Author Kylie

I am Weak and that is Okay

Yesterday, Sunday 16th of September, was the City to Bay Fun Run here in Adelaide and I participated in the 12km walk. 
I wasn’t feeling particularly ready or confident about it. The weekend before I did a practice walk with my Dad and that resulted in a nasty blister on the sole of my left foot. 
On the plus side though, I was FINALLY going into a walk with both my knees fantastically fine and fit. 
But my feet – my feet were shockingly awful. 
And frankly, I hated every step of the 12km. Half way through and I was crying silently to myself, forcing myself to go faster, just to make it stop. 

The result? I actually almost finished the 12km in 2 hours, I was just three minutes short. Considering I thought I was going to be 2 hours and half an hour, that was pretty good! I sliced off a bit of time on my year before! 
But, ah…ahhhh…
My feet? Oh…boy…
So, you know that blister, yeah…about that…it got worse. 
And I added to it, it’s got a friend, a HUGE friend, the biggest blood blister I have EVER seen in my ENTIRE LIFE. 
I am used to the feeling of walking on knives, that’s pretty normal for me, but this was hot knives. Very painful. 
And let’s add a migraine to that, just to top off the day. So I got home, could barely walk, and was vomiting into a bucket.

I just cried and cried under my cold pack. (I don’t know what hurt more, missing a family movie night that I had been really looking forward to, or the migraine/blisters… ^^;)
Why do I do this to myself? 

Why do I push myself so hard to a point of damaging myself? I really don’t know. I wish I got enjoyment out of exercise, but I don’t, it is far to painful – I get enjoyment out of the feeling of achievement after it I suppose. The feeling that despite everything my body throws at me, I can push myself beyond the agony, beyond the pain, and do something, is a powerful one.

There is a Twitter thread going on right now about how women and girls aren’t weak, and how everyone is tired of that stereotype. Well, to be honest, I feel very weak. Yesterday as I was talking along, silently crying to myself, I felt so weak, so defeated, and so, so alone. It is exhausting forcing myself to not show my pain, to sit in small group with a smile on my face, to not wince when someone claps me on the shoulder. 

One of my characters in my series talks about pain being the long and lonely walk that gradually decays hope. To be honest, I still haven’t figure out his arc yet, perhaps, because I still haven’t figured out my own arc. 

All I know is that in my weakness, I am not weak, I am in fact made stronger through that weakness. I force myself forward through some unseen, crazy force that propels me to just keep marching forward no matter what. 
Hope.
I think that force is Hope

A little bit of this…a little bit of that…

I haven’t been very well this week – I thought – perhaps, when I woke up this morning I might be alright, but, after pottering around cleaning a bit, it appears I’m still utterly exhausted.

I’m also finding myself in a bit of a lull with my writing – I’m still writing, I’ve written over 20,000 words just this week alone, but I question why? I felt recently that my dreams of becoming a traditionally published author were shattered due to choices I made almost ten years ago, and I’m still reeling a bit from that.
I want to bring stories and adventures to people, but I have no idea how anymore.
I am, frankly, feeling very, very lost.

It’s okay, though, everyone get’s lost on their journey, and I’m sure I’ll stumble my way forward again.

On the positive, my house is wonderful! Have I told you about my incredible, wonderful, amazing house?  No? Well. It’s beautiful! It’s my dream house. It’s cute, it’s adorable, and it’s perfect for a daydreaming author like me.

I have to gradually do it up, gradually save up money to fund little projects, but that’s the fun of it, right?

Over the past two weeks I’ve been doing some arts and crafts. I thought I’d share some of them with you.

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My garden as a lot of beautiful hydrangea’s so I am sort of going for a hydrangea theme. This is the beginning of a sign I’m hanging out the front of the house to direct people to the door, as my door faces a reserve and not the street. It’s a bit unusual.

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It’s almost finished. Just needs a varnish, hooks and a chain. I have contemplated a lot the last few weeks about how much I really, really need to own a drill. ^_^

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Hopefully I will be collecting my cat, Aislinn, this afternoon. Originally we had decided to let her remain at my parents house – but I’ve been getting very lonely, and was going to buy a new indoor cat – upon hearing this, my Dad thought that I may as well try to keep Aislinn inside as an indoor cat since she is getting so old and just sleeps all the time anyway. So, we’re going to give that a go. Thus, I made this adorable sign for the front porch.

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See those three frogs in the front – I found them in the garden. They’re pretty adorable, but they’re also old, in need of a good paint – and they’re red – why are they red? So confused…red frogs…anyway…I repainted them.

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They turned out very adorable. Makes me wish I could do more painting of figures. It’s a lot of fun.

