My Inner Worlds
If you’ve followed my blog these past several months, you know I’ve had a weird allergic reaction affecting my eyes. I finally consented to see a dermatologist, which went against every stubborn bone in my body. He recommended a contact patch allergy test to help determine what chemical I’ve exposed myself to. Last week I went through that sneezy time (because I had to be off antihistamines for over a week) and endured an itchy back for five days. I couldn’t shower or exercise during this time—yuk, I know, but very much worth the discomfort to me and possibly those around me.
While Matt and I thought my back reacted to quite a few of the 69 chemicals taped to my back, the doctor diagnosed only one allergy. The chemical PPD (paraphenylenediamine). The chemical that is in my hair color, my eye makeup, my black leather purse, my boots, and for all I know, in my computer keyboard. I haven’t had the courage to Google that one yet.
The treatment? Stop using these products as much as I can. When asked “Are my days of hair coloring over?” my doctor looked at me and nodded yes. Can you feel the deflating of my spirit? My hair appointments are a highlight (no pun intended) of my beauty regime. One of my friends at the yoga studio voluntarily stopped dyeing her hair and embraced the gray months ago, but that was her choice. I guess I have a choice to still color my hair, but the cost of horribly swollen, burning eyes is not worth it.
The silver lining is that I can still use my leather products as long as I don’t touch my eyes. Well, I rarely touch my eyes, so that should be easy. When I informed Matt, he laughed. “You touch your eyes all the time!” I do? Obviously I must since my eye area hurt for over six months. My body is now retraining itself to NEVER touch the eyes. Never. Unless I just washed my hands. It’s actually difficult to stop this bad habit.
Mascara and other dark-colored makeup contain PPD, so I’ve determined to embrace the true color of my hair (whatever that is) and to not use cosmetics around my eyes. Since I stopped eye makeup a couple months back, I think everyone is used to my more natural look, including me.
Now to test this theory that PPD caused my painful eye reaction. My new mantra: don’t touch the eyes, don’t touch the eyes.
This is my beloved cherry tree—the bottom picture taken this afternoon. Since Matt and I bought our first house, we have had a cherry or weeping cherry tree in our yard. Technically, we had a weeping willow at one of the many houses we’ve bought and sold, but I’m going to count it because it was beautiful with its languishing branches.
I prefer the cherry in full bloom, bright pink flowers decorating the outside view from our meditation room. Last year I developed a color blend of fountain pen ink that looks like a cherry blossom. I’m smitten. And I want those blooms back. Creating a color blend for “snow gray” doesn’t spark my creative muse.
My journal holds a record of when I first spot color on the tree each winter (thankfully it doesn’t wait until spring to rise from the underworld). February 7 is the earliest date I’ve noticed, exactly three weeks from today. The latest is towards the end of February, but I don’t want to wait that long this year.
Some part of me wants to make a philosophical analogy about our inner selves looking like this tree at different times and seasons in our lives. But the part of me that has been working non-stop since Christmas doing CPA stuff says, “Stop writing. Take a nap. Watch TV. Your brain is tired.”
Like the cherry tree, I’ll be back in February…when my workload is more normal.
Today Matt and I celebrated twenty-five years of marriage with two naps, yoga, meditation, writing, and dinner at my favorite restaurant Cowfish. We planned a low-key day because our gift to one another was being debt-free. For the first time in our married life, we owe no one money. It’s a cool way to memorialize our first quarter of a century together. And in the universe’s supportive style, the title to my car arrived in this afternoon’s mail.
Registration for an integration workshop in Arizona opened up this weekend, and we are set to explore our inner selves more deeply in 2018. Matt has some big professional plans that should unfold over the next several months, and we are excited to experience the change that it will bring into our world. I want to get back into writing fiction, but that resurrection can’t occur until my workload lifts in February. Before anything, though…yoga. Straying from my yoga practice since early November has shown me how much my body needs the regular sweating, stretching, and connective tissue care. That has to come first in my decisions on what I will transform in this new phase of our lives.
Here’s to a happier, healthier, and more integrated year for all of us.
Technically, it’s half a snow day since my office opens at noon. Also, I could work from home, so I really don’t get a snow day. But I’ve taken this morning's hint from nature and slowed down. When the weather shuts down a city (as a dusting will do in the Southeast), it’s wise to also take a moment or two to go inside and see what’s happening.
My body has been whimpering for yoga. The past couple of months have been my busy time at work, so my yoga practice has suffered. I’ve accepted this is the natural flow of the year for me, for as long as I have my current job. Since I love my job, I’m accepting the cycle of church accounting life.
Enter snow day. My yoga mat unrolled itself in my exercise room. My Yin props floated to the floor from the corner where they have gathered dust for weeks. And I enjoyed over an hour of quiet, except for listening to my body telling me that all the progress I made with six solid months of yoga practice will be for naught if I don’t have a plan for a semi-practice during the winter months. Either my yoga instructor sees me regularly, or my chiropractor does. I’d rather spend my time and money at the studio because I feel awesome every time I leave.
As I write I’m eating a hot breakfast, not my usual fare during the week. Taking the opportunity to leave routine is fun. Now I have to figure out if it’s safe for me to drive on this road…