Monday, December 31, 2012

Leaning in to the New Year

I like to enter the new year with less of a resolution and more of a theme.  2013's theme is inspired by my friend Katie who, years ago, told me that I look scared of the camera in photos. That is a nice way of putting it. I have rarely taken a good photograph. My eyes are usually closed, my expression is awkward, my chin-fat has doubled, etc etc. And that's on a good day. Katie, an actress, told me she thought the problem was that I was leaning away from the camera, like I was scared of it, and that's what the photos reflected. She said in all future photographs I should lean in towards the camera/iPhone/iPad/Device. This seemed like a simple fix. I tried it. It worked! I look somewhat relaxed in photos now, not perturbed, not like I want to be anywhere but there. So with that in mind, my theme for 2013 is "leaning in towards life." I hope to greet the new year with lots of excitement and energy and to step towards things that may frighten me, instead of running away. 

What is your resolution?

And speaking of "bad photos", I'd like to close out 2012 with a photo of my celebrity twin. Isn't the resemblance uncanny?

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Holidays

It's the day after Christmas and it suddenly feels like some sort of stress bubble has burst. Ahhh. Now vacation really begins. Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays and strategizing good ways to shed that chocolate-and-wine-every-night extra five pounds.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Classic Migraine With Aura

I can't stand the fact that I am a migraine sufferer, but I am and have been since my early 20's. You never forget your first migraine. Mine happened when I was in Montreal, shopping at Le Chateau with my sister and cousin. One minute I was dancing down the aisles to the beat of the pounding music, the next I was in a dressing room completely confused that I could only see half of myself in the full-length mirror.

I have what is referred to as Classic Migraine with Aura, which means crazy things happen before the headache arrives. Mostly, things half-disappear, like you're looking at a fractured mirror, unable to comprehend what exactly you're seeing. Sometimes spinning things appear, much like the spinning rainbow orb when something's wrong on your Apple computer, only the ones I see aren't colorful, just black and white. It is a terrible thing, this Classic Migraine with Aura, but it is also fascinating and surreal. It is said that Lewis Carroll suffered from Migraines and his novel Alice in Wonderland was born from that. I don't doubt it. 

These 'visual disturbances' last about twenty minutes and then, like clockwork, the headache appears, aggressive and relentless, usually on one side. It's almost as though they land, and stay a while, sometimes hours, sometimes days. After I was diagnosed, the doctor gave me medicine, but I have never taken it. I find a simple Advil or two or three takes the edge of the ache. I don't know why I'm resistant to anything stronger. And still, it is the aura that ruffles my feathers, not the headache. The aura often takes me by surprise, like the other day, when I was driving to the gym. I parked, checked a text that came through on my phone, and noticed that the letters looked funny - wobbly-like. Oh no, I thought, blinking the oddness away. Maybe I'm just tired? But soon it went from squiggly letters, to full-on fractured mirror. I didn't have sunglasses with me so I closed my eyes as a kaleidoscope of strange and trippy shapes invaded my vision.
My grandmother had headaches that were related to the weather, and although she was never diagnosed as having Migraines, I know she did. She was better than any Doppler Radar. She knew a storm was approaching long before the weatherman announced it. Having studied many a migraine book, I now know that barometric pressure is a big trigger. There are so many triggers: hormones, stress, nuts, bananas, soy, soda, cheese, dehydration, loud noise, smells, the list is endless and kind of humorous. It seems that everything and anything can cause migraine. There are also personality types that are prone to these headaches - perfectionists, people-pleasers, fear-prone...yeah, guilty as charged.

I know people who get these two, three, sometimes four times a week, and I can't fathom what that frequency might do to a person. I experience them four, sometimes five, times a year which already, in my opinion, is four or five times too many. There is not a lot of positivity to be extracted from the experience, but if I had to dig, I'd say that perhaps my headaches connect me to a larger universe of migraineurs, like my grandmother, for instance. Or maybe they are signs from above, or from deep within, saying stop, relax, drop what you're doing and just be. Maybe, if I'm lucky, I can tap into some expansive well of creativity the way Lewis Carroll did. Until then, I suppose I'll just have to roll with my own personal light show followed by my cap of pain, knowing that I am simply one of many who weather this electronic system glitch, this experience of being human.