Living with Hypermobility and Deficient Posture Syndromes

I have often written about how to cope with these things and how to take effective action to reduce pain and improve your body’s efficiency. 

I have never written about what it’s like to actually live with these monsters on your shoulder day in day out. Having the pressures of modern life – traffic, work, noise you can’t control, love quarrels, family discussions, sex cravings, differences at work – when all along you know a drop might tilt your glass and take away your ability to very literally take the next step. Walking step I mean.

I work with maths. It has the power to take my brain away from any pain. I dealt with my Father’s one month agony until his passing by throwing myself into maths wholeheartedly, 12 hours a day, which was all the waking time outside his visiting hours.

I do maths for a living now. It’s like having a big lego box to play with. And I do it well. So I often have people around me asking for direction, needing me to give them reassurance and spoon-feed them the next step. My work involves a lot of pressure. And a lot of travel. And I mostly like that.

But with these annoying syndromes, it means my brain requires more “space” than others to coordinate my muscles. And sometimes it goes into over-run when too many things pile up and it has not had time to recuperate. And it just gets overwhelmed. So overwhelmed it switches off my ability to walk. Or gives me extreme dizziness. And all I can do is lie down and hope it will pass. Anytime anywhere. And sometimes with a good rest it all goes away. And sometimes a little meditation is all that’s needed. Sometimes not. Sometimes there is some obstacle in my posture that makes the noise not go away. I have had a full month of dizziness and another of headache with no idea what to do to stop it. Then I have to control my fear and think through the causes that might be making the obstacle. It is often something in myjaw alignment  but sometimes it is some tight muscle for example. Then I need to find someone to help – a dentist, an osteopath, a massage therapist, normally the first. While all this is happening, there are still 15 people at my door asking for this and that. My nephew is still over-eating. My mother is still needing help with this and that. And I must just retreat. I have no other choice. And my boss gets upset. And I have to sit and watch this from my bed and just apologise and feel like shit. And if all this happens during the many months I live alone in London, then I’ll have to go through all that without even a person to bring me a cup of tea. And that’s so scary.

I have been known to be driving and not manage to walk when I get out of the car. To have some strong jaw or back click and just feel my muscle control switch off entirely. It happens because the click changes the relative position of my body and all of a sudden the brain has no idea where anything went and just goes “fuck this” and switches me off. And I never know when it’s going to happen. And as I travel the world doing my presentations that I do and going from airport to airport, I know this might happen any moment. And I have to manage the fear that it brings. Cos I don’t want this thing to dictate my life! More than it does! Cos I want to cycle and climb mountains and do healthy strong things too! And it feels alive and liberating when I do.

Lately I haven’t been managing to cope. I can’t quite manage the fear. I feel anxiety and panic over nothing. Shortness of breath. This started since I found out I needed an operation for something unrelated (?). My brain being more wired up than usual as regards the condition of my body (due to my syndromes) felt the invasion of the cut even if my consciousness registered no pain. Being told the option was between cut and risk of cancer also added to the feeling that I have no control. As no one does. But the illusion of control was what kept time going all my life. Hence the maths.

And so now I find myself entering panic states over nothing. Feeling my throat compress and shortness of breath, inability to sleep. I can still control it by saying “Ana, it’s just fear, it’s not real”, but the shortness of breath stays. I don’t know how to get myself back. And all along still 15 people outside my door ask for help with maths and think it’s all very very important. And my brain would much rather listen to them than face the fear of void. And has me ploughing along despite all the spites. And that doesn’t work.

And on top of it all, every so often I have to deal with someone thinking I’m weak, or vulnerable, or some physical therapist thinking they know so much more about this than I do, when they know so little. What they do not realise is that I have been dealing with sides of this for 15 years! Do you know how strong I’ve had to be to reach where I’ve reached with this Aquiles heal?! I’m just tired. Been doing it alone far too long.

Now that I’ve said all that, and aligning all this left to right has helped, I will go do some micro-cosmic orbit meditation and hope for the best.