And that is what I have been up to as I distract myself from pain. Painting is always fun. ^_^

Hope you’re all well!
Cheers!
KL

 

 

Painkillers

Originally I wanted to write a blog about settling into my new house, but something else popped up that I wanted to talk about.
If you’re in Australia you might have heard about rise in codeine addiction, leading to overdoses, and deaths, which has in turn lead to these painkillers – that were over-the-counter  – to now being prescription only.

The higher dose ones were always prescription only. I recall my Dad getting told off for having my Padadine Forte in the ER one trip – because it wasn’t under lock and key.

I am VERY sensitive to medication. If there is a side effect to a medication, chances are, I’m going to end up with it. This has made me extremely wary of taking drugs. I don’t like them, they make me feel weird, and I’ve just had way to many bad experiences. I can tell you some stories.

But codeine is something I found that I could take in really small quantities to just take the edge of my pain. I can’t tolerate more than two tablets of strong pain relief a day – and even then – I have to go on detox weeks to make it become effective again, as, after awhile, my body just grows used to it. So instead of upping the dose, I stop taking it. This method has allowed me to remain on a really low dose.

I’ve talked to my doctor about it often, he was surprised the first time I discussed it with him that I wasn’t taking more painkillers (because I was expressing how worried I was at my use of painkillers, I think he was expecting me to using heaps!) He told me I could be taking three times as much as still not be in a danger zone, and I told him I couldn’t imagine how anyone could take more than two without throwing up!

This all leads to February the 2nd and the ban on selling codeine products over-the-counter. I understand why they’ve implemented it, but I am still annoyed. When I went to the pharmacy to get my script for my Strong Pain filled, I felt shame when I was drilled by the pharmacist about my ‘drug use’ – the same shame I’ve felt every single time I’ve been drilled about my ‘drug use’ since this whole shebang started up and I had to start handing over my drivers license to be recorded into the system.

Don’t get me wrong. I know and understand why the government has done this, but I’m annoyed that the media hasn’t talked about those of us who try to manage our pain well, who do our best to maintain our use of medication. There are those of us who go to our doctors, talk to them, diligently discuss plans and processes, but end up just coming back to plodding our way through day-to-day life one-step-at-a-time.

I also understand people who cannot maintain equilibrium. In some way, it’s a blessing that I react so badly to medication, otherwise I could so easily see myself wanting to take more painkillers because I just want the pain to go away so, so, so badly.
There are mornings when I just sit in a chair, unable to move, wondering ‘Why on earth did I get up this morning?’ which is then followed by ‘Because you’ll still be in pain while in bed, you idiot.’

Pain has taught me many things, two of them being: How to live in tolerance and regulation.

Though I am really, really annoyed at the pharmaceutical companies that are not making the drugs anymore, or “re-branding the drugs” – making them paracetamol and ibuprofen. No. No. I don’t want paracetamol and ibuprofen!! You don’t think I haven’t tried that already!

*sigh*

It’s going to be an inconvenience, but I’ll take the inconvenience if it means saving lives and I guess, in the end, that’s what it comes down to.

Pain

This was written about a month ago, on a very bad day when my pain was excruciatingly bad and I couldn’t take it – so I decided to try and write what it felt like. Since then, nothing much has changed, I’ve just been coping with the ‘new normal’ which is a steady increase of overall pain levels.
However, upon re-reading this with a little bit of more level head, I felt it was still worthy of a share. There might be others out there who deal with chronic pain, or a chronic illness, who have similar experiences. I simply do not know.
If you do – know you’re not alone, even if the battle is a lonely one. 

Pain is exhausting.
It eats at me, every single day. Piece by piece it consumes. It started as an ember, so small, years ago, and now it is a fire, fuelled by existence alone and sometimes it is all I seem to know.

It hurts to even breath. Each lung full is like stretching skin over barbed wire. When did my chest start betraying me, I am often left to ponder? There is not a day that passes when my head is not ripping itself apart with hatchets. What would it be like to live without a headache? Would I even know myself if I ever woke up without one?

Pain has blurred memories together, and years have become a long string of time wasted away in a body that is young, but feels so decrepit.

I should be relishing in youth.
So young, people tell me. Oh, Kylie, you are so young. You have so much time. Don’t worry – don’t worry – you are in the prime of your life. Their words are like mockery. I haven’t felt young in a long time. Not in a body that I am forced to drag through a day. The vigour of youth is long past, despite the youthful years of my unwrinkled cheeks. Yet, what life have I truly lived? Can I say I have lived at all? People my age seem so falsely carefree. They are like adverts in front of me, flashing on a movie screen, portraying a wondrous example of just what I do not have:
Freedom from an invisible tower, created by bricks of pain, built up day by day.
And there is no prince to save and comfort, just endless staring out a window, wishing for the seasons to change.

Pain has already worn me down, it’s a grindstone and I am the dull blade never to be sharpened.

