I’m so hot.

Being a freckled, Irish strawberry blonde, I’ve always been sensitive to heat. I have to be careful about sunburns because, oh buddy, they happen quickly and are brutal.

About two years ago though, I noticed that I was sweating all the time, mostly along my hairline, and even in situations that didn’t seem to warrant it. It also gave me a sense of claustrophobia and drained my energy at a faster rate. I started to choose activities based on temperature, no joke.

Fast forward to this past fall, when I finally started getting answers to my health questions. It turns out people with fibromyalgia often have temperature dysregulation, an inability to moderate our own body temperature. While it looks different for each person, for me, it means:

* being warm/hot 95% of the time

* even when the weather is freezing (hi, I’m a Minnesotan)

* a shower or blowdrying my hair can make me feel like I’m experiencing a hot flash

* I’m ultra sensitive to it to the point where I feel like I can’t breathe well and experience exhaustion

* I have a fan on while those who share my office have their space heaters going

* even coming in from a cold Minnesota day into a regular indoor temperature feels like such a sudden rush of heat that it spreads across my body, my entire scalp, and across my jaw

It’s actually been really good to read up about it. This is a particularly good article, but there are so many articles written and studies done on fibro and temperature problems.

What this means for me, much of which you will never see:

* when someone suggests an activity, I judge it based on how warm/hot it will make me and what opportunities I will have to cool down (for example, going to an outdoor baseball game in the sun would be a terrible idea for me … going hiking would be actually detrimental)

* When I feel myself overheating, I have to stop and cool my body temp down; letting myself pass a certain point will actually make me sick for 2-3 days. It’s better to just go stand in front of my open window for 5-10 minutes and cool my core down.

* it has very little to do with my weight and everything to do with my hypothalamus.

* I have to be careful with exercise. Walking and yoga do the trick; cardio would make me sick for a week.

* I’m ultra aware of not dressing too warm. I can only wear sweaters and fleece in the coldest weather. I barely wear a coat, even in winter, though I do bring it with me (safety first– Minnesota’s winter temps are no joke!). If I dress for cold weather, I need to wear layers because I will likely need to cool down layer on in the work day.

* Cooling down the palm of the hand helps cool your core. This is key.

Why am I telling you all this?

First, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on with me. Maybe this will help someone else.

Secondly, it’s a friendly reminder about invisible illnesses. Your friend or colleague might be dealing with something that doesn’t make sense to you, but it doesn’t mean it’s not real.

Thirdly, usually the person inside the body knows it best. Well-meaning friends can make all the suggestions they want (“Come to my spin class!” “You’ll feel better if you just …”), but it’s your body. You know what will feel better or worse. Trust yourself. Trust the body owner.

Being a Creator is Uncomfortable

Writing a novel is a long, difficult journey full of emotions. Some days I’m thrilled with my work; some days it disgusts me. Sometimes I feel a sort of writer’s high; often I am in a slump.

But amidst all the join and pain of writing, I experience this level of … discomfort. Discomfort is probably the best word for it.

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I’ve been thinking a little bit about it, and I have a few random thoughts. Do you care if I use bullet points? Thanks.

  • My discomfort stems from having something incomplete. I understand that the nature of creation is that something is being created and that likely doesn’t happen in a moment. But I hate having messy drafts. I want to know that if I got hit by a bus today, something could still be done with my manuscript. (Gruesome much, Sommers?)
  • I think this discomfort is a huge reason for how driven I am in writing. I go into beast mode as I write and revise. And it’s all because I want to get the manuscript back to a modicum of order.
  • Does this say something about my innate desire for order? Maybe. (Though you would not think that if you looked at my bedroom. #tornado)
  • I’m thinking about God creating– some think he made the world in a literal six days (and rested on the seventh), some think those days are just metaphors, some think there is no God. But I’m intrigued at the idea of him hammering through all this creative work and then finally getting a chance to rest. Sometimes I feel that way too. I have to get this work done before I can properly rest and recover.
  • I understand that I need to learn to live with this discomfort. It’s been the major lesson of my adult life: learning to embrace uncertainty, learning to stay knee-deep in discomfort until I acclimate. I am trying to stretch these lessons to my creative life. I tell myself I only need to revise 1000 words a day … but then I barrel through and do 10k because I can and because it’s uncomfortable and because I want to get things back to good. But how much more will I learn if I stay in the discomfort? I don’t know.

Just some thoughts for you. Would love to hear if these ideas prompted any reaction in you.

Thanks for being lovely.