After lovelessness

So your parents didn’t love each other. Well, not bidirectionally anyway. Barely had time to notice you or your brother growing up among all the fighting. Your infancy was full of thinking your world might implode any moment now.

This makes your concept of love. For a while you think you can outrun it and maybe make a normal life. Then one disillusionement. Then another. And your brain figured it out. There is no such thing as love. Not for you anyway. Maybe for people who had it easy playing with dolls. Everyone is a disappointment sooner or later. And the best you can do for yourself is suck it up and enjoy life. Travel, enjoy your cognitions, your work, your passing friends, the sun on your face, bet of self-development, more meditation, who knows maybe even nirvana, cut your ties with the past and keep walking. It’s what we’re on earth for anyway.

Why do married men like single women?

They lie, they steal, they lay the burden on you, the techniques differ but every so often a man with a big heart pours his silences open to you and eye in eye searches with starvation for a speck of soul him and his wife lost ever so long ago. Arm in arm and eye in eye, slippery slope after slippery slope that he carefully lays for you, you think you are discovering love all over again, with an intensity you knew was possible but had forgotten existed.

Yet the intensity leads nowhere. The huge wave dies off at the beach. You wind up alone and your man uses all that creativity and light he stole from you to rekindle his own sex life and his emotional life back home. You could almost say the unfaithfulness was his most faithful act. And breaking your heart, knowingly, planned, coldly, was “the right thing to do” and just couldn’t be helped. Oh the irony. Oh the coward.

Girls, if you see lingering eyes offering the water you’ve been drenching for in this crazy big desert of a world, steer clear, it’s a nasty mirage that wants to suck you dry and spit you out, go to the beach instead.

New age family structures

In the last year and a half I have been offered babies three times. Seriously. This drives me up the wall. I think because I am 41 men men who fall for me think I must be desperate for babies and if they offer me babies I’m theirs forever. Big mistake Dude!

I am travelling Italy on my own this weekend. I have just climbed up from sea level to the height of the photo then down again to the closest town, straight into the water before and after, now a sweet meal, and another hike to the next town of Cinque Terre. All around me are couples and groups of people who wouldn’t go to the supermarket on their own. Well probably. And even if I do prefer having company to go to the supermarket , cos it’s soooo boring!!!, out here I had a world of fun walking at my choice of speed (fast:), avoiding all the shops, and not having to coordinate with anyone else’s loo stop.

I’ve always been this way. I’ve never been one not to search for group approval for the fun I fancy having. I’ve always followed my own fun recipe. I’ve learnt to enjoy my own company early on. I have had lonely times, but I’ve outgrown them and evolved a long time ago already!

I do like friends, don’t get me wrong, but I enjoy quality time with them, deep heart felt conversations, then off to another adventure on my own. What I don’t like is superficiality. And hanging out just so as not to be alone.

The other day I fell in love. Bang in love. All we might have had is two days a fortnight and that somehow suited me fine. A life where I do my thing, then meet for a deep heart-felt connection every so often, as long as it’s regular, then go do my thing some more.

Why do I have to give up my independence to fit traditional prescriptions of a life path? My life is awesome already! I enjoy my own company, I have rebuilt my life to have access to loving hugs when I want them, and be there for my own when they need me, I’m only going to give this up if I am so totally in love that I want him around me all the time! This hasn’t happened in years! It’s really unlikely that I’m gonna find someone who likes climbing mountains my style. Or for whom I’d like to climb my mountains differently. 

Why should I have to? I’m not in a hurry! Are you?

How to communicate with the opposite gender

I blame it on evolution that men and women seem to have different communication approaches. Outin the savanna hunting buffaloes I guess it was important to play as a coordinated agile and very quiet team, lest the prey hear! Women on the other hand had the whole house to themselves and the task to understand the emotions of the people therein. Words help to that.

By virtue of the mere chromosomes, some families are gender balanced, and others are mostly girls or mostly boys. And if that’s your case, you may well be screwed for life my friend. Thing is, if you grew up in a gender balanced family, chances you developed gender balanced communication skills, meaning you can get men and women almost just as well. If you haven’t had that luck however, please keep no judgment about how you think they should be like, you are probably wrong.

