Friday, August 11, 2017


Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

Camp ~ Heat ~ Dust ~ Chance ~ Mountain ~ Shopping

They were submitted by:


I have a chronic illness.

I've not really talked much about it publicly except a few mentions on facebook here and there, but the last year and a half has been tough physically following the year before being pretty tough mentally. I didn't quite expect my 30s to be so full of change. We're supposed to be more or less settled and maintaining by mid-adulthood, yeah? But I suppose that's the thing about life--rarely is it ever predictable.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a new lifetime partner of mine. There won't be a day when I'm without it, so living with it instead of in spite of it is a necessity. It started with a virus, something I mistook for a normal sinus infection. But I've had a year and a half of a constant fever, swollen glands, extreme joint and muscle pains and fatigue that words fail to describe. Some days I have to absolutely focus on breathing because I barely have the energy to do it.

What the fuck are you supposed to do when breathing is a chore?

I have yet to really figure out a rhythm. I overdo it some days, A LOT of days, and pay for it the next. I don't know how to admit I can't do something. It's never been in me to say "can't" when it comes to something I want done. I don't know how to redefine my parameters. I've always been the kind of person who had a million things going on each day rather than barely managing to dust and get the shopping done. Every activity, even basic shit like brushing my teeth, is a mountain to climb especially in the peak heat of the South Georgia summer. Mentally I know there are days when I should camp out on the couch or in bed. I know I need to take breaks. I know my energy level is limited in ways I don't even understand yet. But it's a constant battle not to succumb to depression from having to give up and let the cfs win more days than not.

Every day I wake up there's a chance my battery will already be at 5 or 10%. On my best days, it's at 50. I'm getting better at recognizing how good or bad it will be when I wake up--it's more the admitting I need a day to recuperate part that I struggle with especially since it's not easy to get people to understand that this is more than being tired. It's more than needing to rest. Rest doesn't help. It's a real and serious condition that I have enough trouble understanding myself. A little support would be nice and certainly goes a long way to helping me feel okay with the fact that this is my life now and forever.

Someone I absolutely adore with cfs herself sent me a spoon necklace recently. Spoon Theory (link here) is an attempt at explaining to others what it's like to have one of the extreme fatigue disorders, and it's one of the best explanations I have seen. Think of your energy levels in spoonfuls. A person without a fatigue disorder has an unlimited amount of spoons--a person without one can rest and recharge. A person with chronic fatigue syndrome, for example, may only wake up with 12 spoonfuls. Every activity uses up a spoon. Taking a shower, getting dressed for the day, making breakfast...each activity, even those that seem insignificant, takes a spoon from your total. How do you manage to do everything that needs done for the day? Every single action must be weighed in terms of importance, and anything outside of those 12 spoons for the day borrows from the next creating an endless cycle of depletion until a person barely has the energy to breathe.

Every life comes with battles and complications along with the good. I've faced my fair share of trials already and always managed to come out on top. I hope this newest battle won't be an exception to that norm. I may not always have the energy to complete everything I want to get done, but I make up for it in personal strength.

CFS won't be the thing that bests me.


Baking In A Tornado

Cognitive Script

The Blogging 911

On the Border
The Bergham Chronicles

Southern Belle Charm

Bookworm in the Kitchen

Part-time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, August 4, 2017

Perfect Mediocrity

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 11 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts. 

My “Secret Subject” is:

If you were named a Nobel Peace Prize winner what would it be for?

It was submitted by:


I am perfectly aware that unless Nobel prizes are suddenly given out for mediocrity, I won't be winning one. That's not to say I have zero confidence in my ability to do things well. I have a pretty well rounded skillset and tend to do alright at anything I put my mind to except being a social creature. I know what I can do just as well as I know my limitations, and a Nobel prize just isn't in the cards for me nor would I want to taint its meaning by celebrating my lackluster performance in any of the given categories.

If you were to play gifted student burnout bingo, I would just about hit every square. All throughout school my dad pushed me ridiculously hard to make the grade. If I brought home a perfect score on a test, he said he would be proud when it was 110 instead of a 100. When, with bonus questions, I did bring home 110s, he wanted 120s. It set me on a path of pushing myself to make the grade, obsessing over it. I didn't make a B on a report card until 8th grade, never made a C, and graduated with honors. It took a toll on my motivation and sense of self. Other aspects of my personality took a backseat to me being a brainiac, and I ended up dropping out of college (even though i started college as a high school junior) a couple credits before earning my associate in criminal justice. Burnout was a big factor in that. Growing up poor was a big aspect of it too. College, for me, was never going to be about opportunities and growth and new friendships--it was always going to mean more work for someone already completely and thoroughly exhausted that never really got to be a kid and debt.

When my dad was on his deathbed, I enrolled again, though, pushing to prove myself even harder. Full time student, new mom, wife, full time employee--I tried to do it all. I pushed and pushed even while my marriage fell apart (from a lack of support from him mostly) and earned my bachelor's as a single mom. It wasn't easy, but women are out there doing it every day. I'm not special for doing what needed to be done, and I certainly don't need an award for it. I am able to look back clearly now and see how burying myself in books kept me too busy to be anxious about my world crumbling or to pay attention to the world at large. It was a coping mechanism not a heroic effort.

Im hindsight, when I started grad school, my heart was never in it. It was just something I knew people expected of me. For a person like myself that has rebeled against social expectations my entire life, that could never quite fit into any box much less a traditional one, I don't know why I forced it. I had an idea about being able to help inmates, but the voluntary work I do on that front is more than I could have ever accomplished working for the system that imprisons them. I thought maybe people would take me more seriously if I went the proper course, fought within the system.

People take you seriously, though, when you're genuine and true to who you are. Dressing it up to get a job or a paycheck or a partner is always going to be seen as phony because that's exactly what it is. And when i realized that, I knew I was done. Finally. I won't ever stop learning, but I don't need my brain to be worth 200 grand to realize I have something to add to the world. And I'm getting okay with letting go of the idea that a degree determines worth and that I don't have to be defined by what I get paid to do.

I won't ever accomplish anything remotely worthy of a Nobel prize. Even if there were a sudden category for bucking social norms some person named Moonwillow with facial implants who feeds their cat a vegan diet, has their pubic hair tattooed on, and makes money by popping balloons with their ass cheeks on a livestream would certainly have me beat. And I would gladly let them have it.

I've made and continue to make my mark on this world my own way. And that's enough.


Baking In A Tornado

Cognitive Script

The Blogging 911

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

Simply Shannon

Southern Belle Charm

Bookworm in the Kitchen

Part-time Working Hockey Mom