Convalesce

“Move like you love yourself.” Peeling up from table top to downward facing dog, I begin to cry. Loving a broken body is hard, Adrienne. But I try to do as she tells me as I struggle through each yoga practice: breathe love in, breathe love out. It had only been six weeks since my relapse began, and I was on my journey through my first 30-day yoga challenge, starting January 1st.

It wasn’t borne out of any real desire to seek a deeper or more fulfilling way of life so much as it was something I could do to pass the time. My other time-fillers were all snatched away from me when my vision and dexterity ran away with the spoon. No guitar, no writing, no Netflix… all chill.

Herbs that taste like dirt and twice-weekly acupuncture appointments brought me out of a dark place. I’d schedule an hour-long lunch at work and powerwalk through China Town under Victoria’s veil of winter rain and into Dr Pan’s Clinic, where my Chinese Medicine practitioner, Yi Kun Zhang, would feel my pulse, check the colour of my tongue, ask me about my energy levels and then load me up with needles and balance a moxibustion box on my stomach. She’d wrap me in blankets, dim the lights and I would be left in a darkened room listening to Japanese water garden music play out of the old CD player and breathe in the thick scent of the burning stick of pressed herbs. It was space meant for healing, and I was healing. I owe so much to a woman I was so skeptical of at first who was just doing her job.

What does it even mean to convalesce? Slowing down, discovering the joys of Moonshine Mama’s turmeric elixir? Accepting the fact that I wasn’t well. I rationed frozen casserole packets Mum had made me at the end of November, only heating them for dinner on nights when I felt more tired than usual. I listened to music or podcasts, lit a candle and my fairy lights and enjoyed the space my mother had created for me to become well. That sprawling fluffy checked blanket to snuggle into and under, the free-standing lamp that cast warm light across my small studio apartment, the string of Christmas wreath entwined with twinkling lights hung over the frame of my murphy bed. The large rug kept my feet from having to walk across the cold click-together wood flooring, the coral bath mat to match the flamingo shower curtain. Even the small pot to boil water on my induction hot plate. Everything was there to make wellness easy. I ran epsom salt baths, and though I didn’t need to learn to be still, I got really good at it. Resting and convalescing is so much more than watching TV and waiting to get back to normal. It’s moving like you love yourself.

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