Women, if you want to be heard by men, here’s the deal:

– Men are not as orally verbose as we are. They go on actions and the meaning of actions more than on words. Listen to their silences. 

– Don’t expect them to get your silences. It’s not that they can not use words, they do use them when it matters. So they assume if whatever it is mattered, you would have spoken about it, verbose as you are and all.

– Speak once, state your aim clearly.

– Never ever repeat. Leave your words to settle and create roots on their own accord. They will but only if you do not repeat. If you repeat, men go into overwhelm mode and you’ve lost that battle altogether forever and ever. 

– If he annoys you, make a sarcastic joke of it and throw it in straight away! Once! Sharp! Don’t go on and on about it. Don’t let it pass.

– Never have serious conversations on what happened yesterday. Your point is to be made when things happen otherwise men interpret an acceptance and that is what they remember, no matter how many times you say otherwise later, cos they don’t remember words quite as loudly as actions.

– When you say you will do something, stick to it. Anything else is interpreted as weakness. I know we are brought up to be nurturing and therefore yielding is loving, but not for them, yielding is defeat and they don’t respect that very much. So be careful what you say. This tip works on children as well, only make menaces you can keep 🙂

– Ask direct questions once, say you’d like to know if he wants to tell you, do not ask again, walk away. He may not have words for your answer and needs to process it himself. Give him time. I know, speaking to men is an art form 🙂
Men, if you’re not getting your women, here’s a few tips:

– Women tend to be more verbose than men. So, if you’re not getting her, try listening. She is very probably trying to say it. Stop and really listen. She will feel understood. Do what she asks if you can. Then offer a hug.

– Don’t bother bringing flowers if you haven’t been listening. Flowers are good for happy times.

– When women get really upset: 

1. incoherent though it might seem to you, women stay silent! They take time to process the significance of what just happened. Unfortunately, men interpret silence as acceptance. Upst!

2. once the full blown situation has sunk in, women start trying to explain themselves in words, which is when you switch off, because “well, they had tacitly accepted it and now they’re going on nagging! Isn’t she incomprehensibly emotional?! And weak, why didn’t she say so yesterday?!” Dude, this attitude doesn’t help! She wasn’t being weak, you aren’t a buffalo she has to sneak upon!, she wanted to think before she acted. Out of appreciation for what you two have together. Now she has decided it did matter and she wants to act. She won’t bite. Just listen a little. I don’t mean sit there and sulk and pretend to listen. I mean try and understand things from her point of view.

3. a long later, women stop complaining. Lord and behold, don’t you take a deep breath! Little do you know that by this time she has given up on you a little more and is starting to cut her ties to you. May leave soon. So do try and listen while she’s speaking, especially to the stuff she is repeating. She will stop repeating after you really listen 😉

– When you listen, look deep into her eyes, to show you are really there, then answer in words. Use words. I know it’s hard but you’re a man, you can do this 😉

– Try to use words to express how you feel when you can. Women really love this, makes them feel appreciated and loved that you trust them that much. And you may feel relief that you are finally understood. The more you share, the more understood you are.

Hope this helps 🙂

Family structures and Gender communication biases

By virtue of the mere chromosomes, some families are gender balanced, and others are mostly girls or mostly boys. And if that’s your case, you may well be screwed for life my friend. Especially if at unawares. I explain with an example.

Mum grew up in a mostly girls family. Her Dad died when she was 14, her 12 year old brother went to study in the neighbourhood boarding school (visiting every day and playing lots of football, so he loved it :). So Mum grew up among women, who communicate like women: many words, people who listen and process and answer back more words, all explicit. Dad was brought up in a man’s house: four brothers! His Mum was short but remarkably strong, capable of smacking her abusive sizeable brother out of his drunken torpours in no time! But in the house reigned a man’s communication style, full of silences and sparsity, probably inherited from the need for silent coordination that comes with hunting large mammals.

