Love and Grass

It’s actually warm (80ish) today. I had more yard to mow (the far back is wide and lush and full of dandelions), so I mowed until both batteries of the borrowed mower ran out. I was a bit frustrated; I probably only got the back 60% done. Meant to start it yesterday after the front yard, but got distracted with other need-to-do yard chores. You know how it goes.

The bigger battery is charging now so I can go out later and finish before I have to give the mower back. (The one we own is still in pieces in the garage somewhere, from the move. We got here late enough in the season last fall that we didn’t have to mow.) I will get out there and I will finish the work.

I had a conversation not so long ago with someone, and we were discussing loving our bodies as-is. When I said I do, the other person admitted they would find that challenging in my shoes (I assume because I’m overweight, though maybe they meant something else, like never getting tan, heh.)

I love my body more now than I did when I was younger and a lot lighter. You see a heavy/thick/plump person with unruly ginger hair and pasty skin. I know. All of these things are true and present, and I wouldn’t trade them away if it meant rocking my sense of self. And you don’t understand at all how incredible this “meat suit” is, in ways that aren’t apparent in a full-body shot.

This body is almost always at least moderately anemic. Has been since I was a young teen, at least. We toss that term around, anemia, like it doesn’t mean anything. A lot of people are briefly anemic here and there and it’s just a blip on the radar. It doesn’t feel that bad.

Living with it as a constant presence for decades is a whole ‘nother animal. It (and a couple of other things) means I’m putting in a lot more effort than anyone realizes just to go through a normal day. If I sleep for eight solid hours, I am still sometimes just as exhausted when I wake as when I went to bed. Sometimes I need ten hours and get three.

Even so, my legs move when I ask them to, and my size-11 feet are generally steady under me.

“Don’t you take iron? Eat spinach! Eat red meat!”

I know people who say these things are generally (not always) well-meaning, but here’s a little PSA about anyone you know with any kind of diagnosed chronic anything: That piece of advice or article you came across?

We know. Take a seat. Shhh. You might learn something.

I do take iron. After several years, I found a supplement that actually doesn’t make me feel sick or change my GI habits too much — as long as I skip a day here and there — in ways that make life more difficult (I have IBS so more issues on top of an already-unpredictable system = I don’t leave the house). If it helps somewhat, why don’t I just take more of it?

Well, because going over the recommended dosage immediately sets into motion those nasty side effects. When I took other forms of iron, I didn’t take them faithfully because it got so awful.

I also have to balance iron with my multivitamin. Can’t take both in the same day or I’m nauseated and sick. And in the winter, where I live, I really need the vitamin D in the multi. So sometimes you get to make choices and there’s not always a great option. (I generally stagger iron and the multivitamin so I get at least a few doses of each every week. In summer I focus more on iron.)

The cast-iron pan is also my friend. (Suddenly, I want cornbread…don’t get me started on the crap a lot of y’all eat and call it cornbread. If it’s sweet, it’s cornCAKE. Blergh.)

If I know I’m going to give blood soon or that there’s an important event I’ll want to be active for, I can sort of prime my system starting a few weeks in advance. That means iron daily and building my meals around the foods I know can boost my system, even some of the ones I don’t really enjoy. (Luckily, I do love blackstrap molasses on toast, so that one’s easy.)

No, I can’t live like that. Bleh. But I can do it here and there for a few weeks at a time, long enough to donate blood to help someone else. I take it pretty easy for a few days after that, because it sometimes leaves me so depleted I feel strangely hollow. Very weird feeling.

Anyway, Anemic Mel still managed to run both mower batteries out of energy yesterday and today, and I’m still moving. This is extra-amazing to me, because at almost 80 degrees I lose “spoons” (I realize that analogy is helpful for a lot of people but holy shit, I hate it) almost twice as fast as I do at the balmy 60 degrees we had yesterday — one of many reasons we moved to a North Country climate. (Raynaud’s has been an ugly surprise, but this is still better.)

My iron levels must be creeping up toward normal.

I had a couple of days about three months ago where I just had an incredible amount of energy. I got so much done and never once felt like a salted slug on hot pavement — and then I sat down at the end of the day on the second day and wondered, “Is this what some people feel like most of the time? Is this what ‘normal’ energy feels like?” and cried.

I’ve always felt so lazy — even though I’m giving life my all. I judge myself so much more harshly than anyone else does…but I’m working on it.

The field isn’t level.

The playing field isn’t level, y’all.

We are all out here trying. Don’t judge anyone else because you don’t know half of what you think you do. When you look at my fat ass outside mowing, you don’t even know what it takes to be there sweating in the sunshine, doing ordinary things. And I have it very, very easy compared to many others.

Love your body and yourself, and recognize your own progress and triumphs. Be kind to others and to yourself.

“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” –HHDL XIV