Judgment – #AtoZChallenge

MS is one of many “invisible” diseases. Because people can’t see what’s wrong with me, and because I look perfectly fine, they figure I’m doing great. And most of the time, I am, thanks to the wonders of pharmaceuticals! But other times, those invisible symptoms leave me thinking that people are judging me. (Lazy. Unreliable. Hypochondriac. Skiver. Unproductive. Antisocial.)

Then again, perhaps I’m projecting. Perhaps I’m the one doing the judging. I definitely think those things about myself when I spend days in bed, when I have no energy, when I have to call in sick to work, yet again. I’m the one putting expectations on myself and beating myself up when I can’t meet them.

There’s definitely a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I could beat this if I wanted to, if I just worked hard enough. It’s no wonder I expect others  to think that, too.

Am I a blogger?

I was asked this question the other day by someone who wondered why I have not written in so long. I was surprised; of course I am still a blogger! I have a blog!

But after thinking about it long and hard, I realized that there are some things tripping me up on my blog journey:

  • Perfectionism – This is the overarching problem, of course. I always want to do everything just right, and I get hung up when I can’t, which is pretty often! Let’s look at how perfectionism rears its ugly head:
  • Unpublished Drafts – I currently have 27 unpublished blog posts, things I have written about but – for whatever reason – never committed to finishing. This is silly. I need to just get stuff out there and let it go.
  • Photography Issues – When I “remodeled” the blog the last time, I decided I no longer wanted to use “stock” photos from other sources. I wanted to be like all the bloggers I admire and use my own photos. But that wasn’t quite accurate; the truth was, I wanted to use my own high-quality, well-lit, well-edited photos like all the bloggers I admire. To put it kindly, I’m not that good. (Ha! We can take the “that” out of there – I am not good.) I have some choices to make: I can post without photos. I can use my bad photos. I can strive to become a better photographer. I can use stock photos. I need to accept that any of those choices is fine.
  • Unrealistic Expectations – My life gets in the way of my best-laid plans. I have a laundry list of things I wish I could be doing better, and writing blog posts consistently is just one of those things. But there are some cold, hard facts that I have to face: I work full-time; since the first of the year, I have had to take on a retired co-worker’s job on top of my own (with no support and no extra pay) . I have a home and a family that need a lot of attention. I have MS, and sometimes I try to act like I don’t. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since we got cats, which sounds ridiculous but really affects me negatively. I’m not a high-energy, Type A personality who can do all things and do them all efficiently and with style; I’m just a regular girl. plodding through life at my own pace… and then beating myself up for it.

Long story short, I am definitely a blogger. I may not be the blogger I want to be, but I am the blogger I am. Posting here is good for me; it helps me focus on what I want, on what I love, on where I am going. It lets me keep in touch with any of you who are following my story. It gives me a chance to write – which I love – and to think out loud, which is an inherent part of who I am.

Now, let’s hear from you! Are you a blogger? Have you ever thought about blogging? If so, what’s your motivation? If not, what is keeping you? (Any of the same things I’m dealing with, above?)

The best you can do

One does not always do the best there is. One does the best one can. – Catherine the Great

I’ve been sick for about a week. I have a cold – the Cold of Death – that has stripped me of my voice and filled my head with sludge. My son is avoiding being in the same room as me and has accused me of having a nose as red as Rudolph’s. I’ve made it in to work all week somehow, though my days are spent nursing my box of Kleenex and wishing I were anywhere else.

Worst of all, I have no energy to speak of. I find it hard to accomplish anything beyond eating takeout meals and falling into my bed. This is most inconvenient as I have sworn to reform my life beginning on January 1st. My hopes and wishes for 2013 remain unchanged, but I am starting to admit to myself that they will have to be put off for the time being.

And you know what? That’s okay. I am allowed to be sick. I am allowed to fall short. I am allowed to be less than perfect (and oh, how much less I currently am!), allowed to get off to a good-but-slow start, allowed to sleep as much as my heart desires and my body needs.

I will get better. The cold will go away. My poor nose will recover. My voice will return, and so will my energy. There is plenty of time to do the things I need to do. I’ll do them, with energy and a happy heart, when I feel better.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing the best I can. Right now, that translates into a warm shower and an early bedtime. Good night!

How are you feeling? Have you managed to avoid the respiratory menace that is sweeping the nation Cold of Death? Do you have any remedies that don’t boost the immune system? (Yeah, zinc and vitamin C are out.  Can’t exacerbate the MS!)