Happy I guess it’s Thursday now!
Today we are talking pugs, post-exertional malaise, what to do when the vibes are off and there’s nothing to be done about it, and my favorite question…
And just some notes before we get into it
This week’s essay is delayed because we had to switch hosting platforms, and it took longer than expected!
Oh, also FYI I am still somehow on twitter which is now X, and sucks, but I’m there (@havi), just barely hanging on but you can still find me there for now, and am on bluesky, same handle: havi.bsky.social
Okay, I didn’t want to write today because my feelings are too big, too feelings-ey, but sometimes that’s how the truth comes out. Let’s begin and see what happens. A breath for right here right now.
What do I need right now?
The vibes are off today
The vibes are off today.
Yet again (yet again?) feeling very unstable, but is that the stress, the heat, the hormones, the astrology, the built-up pressure of the to do list, the agonizing frustration of dealing with [an unsolvable situation that keeps getting more complicated], hurt about a new betrayal that is not like the other ones, definitely pms, some exhaustion from not sleeping enough, the barometric pressure bending my mind…
And the no bones situation (will explain shortly), that’s also a thing.
Who can say. It’s a lot of factors. Probably some I’m forgetting.
Also we lost Sinéad O’Connor on Wednesday, and if that isn’t a rip in the fabric of collective consciousness, a tear and a tear (something torn, drops shed in sorrow), a disruption in the force, I don’t know what is.
I listened to Nothing Compares 2 U on repeat for hours today in the kitchen, high volume, windows open, that’s one benefit of living way out in the country, no one to disturb except the hummingbirds and the bunnies, and they didn’t seem to mind.
What a force, what a special person who cared so deeply and was right about so many things, and wronged by just about everyone. If you haven’t already listened to the You’re Wrong About Sinéad O’Connor episode, please listen to it.
In 2017, in the throes of hearbreak and rage-fury, I set off on a road trip that ended up lasting for six weeks, I called it my Scream Across America tour, and that’s basically what I did until I lost my voice for the tenth time, and figured I should stop damaging myself.
But when I wasn’t screaming, I was listening to that song on repeat.
Not because it conveyed how I felt about that person, who was and remains unworthy of a song of that caliber, but because it so accurately conveys the vicissitudes of heartache, the intensely contradictory elements that a grief spiral is composed of.
This is a song that holds the blankness of grief at the same time as the pain, the lashing out, the pleading and bargaining, the denial, the attempt to convince yourself that maybe it’s good actually but also the flowers died, but also you have to go out all night so that you can sleep all day, the extravagantly poor choices we make as a way to drown sorrows, all of it at once.
All of it at once
Yes, it was written by Prince, but she breathed life into it, you can feel the lived experience of raw broken-heartedness, and that is the state I was in when my voice was gone, Wyoming becoming South Dakota, becoming Minnesota, and so on.
This song, over and over again.
All the feelings, all at once. Combined.
Last week I was in Tucson getting treatment for my back pain and attempting to take care of [all the many things that need taking care of except I can’t take care of them on my property when I don’t have phone service or reliable wifi].
The drive back was brutal. Absolutely harrowing.
I left hours too late and it was already close to dark. As I headed onto the freeway, a huge dust storm started up, violent winds, almost no visibility, debris flying across the road, trucks veering out of lanes.
It turned into a lightning storm, huge flashes of lightning cutting through the sky every ten seconds or so, and then a massive downpour, also impossible to see anything, then back to lightning.
Drove through a fire zone with terrible air, then more lightning storms followed more rainstorms, a risky passage across the continental divide, a a bunch of deer suddenly in the road, more storms.
Just white-knuckled it for hours, arrived after midnight, unpacked the car in a storm.
Rest and more rest
All of that was way too much, and especially too much for one person, and especially too much for one person who is me.
I spent the weekend resting in bed, and that was not enough rest, so have been resting or mostly resting most of the week.
What’s a better term for PEM (post-exertional malaise), I asked this question while journaling and couldn’t find an answer but then an answer found me.
Bones day: y/n
Sometimes a clue comes in the most delightfully unlikely place, and I got mine from an old episode of The Blast Zone (a favorite podcast).
The question of the day is:
Is it a bones day or a no bones day?
Apparently this is one of the many social phenomena I missed out on during early pandemic, but it seems there was a popular and ancient pug named Noodle who was on Tiktok.
The pug’s person would lift Noodle up each day and ask if it’s a bones day or a no bones day, then set Noodle down. If he remained upright and stable, it meant yes, it’s a bones day, and if he collapsed into a pug-puddle, that’s a no bones day.
