So, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything of real meaning here. (As in March of 2018. I told you, it’s been awhile.)
It’s not that I haven’t had things to say or stuff to talk about, it’s just that blogging hasn’t been a huge priority for me. Then 2020…
Let’s not talk about 2020.
I’m here today to talk about fighting the bear.
Once long ago I was talking to a friend about my annoying bitch of a disorder and how most people (50%) who have had MS as long as I have (15 years this year) develop a secondary type that is relentless. Over the next 10 years, that risk increases to 90%.
Now, we all know I’m evil and a fighter. No, not that kind. A literal fighter. Combat-trained, street brawler, knife fighter. It’s a long story, but I’ve said before my upbringing was unique. My first knife-fighting lesson was at age 6, and I loved it. But I digress.
Before this autoimmune nonsense, I was also a bodybuilder. Not the ripped Cory Everson type, but I spent a lot of time in the gym with weights and drinking protein powder. I still use some of what I learned from the Body-For-LIFE book back in the 90s. (I also have the Women’s version of the book and the cookbook.) I give my training and pre-diagnosis physical condition credit for how well I’m doing right now.
And I am doing well. You have no idea how lucky I am to be in the condition I am for this late in the game. Many, many others are in wheelchairs or are unable to drive or get themselves to the toilet. For all my limitations (and there are several; don’t get me wrong), I can still do those things. I need things like a shower chair and a cane to walk outside, but I can still feed and dress myself and hug my cats.
But one day, that won’t be the case. And when that day comes, that’s the day I fight a bear.
Yes, that is me. My Friends of Awesome commissioned this custom piece of art from the amazingly talented illustrator Doruk Golcu. They gave the artist the gist of the scene (okay, a lot more than the gist; there were some specifics that the brilliant artist didn’t bat an eye over, proving he is One Of Us) and some procured reference pics of Yours Truly, collaborated with Mr. James, and surprised me with it for my birthday. I absolutely adore it. Beyond adore. It’s my desktop wallpaper, my iPad screen, and the framed print they ordered and sent to me will be hanging in my living room.
Here’s the reason I’m fighting a grizzly bear, and what the painting truly means.
As I told my Friends of Awesome, when I am diagnosed with secondary MS and am at the point where my quality of life has deteriorated to an unacceptable level, I will take my Tank Chair (because I’ve been promised, when I need a wheelchair, it will be Tank Chair) out into the wilds of Canada to knife fight a grizzly bear. A male one, at midsummer, just before he gets super fat for the winter but has had enough time from the last hibernation to pack on the pounds so he’s not starving. Now, I will either win the fight and return home dragging a bear carcass behind my chair, or I will lose and they will never find my body because Griz ate the tiny Goth girl who came for him with nothing but a knife.
That piece of art means more to me than you might think. It’s a huge metaphor for my daily outlook. Because every day for me is a bear fight. Seeing that painting on my desktop or my iPad or in the frame reminds me of who I am. I fight bears. There are some days when the bear wins, and some days I win. As time goes on, the bear will win more often, but as I’m fond of saying: today is not that day.
Some days, when just getting out of bed costs more spoons than I have, I remember I still have knives.
If I still have knives, I can fight. Maybe not as hard as I used to be able to, but I can still do damage. (And, in all fairness, my worst day is still better than many people’s best, so there’s that to take comfort in, I suppose.)
So why am I here, right now, blogging about knife fighting a bear? Because I said I’d tell the story behind the art. And that’s the story. It’s a gift from people who care about me that shows how they see me, even on my worst days. It helps me remember (because with MS, sometimes you need a lot of help to remember things, as it’s related to Alzheimer’s disease) that the bear fight is (probably) not this day. It’s been an uncomfortable week for me with my condition, and for awhile there I thought it might be time to find a bear soon. I did some Googling and found out the reason behind my bad week (here’s a hint: when the answer isn’t “you have cancer,” it’s “move your ass” AKA “get some exercise and you’ll feel better”), and I think (hope?) that I’m coming out of the spin I’ve been in.
Turns out, exercise really DOES help! But it’s a vicious cycle. When I feel like crap, I don’t move, and because I don’t move, I feel like crap. That means the only way to deal is to power through, but when you’re out of power, that can’t happen, so…yeah.
Now it’s late and I’m tired, but I have written a blog post, which is more than I’ve done in months. Not quite ready to fight a bear, but I’m working on it.