Basically, that marriage was doomed before it started. Dad expected Mum to be in peace with her place and share his given values. Which would have been fine had she not mistook his communication with terrible things and turned to repeating herself over tears of frustration for years and years. To me, Dad was so clear. Yet she didn’t get a word. And vice-versa. I’ve seen this around a lot in so many other couples!

I think that if we grow up in a gender balanced family, where both genders are not just well represented but also have balanced power, we are more likely to develop balanced communication skills, not just of how to speak but also how to listen! And we are more likely to understand the other gender not as a box of surprises but as people who have very similar needs to our own and similar means to search for satisfaction. And that is a huge head start in all walks of life, having intuition in understanding closer to 100% of humans rather than just about 50%!

If you haven’t had that luck however, please be aware of this and put extra effort at studying how the opposite gender behaves. Read up, have other gender friends, and keep no judgment about how you think they should be like, you are probably wrong, just enjoy how they are actually like.

Now go and read my next post 🙂

The different flavours of pervasive macho’ism

Macho’ism is expecting women to have a behaviour that corresponds to what society expects of them as followers of the “stronger” men.

People tend to think that Islamic societies are about the most macho’istic. Women having to cover their hair even if they do not want to, or even if they do, is quite macho’istic. And there are countless other examples that we see on the news every day.

But I would argue that macho’ism is present in all cultures, just expressed over different axes:

– in Scotland it’s ok for women to get drunk, as long as it’s not from full pint glasses, cos that’s for men!

– in Northern European countries, many women give up their maiden names when they marry. I explain. If Mary was called Mary Smith, where the Smith name came to her through an endless line of her forefathers, when she marries her name becomes Mary Goldsmith and her identity disappears to be overtaken by her man’s family line.

– if a woman in the UK gets a divorce, she gets half the house, half the money and full parental rights. You may call this feminism. I call it macho’ism. The law assumes we are poor little helpless girls and protects us beyond need and reason. We are equal, Law!!

– on a date, many cultures expect the man to pay. “Dude, I’m a working woman, I make more cash than you, I pay my own shit”! Many women accept this as right and take profit from it. They are macho’ists!

– a woman is expected not to interact much with restaurant staff in way too many places. “Dude, I know how to order my own meal, sorry you can’t handle that!”

– in Southern Europe, where I’m from, men will not ask a woman for help at a man’s job. Assembling furniture is a man’s job. A wonderful Lebanese friend of mine once asked his wife in front of a Spaniard her opinion on how to assemble that IKEA stuff. Macho’ism point goes to Spaniard here.

– a common mistake Western marriages do is, when babies are born, men are unaware that women are biologically programmed to mind only the baby and expect their men to mind the environment, keeping threats away and needing nothing at all. I have seen many marriages eventually die cos the poor little Western couple had no idea this would happen and did not know how to handle it! So when a baby is coming I make a point to tell this to future parents. My Lebanese friend told me “I know, my brother told me”! Uauh! Point for you Dude, for knowing how to care for women’s needs without putting them down.

– US songs are all about bitches and their presidential candidate says all the things you’ve heard. Brazilian politicians are also going on about “stay at home look pretty wives”. Disgusting men whose mothers didn’t teach them anything, maybe cos they too enjoyed all those free drinks at turn out to be so expensive to our place in society, selling us all out for nothing!

Before you throw rocks at other people’s cultures, first check your own. And all the ways you’re lying to yourself about the things you take for granted. There are no superior cultures. Just differences that weigh each other out. And if you think otherwise, you and your peers are very very silly and closing off to great learn potential that comes from observing others with an open mind.

Men are having babies late too!

Every so often, some news paper, some family planning clinic has some poster urging women to have children earlier.

I do agree that it is important to have children when our eggs are more likely to be at their best. Biologically, we are a species programmed for early conception, 18-30, 30 being already towards the late. I also think it is fair to have children when our life expectancy is still long, so that they do not have to suffer too much too son. Finally, it helps if we still have the energy to do sleepless nights, of-course.

But putting responsibility on women alone is so wrong! I know many women who would have liked to have had babies 10 years before they did but men of the same generation were into travelling or womanising or taking charge of their careers or having drunken weekends and would not hear of starting a family.

