Jeanne Ellin: gratitude vs. self-pity

Hippo roaring

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Gratitude vs. self-pity

Hippo roaringYes, I can and do walk mostly, but like the little mermaid when she gained legs, every step is taken with painful concentration. If concentration lapses, my feet have a tendency to tangle with each other. Sometimes I dig my nails into my palms to keep focused.

I am confined to a slow and stately pace with an erect stance as I need to keep my head steady to avoid dizziness. I have a very slow shuffle, a six-inch stride. It was measured for an assessment. The nearest you can get to marking time while still moving forward! I am a procession of one.

Since this is unchangeable I have decided to turn it into a challenge: to find something new and interesting on each walk. It gives me a focus and an excuse to stop. It also gives me the chance to hone my descriptive writing practice. And it helps me find things to be grateful for which is an important part of the happiness habits I’ve been practising for the last 18 months.

All I can say is that they work for me. Generally I am happier.

But today I am having a hippo-like wallow in the mud of self-pity, blowing foul smelling bubbles!

Last month I heard about a workshop on memoir writing combined with crafts. A FREE one day event run by the University. But reluctantly I decided, that as I was in relapse, I would not manage a whole day. Not something I could do. I put it from my mind.

Then on Monday I got an email saying the course had been shortened to half a day, this Wednesday. I could manage a half day. But not at short notice. Not this Wednesday. Possible if I had more prep time – three clear rest days and meals made for the day and the three following days, and I would have to go out and draw money for the taxi, small things but they all have an energy cost. With less than 48 hours notice it is just not possible. So I had to work through the disappointment again.

Baby girlLike any bereavement, loss of health has its ebbs and flows, small events can trigger the grief again. I know that the cost to my health would be too great AND I WANT IT NOT TO BE TRUE. I miss being spontaneous.

I find if I allow myself to feel the negative emotions, they pass quicker, as if holding them back is also holding on. So I’ve had my little tantrum and am beginning to feel better. Imagine having it in a supermarket aisle like a truculent toddler!

Toddlers have spectacular tantrums but they recover their good humour so quickly. They express what they feel and let it go.

Jeanne Ellin

About Jeanne Ellin

I am a poet working at living a creative life in a one room flat, companioned by a menagerie of chronic health problems. I began this series of posts after being inspired by two women younger than myself, who, fearful of their imagined old age spent in ill health and poverty, committed suicide. I explore every year as a bonus of adventures, with moments of discomfort or fear, but with unexpected treasure to be found - helped by a sense of the ridiculous, a world perspective and creativity.