Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Self-portrait was a mini-novel or at least a blog post

You all know I do a 365days self-portrait thing over on Flickr. I'm about a hundred days till the end of my third year of taking a photo of myself, every day. Haven't missed a day yet. Anyway...

I was feeling semi-creative today, somewhat inspired by the "Costumes" theme in the weekly Fro Knows Photo weekend assignments. Obviously I'm not going to submit this photo, because it's terrible! I should have taken more time with it or something, I don't know. In fact, as I type this, I already know of a way I could have done it better. Lotta good that does me NOW, but let's move on.

This is a copy/paste of what I wrote in the "description" part of the photo.

I've been living with chronic pain for almost ten years. At least, I think its been almost ten years. I can't remember what it was like to not be in pain somehow. For three years, it was mostly knee pain- well, it was knee pain that hurt the most and muted the other pain.

But, I wake up every day and I lay in bed for a moment. I start at my feet and I flex my muscles- little by little. Feet, calves, thighs, hips... all the way up. It hurts every damn morning, but it hurts in varying degrees. Sometimes, it barely registers, so I get out of bed rather quickly. Some days it hurts so bad that it takes me ten minutes to go from laying in bed to standing on my feet. If you don't think that's a long time, just sit there, time yourself, for ten minutes. Some days the pain is so bad that I have to hold onto things to walk out of my room. The bed, the wall, the dresser, the door frame.

So, every day, with this chronic pain, I have to decide what my day will be like. Will I let the pain win? Will I take pain meds in the daytime to get through it? Will I be sad and desolate (the face in my hand- you can't really see it, but I was trying to be sad) or will I plaster on a smile and have a good day, no matter how much I hurt?

I usually opt for the smile. Some of my 365 photos were "faked" on really bad days. I have a fake smile or my smile is convincing, but you can see it in my eyes. I can fool you- most of you are strangers and don't actually know me. But there are a few out there who can tell. Even with the smile, they know I feel awful.

I try not to let it get me down, but some days are hard. Today was one of those days. I set my alarm for an hour early so I could try and photograph the meteor shower. But, I had a hard time falling asleep and then I had a hard time staying asleep. I ended up sleeping through that alarm and waking up twenty minutes later than I normally would. It was a five minute climb out of bed day.

I took some pain meds and a muscle relaxer when I got downstairs. I was in a crappy mood, too. Just bleh. Everything annoyed me- and I mean everything. The way my clothes felt on my skin, the way my dogs were excited to see me, the comments on Facebook, everything. I took a very short and not-at-all-good nap and felt slightly better. But things still irritated me. The disabled guy was acting mildly jerkish and I snapped at him (granted, he was being a jerk, but he didn't need me snapping at him).

So, I plastered on my smile, put on my boots and took my camera out. I took a bunch of photos along the river and ended up taking a bit of a hike at one point (I ended up sweaty and got mud on my boots). And I got some decent photos.

Most days, I choose that smile. And if I'm in such a bad way that nothing else works, I do a little photographic therapy. I still feel terrible. My resting pain level is about a seven on that one to ten scale. When I go to stand up, my legs are so sore and stiff that I can't start walking right away. And my hip, I can't even describe THAT pain. Its definitely a ten.

But, I'm in a good mood. I got out and took photos and people like them. I read some articles on Cracked that made me laugh. And as I type this, I'm an hour away from taking my next dose of pain meds.

Choose your mask well. And do a better job at Photoshop than I did. :)

My pain meds aren't living up to their name or their titles (I've referred to them on Facebook as "Sir Vicodin" and "Lord Cyclobenzaprine"). I still feel awful and moving around is just terrible. And my damn hip, I sure wish I knew what was causing that to hurt so much. I'm just relieved to know it isn't arthritis and I won't end up needing a hip replacement. Here's the photo from today- Day 251 of my third 365days project:

251 of 365+1 part 3: The masks we wear

Anyway, I did get a whole bunch of good photos today. And, here are a few... if you're on my Facebook, then you're seeing these shots again. Sorry. I drove around to various parks so I could safely park my truck and get out to walk around. When I was almost home, I drove by a dry creek bed that I've always been meaning to stop at and photograph. So, I turned around, parked in a business parking lot (they were closed, it was Sunday) and proceeded to hike over to the creek bed- which was muddy, not dry- and take several photos. I ended up with mud on my boots (as they are intended to get on them) and sweaty from the walking and climbing over and around the creek bed. I really miss hiking. Now, if you click on any of these photos, it'll take you to my Flickr and you can look at any of the photos from today (or, well, ever... since that's where my photos are).

Seagulls at Rock River

Seagulls in flight

Flying seagull

From Armstrong-Eddy Park


From Newark Bridge

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