The fingertips on a keyboard become sharp, stabs, as if I’ve pounded them down to the very bone—but if I had, would they hurt anymore? Everything is heavy, even smiling is an effort I just can’t be bothered with doing. Am I beautiful, without a smile? Have I ever been beautiful?

The first man to call me beautiful, other than my father, was an elderly gentleman in a café.
No man has ever told me again.
It is just a word, I always tell myself—
But it is word with such potent meaning.
Like pain.
A word becomes a dagger in the heart—if you let it.
Don’t let it.

My entire world has shrunken into a room. I am Rapunzel in her tower. Sleeping Beauty waiting to wake up from a dream. Snow White poisoned by an apple. Ariel wishing to explore a world above. Moana trying to escape to the ocean. I can almost reach—but I just can’t make it.

I try, I try, I keep trying. I fight, I fight and I keep fighting.

Some battles are lifetime worthy. Some princesses pick up the armour of a dead knight nearby, and battle their dragons alone.

 

Victor Harbor Half-Marathon

Out of bed I leapt as my alarm blared loud, 5:15 in the morning. Scrambling into my office I clambered for my mobile, turning off my alarm. Down the passage, my blurry-eyed sister wandered, poking her head into my office.

“That’s a really loud alarm.”

I chuckled. “Yeah.”

Loud alarm, so that I can hear it from my office, where my mobile phone lies charging overnight, otherwise I doubt I would ever clamber myself out of bed.

Our early morning wake up call was for the eventful day ahead, the Victor Harbor Half-Marathon. My little sister, Melissa, did not want to be late, and therefore, we were leaving at 6:00am, as her 10km race started at 7:30am. She had been training for this important day, being late was not an option. ( If you want, you can learn all about her jogging adventures at her blog 365 Days of Running.)

Last year I walked the Pichi Richi half-marathon, 21km, and busted my knee (again) and it hasn’t quite recovered from my second operation. In attempting to jog 200-meters I strained my LCL two weeks ago, and was unsure if I was even going to be able to walk my 5km but I strapped my knee up and figured on giving it my all anyway.

Our father had been hoping to also jog the 10km with my sister, but alas, he had also injured his knee a few weeks back. It was disappointing for him, however, he came as driver, camera man and supportive father.

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Before the race. Yay!!

There is an incredible electric hum in the air at marathon events. When you gather a group of people together who all enjoy the thrill of exercise, the joy of movement, of propelling yourself along by the power of your own body, the conversations around you are interestingly focused:

I heard one young man discussing how he was preparing for the Olympics. He was standing right next to me, he was perhaps eighteen. I’m sorry…DID YOU SAY THE OLYMPICS.

The atmosphere is something I love. Not only that. I love that through walking I can go distances. After having walked 21km, 5km doesn’t feel very far at all, but when I reached the 2.5km mark and turned around and looked back the way I had come that feeling of distance came over me. I had walked it, with my own feet, and nothing else.
I love that feeling. I love the sensation of having carried myself over a distance and looking backward, it is such an incredible feeling – it is worth the pain.

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Starting the race. Fresh. Happy. Not red in the face. ^_^

So, how did I do? I did okay.
As usual in these events, my whole body tensed up and I couldn’t relax it. However I did the 5km in 51 minutes, which is about what I expected.

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Finished! *phew*

My little sister did fabulously. I am, as always, in awe in awe of her. She did her 10km in 1:01:01 — that’s a lot of one’s Mel. ^.^

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Here she is being amazing. Go Mel! 

 

After the race we sat down at the kiosk, delighting in a vanilla slice, and while thunderstorms had been forecast, they had not yet rolled through. We were given a chance to enjoy the peace and bask in the moment. Days, months and years are all made up of precious tiny moments that can so easily be forgotten. Oddly enough for me, it is not the race, nor the thrill of being amongst fellow runners of walkers that I enjoyed the most – it was sitting in the car driving to Victor Harbor, watching the sunrise, listening to my sister and father talk and feeling the comfort of their presence after a lonely week. Nothing was as precious and special as that moment.

 

6km Walk

Today was the first time I’ve walked 6km since my knee operation.
I’ve been building up to 6km, slowly, for a few months now after I had to pretty much instantly stop all walking right after the Pichi Richi 21km walk in which I busted my knee (again).
It felt really weird having built myself up to a level of fitness for the Pichi Richi half-marathon over months of training and then suddenly doing nothing at all due to an injury.
Thankfully, my second knee operation has really helped, and now my knee is not so bothersome — indeed, exercising it helps keep the pain away.

My aim is to build up to either 10 or 12km every Saturday. It’ll be slow getting there but I now know it is possible to push my body to that limit, despite how dreadfully painful it is to do anything.

So. I have my goal set. Let’s see if I can cross the finish line.

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