I have mentioned, lately, that I love my feet. I do. I do not, however, love my annual struggle to find sandals for the summer that will fit them and not result in big blisters all the time-- particularly since these ain't no sittin' round lookin' pretty sandals, these are for GOING PLACES, so if they're only comfortable for about ten minutes of walking, tops, they're no good. This was not an issue until I graduated from high school, because I could always find sandals of good, comfy leather, with an adjustable strap across the toes and an adjustable strap around the ankle, and all was well with the world. Then apparently the shoe industry decided that they hated me, and lo! it became impossible for me to find any of those particular sandals. All I could find were ones that had a front strap that was completely fixed in place, no way of adjusting it out to make room for my full glorious tripodal footbreadth, and so for years on end I've spent all summer with giant blisters all over my feet. (Okay, I take that back-- once about five years ago I had a glorious pair of perfect, gorgeous, comfy sandals that were lined and padded and just wonderful, but I wore holes in them over two summers and broke one of the straps, so there went that party, and I've never seen their like again.)
This weekend, however: VICTORY. I found a single pair of marvelous sandals, on sale (it frightens me that at thirty percent off the SALE price, they were still $35), and I bought them immediately and with no regrets. I've worn them every day this week, and nary a blister has developed. I am so happy, folks, I can't even express it. Proper sandals! Hooray!!! I swear, if there'd been more than one pair there (and I did look), I would've bought them, too, just to stock up for when these inevitably fall apart. One can't trust that another pair of sandals will be there again next summer.
Bad news, though: my shoulder's gone out once again. I can only guess that it's a combination of a) push-ups and b) a single yoga class in which I spent half the time doing downward-facing dog. My reaction to this is basically OH, BAAAAAAALLLS.
See, I had this figured out. This summer, I was going to work out four times a week: one session of yoga, two of lifting, and the last being our weekly trip in our little inflatable kayak. Apparently, this plan was too much for my shoulder. BAAAAAALLLS.
So... well, really, what can ya do? Back to the doctor. (I have to call Monday; today was a summer outing at work that has left me pleasantly drunk. Hooray for free beer on the company nickle!) This time, I'm going to ask about physical therapy, because I can both hear and feel my bones popping into place when I lift my arm and I am pretty sure that a) this isn't supposed to happen and b) this is what's causing the bursae in that area to get all inflamed.
I forget who asked-- sorry!-- but I am still working hard at the gym. Just at a good variety of things. And I am still smug about lifting more than a lot of those other girls-- there was a desperately thin girl doing squats holding a pair of five-pound weights, and all I could think was "holy crow, I bet I could do squats with her on my back, and her little weights, too." Numbers aren't going up at the moment because I'm transitioning into a new program which has me doing fifteen-rep sets, instead of eight-rep sets, and this makes a huge difference in what I can lift. More than cut it in half, the first time I did it-- I think it went down to 65 pounds-- which makes sense, considering that I'm doing almost twice the number of reps per set. It is MEAN, I tell you. Yeowza.
The shoulder thing throws lifting, yoga, and paddling into disarray again, so the last time we went to the gym, I ended up on the damned elliptical machine again, which wouldn't have been half so annoying except...
Okay, story time. Our gym is designed poorly. On top of that, there does not appear to be enough space to accommodate what they want to do, which apparently is to have every machine on the planet in there, so any time you're not on the stairs, the odds are good that you're edging around a machine or apologizing someone for running into them. The aerobics floor is in a big open space, so when you're there, you can hear all the noise from downstairs with the numerous noisy treadmills, and when they play music for a class, the acoustics mean that they end up playing the music louder than they would in an enclosed space, since nothing is bouncing back at them.
This time, the guy running the class apparently turned the volume up to ELEVEN [/Spinal Tap] because I, on the elliptical machine at the edge of the floor, could feel the beat in my sternum. Happily, I had special earbuds for my mp3 player, the squooshy type that are supposed to keep out ambient noise. I can't say they were successful, in this place, but when I turned off my mp3 player (TOO MUCH NOISE, so I had to do whatever I could to survive), they did serve some use as earplugs.
