Yesterday I headed down to St. Paul’s Hospital, the hospital where I was born, for an appointment with a specialist. I’ve been having issues with what I’ve dubbed “the ear troll” for months now, since the beginning of July. Well, some rather surprising news was revealed; it turns out it’s not an ear issue at all. I have Temporomandibular Jaw/Joint Disorder (aka TMJ or TMJD).
TMJ can mimic things like Eustachian Tube Disorder, which I was told by a family physician was the problem, because the jaw joint is actually located right next to the ear canal. In fact, if you put your finger in your ear and open your mouth you’ll feel the joint moving. That joint is what’s been causing all the ear aches, head aches, popping noises, dizziness, disorientation, and other associated problems. It’s nice to have an answer, but I’ll admit… I was hoping for a quick fix, and there is no quick fix for TMJ.
Dr. Shoman has put me on a liquid diet for a week, to allow my jaw some time to heal. And wow! It’s been almost a day and a half and I’m finding it rather difficult to adapt to. With most things only containing 100 – 200 calories, meals have to be every couple of hours or you get real weak, real fast. You can only drink so much thick liquid at a time, so you really are limited to small amounts. I find if I get busy or involved in something I’ll end up shaky and faint. So I’m having to be very conscious of my intake and my timing. I’m very much a chew-and-enjoy-your-food kinda gal, so this drink it down thing is definitely not me. I have a feeling that before the week is out I’ll have gotten to the point where I’m willing to lick dip off a ham stick just for the taste of real food – to be honest I seriously considered it last night. LOL And the idea of all those yummy crisp veggies just sitting in the fridge waiting for me? They are darn difficult to resist. This diet has been kicking my ass so far, but I’m determined to have it licked (pun intended) by the end of this.
After my jaw has been rested, we’ll decide the next step from there. Chances are my treatment will involve consultation with two or three specialists including Dr. Shoman (who’s an ear, nose, and throat guy), and oral surgeon, a dentist, and possibly my family doctor as well. We may also end up enlisting the help of a physical therapist at some point, but we’ll get there. Spring is my deadline. I’ll be fit and well adjusted again by Spring. Just in time to get back on the show circuit. Momma is missing her dog shows in a REAL big way. LOL
It’s no secret that I’m body positive. I think we should love and celebrate ourselves as we are. Fat, scrawny, or anything in between… Love yourself!
Of course, loving yourself doesn’t have to mean you love all your parts equally, and it doesn’t mean you have an unhealthy, romanticized view of yourself, it means that you accept yourself as you are. You can have parts you don’t adore (heck, if I could get rid of these “wings” quickly and easily, I would) but you can still celebrate and love yourself for who you are without focusing on some other persons view of who you “SHOULD” be. We need to be gentle with ourselves, and treat ourselves with kindness and love.
Recently I was talking with someone and was trying to celebrate with them on a weightless goal… This individual told me how they’d been several hundred pounds in their teens, and how even though they just celebrated losing another thirty pounds (and are, by many standards, very thin) they are still trying to lose more. When I asked why they were determined to lose even more weight, they explained how awesome it felt to go into stores to buy clothes and have things fit.
I’ll be honest, I felt this weird twinge of twisted self conscious, body awareness – like way back when I suffered from low self esteem and worried constantly about what others thought of me to the point where my assumptions about their views became how I defined myself. And this flash of “what must they think of me???” crossed my mind. It was very fleeting, but I felt it none the less. Looking back, I’m ashamed that it ever entered my consciousness… But it did.
Now as I look back on our conversation I truly feel sadness, not for that brief flicker of self doubt, but for this individual who at our age has such a warped sense of self. I can only imagine what it must have been like to be young, fragile, and to hate your body so very very much…. to the point where it makes you hate yourself. Then to have it further compounded by the inability to buy clothes at the teen trend stores… and to still be dealing with those same feelings of inadequacy now.
That high from dropping weight and the reward of buying new clothes from a favourite store or designer is huge… But when it gets to the point where it becomes an obsession, like any obsession, it can be dangerous and unhealthy. When are we going to learn to love ourselves? To accept our bodies and our many fabulous flaws?
I mentioned that I’d change my “wings” if I could. I love my body. I love my rolls, and my belly button that looks like an upward pointing arrow, my stretch marks…. My body is proof that I have lived and lived well. I have rocked this body, and I love the stories it has to tell. And while yes, if there was a fast, easy, healthy, and effective way to tame my wings (those hanging bits of skin under my upper arms) I’d do it, but I certainly don’t obsess on them. In fact, I rarely think of them at all, and when I do, they certainly don’t make me hate myself – ANY part of myself.
