Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Chariot to the Sun

     Apollo's chariot skimmed the sun. My chariot dove straight into it. 
     My chariot is better than Apollo's, to put it simply. I built my chariot off of dreams with weight and substance*, not empty visions. Apollo built his depending on four horses to pull it. I built mine pulled by hope and even fear. 
     Things are much more amazing when you take a chance to see the fire, to feel the heat layering up on your skin. Apollo saw the outside and got a simple taste of the sparkling fire but never felt it. But how can someone convince Apollo to just go for it? Isn't that the tiniest bit impossible? Why can't Apollo just "let his hair down"? 
     I feel sorry for Apollo. 
     On a completely different note, I haven't had biofeedback in a really long time. I don't really miss it, I was just thinking about it. I'm pretty darn proud of myself for going ahead and agreeing to try that out about a year ago. It hasn't helped my arthritis at all, but it's made me better at coping with the pain. I've gotten to the point where I'm willing to try anything, even if it's something that I think is crazy. When you're truly in a lot of pain, you don't shut down ideas before trying them. 
     Not that the pain isn't still excruciating. My wrists and knees have been the worse lately. I know it's bad when I go into a zone where I almost don't feel it. My head spins a bit and audible things aren't quite as clear and precise, and then there I am, soaring my chariot into the sun.  
     It's a tricky situation, telling someone that you're in pain. If you say yes, you come across as weak. If you say no, you're setting yourself up for failure when you later have to explain why you couldn't get all of the notes down. If you say just a little, they look at you suspiciously. People see past lies like that. Took me an awful long time to learn. 
     I wish there was someone to talk to, even if they wouldn't understand. 
     So in response to my occupational therapist telling my mother that I was "traumatizing and wearing out" my hands by playing five different instruments, my mother said that she thinks that playing and writing music is good for me psychologically. I wonder if that's true. I don't really see it as much of a stress reliever because I scarcely feel stressed. I see it as an anger and frustration outlet type thing. I'm always better at piano when I'm mad/aggravated and when it's early in the morning (I don't know why, so don't ask me). 
     Anyway, I had an amusing conversation with my occupational therapist. 
OT: What do you normally do when you get home from school?
Me: Play piano. 
OT: What do you do if that hurts?
Me: Play guitar. 
OT: What if that hurts, too?
Me: Practice my cello. 
OT: But wouldn't that be painful, too?
Me: Then I'd play ukelele. 
OT: (Disappointed sigh)
Me: I sing, too. 

The singing part seemed to comfort her a little bit. (Until I mentioned that I sing while playing guitar...I'm evil.)  Makes me feel a little better too. Singing is probably up there with piano as one of my favorite things to do. Plus, it doesn't even hurt! Not even my jaw, usually! It's pretty perfect, huh? Except of course when I decide to play an instrument at the same time...
    Clearly, my fun level is more important than my pain level. That's something I'm pretty proud of. I've grown up fast, but I still have my young-person priorities very set-in-stone.
    A lot of people ask me what my favorite instrument to listen to is. Honestly, I really like listening to singing, but I also love to listen to piano. But I like to watch the pianist while the piece is being played. Because if there's some depressing moment going on and the pianist looks like they've just been offered a super high-paying, easy job, then I can't enjoy the music. If it's glorious, look like it's glorious. If you as the musician are not invested, then I am not going to be invested, either. Of course, I'm not the best at this. My lack of facial expressions does not offer any assistance. 
     It never feels good to get something you didn't work for. I mean, it's nice and all, but it's when you get something that you really worked for that it counts. 
     A lot of arthritis blogs talk about the importance of getting a lot of sleep when you have a chronic illness, to help rejuvenate your body. This has never been an issue for me, because I am pretty incredible at sticking to a 9:00-10:00 bedtime. This is just my personal rule; my parents don't really have any rules about what time I go to bed (not that they would let me go to bed at 1:00 a.m. or anything). I have discovered that I'd rather wake up and feel great (except for some serious aggravating joint stiffness) than stay up late and wake up sluggish. Still, I'm convinced that if I went on a wacky sleep pattern my arthritis would be worse. So I'm going to be your mother right now and tell you to go to bed early and take naps throughout the day. 
     My birthday is in a week! I don't tend to get as excited about birthdays as most people do. It's not a real measurement of your age. It's simply the number of laps you've run around the sun. As far as I'm concerned, my chariot's already been to the sun and back. So how are you going to judge my age now?

Love,
Rachel 
    
*See that, youth people?



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