It’s been a challenging three months. Winter is always hard on my system and I’ve been getting all my vaccines up to date which has required a fair bit of recovery time. I also found out my cyborg part (an iliac vein stent) needs an adjustment so I’m waiting for a date for day surgery. But, because creative work is what makes me flourish, I’ve done a surprising amount of work in that time.
In December I realized that my routines weren’t working well and were causing me a lot of unnecessary internal urgency so I totally scrapped them and rebuilt them from scratch. It took about a month of trial and error but I now have routines that work so much better for where I’m at cognitively, physically, and with my current projects. My music work is a bit more spaced out now, as is my journaling, but the internal striving and pressure I felt with my old routines is gone.
I do think the impetus for such a large shift is due to my continuing research on the vagus nerve and polyvagal theory. Urgency activates the sympathetic (stress, fight, flight) system, and reducing that means I can come back to ventral vagal (calm and engaged) much more readily which is very good for my entire system.
Note: This has been cross-posted on my ko-fi. There are a few other monthly updates there if you would like to read back a few months.
Another monthly-ish update and another very full month. The main creative work on my plate was teaching a webinar for CHASE Medical Humanities about the visualization process I use to create my symptomatology pieces as well as how to use the poetic technique of homophonic translation to re-vision and re-own dense scientific texts.
It felt good to stretch my teaching muscles again. I’ve been teaching in some capacity since my late teens—music, yoga, and meditation—but had to stop when I got sick in 2015. Despite an ME/CFS crash the day before, I was well enough to present my webinar and the participants seemed to enjoy and get a lot out of the work. A few people even shared their symptomatology image/test pieces on social media. Here are a few:
Gillian Blekkenhorst started with a trachea and expanded their piece from there.
I’m teaching a free webinar with CHASE Medical Humanities in the UK on Thursday, 26 October 2023, 5:30pm UK time, 10:30 am SK time. I’ll be leading participants through my process for creating both the visual and textual aspects of my symptomatology pieces. I’m very excited about it!
I have reached a point in my recovery from ME/CFS that means I am able to write again! ME/CFS is a neuro-immune disease and some of the symptoms include brain fog and cognitive fatigue. When I first got ill in 2015 I was unable to read or write for any length of time because it would utterly exhaust me. I’m very happy to say that I can now read and write with relative ease again.
Most of my writing these days is in the form of journaling, but earlier this year I submitted some of my embroidery work to an anthology about “challenged bodies” and creative work. As part of the In Corpore Sano anthology I was asked to write about my experience of being a creative person living with a debilitating illness and wrote a fairly long essay about that as well as the autobiographical and therapeutic nature of my embroidery work. Continue reading →
There will be a Saskatoon launch of GUSH: menstrual manifestos for our times (edited by Tanis MacDonald, Rosanna Deerchild, and Ariel Gordon with me as one of the contributors) at McNally Robinson on July 17, 2018, at 7pm.
This Saskatoon launch for the Frontenac House multi-genre anthology of writing about menstruation by more than 100 menstruators and former menstruators will feature readings by five of the contributors: Erica Violet Lee, Jeanette Lynes, Yvette Nolan, Brenda Schmidt, and co-editor Tanis MacDonald. All are welcome to attend! This is one of several launch events for the #bloodygreat anthology that are happening across Canada this year.