Is It More Probable?

Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course. But we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time. It is therefore at least millions to one that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.”

— Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (via philosophybits)

179// No Pressure

Feeling better today, in some ways, a little worse in others. I can tell I’m slowly coming back from this UC flare but while some parts of my gut are healed other parts are still very inflamed and the pain though more localized is much sharper. Still, I’m happy to see any positive signs at all and I’m committed to continuing to rest, to take care of myself, and to go on getting better and better.

I had planned to spend time with my dad and my brother today, but that has been cancelled. It’s fine. I’d rather be home right now anyway, but now I’m unsure what to do with myself. I know what I should do: write, but I don’t know how to get in the right headspace when I feel so cruddy. I can manage a paragraph or two, I suppose. I think that’s all, and more than enough, I can ask of myself right now.

I could also read. I’ve fallen far behind where I should be or my reading goals this year and I desperately need to catch up. I have plenty of Penguin Little Black Classics to go and some new ebooks I downloaded for free from Verso books. I’m sure I could get through one or two of the former and make real progress through one of the later.

The main thing is there is no pressure today. A day off does nothing good for you if all you think about is what you should be doing instead. Then you either dwell on the guilt or avoid it by losing yourself in social media or mindless TV. When you get rid of the guilt, you are free to do what really feels good and right, not what helps you escape. That’s what today will be. No obligations and no guilt. Just what I really want to do.

178// Home Alone

It’s the first day of my brief break from work and of course all of my plans have already been stalled or derailed. This ulcerative colitis flare is causing me a lot of pain and making concentration hard to maintain, but reminding myself that laying down for a few minutes doesn’t mean the day is over. I have to keep getting back up and trying. The system is working so far but I know soon 10 or 15 minutes won’t be enough and I’ll need an hour or so away from my desk and probably a good nap.

It feels good to have the house to myself for a while. Lately I’ve been working longer hours than my wife, leaving before her and coming home later too. I love her but everyone needs time alone with themselves and their thoughts. On days like this I am always struck by how much I have changed in relation to myself. I used to hate to be alone with my thoughts. I didn’t like myself and the thoughts and feelings I was forced to face when no one was around distressed me greatly.

I still find myself rather frustrating and annoying at times, but underneath it all I’ve learned to love myself these past few years. I’m interested in what I think and feel and I’m eager to get to know who I am without other people around to please or compare myself too. I feel peaceful when I am alone now. I feel safe.

177// I Can’t Hide From It

It’s been a while since I’ve been here. I’ve been struggling to find the energy, the motivation, the focus, the want to do anything but work and sleep and scroll. Each morning I begin anew, I think, and each afternoon every goal, every plan, every to-do item flies out of my head and I lose hours to the void both growing from inside me and crushing me from without.

Each night I sit with the same mistakes and regrets and make the same promises and threaten the same consequences to myself only to wake the next day and find nothing changed. I thought it was a matter of willpower, but I have none at all to make a stand with. I thought it was the fatigue and though that certainly plays a role; it is not the only thing wrong.

The truth I’m just not myself anymore. In this volatile and rapidly changing world, I have been swept, driven, dragged along so far, and at such speed from who I was—who we all were—that I hardly recognize myself or the world. A lot of what has changed both inside and out has been good. So much gives me hope, but so much has terrified me and broken my heart too.

All that change was too much at once and in the midst of it all, I lost my footing. Now I’m disoriented. I’m ungrounded. I’m unsteady. I’m powerless and immobilized.

Covid-19 has been bad enough, but the constant barrage of vivid suffering and searing anger being broadcast across all platforms and outlets is more than I can process. I’ve tried to escape it. I’ve tried to face it from a place of peace and safety. I’ve tried to segment my anger and pain from my day-to-day life, and I’ve utterly failed.

Last night I read the transcript of Elijah McClain’s arrest last August. I remember this case from the news when it happened, but there was no audio released to the public then. Hearing the pain and fear in this young man’s voice and reading the kind words he spoke to officers even as he struggled to breathe shattered me entirely. I cried for him. I thought of loved ones who look like him, who are different like him, who might one day be stopped by officers for no reason other than for being Black and different just like him. I cried for them too. I cried for all of us. I’m tired. I’m hurt. I’m angry, and still, I am so, so hopeful.

I’ve realized that I can’t hide from the world. I can’t plant my feet and live in an unchanging bubble within the chaos. I’m a citizen of the world and there is no separation between all of it and me. I am made from it and it is made from me, and you, and all of us everywhere and because of that I have a responsibility, if nothing else, to stay connected, to feel with all of you.

To that end I’d like to try again to use my tiny power and platform to say their names, to tell their stories, to shine light where darkness has given rise to cruelty. This is my place to cry, to shout, to argue, to demand, to grow, to change too.

We have to learn to hurt in the open, together. We have to learn to be comfortable with what is uncomfortable. We have to lean into change because the truth is, the faster we change, and the more fiercely we change, the more lives we can save.

Now, I am getting used to change. I am embracing change. I am demanding change. To be part of the world is to accept that each day will carry with it some new happiness, hope, or heartbreak, but this is the joy of being alive, of being human, of healing, and, ultimately, of loving.

170// Learning

I spent the early morning learning about the administrative side of CPR instruction once again, only this time I’m learning by doing. It’s so cool to know there will be people walking around with little certification cards in their wallets with my name. It’s very cool to know one of those people might save a life one day.

The rest of the day’s meetings ran longer than I expected but they were good and, as so rarely happens, productive. By midday I was feeling a bit woozy. I hadn’t eaten anything beforehand and though it was somewhat intentional I hadn’t meant to go so long without food.

For the past two days I have consumed my usual foods and calories but within a shorter time frame, moving breakfast up to after 10:00 AM and bringing dinner and dessert to before 7:00 PM at the latest. That comes out to about 15 hours spent consuming nothing but coffee and water.

I’m doing it to lose weight, but that isn’t the only reason. I’m still eating the same amount of food. I’ve just stopped grazing all day so my body has a chance to use up its excess energy reserves before I eat again. In addition to the weight loss benefits there the chance for my gut to rest between days. Increasing my ulcerative colitis medication dosage has helped, but even in a mild flare food is very irritating to the gut. By increasing the time between dinner and breakfast the next day, I can decrease that irritation and heal faster. At least, that’s my hope.

169// Close to Burn Out

We’re in day four of over 90-degree temperatures. The heat has been bad enough but today there is little to no wind and a nasty brown haze hanging over the city. The air feels thick, and the sun is blinding and brutal. I’m looking forward to tomorrow where the heat wave is set to break with temperatures falling to the low 70s and rain teased for the evening.

I helped out with another CPR and First Aid class today. My team and I did the math and by the end of Friday we will have certified approximately 90 employees. We’re already close to burn out but we’ll have a two-week break to recoup. In the meantime, there is still a lot more training to do. We’ve got a small group of new employees starting and existing employees to recertify in other areas before the school year starts too.

At least it’s starting to get a little easier and a little less nerve-wracking. I’m finding my groove and by the end of the summer I’ll be well past my own requirements to keep my instructor certification. I can’t believe I ever doubted myself. I am so much more capable than I give myself credit for.

I’m back home now and struggling to do anything that feels productive. This after work fatigue is forcing some serious limitations on my goals and putting me in a really negative mood. I’m frustrated and disappointed, but I’m trying not to take it out on myself. I need the rest more than I need the check marks on my to-do list, but I had really been looking forward to the satisfaction.