Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dance in the Rain



Thank you so much for this. It really made my day!
    I think the best part of the quote on the magnet (in case it doesn't go through on your computer, it says "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain.") is that not only is it inspirational but the imagery in it is absolutely breath-taking. Most quotes just say "get through it" or something of the sort, but this quote tells you to actually enjoy the stumbles. I really, truly hope that I can live up to this. Thank to Vivian Greene for saying/writing this lovely metaphor, and thank you to the wonderful person who gave me this magnet. It's in my locker :D
    On a more negative note (it sounds terrible, I know) I have been in soooooooooooo much pain lately, especially with my knees. I was also told by my occupational therapist that because I play so many instruments, I am traumatizing my hands. I was like, "Oh, GREAT!"
    I refuse to stop playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on ukulele, songs I've been writing on guitar, and the songs "Chasing Cars" and "100 Years" on the piano. All of these songs are absolutely gorgeous, and I love giving "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" that Hawaiian feel. I'm also creating a mash-up as requested by a dear friend. I decided to 'mash-up' the songs "Fix You" and "Bad Day" (I now have copyright on this, haha). They both have a pretty similar message plus they're both in the key of E flat, so that helps.
    Alright now that I'm done rambling on about music, I am going to go ahead and inform you that I am in debate club. I think I will be good at debating because A) I'm very opinionated and B) I don't give up easily. I think I will be bad at debate club because A) I tend to not be very loud about my opinions and B) I'm a much better writer than talker.
   I am not very nervous about clubs starting, but I'm not very excited either. Maybe it's part of my natural lack of excitement. I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Of course, when do I not?
   My right arm from about the wrist down completely froze up on me today. I physically could not move my swollen red fingers or warm wrists. Luckily, I bring my computer to type my notes. Unfortunately, it was a fill-in-the-blank thing. I decided to just use my left hand.
    My goal for the summer is to be able to write proficiently with my left hand, that way I can be ambidextrous. If I am ambidextrous, I can just pick whichever hand hurts less. I know, it's a great plan, you don't have to tell me.
    I am reading the book "Matilda" by Roald Dahl for what has to be at least the hundredth time. I love that book like a child.
    I'd like to say thank you to a bunch of people who kind of realized the situation today when my arm was hurting really bad and stuck up for me, whether just by pretending they didn't notice or offering to help. Thank you for being so sensitive to the fact that I didn't choose to have arthritis.
    I'll be honest; I miss the days where I ran a mile everyday at recess and finished my notes before anyone else. It still takes a lot of getting used to on a daily basis. I have been struggling recently trying to decide whether it is better to fight your pain and never accept it or to embrace that pain is a part of your daily life. I have chosen the former. There will be a cure for this. I will not accept the pain because arthritis is not me. It's simply an aggravating addition. While I have gained from it, I have lost from it as well. Arthritis is not something I'm going to accept.
    It's very odd to think that my own body is attacking itself. Literally, I will have mental conversations with my immune system. It is possibly the most pathetic thing in the world, but it gets me through.
   I did another one of those poems with random words in the dictionary, and it will be on my Poetry Page. I also updated my About Me page, so make sure to check that out if you have the time.

Love,
Rachel

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Constructive vs. Positive

    I had myself convinced that my most recent blog post was only a few days ago, but turns out it's been almost a week. I wouldn't be here writing this if I hadn't gotten an email from someone saying they had read my blog (it's in my signature for my personal email). I clicked the link and decided to check things out and make sure everything was running smoothly in the blogosphere (oh my gosh, I thought that wasn't a real word, but it is!). Then, as I looked at the date of Sad Face, it said TUESDAY!!!!!!!!!!! Immediately I clicked the little 'New Post' button, ashamed of myself.
     So now this brings me back here, to this post, because I feel guilty about not posting enough. I want to talk about something I've realized lately. I tend to use the word 'positive' too much, when what I really mean is 'constructive'. When we do constructive criticism in language arts class, it's not a negative thing. It's just somewhere in the middle, with a more positive than negative connotation. The first example below is a constructive thought about arthritis. The second is a positive thought.
     Ex1: "I'll get through this. It'll make me a better person in the long-run."
     Ex2: "It won't hurt a bit. I'm Superman!"
     I think if we think positively too much, then we can just set ourselves up to disappointment. But, as we talked about in my mom's sunday school class at church, if we worry too much (categorized as 'negative' in my book) then if the worst thing possible does happen, we lived it twice. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6
     The argument can be made, however, that constructive things are positive. Therefore, I have decided just to let this go. When I say positive, I am also implying constructive. When I say constructive, I am also implying positive.
     Guess what? I actually got called "opinion-less" today. Lucky me, right? The thing is, I don't have opinions on what I consider shallow questions (yes, I do realize they're just icebreakers) such as, "What/Who is your favorite food/design/artist?" I don't crowd my brain with thoughts like this. Of course, I'm not trying to say that it's not okay to have opinions on silly questions like that, I'm just throwing my own experience out there.
    My right knee hurts sooooooooooooooooooo badly today. I know that was a lot of o's. I'm trying to get my point across. I have been limping on it and I could just barely make it up the stairs. Blogging is comforting, however. The only other place I have to go today is Youth Group at my church, and everyone there is so nice about my arthritis, so I'm not concerned at all.
     Shot in approximately six hours. Yikes!