We really do need to learn to love ourselves, regardless of our shape. Embrace yourself. Treasure yourself. Honor yourself. Celebrate yourself. No matter your size or shape, treat yourself like the incredible being you are! Sure, there may be something you’d change if given the opportunity, but let that something be about YOU and not some seriously demented standard of beauty the media shoves on you. Shower yourself with love and affection!
For those of you still holding a mirror up to the world in search of your own personal self worth? Love yourself first. Know that you are amazing. Others will follow your lead.
I was thinking about the title Friendship is Magic, and while it may not really be magic, it can grant you mental health – which is pretty darn close. Friends keep you grounded, they kick you in the pants when needed, and provide support when no one else can. A good friend is like having a mental health provider on your speed dial. And that, my friends? That really is magic!
I’ve been stressing out about this whole ear issue of mine (and if you could hear the voice in my head, you’d note I said issue in the very proper British form where you hear the S sound vs the American ishu which is why it appears in italics. Because while I’m Canadian, and we SHOULD pronounce everything in the proper British way, American English has ended up rather prevalent. So you KNOW I’m taking pains to bring attention to a word when I pronounce it – even in my head – properly). I’ve been worrying about the possibility of long term effects, and whether or not I’ll be able to continue with some of my very favourite things. My health has taken a lot from me over the years, and the idea that something else may be taken away is a whole lot to digest. When I brought this up with her, she reminded me that while some of my symptoms may be explained by the Eustachian Tube Disorder (and therefore possibly scary and somewhat permanent) that the severity of these same symptoms could be related to other related problems that are just as likely temporary. Which means while I’m taking a break from one particular favourite activity right now, that things may still get better and I may be able to get back in the saddle (as it were) before too terribly long. Without a good friend in whom I could confide, I’d still be stressing myself into a tizzy. I still have a twinge of worry, but I’m definitely feeling better. Friendship is Magic when it comes to Mental Health!
Oh! See http://howjsay.com/index.php?word=issue to hear the difference in pronunciation. 😉
The last several months I’ve served on (and last month and this month have chaired) the board for Breaking the Silence. It’s the fifteenth year for this annual conference that focuses on breaking down walls and barriers in education for Sexual Minorities and Gender Queer individuals here in Saskatchewan.
When Don Cochrane (the founder and force behind Breaking the Silence) asked me to join the board this year I couldn’t say no. The youth of our province deserve the very best we can give them, and helping to bring this conference together is just one way I can help provide that. And not only am I working behind the scenes, I’ll actually be presenting at the conference as well. I’ll be leading a session I’ve nicknamed “Gender, Sex, and How the Heck I Fit into it All.”
There will be several “streams” of information presented at Breaking the Silence this year. My session can be found in the youth stream, but there are also sessions on health, education, and research. We’ve also got Ivan Coyote presenting the keynote the night leading into the conference. If you’ve never heard her, I’d say it’s time you did. She is absolutely fantastic, and has created a new performance piece specifically for this years conference entitled “As Good as We Can Make it: On bullying, collective responsibility, and actually making it better.” It should be amazing.
So yeah! Check it out! You can find all the details at: http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/index.htm And this year there is even online registration (with different price schedules to fit most any budget – including students and the under-employed). Want to know more? Feel free to ask. Otherwise, I’ll plan to see you there!
I logged in today specifically to write more about Women and the fight to challenge societies notions of what and who we are to be. So it was seemingly appropriate to discover the following when I clicked on WordPress in my toolbar:
Of course, WordPress isn’t protesting on behalf of gender issues, it’s doing so to help prevent the potential screening and censoring of content on the web. Another important issue that could affect us all. But in all honesty, these repeating black boxes got me thinking. Children are essentially raised to be censored.
As a society we don’t raise our children to be radical free thinkers out to change the rules and defy convention. We raise our children to fit in, to maintain the status quo, to work within the system, to be censored – by us, by society, by themselves. It’s a sad state of affairs.
Colour within the lines.
Present yourselves as society deems appropriate.
Working on the Power of SHe project has been challenging if for no other reason than I am forcing myself and my models to defy convention. There are many shots that I have set up in my mind, but finding women brave enough and strong enough to participate with me is hard. I don’t want airbrushed, magazine ready bodies. I want real women, PERFECT in their natural, untended, and even derelict form. Mother’s aprons, scars, celluloid, stretch marks – part of lives well lived. Time for them to be celebrated not censored. Love yourself in your decrepitude. It’s time to teach our daughters a new standard of beauty, one free of censored black boxes and filled with the rosy pink hues of love.
Get involved! I need you! Please.
You can drop me a line any time to volunteer for this project – photographer at tobi-dawne dot com
Let’s break free of the black boxes society insists on using to mask and muffle us. Embrace all it is to be a Woman, and celebrate in your own flesh!