Sunday, April 13, 2014

These are a Few of My Favorite Things

I'm really excited to be participating in the WEGO Health Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge.  I'm hoping that the challenge factor will motivate me to write more often (every day this month, in fact!), and that that will develop into a habit of writing regularly after the month is over.  More importantly, I'm hoping that by sharing my experiences, thoughts, and insights about living with chronic and invisible illnesses, I'll be able to bring comfort to someone struggling with the same issues.

*Note - I'll be including this introductory paragraph at the beginning of every post, so that anyone who's checking in for the first time will have that background info.  If you come back another day (and I hope you do), you can skip this part and jump right to the post below!

Today's assignment: "These are a few of my favorite things"  It may not be brown paper packages wrapped up in string or warm woolen mittens, but what are some things you love? What can’t you live without?

Generally, I am the farthest thing from a material girl.  The things I value most are not tangible, and I could live without most possessions if I had to.  That said, when asked to come up with a list for this challenge, I was able to think of a few things that hold great sentimental value to me:

My wedding ring.  Obviously, this is more than just a nice piece of jewelry (though it is, actually, pretty cool looking, with our names and the date as the design in a two-tone band).  This ring represents the happiest day of my life, the love of my life, and the promise of forever.  When I'm sad or feeling down, I often hold on to the ring, twisting it around on my finger.  I guess it's my way of having hubby comfort me even when he's not around.  What's been so upsetting lately is that the arthritis often causes severe swelling in my hands, so that the ring no longer fits.  It devastates me to take it off, so I wear it on a chain around my neck when it doesn't fit on my finger.  At least I'm still wearing it, and as a friend pointed out to me, then it's closer to my heart.

Coffee.  As I've written about before, coffee is more than just a tasty beverage for me (though it really is so delicious!).   It offers me a bright start to the day and a moment of peace when I'm stressed. You could say that the way I take it is a reflection of me: light and sweet, made healthier with organic coffee, almond milk, and stevia. Unfortunately, with the insomnia, the GERD, and its subsequent complications, the doctors have told me to cut back on the caffeine.  I've had to switch to decaf in the afternoons (yes, I know there's still caffeine in it, but it's a lot less than what's in a regular cup).  It feels wrong - almost dirty - to order a cup of decaf when I go out, but it's better than having no coffee at all.  And when I'm drinking out of my mug, it's just perfect.

Boots.  These are another item (or pair of items) that I've written about as far more meaningful than a fashion statement.  Sure, they look great with a sweater dress and a pair of leggings, but it's not just that.  Boots are empowering for me - when I wear them, I feel strength, confidence.  That's especially helpful when I'm feeling nervous about a job interview or anxious about a doctor's appointment.  Another great thing about boots: they hide the cankles when the swelling gets too bad!

My bracelets.  Over the past year and a half, I've become addicted to the bracelets made by Alex and Ani.  As with my wedding band, they are more than just pretty pieces of jewelry; each holds special meaning.  The charm bangles and wraps have symbols of faith, hope, and love, or words of reassurance and comfort.  They're "made in America with love," made from recycled materials and "infused with positive energy."  What's more, many items support local and national charities by raising awareness and donating proceeds.  

Suzie.  No, that's not a person I haven't told you about.  Suzie is my car: Suzie Spark.  Yes, though I usually pride myself in not being a typical girly-girl, when it comes to my car, the main reason I chose the Chevrolet Spark was that it's absolutely adorable (and reasonably priced).  It's bright green (Chevy calls the color Jalapeño ), it's eco-friendly, and I've added peace signs, butterflies, and symbols of hope and happiness, making it my cute little hippie car.    

As I look back at this list, I realize that each is more than just an item.  My favorite things are symbolic - of where I've been, who I am, and what I want out of life.  Still, I stand by what I said at the beginning:

**If you like what you read, tell a friend.  In fact, tell me, too - post a comment below!  If you don't ... well ... I'm all for honesty, but ... please be gentle!