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I used to be annoyed by the "teaspoons" metaphor for how much energy one has.  In part because it was so cutesy, in part because everyone kept using it, and I kept confusing it with Shakesville's "teaspooning" as a metaphor for speaking up for justice, even when it feels like you're trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon.

But I have to admit, as a metaphor for pain and energy, teaspoons works as well as any.  Right now, my teaspoons are running low, and half of them are bent.  I keep bumping my head on my disability every time I go to an event, or travel, or try to do anything that requires sustained energy for longer than about half a day, especially when I can't rest somewhere comfortable and have a nap for an hour or so.  I've overworked myself several times now; I know what I can and can't do, yet I still overdo it.  I make myself sick, and then I'm no good for a couple of days.

I think I do this because right up until I hit the wall, I feel fine.  I'm bimbling along, feeling okay, sure I can handle things, and WHAM! it hits me sideways, and I'm in pain, nauseous, and very, very done.  I did it to myself over 12th Night, which, aside from the overwhelming nausea that made me miss feast, and the stabbing pain in my right arm that made me take too many painkillers, which directly contributed to my nausea, was pretty darn good.  We sold a bunch of stuff, we had a really good time, I saw lots of friends, I was happy...

...And I can't actually make it a whole day without a rest.  I hate that.  I'm actually really starting to understand and sympathize with people who are diagnosed with, say, diabetes, and fail to manage their condition correctly, especially at the beginning.  It's not denial, not exactly; the thing is, you clearly remember when doing all this stuff was no big deal, and it seems utterly ridiculous that something that everyone else takes in stride could completely flatten you.  Other people do it just fine, and they're not in bed at 7pm, sick and wishing for the pills to kick in so they don't have to be conscious and painful and sick any longer that day.  And you feel stupid, not being able to manage the simplest things.  And you feel like you're imposing on everyone.  And then you have to rely on other people to take care of you when you really go downhill, and that sucks even more.

If I don't nap, or at least curl up somewhere quiet and comfortable at some point during the day, I'm hosed.  Other people can go through a day without napping, but I can't.  I also can't lift anything heavier than my sewing bag without consequences.  Sure, I can lift heavy things - I haven't lost much muscle strength - but if I do, then that's it for the rest of the day, and possibly the next. 

To add to this in the SCA, I'm embarrassed and guilty about not being able to do stuff.  Part of being an active SCA member is, for me, about helping out with things as part of the event.  Washing up at the end of the day, helping to set up or take down the hall, all the things that require multiple people to help, and always have too few people volunteering - that's the kind of thing I considered the dues one pays for going to events.  And now I can't do any of that, and I feel horrible for it.  Yes, I teach, and I volunteer for judging, and stuff, but there are always people around to do the fun stuff, and never enough volunteers to do the hard labour.  In fact, I keep hearing that people are starting to balk at volunteering to work at their own group's events, declaring that they want to "enjoy the event".  For me, the work that went into making the event was enjoying the event.  Yeah, it's work, but you get to be with your friends, you get to go where other people aren't allowed (y hello thar, Royal Room!), and you get all the inside scoop on stuff.  It pays off, and it is how we as a group function - events don't happen by magic.

More than that, though, there's nothing like someone well-known or wearing a coronet to get people to volunteer for something.  I remember an event where the kitchen staff was desperate for help, and the Queen went in and started helping.  Well, a friend of mine made a very loud announcement that "the Queen is in the kitchen washing up, and could use some help", and people were falling over themselves to get into the kitchen.  A tin hat is a magnet for making other people volunteer, and I've used it to my advantage more than once.  Unfortunately, now I can't.

Okay, this sob moment is over.  I'm just frustrated with the body that used to be able to do anything, and now can't manage a day at an event without crumbling (though I think the Excedrin I took on an inadvertently empty stomach the day before prepped my nausea - I'm ridiculously sensitive to anything that makes me nauseous).  The decline was slow, and I haven't adjusted to my new levels of capability yet. 

In happier things, we got a new bed for the guest bedroom, and it's so pretty!  The previous bed didn't work, because it was actually two foot-boards, since the head-board for that model was six freaking feet high, and blocked the window entirely.  The new bed is a very nice size, is metal done up to look like aged bronze (matches the handles on everything in the house), and has a high enough head-board that our guests can rest their pillows against it and actually read in bed, but low enough that the window isn't blocked.  I have no doubt our guests will prefer it to the previous bed.  And I love it. I've been walking into the bedroom all afternoon to admire it.  It's more delicate than the previous bed, and it really fits the (tiny) room.

And I'm still planning my steampunk studio.  I've been taking it easy this week to let my stomach recover from 12th Night (and I am deeply, deeply grateful to Chris and Amy for not only taking me back to the hotel, but also procuring a baked potato for me to eat.  I am in your debt guys, and I am very very glad I didn't throw up in your car, though it was touch-and-go there for a little bit).  This weekend we're off the Lochmere for their Midwinter Revel (maybe we'll get to sing with the Lost Cause crew - and here I am obligated to say that if you haven't gotten our Christmas CD yet, you can purchase it on i-Tunes, Rhapsody, or Amazon), and we'll be staying with pinkleader and her redoubtable husband.  I foresee lots of belly-rubs for Ladybug in my future, which will make me feel like I'm good for something.  :)  After that, though, I need to get in my studio, unpack things, get other things cataloged for donation (stuff that didn't sell at the flea market), and set up everything so I can work.  I already have a really cool drafting table with barley-twist legs, and the other things are simple enough to 'punk up.  I'm going to hit the local thrifts to find canisters and things I can print cool labels for to hold pens and brushes and miscellaneous stuff, and I also have all my really cool vintage skull and bones and odd things to make the whole room look like a mad scientist's study.  It will be fun.


