I received my first invisible illness diagnosis when I was 18. Since then, I have had my fair share of trials and tribulations. Society as a whole does not know how to manage or deal with those of us who are spoonies. The concept of spoonies originated in an article written by Christine Miseroandino. Spoonies are individuals who manage and live with invisible illnesses. Spoonies measure their level of energy by counting ‘spoons’. Everyone has a different number of spoons they start each day with. My fully charged day starts with 7 spoons. Depending on my pain levels, mental strength levels, and energy levels will depend on how many are used for particular activities. Some days it take three spoons to get out of bed. Other days it can take me just one spoon. Being an entertainer and a spoonie is a fine balancing act.
When I started dancing and performing I was in great shape. I had just had a baby, however I was also in the military and I was fit. I was a high energy, fast-paced dancer. I never had much confidence in myself to perform slower acts. My mind measures success if the crowd is hollering during my performance. If they were silent, then they must not be that entertained. Naturally, this is not the case however brains are a weird ball of anxiety induced thoughts at times.
My chronic pain never really got in the way of my performance before. I was able to stretch it out, take a hot shower, or take some as needed medication, like ibuprofen or lidocaine patches. I am a resourceful person. I was able to learn about my muscles, read about which ones were most likely to be affected, and practice appropriate stretches for those areas. I am very fortunate that stretching is an effective pain reliever, it is not for everyone. I have discovered some great stretches and exercises to assist with my chronic pain (I will be posting some videos shortly.).
Discovering what works for ourselves is key. We all have different bodies with different forms of relieve. I have found stretching to be the absolute best for relieving most of my pain. This is not for everyone. I recommend researching what works for you and your muscles. If you know how your body works and how your muscles move, you will understand what may relax them to relieve discomfort and pain. Pinterest has been a great resource.
However, the last 5 years has been, let’s say slightly difficult. Mental health can be a messy thing and when I get in my head, I experience several different emotions. My brain lies to itself and makes excuses to not pursue or enjoy certain things. I have been lucky enough to have a very supportive girlfriend, I realize not everyone has a support person like I do. She is my FP (favorite person). Lately it has taken me 3 spoons just to get out of bed and start my day. That only leaves me with 4 spoons for the entire day. After some water, breakfast, and coffee (and sometimes mermaid lemonade), I can gain back at least 1 spoon. That’s the great thing about spoons, they can be gained back. I try to be mindful of my emotions and handle them appropriately as they change. Thanks to the right combination of medication, cannabis, and self care I am feeling pretty darn good.
Stay tuned as I discuss what it takes for burlesque creativity to flourish when spoons are low.