Fibromyalgia| Life in Chaos? 3 Steps to Creating Routine in Your Life

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Know this Feeling? (Image from GIS)

At this point, if you’ve followed my blog, you’ll know that my life is far from what one might call normal.  Still, it is my reality.  A part of that reality is having to deal with the inconsistency of my chronic illness, i.e., fibromyalgia.  There are some days that I feel great, like I could go run a marathon or two, and there are some days when even the thought of opening an eyelid seems like too much of an effort.

With such fluctuations in one’s daily experience, it can feel hard to create a sense of order to your life.  After all, what’s the point of making plans for the next day you’re never sure how you are actually going to be?

Over the years, I’ve engaged in an internal psychological warfare, trying to force myself to feel better when I don’t, blaming myself for real and imagined shortcomings, and even giving up on myself when I fell short of my expectations.

The path to living peaceably with fibromyalgia is far from smooth. However, over the past year, I’ve been working on letting go of my self-frustrations, allowing myself to feel whatever I feel, and strategizing how to take small steps that move me healthily along my path.

Image from GIS

Learn to Enjoy Life. (Image from GIS)

So, here are 3 steps that I’ve found useful to keeping internal order even when everything else feels like it’s in utter chaos:

  • Do 1 Thing the Same Way Every Day: Choose one helpful thing that you will do every day no matter what. Don’t cut corners.  Why? Because it helps to create a 1)sense of routine, 2) shows you that you can do what say you will, and 3) moves you a further step along your path.  So, what are some possibilities?  Depending on where you are in your journey, it could be as simple as taking care of your personal hygiene or working on a personal project (for me, that would be writing).  It’s up to you.  As long as whatever you choose moves you closer to your life goals, then it is A-OK.

 

  • Make Lists: If there is one thing that bothers me most about having fibromyalgia, it is dealing with brain fog and memory issues.  In the past, when I felt like my mind could not focus or I could not remember something important, I would really come down hard on myself. I took a massive blow to self-esteem because I did know how to accept and strategize around my illness.  Now, I make lists, especially if I know there is something important coming up. I would suggest having a bulletin board in a place where you cannot avoid seeing it, and posting your lists there.  If you’re not into the bulletin board idea, then I would suggest posting it on your refrigerator…after all, you have to eat at some point.

 

  • Write Down What You’ve Done Each Day:  At the end of the day, even if you didn’t move from your bed, write it down.  Write down who you spoke to, if you took your medications, if you made it out of bed, what daily goal you accomplished, and any and everything else. Write it down.  I do not mean that you should journal–although journaling is not a bad idea. I mean that you should take notes on what you do or don’t do each day.  It will help you to understand your personal patterns.  If you do this long enough, you can see how your symptoms might be impacting how much of what you can do in a day.  It doesn’t hurt, so try it.

 

I cannot promise you that following these steps will change everything in your life.  I do believe, however, that they are the beginning steps that will take you closer to where you would like to be.  Remember the key thing is consistency.

It doesn’t matter what you decide to do–how big or small it is–just be consistent.  Learn to appreciate the small steps you can take, so that when you are able to take larger steps, you understand the magnitude of your accomplishment!

Happy Fibro Friday! 😉

Can Black Women Have Negative Body Image?

“Black women don’t have the same body image problems as white women. They are proud of their bodies. Black men love big butts” – Tyra Banks

From article “Black women and weight: Relocating to the South helped one woman change her self-image and accept her body” on TheGrio.com. Click to read.

I came across the above quote while searching for “negative body image Black women” on Google. My first reaction: “What a load of crap!”  My second reaction: “Really, what utter nonsense.”

Certainly, women of different races/ethnicities/cultures may have different body image issues.  To go so far, however, as to imply that all Black women “are proud of their bodies” is to deny the reality of Black women and girls who struggle on a daily basis with body image issues that may ultimately lead to eating disorders as well as an utterly tanked self-esteem.

I get the point that Banks is trying to make, however.  She is reinforcing a stereotype that Black women are happy with their curves–it’s not a bad stereotype really.  Also, I’m a big fan of being happy with your body no matter its current state–simply work on where you need to go, whether that is up or down some notches on the scale.

On the other hand, this stereotype is one that can work to keep Black women from moving their bodies more and becoming healthier. After all, if we love our curves so much and our “big butts”, then what’s a few extra pounds or 30?

Actually, let’s back that up. Is Banks actually saying that black women “love big butts”?  Not really.  What she is saying is that “Black men love big butts.”  So, in essence, the comfort level that a Black woman feels with her own body is apparently in direct relation to the acceptance of Black men of her body proportions–WHAT?

Well, what if you’re a lesbian, or a feminist, or just a free thinker, or all three rolled up into one ball of fierce loveliness?  Also, why should Black women value their bodies based upon the desires of Black men?  In fact, why should any woman value her body based upon the desires of any man?

Perhaps my lesbian (homoflexible), feminist, free thinking self has just gotten this quote all wrong.  Still, it bothered me.  It bothered me because I was searching for information that would useful to Black women who are struggling with negative body image.

The reality is that It’s easy to find resources for non-Black women.  Absolutely. I know from experience that the majority of young women and girls who are in treatment for eating disorders are non-Black.

It’s not that negative body image does not exist for Black women.  It’s not that eating disorders have no place in a Black woman’s mindset.  It’s simply that it’s not openly discussed.  Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder do not discriminate against Black women.

There is a stereotype that Black women are happy with their bodies in an unhealthy state.  There is a stereotype that Black women don’t care about what they put in their mouths.  There is a stereotype that Black women don’t suffer from eating disorders.

