Welcome. This is new for me. I’ve always liked the idea of a blog and I have even read quite a few but was not sure if I was up to starting one on my own. But here I am. Committed, ready and very excited. The truth is, this is the silver lining to my bout with shingles. Please let me explain…The start of this month (December 2011) I woke up on a Friday morning with a splitting headache on my left side. My scalp was so sensitive that I couldn’t keep it under the shower for more than a second. I tied my hair in a low and loose ponytail, took a couple of Advil’s and went to work. I thought it must be a head cold or something related to my sinuses but I wasn’t coughing and didn’t feel congested. I spent the entire day taking Advil and asking my colleagues if they’ve ever had a headache on one side of their head. Surprisingly they had both suffered from migraines and I wondered if perhaps this was the case. The next morning when I woke up I found that I had a weird rash on my forehead and a small one under my left eyebrow. I figured it must be some allergic reaction in addition to this brutal head cold. The pain just got worse and I finally dragged myself to the urgent care clinic on Sunday morning. At the urgent care clinic, the Doctor said ‘shingles’ and wrote out a prescription. His next question to me was, “Are you under a lot of stress?” To which I responded, “Who isn’t?” He shrugged his shoulders, gave me the prescription and told me to come back if my left eye starts to get watery or very sensitive. During this time, I had to stay away from work, take a lot of Advil and Tylenol among other meds as well as eye drops and couldn’t even read a book or a computer screen because the eye drops left my one pupil very dilated. When there really is nothing else that one can do, one can think. So, I got to thinking.
For the first time in a long time, I allowed myself to believe that maybe the stresses in my life were getting to me and this was the manifestation of all that. Previously, if I were stressed, I’d relieve it one of four ways.
I had gained too much weight for option 1. Life was getting way too busy for option 2 and 3 and too busy and cold for option 4. To top it off, if I did indulge in any of the activities I’d feel super guilty afterwards because any time I was away from my daughter (outside of work) I felt guilty.
It looks and reads very bad, doesn’t it? As I re-read what I just wrote in plain black and white, it’s very painful. But it is the truth and that’s ok. Being aware is the first step towards healing right? I’m sure somebody has written that.
In retrospect, since I didn’t allow myself an outlet, I kept everything contained. The good, the bad and the ugly things in my life I swallowed and kept to myself until my body got mad at me and said “Wake up, you dolt. Look at yourself and prioritize life differently because whatever you are doing now, is not working.” And let me tell you, when Shingles speaks, you listen.
I knew I had to go back to one or some of my previous stress-busters and maybe even come up with new ones, but the one that has stood the test of time for me has been my writing. It didn’t take me a long time to figure out what I wanted to write about and why. We teach best what we most need to learn. (That I know is a saying by someone). So I decided to start up this blog, calling it the Kitten Heel Diaries. A blog to address the daily stresses in a woman’s life who is trying to balance her family, her career (which may well be her family), her finances, her friends and of course her-self. An outlet for us so we don’t end up with shingles or ulcers or heart disease or diabetes or miscarriages.
The reason kitten heels is so apt is because it’s the shoe that fits my life. My kitten heels are specifically black leather ankle boots. The heel is low enough so I can walk for miles, pushing a stroller, walking to a meeting or running to catch the train. But there is a bit of a heel so I feel feminine and ladylike which makes me feel confident. I wear them with pants on workdays and with jeans on weekends. There aren’t too many things in life that transition so easily from day to night, formal to informal, professional to personal. And as a woman, when you find something that is as versatile as it is pragmatic and stylish, you hold onto it. And that’s what this blog is aimed to do. It is a place to go and discuss our everyday and not-so everyday stories. A place to find someone who can share a similar story or provide advice. Even a place where someone can disagree and have a healthy debate about both sides of an argument. We are intricate creatures, women. And we need to take care of ourselves and each other. So I promise to write once a week, every Friday night/Saturday morning about something that I’m going through and I welcome you to please participate over the course of the week. We’ll chat, discuss, debate for the entire week and then we’ll move onto another topic close to our hearts. Let’s take a walk in our kitten heels and learn to take care of ourselves a little bit, everyday.