Under the Smoke


I was just out on TED talks. My uncle sent me a link to some boost-yourself-up videos. I’ve seen some of these before, and enjoyed them. Today I was not in the mood. I didn’t want to hear from the so-called experts. I didn’t want to hear them blow past their ‘scientific’ experiments with groups of 30 patients. Most of all I didn’t want to hear a former desk jockey talk to me about the benefits of meditation or how to stop smoking. It was all a little too pat, a little too polished, and a lot too unchallenged.

Self help stuff only works for me when I can’t punch holes in the theory or person presenting themself as an expert.

Yesterday exhaustion hit me. It was so profound I had to put my head down on my desk for five minutes. Forcing myself out into the cold air to walk and buy my lotto ticket woke me up, but it didn’t give me any impetus into the day. Felt like I wanted to be a rain drop and just slide down the window of life and sit in a puddle at it’s feet. I’ve been wondering if the barometric changes are what’s affecting me; this exhaustion and/or increased pain seems to hit me for a day or two just before a weather change or just at the beginning of a weather change. My feet hurt more, my wrists hurt more (even when I do NOTHING with my hands), and I can’t properly wake up for anything.

Got maybe 200 words written on my story. I’ve resorted to lines of asterisks (*) to indicate breaks of time. Hate that shit. Always feels like a cop out. What, you can’t think of how to write a transition from one scene to the other so you just add a bunch of asterisks and say this is ‘later on’? Vague. Undefined. Ultimately, lazy. I’m not sure how to get around it, tho. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about it. Let it be a flow of consciousness thing, and worry about the form of it later.


I’m still goddamn tired. Got myself out of bed at 6 because the WORST thing I could do would be allow myself to get off schedule. Hitting the pool at 7 isn’t always easy, and if I start to sleep in three days before I’m supposed to do just that I’ll make it all the more difficult to do. But, oh! There really is no difference between waking up at 3 a.m. or waking up at 6 a.m. right now. It feels the same. Equal exhaustion at either time, and I should know because I see both of them almost every night. The only thing that makes me go back to sleep at 3 a.m. is knowing that’s far, far too early for me to be up and not smoke my lungs away. It’s not a comfortable sleep. It’s a turn over with a sigh and try to get comfortable despite the ache in my hips and shoulders.

For the record, my bro stepped up to the challenge yesterday to do the shopping AND make dinner. He didn’t forget. He also noted my frustration and exhaustion and in his typical brotherly manner sought some means to ease my growing angst. I heard that yes, I did make my wishes for time for me known and no, I didn’t make him feel bad at all while doing it. He was cheering me on because he loves what I do; doesn’t matter if it’s a story or music, he just likes to see me create. But, you know, we’d recorded a lot of stuff on the tv over the last two days and I really should consider watching a film or two a ‘job’ in the house, just like dusting or doing the dishes. ‘So please, sis, take some time off and watch something. It seems like you need it.’

Time taken.

I’ve decided that some notes for Yoda are warranted; there’s been too many ups and downs, too much turmoil in the last 30 days and he doesn’t have this blog address. I want precision. We could spend the next appointment just discussing all that happened. I don’t want to clog up my appointment with past stuff, only what I’m taking into the future. Yoda will ask when he wants more about my history. This is only my second appointment with him. I’ll let him guide the path and the pace right now. So what I need is a short four or five sentences that includes my decision to terminate Heike as my therapist. I’ll need to winnow it down. Start with just a flow then edit, edit, edit. Kind of write in reverse; begin with story and take it down to the outline. I can do that. I actually find that type of writing to be very relaxing. Much more so than doing the reverse!

Other than gathering my thoughts into a coherent skein to present to Yoda next time, I have no plans for the day. It can be as empty as my head, as far as I’m concerned. Wanna play? Go and play! Wanna sleep? Sleep! Sometimes just getting thru the current 24 hours is all you can ask of yourself.

I wonder who and what I am underneath all of this. Under the heavy and constant lead apron of Rheumatoid arthritis. Under the ADHD, bipolar, C-PTSD and whatever other labels that will form some sort of attachment to my file and life. I do not ask who is under the smoke; her, I know intimately. She’s the one who began smoking this much to deal with all of the above. Both she and I are in agreement: take away the pain, physical and mental (mostly that I inflict on myself), and the smoke will clear. In the meantime, we do what we can every day to deal with the ghost pains that hit the body for no damned reason, to deal with our anger and frustration at ourselves and the world.

We remain, under the smoke.


10 thoughts on “Under the Smoke

  1. As far as I’m concerned, your smoking does not cause you, or anyone else in your life, distress, therefore it is not a problem. Add you say, deal with the underlying issues, and the smoking may stop – if you want it to. It doesn’t have to. Certainly not in a country where it is legal to smoke it anyway.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I’ve wondered before if I don’t owe my mother some weird kind of thanks for teaching me to ignore the RA and all the rest. It’s made me very tough on myself, and that’s not the best thing to do. But it’s also made me keep trying.

        If you ever get here and start a conversation with my bro about my inner strength, he’ll bring up the time I climbed a mountain. Undiagnosed, uncontrolled RA, pain in every joint and I could barely get in and out of a car, but I climbed a mountain. Why? Because no one told me I couldn’t. My brain wasn’t taught to say ‘I can’t do that because I have RA’. My brain was taught to say ‘I can do that despite my pain’. A horrid, horrible lesson taught in the absolute worst way (in my opinion), yet I can’t deny that core of strength it’s given me.

        Liked by 3 people

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