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Migraines, Grandmothers, and Butterflies

The rain is demonstrating my relatively new vocabulary item: “atmospheric river”. It’s a constant flow of wetness that makes going outside an unattractive prospect. But I don’t really want to go outside anyway since I’m feeling a bit ill. Both rain and pain are excuses that keep me inside without feeling obligated (or even inclined) to experience the outdoors.

My current body dysphoria can go under the category of what I now call a migraine. I used to think I was getting strange, recurring sinus infections, since the pain largely occupied the area between my nose, eyebrows, cheeks, and the back of my eyeballs. But eventually several online articles and my doctor suggested it was not a sinus thing, but a brain thing. I wrote a poem this morning trying to describe the migraine experience, but I don’t know if it’s as shareworthy as it was cathartic.

In some weird synchrony, while writing the migraine poem, I thought of how the Russian words for “grandmother” and “butterfly” sound the same to English-speaker’s ears. A Russian-speaker I knew once said a word to me while pointing to a butterfly, and I responded, “Grandmother?” When I said to him that бабочка (butterfly) and бабушка (grandmother) sounded like the same word, he frown-smiled, shaking his head and communicating “not really”.

I suppose when you know a language, similar-sounding words still have a clear distinction due to years of use and association. “Clark” and “clerk” are words that, when pronounced clearly and said in a context, I probably would not get confused with each other, while someone who didn’t speak English as a first language might. There are many examples I’m sure I could think of if I put effort into it. But my current preference is not to exert myself too much.

I am reminded of my 80’s & 90’s aerobics exercise experiences, and how often there would be two instructors at the front of a class. One would be doing moves at full throttle, jumping and leaping, reaching and lunging with unassuaged gusto, while the other executed similar but moderated moves. That was the person the main teacher would refer to when saying, “And remember to go low-impact if you need to!”

So it’s a low-impact day. I’ve probably used this concept in some of my archival blogs, since it’s one that often occupies my brain when I’m feeling some iteration of low energy. It’s a good way for me to remember that all movement is valid, even if it’s not as exuberant as it could be. I’m also a big fan of naps – sometimes the actual stopping of activity is what is needed. But so far today I have been content within that zone of moderation between fully functioning and asleep.

So far, I got the beginnings of two poems out of the day. Their working titles are Migraine and Grandmother/Butterfly. If/when I get them formed into something presentable, I will post them under Poems.