If we as a society feel we need to change the sensibilities of our youth to have babies when their bodies are still at their prime for it, then we must try and reach both genders in sensibilisatiom campaigns.

If we feel we want to see how fast evolution can adapt to our social changes, then so be it, who knows, Nature has a way of surprising us.

The personal nature of time

Time follows itself so inexorably. My father died in 1993. 22 years ago. How dare the world go on?

The world’s a big party and we are here only for a little time. The show must go on. But the truth of the matter is the show goes on and cares little or nothing about your woos.

And yet my world stopped. And stayed stopped for a really really long time. And then it moved again. Full of dare. And now I hold on to the memory of him as I hold on to a definition of myself, the best part of myself, that I do not want to ever loose.

Different times. For years I thought of living in the UK. To study. Years and years, that seemed to hold me captive. Then one day it happened and now I’m held captive here and any other reality seems elusive. Until it is all of a sudden all that exists.

I have loved. My men have hugged me dearly and told me they loved me and said it with all their hearts, starry eye-in-eye. And now they’re not here. Time has taken them. Time has reduced that feeling to a memory and my reality is void of the presence they once were. And yet when they were a presence they at a point felt not right, not warm enough right here on my toe, and I squandered it, rightly or wrongly, and now the time is gone, I don’t wake up to their SMSs or their hugs no more.

For years I lived in Edinburgh and thought one day I would have to live in London. It seemed like a distant reality. And now it’s all there is.

For a long time, I thought the highlight of my days would always be walking the dogs around the block with my husband after my coveted job. And I felt profoundly bored in my full of love harbour. Where is that now? The female dog sweetest thing ever has passed away and my ex-husband is now married to someone else and loves his children more than life itself and not even I feel like talking to him anymore.

Life has a way of reinventing itself. Of taking us from here and putting us somewhere completely different. Of stealing from us our nows to put us in our tomorrows. And if ever we are really really sad one day we wake up full of laughter again. As certain as winter returning. And rain.

Appreciate now. Don’t worry too much.

Evolutionary misconceptions about women

Evolution is an amazing concept. However, I am pretty sure most modern evolutionary scientists are men. And geeks. With next to zero clue of what women are about.I am hereby raising two flags on important misconceptions:

* there is no evolutionary reason for the female orgasm.

What???

Evolution is a game of probabilities. Generations succeed each other throughout millennia and if there is any reason for one random gene mutation to be even slightly more successful at making babies that remain healthy until child bearing years, that mutation eventually propagates to a large proportion of the population. Simple enough.

So, why would evolution reward women’s orgasms? Well, I would bet that a woman who has orgasms is likely to:

– enjoy sex more (dah),

– have sex more often,

– have sex on the days where she is fertile, not just on the days her partner insists,

– puts a bigger emphasis on mating with a highly biologically compatible male, which research has proven to be the basis of attraction: our sense of smell can identify sexual partners whose immune system most complements ours, therefore resulting in healthier babies…

… than a woman who does not.

What part of that isn’t clear to evolutionary scientists?!

* men are biologically programmed to be unfaithful. Whilst women…

Here the misconception is not of evolutionary scientist but of men in general. They say men are biologically programmed to spread their genes to as many fertile women as possible, which makes new women so difficult to resist. And this makes some sense.

But they should really complete that reasoning. Thing is, men have an endless supply of baby-making sperm. While women have only as many ovules as they are born with, one per month through their fertile years. Which means that, despite wanting trust-worthy men by their side to help raise their children, women get a huge evolutionary reward from sharing their very scarce ovules with men with whom they can produce healthier off-spring, i.e. whose immune system is most compatible to their own, i.e. whom she has a kick-ass attraction for on her fertile days.

So, for womanising men, before you use evolution as an excuse to justify not being able to resist cheating on your wife, sit and think that she has to try a hell of a lot harder than you to resist better smelling dudes than you on her fertile days. And if she manages to do it, puny little you can too. Enough silly excuses!