Love,
Rachel 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sad Face

:(

   I totally missed my blogiversary!!!! It was March 12th. I will NOT miss the next one, I promise. Well, I don't even know what I was supposed to do to celebrate my blog's birthday anyway, but it's still a little depressing. I mean, I feel like one year is a good milestone. At the same time, though, I feel like a year is also overestimated. Like, "oh, it's been a year, I'm still miserable, lonely, etc." or "gee, I should really be done with (insert goal here)". I think the concept of a year seems so long when looked at from an outside perspective, but it honestly feels like this year has gone by so fast.
    Alright, before we get into something super reflective and deep, I will change the subject (I know, you're proud of me). Not that this next subject is any lighter.
     I completely disagree with putting poetry on standardized tests. I think it is completely idiotic to pretty much say to students, "There is only one way of interpreting poetry, and if you think about it in any way different than a bunch of adults sitting in office cubicles then you are utterly wrong." While people may think that I am over exaggerating this, I know firsthand that this is true by talking to some of the students in my language arts class.
     A lot of the poems I have written (especially recently) have had more than one and even more than two meanings. I cannot even imagine the horror I would feel if someone asked to put my poem on a test. The wonderful thing (about Tiggers, is I'm the only one!*) about poetry is that the reader is free to take it and make it their own. It is not usually stated in a very straight-foward way, and that is sort of a license to the reader to create some beautiful connection even with an author who is merely a name to them. But of course, when poems appear on standardized tests, the student in forced to analyze them and this process sucks all of the curiosity out of the poem. Poems deserve discussion and contemplation.
    On top of that, who are test makers to just decide that one answer is right and the others are wrong? I mean, I understand math questions and even other reading questions but questions based on opinions are just messed up. Personally, I think that the student who finds every answer choice correct in its own little way is the genius.
    They say I'm too opinionated. I say they're too dull.

Love,
Rachel


*Quick Winnie-the-Pooh reference for you. If you don't get it, don't worry about it.






Friday, March 16, 2012

Unacceptable

   Hello fellow Blogatorians!
   I am ever so sorry for posting this so late! I know I have been slacking off a bit, so I'll try to make this post a little longer.
    Lately I have had more trouble with my arthritis than usual, which really stinks to be perfectly honest. I thought maybe the methotrexate was making a big improvement, but that was all swiped from me today. I had to wear a knee brace under my skirt (it's finally warm enough!). I was NOT happy about that, even though it's barely visible. Also, my right ankle has really been killing me to the point where I've been limping a little, which is so not okay. Surprisingly, my elbows have been bothering me a lot as well. Though they were the first joints to start hurting, they usually aren't nearly the worst.
    The worst of all right now is definitely my knees. It's like the pain spread downwards from my hips.
    Now to the deeper side....
    Today in language arts class I was just typing up my notes la-de-da-de-da when I decided to take off my bracelet (which happens to be an arthritis awareness bracelet) and set it on my desk, since it was uncomfortable to wear it and type my notes at the same time. "That's a pretty bracelet," my friend S. said kindly.
     "Thanks," I replied casually and then...lightbulb! I realized this was the perfect opportunity to teach her about my JRA. "It's actually an arthritis awareness bracelet."
     "Cool," she replied.
     "Wait, you said arthritis?" another one of my friends who was listening in on the conversation asked.
     "Yeah," I said. He knows I have arthritis.
     "Isn't there already enough awareness for arthritis?" he asked. Of course, he wasn't saying this in a derogatory* manner, he was just curious.
     "No," I said in a very straight-foward way, "There is plenty of awareness for osteoarthritis, which is your classic 'old person arthritis', but I have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which is very different." I absolutely cannot stand it when people compare my arthritis to osteoarthritis.
     "Oh," he said in a sort of dumb-founded way. And inside I was all BAAAAAAM!!!!!!!!! I taught someone a lesson today. I don't mean that in an offensive way, just in case it came across that way.
     It really bothers me when certain people just don't smile and stand there thinking they're better than everyone. I can't understand why someone would enjoy that type of lifestyle. Isn't smiling fun? Because I know I absolutely love to smile. It's the best feeling in the whole entire world. But I do think that I smile too often. I wonder if people know whether I'm using my "I'm smiling because I feel obligated to" smile or my real smile. The real smiles are the ones that stick out to me in my mind.

Too-da-loo!

Love,
Rachel

*I cannot stand this word. Why I used it I have no idea.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Do Speak

    So this is kind of a different version of the Don't Speak post. It has POSITIVE things to say opposed to the negative things mentioned in Don't Speak. I hope you find it useful!

1. "How can I help?"
    Why? Because it shows that you care and are more concerned with me as an individual than the disease I have.
2. "What is arthritis?"
    Why? I put this one in the positive category, but it really has very little connotation. I don't mind if people ask me this (teaching opportunity!) since it's better than just standing there awkwardly.
3. "I'm always here for you."
     Why? This is perfect because you're not saying that you understand but you are saying that you realize that I'm in pain.
4. "What does it feel like?"
     Why? It helps to know that someone actually wants to understand.
5. "Do your (knees/hips/fingers) hurt?"
      Why? I'd rather you ask about specific joints opposed to "do your joints hurt?" since my joints ALWAYS hurt.

As terrible as this sounds I really can't think of anymore (while I can think of a whole laundry list of negatives.) Also, I am really sorry that I am posting this so late. Keep checking back to this post though because I will be adding more as they come to mind. Hope you're all having a lovely week!

Love,
Rachel