REFLECTIONS ON “DO-IT-MYSELF”, SELF-CARE, AND COMMUNITY

17 07 2013

Involving help increases uncertainty. Reaching out to my community of friends, family, and members of Transition Nashville and Cumberland Greens has an aspect similar to going fishing.

“Going fishing” can mean both the exciting school carnival game or being out in nature. I don’t know who is going to be available for what. I just keep asking. Also, the tasks that appear the most important when someone arrives may be different from the ones at the “top of the list” when I made the request. I am gradually relaxing and coming to enjoy this relationship with community and surprising timing and manner of task accomplishment.

In demolition and construction, there has to be an specific sequence of some events. Thus, there is some definite goals. People with strategic skills may not come on the day we initially agree upon. But, I direct my efforts at making the necessary preparations for their arrival and work.

Recently, there was some work that needed to be done as preparation that I genuinely thought was beyond my capability to safely perform. I navigate my life with a tricky back. My spine has received multiple injuries during my childhood and young adulthood, leaving me with a 15 pound loading limit and aversion to bounces. You could say my spinal shock absorbers are deficient. Also, my individual spine members will easily go out of alignment, causing pain. This condition has contributed to my learning to be aware of body mechanics.

Fortunately, I have several good chiropractors. And my body does have great resilience.

The task referred to above, before I wrote about my back, was the removal of drywall that was 8 feet overhead in a about 25 feet x 3 feet strip that was part of the structure that joins the two major parts of my house. Removal of this dry wall enables the workers to get at the wood that needs to be cut so that demolition activity will not harm the portion of the home that can be repaired.

Working overhead is a “bear” for me and in the past my neck and shoulders would tend to seize up after a little while or within a few hours of doing so. After failed attempts to find someone else to do this work, and after discovering technique for my safely getting drywall off of vertical surfaces, I decided to see if I could develop a way to perform this overhead drywall removal.

This was during 90 degree + day  in a building with no air conditioning; only shade from trees and breeze through window openings. I wore a dust mask and goggles. I sweated a good bit,  stopping every 10 minutes, or so, to take off mask and goggles and drink water and cool off. I used a long board and a pipe to punch along lines of drywall attachment and the long board to leverage against a rafter to break out good chunks of drywall. When the drywall was about to fall, I stood away from it, working it with my board.

Anything can be a tool, and physical handicaps can be worked around

Anything can be a tool, and physical handicaps can be worked around

So I am pleased with what all I got accomplished yesterday. I gained more knowledge about how I can safely work with my physical limitations. I was not in hell*, and I didn’t strain. I got into and enjoyed the process. ( I also would have been pleased, only a different flavor, if some other bodies had been around to accomplish this work.) * Martin and I make it a point to live with out air conditioning so as to be acclimated to hot weather and to be developing and practicing strategies for enjoying life with no house air conditioning. However, we do use A/C in a car.

(hubby Martin wasn’t available for this work as he has a beard that interferes with dust mask effectiveness and dust is especially harmful for heart patients)

I have recently adopted the attitude of trusting Life (plug in what name you want) with the occurances of my working alone, with others, or delegating, whichever happens on a given day.

“Asking for help” was something I was conditioned to avoid during my childhood. I think there is a societal conditioning that perhaps most USA’ians are subjected to.  Coming to age  during the age of Feminist movement contributed to my reluctance as well.

Upon the occassion of the birth of my first child, I became aware that I had a struggle with asking for help.  That birth was normal, but I the physical recovery took me several months, during which we were blessed to have a woman living with us who was a LPN and loved babies. I experienced a lot of shame around saying yes to her offers of performing specific tasks.

The anti- help conditioning is to feel of less worth upon asking for or accepting help. This conditioning discourages give and take (sharing ) that is the backbone of functioning community. Functioning community is what is necessary for stepping away from societal reliance on huge amounts of energy used in our automated, mechanized society.

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