Sunday, August 31, 2008

Don't Quit Your Day Job

Creating and a Pain in the Neck

Lately, it’s been more of a challenge for me to write. Not because I have writer’s block or because I’ve been working overtime at my day job. No, my problem has been physical.

Five years ago I wretched my neck when the toilet overflowed in our new house. I was in the bathroom for several hours lifting water drenched towels, wringing them out and replacing them on the floor to soak up more water. I did successfully keep the water from seeping out of the bathroom and on to the hallway carpet, but my great efforts were met with waking up the next morning and not being able to move my neck…at all. I went through physical therapy, but my neck has never been quite the same. My day job has me in front of a computer all day. I try to move and get up from my desk often. I pay attention to ergonomic teachings. I have the right kind of keyboard and my screen positioned where it should be. In the end, however, I clock in a lot of hours at the computer and now I want to come home nightly and spend several additional hours doing more of the same. Really, something’s got to give.

As my neck pain has increased over the years, I’m now faced with pain I can know longer tolerate. This affects my daily life and frankly, some days, keeps me from writing.

Ironically, I’m writing more than ever and I’m loving it. Why is this roadblock coming at me now? I worried so much about other obstacles getting in way that I never thought that choosing to write could be like a professional athlete who becomes injured and can no longer play the game.

Well, I’m not going to take it lying down. Last week I began acupuncture and I’ve been doing yoga stretches and Feldenkrais. It’s a pain in the butt to have to do all of these stretches and exercises every night before bed. Even sleeping can be disruptive, as certain positions cramp up my neck. Yet, like the athlete who overcomes their challenges to hear the cheering crowds at their victory, I will find whatever works for me to manage my pain. I’m not giving up. I believe sometimes, these challenges show and guide us towards our true self. If this was merely a hobby, I’d be sad but I could walk away. Instead, despite the days when I come home from work, only to be useless and unproductive because of the pain I’m in, there’s a part of me that’s elated to have proof that this is what I truly want to do and that writing is a genuinely essential part of my life.

If any of you reading this have any suggestions, bring em’ on!

1 comment:

Lois J. de Vries said...

I recommend Miranda Esmonde-White's series, Classical Stretch There's one just for back pain. Miranda developed her stretching routines to deal with pain from her own broken back. I found relief from a long-standing shoulder pain through these exercises.
Some public TV stations also carry the series.