Keeping the lights on

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve likely seen a lot of bitching and moaning recently. If you’ve unfollowed me because of that, I totally understand (but you’re still a pretty shit person, so y’know, there’s that).

Basically, my shoulder is frozen – as in stuck. Fortunately, it’s not completely frozen at the moment, I have some small amount of movement in my arm and hand. Unfortunately, that means pain. So, so much pain. I’d estimate that I’m in pain approximately 90% of the time, ranging from dull aching and throbbing right through to excruciating pain that makes me scream and ugly cry.

On the plus side, a frozen shoulder is likely to fix itself. On the down side, we have no way of knowing when that will happen. It could be weeks, months… possibly over a year. But it will fix itself! It is not deadly, it is not degenerative, and it will get better, and for that I am grateful.

I am also grateful for the people around me. My parents and in-laws are a massive support with Munchkin, happy to take care of her whenever they can. My sister-in-law dropped off a big bag of button-up shirts since they’re the only kind I can get on over my arm while I can’t move it. Tomorrow, my best friend and her husband will drive up to our house with a dress for me to borrow for a wedding tomorrow afternoon, because there’s no way for me to get into the one I was going to wear. I have a fantastic doctor, and today he  stuck a needle in my shoulder, which has dramatically reduced my level of pain (I used to hate needles, but after today I think I might change my tune). My workmates and manager and even heaps of customers have been helping me so much and swapping shifts to make it easier for me to work despite the pain. Today my amazing mum took me shopping and bought me a bra to go under the dress tomorrow and two pairs of slip-on shoes, to make it easier for me to dress myself.

But the biggest kudos has to go to the Captain and Munchkin, who have both taken this in their stride so incredibly well. Cap works full time and then cooks (I can’t chop, grate, peel or even open a fricking can), cleans (I can do some things one handed, but before the doctor’s visit this morning it was excruciating even using my right hand to do anything), takes care of Munchkin and the beasties when I can’t and listens to me moan and cry – all on not nearly enough sleep because I’ve had some really bad nights.

Munchkin – she is not quite 15 months old, and even though I know it’s so hard on her that all of a sudden I can’t pick her up or carry her the way I used to, she has been so great. She’s getting really good at not grabbing or touching my left arm, and helping me with cleaning, tidying and even nappy changes, which she’s really not a fan of.

So right now, our family is in “keeping the lights on” mode. We’re doing as much as we can to keep things running, but we won’t sweat the small stuff. We’ll work together and deal with every day as it comes, because that’s really all we can do. We’ll continue to work as a team to make this work, regardless of how long it lasts.

So that’s where we’re at, just keeping the lights on.

Losing my profession

People say a lot of things about parenting. All those cliches – They grow up so fast, one day you won’t believe she was so small, you think you’re tired now, just wait! etc.

Prior to having Munchkin, I pretty much believed that all of those things, but I had no concept of how true they were. It’s kind of a “you had to be there” joke, but the only reason you’re laughing is because you’re so sleep deprived that it’s either that or weeping.

One of those things that I believed but didn’t really understand was “everything changes when you become a parent, especially you”. I mean, I figured my priorities would change, but I’d been a pretty major homebody for a few years anyway, very family-focused and not really into partying it up on a regular basis. So I kind of believed, but also didn’t believe, that I would change.

But then this amazing little creature arrived and everything changed. I changed.

Prior to having Munchkin, I could be described as driven. At 16 I decided that I wanted to buy a house when I was 21, and I did (with my boyfriend of six months, who is now my husband. Nothing like diving in head first to test out a new relationship!). I went to uni, studied a profession that I wasn’t particularly passionate about, but knew that I could be relatively successful in. I got my first job in the industry before graduating, and worked ridiculous hours to fit in full time work, uni and a production (thankfully a small one, and honestly rehearsals for that were the bright spot of my very long days) for a few months.

For several years I worked my way up slowly, working, networking, doing all the things that were expected of me. I was proud of where I was, because by most accounts I could be considered A Success, and that was what I had been driven to achieve all this time.

But I really wasn’t happy. I figured that the reason for that could only be because I wasn’t doing well enough. I slogged away, convinced that if I could just work harder, longer hours, earn more, get a promotion, I would achieve that thing called Happiness.

Before Munchkin arrived, I was certain that I would start working from home after about 3 months, caring for her and meeting all her needs at the same time of course, because that is a completely realistic standard to hold myself to.

Instead, about a year after having her (in fact, the week of her first birthday), I started a new career – in retail. I call it a career instead of a job, because honestly, I love it so much that I’m happy to stay for a good long time. Hell, considering I stayed in a career I didn’t love for 6 years, they should be able to expect at least a decade out of me!

But retail isn’t what most people would see as a career, or at least not the kind that one would aspire to have. To be honest, I’ve struggled with the idea that I am no longer someone who would be viewed as A Success. It’s strange to realise how much I built my self worth around what I thought that others thought, and it’s something I’m struggling with.

It’s not like I was doing anything particularly important prior to this, I wasn’t changing the world, saving lives, righting injustices, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. I did wear tights sometimes, though…

Tight tights!

I’m still not doing any of that stuff now, although I suppose I probably could wear tights. But I’m a lot happier while not doing anything of particular importance, and that’s got to be worth something, right?

Plus, I’m writing more now, even though I have less time. That is definitely a plus (for me, maybe not for you. Suckers.)

I have no real resolution to this post, it’s really just a mindless ramble. So to thank you for wasting your time with me, here’s a winking dog:

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