The trials and tribulations of being an anxious sweetie
I did not know of this pug they were referencing, but of course am picturing it like Josh Gondelman and Maris Kreizman’s pug. Bizzy.
Please read this wonderful piece about Bizzy, which includes this absolutely delightful bit:
And we’ll say, “Yeah, we’ve heard of CBD, and it doesn’t work for our anxious Jewish dog. She has a stress more powerful than CBD can remedy.”
I am also an anxious Jewish sweetie pie, and my stress is, tragically, also more powerful than CBD can remedy, so this is extremely relatable content for me specifically.
Rest in puddly peace, Noodle
Okay I also looked up Noodle, who sadly passed in December 2022, and then I read this essay that I momentarily thought was AI, but it’s by a person, though who knows, possibly my perception that I am regularly reading AI when I am not is related not only to the zeitgeist but how most of what I read these days is my own semi-chaotic thoughts.
Rest in puddly peace, sweet Noodle.
I get why everyone loved you, and it doesn’t need to be explained.
Anyway, I think that’s what I’m going through right now:
A no bones day is rest day and collapse
Bones day is let’s do this thing.
(Today is a no bones day and what if that’s fine)
(Yes it is fine)
(Yes, it doesn’t feel fine, and yet here we are)
Pug-puddle is simply a much better term than post-exertional malaise. It’s a no-bones day, baby that’s how it is. This is what we have to work with.
Get up, Trinity
Lately I have been over-extending myself, over-exerting, because I have to, because of circumstances.
A Bones day is for Get Up, Trinity / Get it done, Trinity! Take one step, Trinity, you’ve got this, Trinity.
I love you, Trinity. I really fucking do. Miracles, miracles.
Channeling Trinity helps.
Returning to the protocols
You can’t force a Bones day though. Some days are just a No Bones day, and it is what it motherfucking is:
Rest Up, Trinity! Don’t Get Up Today, Trinity.
As my friend Kat says, no bones days are a thing, and we have a protocol, and that protocol is LIE DOWN, TRINITY.
Channeling compassion and a potent dose of Loving Clarity.
Channeling acknowledgment & legitimacy.
Returning to the useful questions…
Returning to the useful questions
Ah, the useful questions, for example:
What do I need right now? What would help the most? Other than pug pics, but maybe that’s where we begin.
What is the most supportive course of action for a No Bones day if that’s where I’m at?
How can I rest well so that when I need to be in Get Up, Trinity mode, I can channel those resources of strength, courage and fortitude?
How can I tend to myself with sweetness? How can I take good care of myself, in Bones mode & No-Bones mode?
To love and to cherish…
I highly doubt that I will ever marry again (unless someone is offering either the good health insurance or EU citizenship, in which case: TALK TO ME!!!), but if I do, the wedding vows will substitute “in bones mode and in no-bones mode” for in sickness and in health.
To love and to cherish. In bones mode and no-bones mode. This at least is something I can do for myself right now, and if I can’t, then at least it’s a clue towards where I’m headed.
How can I best cherish myself, my No-Bones-Day self, because that’s my commitment. Let’s keep figuring this out together.
Questions we can play with or stones we can skip…
What are some good ways you’ve found to differentiate between a bones day and a no bones day? What clues tell you you’re trying to force a bones day?
How do you show yourself extra compassion on a No Bones day? How do you keep from over-exerting on a Bones day?
What helps? What would help even more than that!
And if you are having a No Bones day then high five, my friend, and happy PPD (pug puddle day) to you, I hope it is restful and replenishing. If today is a Bones Day, then godspeed.
Bon Courage. The collective thanks you for your service!
Come play in the comments, I love company!
Share anything sparked for you while reading, or add anything you’d like to into the pot, the healing power of the collective is no small thing, companionship helps.
Bonus materials! Coming soon…
Update: I am preparing new bonus materials about time and how I prepare for and relate to the different quarters, more about this to come, but anyone who gives to Barrington’s Discretionary (see below) will get these by email this summer…
If you received clues or perspective or want to send appreciation for the writing and work/play we do here, I appreciate it tremendously. Working on some stuff to offer this coming year, but between traumatic brain injury recovery & Long Covid, slow going.
I am accepting support (with joy & gratitude) in the form of Appreciation Money to Barrington’s Discretionary Fund. Asking is not where my strength resides but Brave & Stalwart is the theme these days, and pattern-rewriting is the work, it all helps with fixing the many broken things.
And if those aren’t options, I get it, you can light a candle for support (or light one in your mind!), share this with someone who loves words, tell people about these techniques, approaches and themes, send them here, it all helps, it’s all welcome, and I appreciate it and you so much. ❤️