Well, it’s officially summertime.
In the name of full disclosure, I should confess that I actually started this blog back in May, and planned to post it Memorial Day Weekend. But with June being Pride month, there was a bigger time crunch to write and post my last blog, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, and this was temporarily put on hold.
BTW, who saw that Somewhere Over The Rainbow got published on Thought Catalog? How cool is that? In all honesty, I was very proud of that piece and the reception it received. Thank you to everyone who read it, and to everyone who had such a positive reaction to it. I truly appreciate all the love.
Now, with June out of the way, it’s time to get back to this blog, and finally finish it. I guess I should start by apologizing for the break. Let me assure you that it had absolutely nothing to do with my Thyroid, or anything health related. In fact, there was no negative reason behind it at all.
The truth is that both May and June were chock full of events, and I wanted to focus on what was going on. You know, to be present and in the moment, instead of focusing on a million things at once. And I'm so glad I did.
Some events were planned, like AIDS Walk 2017, which was a huge success for Team Baz. It was an absolutely beautiful day, full of love and support, and I would personally like to thank everyone who donated, collected and walked for this amazing cause. Team Baz couldn't have done it without all of you, and now we look onward towards next year.
I also got to attend BookCon a few weeks back, which was really cool. I got to see some friends, meet several authors like Christopher Rice and Chelsea Clinton, and got over forty unreleased books. I honestly have no clue if and when I will get to read them all. But the highlight for me, hands down, was meeting and taking a picture with Peppa Pig. How amazing is that?
And as much as some things were planned, some events were unplanned. I'm extremely happy to announce that over the last few weeks, Jack became a big brother. That's right my fellow Baztards; I adopted a second dog. His name is Gus-Gus, and he's the definition of bat-shit crazy. But let's save all that for my next blog.
Getting back to the concept of being present and within the moment, which is something new for me. Usually I’m the one with my hand in several pies at any time. I would be doing work stuff on weekends or breaks, going to the gym daily, reading a book or two in a day, or running around like a chicken with no head, putting everyone's needs before my own. Basically, I was burning myself out.
To be honest, I was sort of forced to look at my life and change, thanks to my Thyroid. And before I get a million questions, I should say that I didn't always feel run down and exhausted. One of the triggers to Thyroid issues is high volume stress, and when I started feeling my symptoms, it was within a period of utter chaos. But what made this time different was that instead of ignoring what was going on, I chose to actually put myself first and see a doctor. It was probably one of the smartest decisions I ever made, and my life was forever changed.
As somebody living with a Thyroid issue, it had become my responsibility to learn all that I could about my condition. And thanks to the Internet, I had access to so many different groups and research. Through all I have read, I learned that there's a need for people like me to slow down and not overdo it, whether it be extreme workouts or taking on too much. Otherwise, it could make certain symptoms worse.
Of course, I didn't listen at first. If you recall, when I launched this website two years ago, I was dealing with a fresh break-up, readjusting to Jack being back in my home, doing the AIDS Walk, marching in Pride, going up to Boston to participate in a Thyroid broadcast, and still living my everyday life. I also was looking into creating a podcast of my own, as well as wanting to start a Thyroid charity event and a piece of jewelry, registering my website for a Trademark, and starting to write articles for various websites. I thought I could take on the world once I was put on Thyroid medication. BOY, WAS I WRONG!!!
I'm trying to think of a way to best describe what it felt like at my lowest. Imagine being in the fetal position, and unable to move. Or having to wear headphones, not so you can listen to anything, but to block out noise. Or talking to somebody, and watching their lips move without being able to concentrate on what was being said. Or having things repeated over and over again to you because you don't remember what you were told, literally a minute after being told. Well, that's just a taste of the last two years of my life, on and off. I basically would focus all my energy on my job, and pass out once I got home. It was extremely frustrating to be a shell of my former self.
It wasn't something that came on suddenly. These bouts crept up on me slowly, but once they took hold, they were crippling. And they would last anywhere from 6-8 months at a time. I had to stop working out, and wasn't able to do things like watch TV, read, listen to music, or even write. Things began to suffer, including my website. This was no way to live, and something had to give. I had to take back control of my life, and find a "new normal" somehow. Which meant more research, and looking into new medications with my doctors.
Thanks to a lot of begging, and an Endocrinologist looking for a guinea pig, I was put on a new drug protocol, which helped with the autoimmune aspect of my Thyroid condition, and therefor, helped relieve some of my toughest symptoms. But even with all the help I was getting on this new medication, there were still some life changes that needed to be made. One of which was to slow down and not overextend myself. So that's exactly what I decided to do.
At first, I thought I was going to lose it. But over time, I definitely saw a change. I was able to read and write again, and started doing things like practicing yoga, taking long walks, and even playing with Jack in the dog park. My energy level returned, and with it, I found an inner peace and balance. I was able to enjoy life again, on my own terms. And what an amazing feeling that has been.
But something else began to happen as well. I started to really examine my life, and realized how much I appreciated all the little moments that I never put that much attention on before. Things like when Jack curls up into a ball and falls asleep against me, letting out this massive sigh. Or when I look over at The Manfriend while driving in the car. Or when something I’ve written gets recognition. Or when I stare at Gus-Gus, and that snaggletooth of his. All those moments that simply put a smile on my face, and makes me happy to be alive.
I started to realize that life was good. There was no need to push myself so hard, because life was wonderful as is. And anything that were to come my way after that was just an added bonus.
So, that brings me right back to this warm Sunday in July. I'm currently on break from work for a week between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer sessions. And for the first time in eleven years, I don’t have to go into my office during the break. I’m actually getting to enjoy my time off and do things like going to the movies, checking out places I’ve always wanted to try, and just sitting on my couch. At this very moment, I'm sitting in a Starbucks as Gus-Gus has his first grooming experience, and finishing up this blog. For the first time in a while, I’m at peace.
I’m sure you’re wondering where I’m going with all of this, and that’s pretty simple. Life can be chaotic, with or without a Thyroid condition. There are so many factors in life, from our jobs, our finances, our health or our family and friends, which can take us over the edge and stress us out. And if you’re anything like I was, you feel the need to keep up with a world that is moving at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, I can’t give you the answers on how to deal with all that. If I could, I would probably be one the richest people alive.
What I can do is give a little unsolicited advice, and that is to realize that life is not a race, but a journey to be savored. So before you burn yourself out trying to get where you're going, take some time to appreciate who and where you are, how you got there, and those around you.
Live, love, be happy, and above all else, remember the words made famous by Barbara Walters: Take a little time to enjoy the view.
And with that said, I hope everyone enjoys their Fourth of July.