All I Want Is A Normal Life

Musings from a girl named Normal.

Posts Tagged ‘hiking

Feeling better, thanks

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I saw an Eastern medicine doctor last Monday to check out my prolonged illness and general lethargy. It’s been pretty disheartening, as you can imagine, to wake up every morning as if I’m wearing rocks instead of springs. I never want to go jogging or hiking anymore and I have to force myself to do so just so I don’t lose the ability to do it (you know, from muscle disintegration). But it’s been far from the joy that I used to feel when I went hiking. So, aside from my crazy barking cough that keeps me up some nights, I wanted to address the lethargy.

Jairan had me fill out a questionnaire and give a lot of information about myself, and then took my pulse a bunch of different ways, ultimately determining that I have a weak spleen. And then she let me check out an acupuncture needle, since I have an intense phobia of needles (which I’m now actively working to get over), and then I said I’d be ok checking it out just for one second. So she put it in, it didn’t really hurt, and then I freaked out and couldn’t deal. So she switched to acupressure, which is the same, but without needles. And then she gave me about a million tiny packets of herbs to take daily, warning me that they taste awful and that I should just take them in a shot glass very fast.

So all last week, I did these herbs and took the Wellness Formula pills she recommended, and, dog gone it, I feel better. Not totally awesome, but better.

So today, I’m going for a hike with Diva for a couple hours. Wish me luck!

Written by normalslife

January 11, 2009 at 3:35 pm

What is “normal”?

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On this eve of the first of the new year, I get to opportunistically reflect on the things I have, the things I want, and my purpose in life. I’ve always wanted to be “normal” and have a “normal life” (though most people I know would laugh if they heard me saying that, since my life bears little resemblance to the boring slog that most people think of when they hear “normal” — something I think of more as “quiet desperation”).

Ever since I was a little kid, I didn’t fit in. I looked like a boy until I was 9 and had to get into the habit of asking for the “ladies’ room” because service staff always directed me to the men’s room. I was too tall. I had no friends. Kids made fun of me. I wouldn’t wear a “training” bra and ended up needing a real bra earlier than anyone else I knew. Boys would dare each other to ask me out and then run away laughing. I got picked last in any athletic event I was forced to participate in. “Normal” seemed like this unattainable golden state that everyone else existed in… so when I got to pick my name, I decided that, by hook or by crook, I was going to be normal.

And that’s how I got to be “Normal.” And it really fits me, I think, since I have a regular job that I go to every day at roughly the same time. I have fairly un-exceptional thoughts on a day-to-day basis. I’m not very fashionable, but I’m also not notably unfashionable. I have hobbies like normal people: hiking, camping, hanging out with friends, blogging, photography. Yes, some of my hobbies are un-normal: collecting taxidermy, listening to Cracker all the time, modeling for unconventional photos (right), camping in the desert and applying spark to combustibles.

One thing I think I want to look into for the new year is what really *is* “normal life.” I want it… but do I? And what is it to other people? So I’ve set up a Google alert and will set out to figure out what a normal life is. Wish me luck.

Wilderness Travel Course

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Last year, I really wanted to get into backpacking. Arno (the Ex who I don’t know that I’ll ever get over) introduced me to backpacking as a more than casual hobby, and I really didn’t know how to get going on it without him. I mean, it’s a lot of gear to haul around on just one really feeble body. FUN FACT: if you’ve seen me, you know that I appear to be of average build, when, in fact, I’m of small build with quite a bit of fat… 41 lbs of fat, to be exact, according to my doctor. I’m basically no muscle and have a really lame skeleton. FUN FACT: I’ve broken my arms a total of six times, collectively. So having a helpful (and strong) porter to assist in the gear haul has been absolutely essential to a fine backpacking experience.

Except when that porter dumps you and leaves you wanting the hobby but hating the memories. FUN FACT: the relationship ended THREE years ago, and, for all intents and purposes I’ve moved on — I have a new and fantastic and truly wonderful boyfriend, David, who loves me and is thoughtful and funny and interesting — but there are still several things that trigger a vomitous response in my central chest area… backpacking and camping has been one of those

Last year, I decided I had to get into backpacking to make my own memories that didn’t involve Arno… memories that had to do with me, strong and independent, doing things I never thought I could do! Exciting! Wild! Adventurous!

So a friend of mine referred me to the Wilderness Travel Course, offered by the Angeles chapter of the Sierra Club. It seemed to be exactly what I needed! Friends to go backpacking with in an equal, non-relationshipey, fun, empowering environment! I enrolled immediately and started attending the weekly courses in West Los Angeles (this was before I realized Pasadena would have been closer), reading the assigned chapters in the book, and doing all this homework on navigation, map-reading, rock-jumping, and basically everything I wanted to know.

And then I broke my arm.

I tried to stick with the program, but I could barely tie my shoes, let alone lift a backpack or operate as a functional, independent, adventurous, empowered woman. They let me know that I probably couldn’t come on the part of the trip that involved rock climbing (um, duh). I was crushed by it all, since I was finally doing something proactive about my heartache.

This year, though, my arm is much better and the course is coming up in January again. I’m enrolling and nothing can stop me, and this time, I’m training for the course before it starts. I want to be able to soar up the mountains on agile legs, lifting 40 lbs of stuff with no effort and enjoying blister-free feet because my trail shoes are completely broken in! And so I’m training daily, hiking up my mountain every morning for at least an hour with Diva, who is hardly able to keep up.

I’m going to do this and nothing can stop me.

Written by normalslife

September 5, 2008 at 2:40 pm