Two posts in a row; aren’t you lucky ducks? Actually, I stayed home from church this evening because of feeling icky and having back pain and I’m bored. Pastor is in a repetitious cycle through Acts, and I couldn’t bring myself to livestream. So, instead, I thought I’d write a bit.

One problem I’m having with job searching is that local retail positions have this requirement that I can’t meet: Lift 30-50lbs. So, that limits my local “in the meantime” job search to… well, very little. The reason for this is the same reason I stayed home tonight. Sometimes, I catch flak from people who think I skip church just because I can. You get the skeptical side-eye, the “uh-huh” responses, and other looks and tones that indicate that they think you’re exaggerating because you didn’t want to go. Sometimes, yeah, everyone does that. I’m not into the whole “if the doors are open, you should be there!” mantra that people recite. But usually, if I say I can’t do something, I’m being honest.

While I was a teenager, we had a problem with our basement. It turned out to be a mouse-chewed hole in the B-dry system. But until we figured that out, our basement flooded every time it rained. And consequently, we had to clean it out. To do this, we used the shop-vac or the carpet shampooer. The repeated motion pushing this vacuum back and forth all the time damaged the disks between my vertebrae. Instead of looking like this =, a couple look like this <. They’re kinda squished on one side (the stomach side). Then Dad had this brilliant idea to have us help dig a ditch. That helped.

Now, I was a gymnast, so when I stopped being able to move, it was a huge red flag. I couldn’t bend forward, but I could bend backward all day long. A few doctors visits later and a physical therapist diagnosed me. I went through physical therapy, strength training, and stretching because the injury tightened my hamstrings like viola strings. After all that, I could just do my stretches to pretty much fix my pain whenever it flared up. I still had discomfort, but it was usually manageable.

Enter 6 or 7 years ago. We run a fundraiser tent and the day we were supposed to get a shipment, Mom was at the tent, Dad at work, and I was home alone. My back had been bothering me, so I did my stretches to prevent pain. I couldn’t get up. I was in so much pain I couldn’t move. I was basically paralyzed in a half-kneeling position on my bedroom floor, alone, with no one coming home because they expect me to come to them soon.

Somehow, I managed to ease myself up and get my phone, from there I called my mom in tears because I was in more pain than I had ever been in. To this point, we’d been avoiding chiropractors because Mom had a bad experience with one making her injuries worse, and I was kinda scared of the whole idea of someone manipulating my spine. Suddenly, I didn’t care. Mom came home, called a chiropractor near our house, and drove me over there. Within the hour, I was all better. But not really.

Now, I see a chiropractor fairly regularly because I also have nerve pain. Instead of those stretches fixing me every time, they sometimes make it worse. The theory is that I slipped a disk that day. Hard to say. The weaker my core is, the easier it is to throw my back out. This past year, my core strength is super low, so I’m injuring myself a lot. This means I should, y’know, workout occasionally. I’m terrible at remembering to work out. And who really likes establishing that routine? I use Pure Barre, Yoga, Pilates, and old gymnastics and dance exercises when I do workout, but lately I just haven’t been. Plus side to this injury: I can never allow myself to get super overweight…. Lifting heavy things, repeated movements over long periods of time (sweeping, vacuuming, picking things up) are the fastest ways to cripple myself. And it’s beyond frustrating.

Anyway, because of this, sitting in a church pew is like the worst thing in the world sometimes. If any of you have ever tried to sit on a bench while experiencing nerve pain, you understand. So I just don’t sometimes. I’m not going to be paying any attention to anything but how much time is left and how much pain I’m in. The problem with a back injury is that people can’t see it. When you have nerve pain, people don’t see the struggle it is to do simple things. And when they’ve never experienced it before, they can’t understand it. They think and say things about you needing to power through, or suck it up. Powering through is sometimes the absolute worst thing in the world for it. Until they experience such pain, they have no way of knowing how much energy it takes to plaster a smile on your face and sit in the doggone pew just because you feel guilty for missing so much church lately. Or to do simple chores like vacuuming and sweeping. My dad was like this a lot until he had nerve pain about a year ago. Suddenly, he’s much nicer when I say my back hurts. He still doesn’t always get it, but he’s like that with everything. Bro. Matt understands, which is why he let me skip the last work day in Peru. Andrea doesn’t always get it.

So yes, I admit there have been times when I’ve told people my reason for not going to something was because my back was hurting when I actually just didn’t have the energy or patience to sit in church that evening. And if anyone ever tells you they haven’t done that with a headache or something, they’re lying. Pinocchio told better truths. But honestly, it’s usually true for me. I’d say about 90-95% of the time, I’m really just not willing to put myself through that pain when Pastor is still reviewing the same subject for the 39th week in a row.

That’s all I got for now, and my dog is freaking out about the incoming storm, so I’m gonna let everybody get back to pretending they have lives now (be honest, you really don’t). Also mysterious music just started playing…. If I don’t check back in a week, I died because my dog is useless.

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