A Little Rest is Required

This week I’ve been sick for the first time in two and a half years. I forgot how awful it is to be so achy you can’t get off the couch, and how achy you then become because you can’t get off the couch. For someone who usually has lots of energy and drive, it’s unsettling to feel so lethargic. And for someone who relies on her brain and her words for her work, it’s alarming to walk around in a sickness-induced fog.

It would be nice if at least something good could come from it all. How many movies have I seen where some famous artist takes to their bed and tosses and turns in a fever dream that later leads them to a great discovery? I haven’t found much evidence that ever really happens outside of Hollywood. I think I’ve had only one good creative idea in the past three days, but my throat was too scratchy to articulate it.

I missed an author event for which I was supposed to be speaking. And I had to move a couple of important meetings. Being one of those the-show-must-go-on types of creatives, I hate that I couldn’t kick this thing fast enough to show up when I should. But it turns out even a stubborn nature or the best intentions can’t will away the flu. Not even for someone who knows all the best get-better-quick tricks.

As if feeling sick isn’t bad enough, my inner critic has to make it worse. “I told you to wear your mask to that play. You have been pushing yourself kind of hard lately. Your husband has it, too, but isn’t nearly as sick as you. Why are you so weak?” I can fortunately shut her down pretty quickly, but it’s the worst kind of bully who kicks you when you’re down, don’t you think?

I may have brought this on myself. Last week, when I was perfectly well, I asked a musician friend of mine how musicians relax at all during flu season, knowing if they get sick, they’ll have to cancel a gig. He just laughed and said, “Oh, we don’t cancel. We sing with a fever, or when we’re sick to our stomachs.  The only time we cancel is if our voices are gone. But we usually have someone lined up to sub for us.”

If the universe thought that by asking that question, I was looking for an opportunity to test how I myself would handle such a scenario, it badly misunderstood me.

I’m not sure what I’m trying to say here. I’m not even sure if I’m spelling words correctly at the moment. But so many of my friends are recovering from illnesses and surgeries and heartbreaks right now, leaning on the hope that soon they will feel better. And they will. So will I. In the meantime, we just gotta get through this. We have no choice. Our poor bodies require a little extra TLC, and our minds just have to deal with it. Our bodies will let us know when they’re ready to get back up and at ‘em. Until then, rest, my friends.

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