dreams - it was a very drunken Ron ringing my buzzer continuously until i anwer at 4am this morning!!! I tell him Laura's not home, he mumbles, I ask if he'll be alright, I get no response so I put it down and go back to bed. As I was dozing off he rings it again non stop - hes so drunk he can hardly speak. I keep telling him she's not home and even offer him a lift home but he cant answer - he's far too pissed. And this goes on until 5am when i take the buzzer off the hook.

Someone lets him in the gate at 5:30 then he's at the door until I answer the door. Ok - its 5:30 in the morning - this guy has had me up and down my stairs for an hour and a half, he says "Hey", barges past me, upstairs and into her bed...!!!!!

WTF????!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Ugly Truth

I watched The Ugly Truth
last night and absolutely loved it. I always find a guys perspective very refreshing. I am starting to look forward to getting back in the dating game too. So I thought I'd put the rules down on paper and see what your response is to them... Which rules to you live by and what do you want the opposite (or same) sex to keep in mind when dating you?

From a guy’s view

1) Never criticise a guy
2) Laugh at whatever a guy says (even if its not funny)
3) Men are very visual.
- Don’t be inaccessible. “Nothings wrong with comfort and efficiency except no one wants to fuck it.”
- “…now that is a bra – you put your boobs in this and they say ‘put me in your mouth I taste good’”
- “Length is very important – we need short enough to see some thigh but not so short to see v^g”
- Hair – "It needs to be longer...men like something to grab onto other than your arse. A ponytail implies that you are either operating heavy machinery or emptying a litter box and neither of those things inspires an erection."
4) Don’t talk about your problems ‘cause men don’t care.


From a girl’s view
1) Focus on you first and forget about the guy (men want what they can’t have)
2) Have fun on dates, but ask the tough questions with a smile if you start getting serious
3) Get a style makeover to find out your best colors and looks
4) Trust your instincts when you first meet a guy (they're seldom wrong)
5) Walk away with a smile if a guy can’t step up to the plate!