Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who You Calling Valetudinarian?

Who You Calling Valetudinarian?

I think of myself as a healthy person. It’s part of who I am: mother, daughter, friend, and writer. I’m not a patient patient. I don’t have time to be sick. I rarely get tired or sick and it makes me mad when that happens. Last month when I couldn’t walk across the room without needing to rest and catch my breath, I had to give in admit something was wrong and I needed to go to the doctor. It turned out that I was severely anemic and close to needing a transfusion. It was an easy fix, but not a quick one.

I had to cancel things I was looking forward to and barely had the energy to do the things I absolutely needed to do. I felt like a whiner, this was something that could be treated and I would be fine. But it still changed how I thought about myself. This went deeper than just “feeling poorly” as my Grandma Wentz used to say. Between my mother and my former mother-in-law, I’d had a lifetime of hypochondriacal behavior used to gain attention and to manipulate people. I think I felt so used by that behavior that I went too far toward the stoic end of the scale, sometimes to the detriment of my health. Fortunately, for me, I have a good immune system and good genes and don’t have to deal with illness very often. I’m sure this adds to my impatience.

Illness adds another layer of frustration when I’m so drained that I’m unable to create. I hate feeling cut off from my creativity. It feels like a loss of control over my life, that I’m being kept from doing what I want to do because someone or something else is messing in my life without my permission. It makes me feel like I did when my mother and mother-in-law were running the show. I just want to yell, “You’re not the boss of me!” to my illness. Being sick takes me back to a time in my life that’s not fun to revisit and that just adds to my grumpiness and crankiness. I’m not fun to be around when I’m sick.
I haven’t written much of anything for almost two months. When I’m not writing, it feels like a piece of me is missing, my chakras feel out of alignment. No matter how bad I feel, the urge to write and create is ever-present. My fingers itch to write, but my mind doesn’t have the focus to guide them.

Last week classes started again at Women Writing for a Change and it felt so good to start writing again, to be among writers. I was also glad that it was time for my Poplar Grove Muse post. I’ve savored the time I spent this week thinking about what I would write for this blog and I can feel my creative juices starting to flow. It has felt very luxurious to have enough energy to spend my Sunday afternoon writing. I feel balance being restored to my life and I’m on to the next project of creating a special surprise for some women I love and whose company I’ll get to enjoy next weekend. As I sit here watching the snow outside my door sparkling in the sun as it shrinks, I feel the grip of illness loosening its hold on me. The life that I’ve worked so hard to create is returning. I can breathe again. I can write again.

Rebekah for the Poplar Grove Muse


  1. When I first saw the title of this piece I thought this was going to be a piece about Valentine's Day. That's quite a word!

    Isn't it interesting that we develop the filters that we experience the world through at a very tender age.

    So glad you are feeling more like yourself again!

  2. Welcome back Rebekah...not gone, just resting, now returning. Look forward to writing with you on Wednesdays.

  3. The return of energy and expectation is palpable in this wonderful piece. Welcome back to yourself! MKP