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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bone weary

I thought the weekend was supposed to be for relaxing, but I think it's just allowed me to feel the weight of all the stuff from the past week (or two), now that there is space for that. And the feeling is necessary, so fine. But I'm warning next week right now: ease up or ... else.

(I'm not very good at actually coming up with threats, but I'm cocking a very pointed eyebrow at Monday and everything after it. It's my teacher look, which actually won a stare-down contest in a teacher-training workshop many years ago. See that, next week? See that eyebrow?)

My thesis is moving forward for real. I have two solid chapters that make sense in succession and are pointing very clearly to a third, which is more exciting than I have the means to describe. But it's been drawing on a lot of mental resources, and when I've come to the end of the day, I've had nothing for anyone else. D and I both go through this -- he'll return after a particularly intense day, having successfully left work at work, but he doesn't quite make it home in his state of mind for several hours after he gets through the door. He floats in some kind of limbo that makes for pretty quiet dinners. I understand -- sometimes the brain doesn't reset for a little while. So I leave him alone until he's ready.

Last week was my turn to be zonked -- not just from all the research interviews and the mental gymnastics of writing, but from the emotional pull of trying to tell a difficult story. (Forgive me if I don't get more specific than that; I did just spend the week up to my ears in the details.)

I'm glad the writing is working. But it's at the expense of other pressing concerns I need to resolve, like the fallout of getting sick while no one was around. D and I didn't come through that situation in the best way, and we've wanted to talk about it, but I've been too frayed to do it without getting upset, which D doesn't deal well with. Our attempts to have a conversation about how we handled things on both our ends have been kind of rocky. And then there's the question about what all these seemingly separate problems -- blood sugar, GI tract, kidneys -- are really indicative of. I've pushed that out of my mind for a while, but Labor Day weekend was a reminder that all is not perfectly well and that we still don't have real answers as to why three different body systems decided to get wonky, all starting in the first half of 2009.

So I want some emotional reserves for this stuff. I know I can't always have enough for all of it, but for next week, I need more.

10 comments:

French Fancy... said...

Fingers crossed you get an easier week waiting for you, CT. As for husbands who arrive in body but with their mind left far behind - yes, I've got one of those here as well. You describe it really accurately.

Sorry to read about the health probs flaring up. You've not had a good year and I hope there is a change of luck very soon.

xx

Sherlock said...

Unresolved health problems can be frustrating and scary. Hope you can get some answers soon. Here's to a better week!!!

C. Troubadour said...

FF -- thanks. It's funny; D really isn't thinking about work anymore when he gets home, but it's like the brain is still on commute even though the body isn't. And it's harder for me to snap out of it, I suppose, because I don't really change locations. When I stop working, I'm still home. Hopefully Mr. FF comes around more quickly than we do :)

Sherlock -- indeed. I wish I had someone looking at the bigger picture. Each specialist keeps his eye on the system he's responsible for, but what I'd love is to get them all in the same room talking to one another.

Good Enough Woman said...

As you point your eyebrows in a teacherly glare, I am standing next to you, akimbo, daring next week to cause you any trouble.

(((((CT)))))

C. Troubadour said...

Two teacher looks are always better than one, GEW :). Thank you.

SuziCate said...

Bravo for making headway with your thesis, and extra credit for doing this with physical and emotional havac. I know it's exhausting for both of you putting in hard days and then trying to unwind and have time for each other. Life can be stressful at times. I hope it eases a bit and you're able to get some of these health issues at bay. I'm sure D is worried about you on top of everything else. Hugs.

theycallmejane said...

(Hugging away all your worries - or at least trying to) Hope you get some rest, peace and answers soon!

C. Troubadour said...

SuziCate -- thanks. We're managing, but sometimes it feels like only just. I know every couple has to learn how to negotiate the stuff life throws at them together rather than as individuals. We're getting lots of practice this year.

Jane -- as my high school economics teacher used to say, merci buckets :). (He would also say, "Tempus fugit -- time for a quiz!" which we all found a lot less funny.)

BigLittleWolf said...

I wish you an easier week - and bravo on making steady progress with those two chapters - and pointing to a third!

I empathize with the frustration (and fear) of knowing there are medical issues, and not having the answer as to what is going on. It's little consolation, I know, but I understand that uneasy place, and the need to pick ad choose your spots for dealing with other things as a result.

Hugs.