I spent the whole time on the elliptical working on keeping my zen, because after five minutes of this I was ready to leave. My second impulse was to make snarky comments about how loud this was. The third was to sack up and go complain to somebody in charge. I concluded that all the last two would be futile (this is not exactly the greatest gym in the world in many ways), so I concentrated on using it as a practice session for keeping my cool under pressure. Breathe in, breathe out. Relax the soles of my feet. Pretend that the back of my neck and my upper back is made of a specialty porous material that lets rage leak out, so it isn't being held in by anything. Follow the feeling of anger in my head, watch it, consider it, nod and think "yup, that's an angry feeling, all right".
I'm spending a lot of time doing that these days, mostly using internet arguments as time to practice that mindfulness. That's the one good thing about the things. There will ALWAYS be something on the internet that threatens to make me go nutty. The latest was when I came across the latest kerfuffle that has crossed many political and fandom lines-- the explosion of anger from female fans of superhero comics, particularly about female superheroes, over the way that female characters are being portrayed as helpless victims and/or drawn as a "stick with water balloons" figure. (For an excellent summary and explanation of why this pisses women off, I highly recommend this editorial.) I read, I agreed-- then I read the comments and my blood started to boil.
There are a few things that occurred to me while I was on that elliptical, one of which I just used when I read the comments on that editorial and felt myself wishing to commit more violence [/Illyria]. The biggest of these was that, for a girl who's always stressing out about how little time she has to get stuff done, I sure spend a lot of mental time stewing over things that I can't do anything about, either because it involves the opinions of others, or because it's something that occurred in the past and is over and done already. A physical equivalent to this would be willingly carrying around a bunch of giant rocks all day, in spite of the fact that they have no value and I will never be able to do anything with them. Exhausting for no reason. So I just have to step back and think-- Woman, just drop the rocks. Drop the damn rocks.
...And I just left this post sitting unposted for several hours while we had visitors over. Just now getting back to it. I'd like to add, before signing off, that the visitors we just had over are some of my most stress-inducing friends. Glorious people, but I just have reactions to them sometimes like mental allergies, which wear me out and make me a bundle of cranky before the night is through. Tonight, before they got here, I sat and meditated for about half an hour.
It was a fantastic visit. Almost no stress. I let go of a lot of things that came up-- I can remember moments where I recognized that conversation topics were flying past and that I wouldn't be able to tell a story that I'd intended to, and instead of getting frustrated, I just let go of those particular rocks because the time had passed and we were on to something else. It helped a lot.
As a more humorous and much less ladylike example, I also used mindfulness this week when stuck in the car and needing very much to pee. It was wacky. I completely let go of the frustration of "dammit, I should've gone before we left" from the past, and the "oh my God, it's going to take us forever to get home" in the future, and just sat with my mind on my very annoyed bladder, letting it yell at me for all the stress it was under, not freaking out over this. I won't say it was the most pleasant ride home, but I did manage to keep things together and stay remarkably calm about it, which is a change-- usually I'll be furious and stressed out, all on top of dealing with a very stressed bladder, so I'm generally a basket case by the time we get to a bathroom. This time, though, I calmly walked up the stairs and got the keys out and opened the door, without dancing all over the place or shrieking or otherwise losing it. Hooray! At the age of thirty-one, I've succeeded not only in mastery over my bladder (which, really, is old hat by this point), but in being calm and adult about having to wait to go potty! Huzzah!
Man, I'm telling you guys, individual mileage may vary on this mindfulness meditation stuff, but as far as I'm concerned, it's working very, very well. Which reminds me: we're a week out from my next step down on Zoloft, where I'll be taking half a pill (25 mg) every three days. At the end of July, I'll stop altogether. Based on how very well I'm feeling these days, I think this is going to end up being a success.
Cut for length-- click to read more.