All posts tagged pain

Today Was a Tough One…

Published January 19, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Well, I had lots of great intentions, and in spite of the excruciating pain in my lower back, I dragged myself up and out of the house early tbest_of_PUBLIC_MARKEToday.  I really, really wanted to go to the Rochester Public Market to get my produce for all the new recipes I am trying.   We truly are blessed to have what has been voted the #1 Public Market in the U.S., and it’s open year round.   With the price of produce skyrocketing in the grocery stores, we are fortunate enough to have a public market that offers such a wide variety of, not only fruits and vegetables, but meats, fish, grains, pastas, teas, coffees, and so much more.  It’s my absolute favorite place to go on Saturday mornings in the summer and fall, but I’d never been there in January.   How great to see the venders out there still bringing us bargains in spite of the cold temperatures!

My trips to the market have always been wrought with good intentions to eat more produce, yet sadly, I have to admit that I do not always eat everything I buy.  Mostly this is from pure laziness in not cooking it all… or reaching for a not-so-healthy snack instead of the fresh fruit I’d bought.

So to make some changes… there are currently NO not-so-healthy snacks in the house.  There is, however, a very large bowl filled with fruit sitting on the counter.

After the market, I went to our group meeting with our Nutritionist.   This is really helping a lot by having a support group that’s in the same boat!  We shared success and fall-backs… we shared some recipes, and Patti even brought us an energy treat for after our workout!   I also have 16 bean soup for lunch thanks to Michelle!  This is a great group of women taking this Challenge… and I am so glad to be a part of it.

And then it was time for Cirque Fit… and for me, that’s when things started to spiral down.  My back was already in pain, and even though I stretched and did some warm-ups (thank you, Chris, for the tips), I managed to make the lower back even worse.   Thank you to Lisa for recognizing and empathizing with my situation!   She brought me a roller and showed me how to lay on it to try to stretch out the lower back.  Well, that’s where I pretty much spent the rest of class, except for re-joining once the intensity of the workout dropped.

When class was over, all I wanted to do was go home and hit the hot bathtub… but we had aerial practice first.  Needless to say, I didn’t do nearly as much as I’d planned on earlier in the day when the mind was all pleasantly plotting out how great today’s workout was going to be.  Great intentions…but I didn’t want to argue with my body that said, “Hey… take a break here!”   This was more than soreness… that actually has been feeling good to work through!!  This was sharp and scolding!

In spite of my crying (and yes, tears were falling), I did manage to get my foot into a wrap all by myself and pull up on the silks!!  I only got up once, but it was one more time than I’d ever done before!   Laffy Taffy was a bad idea, though… once the body got swaying in circles, the back started screaming, “What the f#@* are you doing?”  I managed to circle three full rotations before stopping.  And I tried hanging from the trapeze… I thought it might stretch out my back.  The hanging part was okay, but when I tried to lift my legs, they weren’t going anywhere today.  One thing I DID manage to do fairly well was the stretch against the wall… sitting with my hips right up against the wall, legs straight out, and arms/shoulders/head flattened out.  The stretching in the shoulders took all the attention away from the lower back!!

But I did survive.

I was advised to continue moving around today (thanks to LOTS of folks!) in spite of the fact that I really wanted to crawl into bed with a heating pad.  So when I got home, I had to unload all the stuff I’d gotten at the market.  Once I did that, I decided it might be a good idea to make soup.  I figured that once I sat down, I wasn’t going to be getting up again any time soon, and having a pot of soup cooking would be a great way to be ready for when I DO finally nestle in with my Netflix!

I thought that it might be a good idea to practice my hip tucks while standing at the counter cutting vegetables.  By tucking the hips under, the pressure on my back was alleviated.  I also pulled in my core and squeezed the butt cheeks.  It is still a workout and it makes up a bit for the partial-Cirque-Fit earlier.  There’s also something very therapeutic about cooking.

So… what’s for dinner?  I’m making a veggie based bean and pasta soup.  I chopped up and sauteed (in olive oil): 8 tomatoes, 2 green peppers, a large red pepper, three onions, 8 stalks of celery (with the greens), three cloves of garlic, and a generous handful of cilantro.   I am cooking them down right now, and as soon as I finish writing this, I am going to put the veggies through a blender to puree them.  Then I will add a box of organic tomato soup (to stretch the base).  To that I will add black and pinto beans.   Then I will add some cooked Italian-pesto pasta (courtesy of Pappardelle’s, the BEST pasta makers in the world–in my opinion anyway– and available at the Rochester Public Market).

Here’s their website… do yourself a favor and try some!!  default_03

The last step will be to put chopped kale into the soup bowl and then ladle piping hot soup over it.  That way it will wilt, but not get all soggy and stringy like it would if I boiled it right in the soup itself.

Off to get the blender to finish the soup!!  Then I shall take a bit of “me” time with some Netflix or maybe that new murder mystery I just got!


