Posts Tagged With: Sid

Optimistically Pessimistic or Just a Realist?

For many, they would see that a person is either an optimist or a pessimist but in true fashion, I even complicate these descriptions when I self diagnose.  I see myself as optimistically pessimistic!  What is my rationale?  I enter sweepstakes and buy lotto thinking I have as much a chance to win as anyone else – Optimist.  But I know deep down I my chances to win are very slim – Pessimist.  But the more choice word I guess should be – Realist.  Living with Multiple Sclerosis also feeds this concept. I know I have good days – optimist, I also know that the price of realizing the good days is experiencing the bad ones – pessimist, but I know I have to make the best of THIS day – realist.

Because of my M.S. and spending so much time fatigued and stuck in the bed, I began entering online sweepstakes.  I have won a few nice items: an Apple iPad, a $300 Best Buy Gift card, a $100 Overstock.com Gift card, several iTunes gift cards and a dozen or so smaller prizes.  But as you see, I  have not won a big cash prize, a car, TV, or trip; but I continue entering the sweeps.  I enter the sweeps just to have something to do and on bad days I sometimes do not even enter one.  I win something sometimes – optimist, I do not win enough for the amount I of time I spend entering sweeps – pessimist, I have SOMETHING to do to pass some time – realist.  

My M.S. is like this also, when I have a good day, I tend to do too much and overexert myself.  The good day, I get to have SOME fun – optimist, the bad days I may be in great pain and stuck in bed – pessimist, when I AM stuck in bed I can remember the good days – realist.  A common saying in the M.S. community is, “I have M.S. but M.S. doesn’t have me” – optimistic.  Reality, there are days that my M.S. does have me – pessimistic.  Few people know truly how my M.S. complicates my life.  I try only to let people see the optimistic side, the healthy side of my life I do get to enjoy.  Since I do tend to project the image as someone healthy, I miss out on truly helping others understand the impact M.S. has on my life.

Staying in Medellin, Colombia as much as I do not only helps with my M.S., it also helps me mentally!  Medellin is known as “The City of Eternal Spring”.  The milder climate does help in that I do have fewer relapses and often when I do have a relapse, it may not be as severe.  This is a big plus!  The biggest benefit is that I am able to live independently!  Living totally on my disability income in the U.S. is impossible for me, but here in Medellin, I can afford to have my own apartment and feed myself.  There is little money left for other things, but the advantage of feeling independent out-weighs the disadvantages.  The downside of this independent life means I also have to sacrifice seeing my family because the M.S. limits my traveling and the money for flying is also VERY limiting.

Friends usually see me as complicated and difficult.  They do not realize what I have to do in order to “feel” like meeting for a dinner or beer – it takes careful planning for me!  I once wrote how I feel like Sid the Sloth from the Ice Age movies (https://thomasajohnston.com/2011/03/05/trapped-in-an-ice-age/).  I feel most of my friends simply tolerate me, but like Sid’s herd, my friends do down deep care about me.  I use the expression “Colombian time” in Medellin because Colombians just do not seem too concerned about schedules, appointments and timing.  This complicates my being part of a herd in Colombia because even when I explain how I NEED to keep schedules because of my health issues, the relaxed attitude of Colombians is more important to them than my schedule.  I rest, I medicate based on being somewhere at a certain time and then they see me as inflexible when they say we have changed the plans or times and just think I have the ability to adapt that easily.  Like Sid… I am sometimes abandoned.

Then again, I find it easy to thin my herd or “clean out the friend closet” sometimes!  Some people make it easy!  As I am sure I make it easy for some to reclassify me as a former friend.  I have become a self imposed hermit and actually find I enjoy being alone.  Limiting my time with friends helps me keep friends!  lol  I am very happy for the few friends I do have in my herd – Optimist.  I do wish making new friends was not so difficult for me – Pessimist.  This desire drives me to improve myself and educate even friends of how M.S. keeps me Optimistically Pessimistic or just a realist?

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Categories: Colombia, Life, Medellin | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trapped In An “Ice Age”

Once I was asked what movie character best represented how I saw myself.  My response was Sid from the “Ice Age” movies.  Sid is a loyal, lovable sloth that is also misunderstood and disliked.  My herd tolerates me, with just a few loving me while others feel obligated to put up with me!!

While I am aware of the disdain people have for me (hence my nickname TomASS), I think Sid and I share an apathy as to how it affects us.  It’s not so much we do not care, but we accept we are different and not everyone can accept others being different.  This is such a world of conformity.  Even with our own self-acceptance of who we are, there is still a pain that comes with the rejection and the deliberate hatred that we do feel.  These people become the bane of our existence.  Not that our lives are not difficult enough!

Also like a sloth, I come across as lazy.  I have Multiple Sclerosis.  My most common symptoms are fatigue and peripheral neuropathy in my legs (a pins and needles stinging & numbness like when your legs go to sleep).  It makes my walk sluggish and I sleep a lot more than even a teenager!  While I have other symptoms, these two make me appear slothful like Sid the sloth.

My herd is like Sid’s herd – we are an eclectic group: Muslim, Christian, Atheist, Spiritual, Mormon; gay, straight, bisexual, transsexual, curious; skinny, big, muscular, tall, short; Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Latino(a), Black; liberal, conservative, moderate, nonpolitical; but what we all share is we love each other in spite of our differences.  We love each other for who we are as individuals – not how we fit the conforming society.  In fact, that is what we like about each other, we challenge each other and we learn from exchanging ideas.

Most importantly we respect each other and help each other.  The only time I wish to be more than Sid is so I could do more for my herd (friends).  My herd goes above and beyond to help me and I just am not in a position to do more for them.  That is my only real regret.  I often feel trapped in my body because of my MS and because of finances (or lack of! lol), the depression that comes with this feeling makes my herd even more special to me!  I LOVE THEM!

My computer crashed, if you enjoy my blog and would like to contribute for a replacement computer, I would appreciate it! 😉

Categories: Life | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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