Stroke Me Day 75: Sitting With Discomfort

Hi Darling Ones,

Author and vlogger Hank Green has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He announced it in a video recently and hooooooboy did a lot of what he say resonate deep into my bones.

At one point he talks about how he’s struggling with having this new identity thrust upon him. He wants to continue being goofy science guy and not cancer guy.

He has exactly and succinctly explained that feeling I’ve been unable to nail down, though I have tried unsuccessfully.

I keep saying I’m bored with all the things related to my stroke. Being bored and/or boring is the deadliest sin the Book of Jodi. I’ve had panic attacks due to feeling trapped and bored. This is why I dread long guitar solos at concerts. They induce panic attacks in me. I once had a panic attack during a — I swear to Ellen Willis — twenty-minute version of “Watching the Detectives” that had me sitting on the venue floor. Low once did a 17-minute guitar drone at Rock the Garden and I will never forgive them.

When I was in the depths of my lightheaded-panic attack cycle, the physical therapist supervisor who was evaluating me asked if I felt trapped and bored, wondering if that was contributing to my misery.

It wasn’t.

After watching the Hank Green video, I’ve come to believe it’s not boredom I’m struggling with, but the new identity thrust upon me and how I am interpreting that.

I do not like being Stroke Woman. I do not like being needy, helpless, scared, and timid Woman. I super-hate being obsequious, nervously-chattering, super-cheerful in an attempt to charm people so they don’t shame me or make fun of my body Woman.

Being Stroke Woman also means being the earned the motherfucking toughest purple band in occupational therapy Woman. The did the thing even though it’s scary Woman. And, as one of my clients said yesterday, “did in 10 minutes what would have taken me hours. And did it with one bad arm” Woman.

But as wise sage Vivian Ward said in Pretty Woman, “the bad stuff is easier to believe.”

All this goes hand-in-hand with struggling with my internal ableism and trying to reckon with the fact that no matter how hard I try I may not fully-recover. I may be Floppy Scoops Woman for the rest of my life.

And you know what, Darling Ones? That sucks. It just sucks. Some times you can do your very best and still fail. Such is the way of the universe.

I miss being Rock & Roll Loving Dies on Every Hill Spinster Book Nerd. I’m sure at some point I’ll integrate all the women.

Right now I’m chafing against my Stroke Woman identity. It’s uncomfortable. Sitting with discomfort is difficult and feeling my feelings is hard. I hate it. I much prefer to intellectualize my feelings because that’s easier.

I will have more to say about this video later. Right now, I’m supposed to be doing work I procrastinated on while Sister #4 naps (she’s in town to house hunt and taken me to the retina specialist on Monday).

Your favorite Rebellious Stroke Woman,

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