It’s time to clear up this mess. First, let’s do so by balancing the good of the stereotypes with the harsh reality that some Black women face. It’s no joke that the CDC lists heart disease as the number one killer of Black women. Let’s start speaking more mindfully and seeing each other as humans first, capable of both joy and suffering at our own hands.
Until Tomorrow (seriously)

D.

Vlog | My Vegan Munchies! Awesome YouTube Vlogger

Fruit stand, Venice (2015)

Fruit stand, Venice (2015). Click to visit My Vegan Munchies’ channel!

Thinking about going vegan? Worried that you can only eat lettuce? Frantically thinking about surviving living abroad while vegan?

Check out My Vegan Munchies‘ YouTube channel to learn great recipes to begin your vegan/vegetarian journey.  I’m super happy that I learned about her channel.  Other healthy living vloggers I love are CharlyCheer (health/travel) and Zipporah G (health/travel).

Well, Check out My Vegan Munchies Living Abroad While Vegan Video:

Daily Blogging & Writing Fearlessly

On Via Fori Imperiali

On Via Fori Imperiali (May 2015)

I’m almost certain that many writers spend time thinking about how to write more, why they aren’t writing more, when they can write more, if they should write more, if they can write more. I’m no exception.

Lately, I’ve been writing, but not publicly. I have an awful tendency to stop writing because I believe I have nothing of interest/importance to state–usually, that translates into “I feel like crap about myself in the world.”  I recognize that writing about true feelings/thoughts not filtered through psychobabble scares the living daylights out of me.  Seriously.

It is a scary thing just to write “I feel…” and not add something about Freud or CBT or DBT immediately before or after it.  What would it mean to simply state my feelings, my thoughts unfiltered, uninhibited in my own little virtual space?  Who knows. This, however, is the starting point.

It’s a promise to myself. Every morning, I will write something, anything on this little blog of mine. It may interest you. It may bore you to tears.  The point, however, is that I am writing what is honest/authentic/true for me. I hope you’ll continue to give me your support.

Also, I an starting a health journey daily vlog upon my return to the US.  It will run from May 25-August 15, and will be tracking my progress with taking better care of my overall (but mostly physical) health, including diet, exercise, hair, skin, etc. I am really ready to commit to a healthy vegan and natural lifestyle, and I would like to document that process. So, wish me good fortune on that as well.

Sometimes it’s when we are about to experience enormous change that we truly recognize the direction in which we are heading.

Until Tomorrow,

D.

Vlog | “Wash & Go” for 4C Hair / Il “Wash & Go” per I Capelli Ricci Afro 4C

titleenglishI got it together to begin posting videos again.  This one is on the “Wash & Go” style.  I have made both an English version and an Italian version. 🙂

Although an easy go-to style, the “Wash & Go” isn’t one that I would recommend wearing often as it leads to knots/tangles.  The idea of the style is to be able to wash your hair, add some products, and get out the door.

In most cases, one of the main products used for this style is gel–I’m just not about that particular life.  So, I opted for KeraCare‘s Twist & Define Cream instead.  It worked well for my hair, and left my hair feeling soft.

For the washing portion of the “Wash & Go”, I used KeraCare’s Cleansing Cream (shampoo) and my usual Garnier Fructis conditioner Fall Fight.  As a leave-in, I used KeraCare’s aptly named Leave-In Conditioner.

KeraCare: Cleansing Cream, Leave-in Conditioner, and Twist & Define Cream. Click to visit their site.

KeraCare: Cleansing Cream, Leave-in Conditioner, and Twist & Define Cream. Click to visit their site.

Curious to see how my “Wash & Go” turned out?  Watch either video below! 🙂  And if you could, please visit my YouTube channel to like this video and subscribe!

Until Next Time!

D.

English Version

La Versione Italiana

Quote Of the Day | Yagazie Emezi

photo from Yagazie Emezi on Tumblr. Click to visit.

photo from Yagazie Emezi on Tumblr. Click to visit.

FMS | Challenge Yourself to Do Less: Expect Nothing, Celebrate Everything (Fibromyalgia)

8f304-blackwomansick1Being in pain, bedridden, forgetful, and generally low-spirited can seem to be the name of the game when it comes to having fibromyalgia–It doesn’t have to be.

It’s super-easy to get bogged down in the reasons why having fibromyalgia sucks: you can’t do this, you can’t do that, etc., etc.

Well, how about focusing not on the moment that’s sucking the life out of you, but the possibilities of the next moments?

I’m usually big on being mindful to moment, but let’s be serious: there are some moments that it’s just not worth it. And reflecting on the past can be a double-edged sword. You can begin to mourn who or how or what you used to be, instead of focusing on the positives of the past.

So, it might just be useful to look forward to the unknown future. Allow yourself to dream your possibilities, and then…

let them go.

Yes, let them go.  Whatever you imagine that you can or will do and that you can or will be, let it all go. Why? Because in letting go of having to do or be something, you begin welcoming freedom into your life.

Imagine not having to live up to anyone’s expectations, not even your own. Imagine not having to live in the shadow of your past self or in the pain of your present self. Can you imagine that? I can and do.

Now, when I imagine what I can/will (a.k.a. should be able to) do something, I take several steps back, and tell myself two words: do less.

For example, If I tell myself I can/will do 10 minutes of yoga, then I tell myself I shall do 5 minutes of yoga. If after 5 minutes, I can actually do more, then that’s a bonus.

In other words, challenge yourself to create opportunities for success.

Everyone needs that, especially we who have fibromyalgia.

Take small steps. Expect nothing of yourself. Celebrate everything that you do.

D.