( 13 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
Jan. 20th, 2012 02:50 am (UTC)
Everyone has limits. Sometimes the limits move for various reasons.

But if it makes it any more worth it, you made Katy's event. She's extremely shy, extremely passionate about costuming, and you're her hero. She's out of kingdom, so getting to talk with you even a little bit was an uplifting experience for her.

Personally, I was extremely glad to get to talk to you about doublets, and I'm sure your garb inspired many, MANY people, because it inspired me. I always go home with the BEST resolutions for new garb.

No, you may not have washed dishes, but you served at the event regardless. The hard part is convincing yourself that by showing up, by being that fantastic person who everyone points out to new people and their friends, you're providing a service just as valuable, and perhaps more rare. :)
Jan. 20th, 2012 02:44 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks. That's nice to hear. :)
Jan. 20th, 2012 05:45 am (UTC)
It's not denial, not exactly; the thing is, you clearly remember when doing all this stuff was no big deal, and it seems utterly ridiculous that something that everyone else takes in stride could completely flatten you.

Don't I know it. And I think, I resent it, so end up ignoring it as one would an annoying person not directly speaking to one - which leads to that 'getting hit along side one's head'. I was sleeping in the backseat of the car before afternoon court was completed, because I just couldn't last nay longer. What's with that?

(I remember, a few years ago, a blog entry of someone's where a bunch of folks started brainstorming about how they could feel like they were being useful at an event when they couldn't be physically strong. I wish I'd paid more attention.)
Jan. 20th, 2012 12:46 pm (UTC)
"I need to get in my studio, unpack things, get other things cataloged for donation (stuff that didn't sell at the flea market), and set up everything so I can work."

So what day (except Tuesday) next week do you want me to come up and help you? (I'm totally ready to be your slave this semester since I have a lot of hours to burn and I'm supposed to do whatever you need in pursuit of being a practicing artist.
Jan. 20th, 2012 02:46 pm (UTC)
How about Wednesday?
Jan. 20th, 2012 04:37 pm (UTC)
Awesome, I'll call you about a time. I'm thinking morning but not butt crack o dawn if that works for you, so I can help get more stuff done before needing to get home for the kids.
Jan. 22nd, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
Sounds good!
Jan. 20th, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
I hope you feel better soon...

Jan. 20th, 2012 02:35 pm (UTC)
And yet again your eloquence has comforted many, myself included. I hope to learn from you your methods of not being frustrated when your brain does not realize your body sometimes can not keep up like it did before & recovery time is taking longer and longer.
Jan. 20th, 2012 05:18 pm (UTC)
"I keep hearing that people are starting to balk at volunteering to work at their own group's events, declaring that they want to "enjoy the event". "

Grrrrr... That's what 'being the hosts' means! You provide the event so _others_ can enjoy it! I think we've almost beaten that ideology out of the folks in my local group. ;-)

As for the other, massive amounts of soft, fluffy hugs. And love. Lots of that too.
Jan. 20th, 2012 05:37 pm (UTC)
But see, you *bring* stuff to events, as well as yourself. You share of yourself, your time, and your talents. I personally think that's contributing to the event. You don't sit around 'resting on your laurels' so to speak.

You sell yourself short here.

I hope you feel better soon!
Jan. 20th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
See if you can find one of those 'relax the back' lounger chairs. Now that they're no longer in copyright you can find them in odd places for far less than the original price - I got one on sale from Big Five; Costco often has them too. They fold up, can be hidden under a large, pretty throw, and are a perfect design for catching a bit of utter relaxing rest - they lay you out but sort of angle and lift the feet just by leaning; really nice. It would fit someplace inconspicuous and you can put a thick blanket under you and a lighter one over for warmth. They are also made for people who are not stick figures, but test the one(s) you find before buying.
Jan. 25th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
I do not read your LJ regularly and am just now seeing this. As others have said you bring something to the event with you just being there and being the person with the knowledge.

It is hard learning your limits and what you need to do to be functioning. One thing I learned is that I had to make it a priority to take care of my self. By taking care of my self I am doing everyone else on site a favor. Being in a crabby mood detracts from everyone's fun. Not being healthy puts all of us in a crabby mood. If 2 hours of sitting in a quiet place relaxing/ napping is what it takes for you then put it on your schedule just like working or volunteering at an event is. Tell everyone you have something you have to work on and then go to the car and take a nap. you are working on you, which is the most important thing.

When I was marshaling I refused to start tourney's at noon.. they could start at 10 they could start a 1 but for 30 min near noon, it was was lunch time. I found that if a tourney starts near noon any time after 11 I cann't deal with it. Lunch and taking care of me is more important.
( 13 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )

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