Last night I kept choking on water (and tea, and everything else). That should’ve told me something.
Here’s a quick recap of this week!
Dr. B ordered a shot of prednisone and a round of antibiotics. I was actually still running a fever this morning, and was apparently a thermonuclear reactor last night when I was sleeping. Hmm.
Evidently, that repeatedly-choking-on-water thing is sometimes a sign that your tonsils have decided to annex the greater portion of your nasopharynx in the name of Prussia.
On the upside, my lungs (though fairly annoyed by the repeated coughing fits induced by my tonsils’ aggressive assault on South Pharyngia) have chosen to remain diplomatically neutral. Which is to say that they’re slightly wheezy, but we caught this before “slightly wheezy” could develop into “a goop-filled colony of Upper Tonsilia.”
Also on the upside, the medrol injection has started doing its job, which has both reduced the pain in my throat and made breathing, coughing, and drinking easier.
Provided, of course, that I don’t attempt to do all three at the same time.
Once, in middle school (this must have been in 7th grade; in 8th grade, suddenly everyone was a bit frightened of me because I wore black all the time, heh), some kid was picking on me for being quiet and some other kid said, “Maybe he just doesn’t have anything to say.”
I’m still not sure whether this intended as an insult (I mean, you know, 7th grade, here) or a defense — regardless, the kid who made the latter statement went on later to become one of the few that, by the end of 8th grade, was somewhat friendly, so who knows?
But, anyway, there are times that I notice I’m being quiet because something in my brain feels like I don’t have anything worth saying. (Coincidentally, I didn’t feel like that in middle school; I just didn’t know how to talk to strange humans, and I didn’t really know anyone at school.)
It’s a weird feeling. It’s not fear that other people will reject my words, just some kind of insufferable internal krampus shouting on about how all my thoughts are so much dreck.
I’ve noticed that I get a lot more of this when I’m feeling uncertain about things.
I’ve been sick for the past week, again. A bit longer than that, probably, but I was in denial until Thursday, when I basically didn’t get out of bed till 3 PM and was asleep again by 9:30 PM. Prior to that I just thought I was, you know, legitimately tired — more tired than I expected to be perhaps, but nothing to, like, skip ballet class over (when you’re a dancer, it always comes back to a question of class, doesn’t it). I was also hella cranky, so I’d you’re one of the people I yelled at, apologies.
Friday and Saturday, I did nothing but sleep, consume entire packages of Pine Brothers throat drops, watch both Ghostbusters movies back to back, and have bizarre fever dreams. Sunday I was at least able to read and so forth. Monday I started feeling better but also started having miniature nosebleeds and coughing. Balls.
So basically this is the same thing I’ve had every few weeks for the entire year — starts out with mono-like symptoms (sore throat; fever; swollen glands; spectacular, crushing fatigue), then turns into a sinus infection just when I think I’m getting better.
I suspect that when I say “turns into,” what I’m really describing is the usual way I develop sinus infections — inflammation prevents drainage, bacteria get happy, voilà! Sinus infection.
Anyway, all of this precipitated a massive spell of self-doubt.
There was my internal krampus shouting, “This is why you never make progress! This is why you’re never going to get anywhere! Accept it, you have no business being a dancer, going to grad school, being anything! What do you think you’re trying to do, huh? You think the world is going to accommodate this kind of stuff? Why do you even wanna try, you dumb schmuck?!”
This is Jack’s Imposter Syndrome, eh?
I’m trying to learn to let the krampus have his little fits without buying into them. I was raised to be relentlessly positive in a skin-of-the-teeth kind of way: not to be all chirpy and what have you, but to refuse to accept defeat. That’s not a bad lesson, but I spun it into refusing to acknowledge my fears — and so, krampus.
Krampi gonna kramp. The challenge is letting them kramp, sitting with the krampus-ness and honoring it, then going, “Okay, that was a thing,” and continuing on, rather than being bogged (or bogan-ed?) down and stuck in the krampus’ feelings. (Sometimes, mental illness makes it impossible not to, but not always.)
The challenge is learning from, even honoring the Inner Krampus, while continuing to remain awake and aware, insofar as I’ve learned to be awake and aware at all.
It is possible that, because of some foolish choices when rolling up a character for this life (yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have used CONST as my dump stat*) I will never get anywhere as a dancer, a choreographer, a writer, an artist.
*If this makes sense to you, give yourself like 100 XP.
But that’s only one possibility.
It’s also possible that I’ll learn how to work around this limitation. (Okay, it would really help if I knew what, exactly, this limitation was — like, am I one of those unlucky bastards who actually do have chronic mono that recurs in periods of physical stress? Or did I really just lose in the immune-system lottery?).
It’s possible that I’ll learn how to work with this limitation (assignment: create a dance about being unable to dance).
So, anyway, this is all the stuff I’ve had to say but haven’t said yet. It’s a weird and prickly thing, admitting to the universe what amounts to this gigantic vulnerability. Prickly in particular because I’m allergic to pity and therefore afraid of inadvertently evoking it. I had to let this percolate.
In a way, devolving upon the metaphor of creating a D&D character makes a lot of sense — sometimes it’s worth it to burn up all your points in INT, DEX, and so forth. Sometimes it’s interesting to play a character with a significant weakness. When you’re playing a rôle-playing game, you don’t kvetch about your character having a weak constitution — you know it’s there, and you play accordingly. You regard it as a limitation, yes, but also as a challenge that forces you to play creatively.
To be fair, rolling up a dancer/aerialist character and then giving him a weak constitution might not make a lot of sense, on the surface. But that seems to be what I am right now.
Perhaps it’s about time I started considering that fact and living accordingly.
A while back, I discovered that I’m sort of a virtue ethicist by nature. In short, that means that I’m all about being the best Thing I Am Made To Be that I can; I measure myself by a standard of excellence — a chief virtue; a system of virtues — that governs what I am and what I do.
Take, as an example, Achilles: by other measures, Achilles might seem like, you know, kind of a jerk — but he strives to become the best Achilles-qua-Achilles, rather than the best human being or demigod by some more general measure. Heis maximally ferocious because ferocity is a quale inherent to his being; he chooses glory and an early death over a long and peaceful life because one reflects his essential nature and the other does not. Being a nice person was not central to Achilles’ system of virtues; being a fearsome warrior was (as were, one might add, loyalty and fidelity).
So in my quest to be the best DanseurIgnoble I can become, this — my not-so-great constitution — is a part of my nature I must recognize and account for (my Achilles’ heel, if you will). I don’t think this is necessarily the best way to live, but it seems to be how I’m wired. As such, I should probably think about how to live according to my ethos while still recognizing that limitation, the rôle it plays in my life, and what hidden lessons it might have to teach me.
In other news, as I wrote to my friend B., at least all this lying around has granted me plenty of time to read. So that is its own kind of good, even if it’s not the good that I wanted.