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, BLW. If the medical stuff would kindly suspend itself while we're traveling for that brother-in-law's wedding in a week, I'll take it as a sign of grace from the universe. And if not, well ... back to calling everything random.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bone weary

I thought the weekend was supposed to be for relaxing, but I think it's just allowed me to feel the weight of all the stuff from the past week (or two), now that there is space for that. And the feeling is necessary, so fine. But I'm warning next week right now: ease up or ... else.

(I'm not very good at actually coming up with threats, but I'm cocking a very pointed eyebrow at Monday and everything after it. It's my teacher look, which actually won a stare-down contest in a teacher-training workshop many years ago. See that, next week? See that eyebrow?)

My thesis is moving forward for real. I have two solid chapters that make sense in succession and are pointing very clearly to a third, which is more exciting than I have the means to describe. But it's been drawing on a lot of mental resources, and when I've come to the end of the day, I've had nothing for anyone else. D and I both go through this -- he'll return after a particularly intense day, having successfully left work at work, but he doesn't quite make it home in his state of mind for several hours after he gets through the door. He floats in some kind of limbo that makes for pretty quiet dinners. I understand -- sometimes the brain doesn't reset for a little while. So I leave him alone until he's ready.

Last week was my turn to be zonked -- not just from all the research interviews and the mental gymnastics of writing, but from the emotional pull of trying to tell a difficult story. (Forgive me if I don't get more specific than that; I did just spend the week up to my ears in the details.)

I'm glad the writing is working. But it's at the expense of other pressing concerns I need to resolve, like the fallout of getting sick while no one was around. D and I didn't come through that situation in the best way, and we've wanted to talk about it, but I've been too frayed to do it without getting upset, which D doesn't deal well with. Our attempts to have a conversation about how we handled things on both our ends have been kind of rocky. And then there's the question about what all these seemingly separate problems -- blood sugar, GI tract, kidneys -- are really indicative of. I've pushed that out of my mind for a while, but Labor Day weekend was a reminder that all is not perfectly well and that we still don't have real answers as to why three different body systems decided to get wonky, all starting in the first half of 2009.

So I want some emotional reserves for this stuff. I know I can't always have enough for all of it, but for next week, I need more.

10 comments:

French Fancy... said...

Fingers crossed you get an easier week waiting for you, CT. As for husbands who arrive in body but with their mind left far behind - yes, I've got one of those here as well. You describe it really accurately.

Sorry to read about the health probs flaring up. You've not had a good year and I hope there is a change of luck very soon.

xx

Sherlock said...

Unresolved health problems can be frustrating and scary. Hope you can get some answers soon. Here's to a better week!!!

C. Troubadour said...

FF -- thanks. It's funny; D really isn't thinking about work anymore when he gets home, but it's like the brain is still on commute even though the body isn't. And it's harder for me to snap out of it, I suppose, because I don't really change locations. When I stop working, I'm still home. Hopefully Mr. FF comes around more quickly than we do :)

Sherlock -- indeed. I wish I had someone looking at the bigger picture. Each specialist keeps his eye on the system he's responsible for, but what I'd love is to get them all in the same room talking to one another.

Good Enough Woman said...

As you point your eyebrows in a teacherly glare, I am standing next to you, akimbo, daring next week to cause you any trouble.

(((((CT)))))

C. Troubadour said...

Two teacher looks are always better than one, GEW :). Thank you.

SuziCate said...

Bravo for making headway with your thesis, and extra credit for doing this with physical and emotional havac. I know it's exhausting for both of you putting in hard days and then trying to unwind and have time for each other. Life can be stressful at times. I hope it eases a bit and you're able to get some of these health issues at bay. I'm sure D is worried about you on top of everything else. Hugs.

theycallmejane said...

(Hugging away all your worries - or at least trying to) Hope you get some rest, peace and answers soon!

C. Troubadour said...

SuziCate -- thanks. We're managing, but sometimes it feels like only just. I know every couple has to learn how to negotiate the stuff life throws at them together rather than as individuals. We're getting lots of practice this year.

Jane -- as my high school economics teacher used to say, merci buckets :). (He would also say, "Tempus fugit -- time for a quiz!" which we all found a lot less funny.)

BigLittleWolf said...

I wish you an easier week - and bravo on making steady progress with those two chapters - and pointing to a third!

I empathize with the frustration (and fear) of knowing there are medical issues, and not having the answer as to what is going on. It's little consolation, I know, but I understand that uneasy place, and the need to pick ad choose your spots for dealing with other things as a result.

Hugs.

C. Troubadour said...

Thanks, BLW. If the medical stuff would kindly suspend itself while we're traveling for that brother-in-law's wedding in a week, I'll take it as a sign of grace from the universe. And if not, well ... back to calling everything random.