Stringing a Necklace

saturnsmallBack in another century, when I still had all my milk teeth, the concept of the year 2000 loomed large in my imagination. And not just mine. It dominated schoolyard games and conversations. We knew we would all be so old by then… 34! We were certain bikes and cars would be relegated to the scrapheap, and we’d zip around everywhere in personal spaceships. Everybody’s brains would be tuned in to a massive television screen that could read our brainwaves and transmit our thoughts at a press of a button to anyone, anywhere in the universe. I wasn’t so keen on that idea: even back then, I loved writing, and the thought that people could read my stories in my head before I’d finished them was a bit disturbing.

Holidays abroad wouldn’t mean travelling to other countries. No way. We’d be rocketing off to the moon and other planets. ‘Other’ always included planets nobody had discovered yet, that were waiting behind a curtain of spacedust for us to discover them. Although I have to admit, I set my route finder for the southern hemisphere just as often as for Saturn. In school assembly, we’d had a presentation/photo show from a seventies version of inspirational speaker.

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black sand, nr Hawera

They’d been to New Zealand, and when I heard about black sand, volcanoes, pumice stones as big as your head lying around on the beach, the Maori haka, kiwis, dense sub-tropical bush, boiling mud pools and natural hot springs, I knew I had to go there too someday.                                                                                

Of course, some of our imaginings about the future turned out not to be too far from reality.  I did get to New Zealand, though

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Wai-o-Tapu mud pools

I conceded to travelling on a conventional aeroplane. Just in time for Christmas on the beach in 2005, my daughter and I took the plunge and emigrated from England.

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Kapiti Island from Paraparaumu

Twitter and Facebook are pretty close to that tv screen. And with the internet, we can write our blogs and share them around the world in a matter of seconds. We’re not quite zipping round in spaceships, but hey, there’s drones to do that for us, satellites relay our communications, and Elon Musk did just launch a car into space.

It turned out 34 wasn’t so old either. Or 44. Or 5… nope, not quite there yet. But old, I discovered, is a wildly fluctuating concept. I don’t plan on being it until I’m at least in my eighties. But life is full of unexpected twists and turns and it seems my body has other plans. My mind is still the curious, creative, imaginative thing it was when I was a primary school kid, but my body has aches and pains far beyond its vintage.

Six years ago, the shooting pains in my jaw, teeth gums and throat I’d been experiencing intermittently for around 40 years, spread into my ear and rest of my face, becoming extreme and permanent. I’d also developed symptoms of cluster headache, which complicated diagnosis, and a whole bunch of other symptoms that didn’t seem to fit under any particular diagnostic umbrella. After many hospital trips, tests, neurological exams, dental surgeon exams, months of research, and second opinions, the face pain was diagnosed as Trigeminal Neuralgia. necklaceOver the next few years, those other random symptoms presented a clearer picture, mainly by virtue of getting worse, and more diagnoses arrived. If rare conditions were beads, I’d have enough to string a necklace.

Chronic pain/chronic health conditions force big changes, place tight limitations on life. This is why I first started a blog. I’ve loved writing since I was very young, creating poems, stories, and novels, sending silly letters to friends. I’ve had a few published pieces amongst my poems, and won a few poetry competitions over the years. I’m focusing this year on a collection of international poems, and getting my novels publisher-ready.

Through adjusting to the reality of living with disability, I also discovered the potency of therepeutic writing. My first blog posts were thoughts on what I was dealing with, reflections on the attitudes and thoughts that helped me sustain myself. I realised too, that my posts helped sustain other people. And so I write. I write opinions, because I have a lot of them. I write poems, because everyone needs to experience the world through different eyes. I write about writing, because I have insights to offer. I write about my health conditions because it helps. I choose Verve, because pain and disability doesn’t have to mean you stop loving life.

19 thoughts on “Stringing a Necklace

  1. You are so right, I thought we would be like the Jetsons now, we do have some of the things that were on the old cartoons. But I really want that machine Jane went into and came out ready for the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some have come and gone! I remember seeing CDs on Tomorrow’s World a year before they were available to the public… and already they’re just about obsolete!

      Like

  2. I’m really sorry about your pain and glad you have found an outlet in writing. I bet it helps other people in similar situations to connect and not feel alone.
    Btw i was living in NZ back in 2009 because of my husband’s job!! What a beautiful country!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Trish, you are a talented writer and I really enjoyed reading this post. I think writing about things we struggle with helps us and also helps so many others know that they are not alone. We can all learn from each other! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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