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Masters of Survival

Masters of Survival I sit at my window expecting snow, and instead am greeted with dark grey skies that drizzle the kind of rain that keeps me inside far too long. I feel no Christmassy spirit due to a lack of sleep and the anticlimactic weather patterns as of late. Holiday tunes are blasting from my radio as those in my house do not seems to be afflicted by my inevitable connection to what the season may offer (whether it be winter wonder or winter worry). My sleep patterns are very predictable in winter due to the fact that I hardly sleep. I feel the inclination to be that of a hibernating bear around Thanksgiving time. I would not mind eating: an entire turkey, a sweet potato casserole, greens, and promptly sleeping till spring arrives. Instead I am awake from dusk till dawn thinking of every irrational fear I could not even imagine thinking when it is daylight. In my teens, this time was cherished to write poetry or paint knowing I could go back to sleep and survive on a few hours of sleep. Now it just adds to my anxiety knowing I need sleep and cannot sleep. During one of these frustrating episodes a few weeks back , I was awake fighting both carpel tunnel that had frozen my hand to a claw position as well as a rash that covered my entire body. I sat on the couch reaching for the internal fire ants with my temporary claw. I was sobbing wondering how I could bear this pain any longer. I felt selfish as my afflictions were most likely temporary ( both conditions induced by pregnancy). I thought of my sister and others in my family who deal with chronic illness and find a way to not only exist each day, but thrive from my opinion. I had already gone to various doctors to seek relief to no avail. All their solutions made me more frustrated than before I had seen them. I was not looking to just survive, I want to thrive. I want to be in constant bloom. Yet this in not possible. Is there any plant that is constant bloom? As an amateur gardener I know that you can plant a garden in a way that there is something always blooming, but nothing will ever bloom all the time. I began thinking about what that might look like in my life. It is not possible for me to always bloom everywhere. Sometimes I am a great mother. Other times I do something nice as a spouse or even in my classroom. But it always seems that if I am doing amazing in one area, another area falls to the wayside. I started to imagine what it might look like if I viewed my life as a garden. I have planted many things which bring me pleasure as well as beauty to others such as my constant creative nature . I also have things that are like weeds that choke out things I am trying to cultivate. What of things that might be considered weeds but can actually have hidden properties? Then I started thinking about dandelions. What are your opinion of them? Are you one of those people who dig them up first chance you see? Does the sight of them stress you out? Or are you a part of the minority that collect and consume them. I am in the latter group. I have found dandelion root to be a healing balm these past months while I deal with my autoimmune flare-ups. A few cups are a soothing way to detox my liver. They are hardy creatures whose growth cycle seem to last from spring to Autumn. I have not met anyone who cultivates a dandelion garden, even if they know about many of their uses. For some reason they are viewed as villainous and unwanted. I know there are many things in my life I view as negative because society views it as so. Such views can make me feel overwhelmed and very unsure of myself. For example I have never been a 8-10 hours a night sleeper or a napper. I know many people who were concerned that I slept a few hours and would spend the majority of my nights awake painting and reading or even exercising. Yet these were some of my most treasured moments. I am the oldest of five kids and sometimes this was the only time I had to be alone. And as an extremely extroverted person, I did not even know I needed alone time till I no longer had any. As I reached adulthood, I started tot train myself to “sleep” in order that I might not be categorized as an insomniac or otherwise. What I noticed was that others around me felt as though I was balancing out, while I felt less creative and connected with myself. Of course as I age, I notice I do need more sleep naturally. However if I cannot sleep, it is more useful for me to get up and do something creative rather than lie in bed cursing my body and mind for keeping me awake. These moments are what lead me to feel overwhelmed and full of anxiety. I realize that in order to survive, I must use whatever is available to me in that moment. Like the dandelion, I have many phases to me. I can be like the first yellow bud, full of hope and wanting. Sometimes my hope is a wanted treasure to others. Other times it can feel unwanted and like it does not belong. I can be like a dandelion in full display. I am colorful by nature and can be a welcome display of creativity. Such creativity can also seem disruptive in a society that prizes order and predictability. I can be like a white fuzzy dandelion whose colors have faded and desiring to rest or to be scattered by the wind to be replanted elsewhere. I can also be like the roots who continually spread deeper and deeper. Whether it is resilience or rebellion I have yet to figure out. Sometimes survival is a matter of perspective.
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