Published November 16, 2011 by Susan Woodward

“Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.'”

This drawing is perfect on so many levels.  Snape most certainly could have been the speaker of Poe’s “The Raven”, pondering “weak and weary” over his memories of Lily.  And like the speaker of the poem, he is caught up in his painful memories from which he will recover “Nevermore”.  I love how the raven’s mouth is open as if he is reiterating “its only stock and store”; however, the repetition of the word is not what draws the narrator spiraling downward in his depression.  The bird can only say what it knows, and it is the narrator that is in charge of the “conversation” that ensues.

It’s like a “talking” doll that can only say, “Mama.”  When a child plays with a talking toy, it’s the child in charge of any “conversation” that takes place during playtime.  Fully knowing that the answer to whatever the child says will be “Mama”, the tone of the discourse will depend upon whatever the child says.   For example, when playing this kind of game, a child might say, “Who do you love?”, to which the doll would respond, “Mama.”  In this scenario, it’s a happy conversation, and the child continues in this thread.  The doll can only say what it’s programmed to say… nothing more.  Imagine how the tone of the conversation would change if the child asked, “Who makes me mad?” or “Who’s the meanest person on Earth?”  The doll will still say, “Mama.”  The whole situation then becomes something much darker… but not through the fault of the toy.

Now let’s look at the speaker of the poem.  He’s already depressed.  He’s lost “the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore” and has taken to shutting himself up in his room.  When the raven arrives, being able to speak only the word “Nevermore”, the outcome of the “conversation” with the bird lies solely with the narrator.  He asks leading questions all the while realizing that the bird can only utter that one word.  He even admits that it probably learned “that one word… from some unhappy master.”  Still, though, he chooses to ask those leading questions.  He asks if he will ever see Lenore.  He asks if there is “balm in Gilead” and if he will ever “clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”  With the repetition of “Nevermore”, he spirals further downward into his depression to the point that he will never recover and remains sitting in his room.  Imagine if he’d asked, “Will Lenore forget me in Heaven?” or “Will this pain be with me always?”  “Nevermore” would have then been a comforting reply, and he might have healed from his emotional wounds… but he doesn’t.  He chooses to ask the wrong questions, which does nothing more than to echo the despair he is already feeling.

Severus Snape is a perfect choice for the speaker of this poem.  He never got over Lily Potter.  His emotional life ended when she fell in love with James, and he harbored the pain of what he took as betrayal for the rest of his life. In spite of that “betrayal”, he still loved her.  When Lily died, Snape felt responsible for Voldemort finding her, and he carried that guilt with him as well.  This just added fuel to his obsession with her.  Like the speaker of Poe’s poem, Snape shut himself off and wallowed in his painful memories.  He went home each night to an empty room and ruminated about Lily in the same way the speaker clung to his memories of Lenore.  Neither ever healed from their lost love because neither could let go of the past.

So what does all this have to do with me?  Well, like the narrator and like Snape, I have also lost someone that I loved very deeply.   Similar to Snape’s feelings of betrayal when Lily fell for James, I was also betrayed… and in some ways, I still feel that pain of that betrayal.   As much as I want the memories to fade into oblivion, I seem to unconsciously whisper the name of my ex-fiance more often than I would like to admit.  It seems to come out of nowhere.  I’ll be driving, and I’ll spontaneously say his name aloud.  I’ll be turning over to go to sleep, and his name will creep from my lips.  But I do NOT want to end up like the speaker of the poem or like Snape.  I want to move forward and “forget this lost”…person. Or at least forget the pain I feel.

What I need to do in response to those spontaneous whispers of his name is to finish the sentence with a reminder of how I need to move forward.  I know now for sure that this relationship was not at all healthy for me in so many ways.  He has to live his life, and I have to live mine.  I cannot chain myself to the pain that the memories bring, and I certainly cannot fool myself into thinking that maybe I’ll be with him again.  I do not want to go backwards, and I also do not want to get stuck like Snape.  While it might seem a romantic notion to carry a torch for someone you’ve loved deeply and spend the rest of one’s life loving a memory, it’s not at all healthy.  I cannot do that to myself.  I cannot attempt to justify his behavior and forget how his betrayal destroyed any illusions I had left about us getting married.

What I can do is try to forgive.  I am trying to erase the anger and hurt that I still feel months later, but it’s not easy.  Like the narrator and like Snape, I loved passionately.   But I know that the love I felt for him will never bring me anything but more pain in the long run because I’d forgiven him so many times and taken him back after breaking up.  I rode that merry-go-round for nearly ten years, and it’s time I stepped off the ride for good.   I will not take up that “conversation” with myself that consistently repeats his name.  That bird will NOT remain “perched above my chamber door”, and I will NOT continuously make the wrong statements to myself to which my personal “raven” will reply.

Will I always feel like this?  Will the anger and hurt stay with me forever?  Will I always be alone?

Quoth the raven, “Nevermore.”

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