Meet my inner Tween

A cross-post from Facebook with a couple of interesting updates

It’s been almost a year since Opie joined Magnum, Katy, Chunk, Despereaux, and Tootsie across the rainbow bridge. I never realized how much he was keeping me moving.

I’ve had a general sense of bleh, ever since. It took me a while to realize that it was losing Opie that had tipped me to the “failure to thrive” side of pseudo-living.
I’ve tried several times to get it together. I’ve used apps and lists, I’ve chatted with friends about it. Drew and I discuss this all the time.
I’ve mentioned that I’ve been doing counseling and it’s helped immensely. My counselor is young and I kind of like that. 🙂 I told her about the Habitica app and she pointed out that most of the tasks and habits I’ve listed are related to physical or mental health. She asked what happens if I don’t do all of my tasks. I told her that my little avatar will lose health, and if I don’t straighten up, my little avatar will die.
She said, “do you think of that Avatar as you?”
I told her that I do, but that doesn’t really motivate me.
It did get me thinking, though. Twelve was probably the worst years of my life (at least before adulthood).  Everything changed, and I felt adrift and alone with no one to comfort me.
So my avatar is now Tween Jenna.
It’s amazing the difference that has made. Last weekend, I had to go to Walmart. I went early so that I could get a mobility scooter. There was one left, so I got in and started backing out to go into the store. I noticed an elderly Asian lady watching me. I think she was waiting to see if I was returning it. I started to drive away, and she began to walk out of the store.
I called to her, “Ma’am?” She turned back. “Do you need this?”
She smiled, but language was a barrier, so she just smiled and nodded.
I got off of the scooter, pulled my things out of it, and stood to the side and said, “please,” and gestured to the scooter. I know the fact that I was wearing oxygen was causing her to hesitate. I said, “Please,” again, and patted my heart. Then I nodded to her and said “have a good day.”
I really didn’t have much to buy, so I got a regular shopping cart, walked slowly and got everything that I needed. On the drive home, I thought, “that is totally something that 12-year-old Jenna would have done!” It made me smile.
I’ve been keeping up with my tasks pretty well since then, including going to an orientation at the Humane Society so that I can volunteer with the dogs. I have a couple of more trainings to do and then I’ll be allowed to take a dog for a day as often as I want. That’s all kinds of joy-sparking!
Getting up in the morning is hard. Even when I sleep well, I often wake up feeling as if a giant weight slept on top of me. One of the tasks on my list is to get out of bed by 8 AM. This morning, it took me until after noon. Still, I took all of my meds, used the inhalers, flossed, and did all the stuff I could do sitting on the edge of the bed. I had a little argument with Tween Jenna at this point, because we both know that if I don’t eat right away after taking meds, I’ll vomit. But if we brush our teeth before we eat, everything tastes funny. But if we eat first, I’m less likely to go back and brush.
She said, “But you know I would.” I said, “I know you would, but I also know that I won’t. Do this for me, please?” That may seem like some sort of break from sanity, but it worked. It made me feel good.  And my teeth got brushed.
It’s easy for me to make excuses because… well… lung-disease.  So on Sunday night when I was feeling particularly exhausted, I was getting ready for bed and started thinking about brushing my teeth.  “I already brushed them once, today, so it doesn’t really matter if I skip it tonight.”  I had just about talked myself out of it, when I remembered all the times I was expected to “understand” when there were valid excuses for missing my concerts, my events, etc.  I never made anyone feel guilty for neglecting me, but it hurt to not feel like a priority.  So I thought of my Tween Jenna and having to explain to her why  I chose a few minutes more of sleep over keeping her as healthy as possible.
So I brushed my teeth and went to bed satisfied that this is motivating me, for now.
The picture above was AI generated when I asked it to create a picture of a middle-aged woman being comforted by her 12 year old self.  I love this picture.
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