Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bento Boxes and other thoughts re:my invisible illness

One thing about me and healthy eating is that I have a hard time following any eating plan that has me eating the same things over and over and over again. Nothing will make me deviate from healthy eating quicker. I like a lot of variety not only in the foods that I eat, but also the foods that I cook and prepare. Like I can eat salad all the time, but it can't always be the same salad. Right now my favorite toppings are a little gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries and a small amount of either pecans or walnuts. 

Well I was bored last night and just googled "healthy packed lunches" and one link lead to another and then another so soon I found several references to the bento box of lunches. Wow, what interesting reading. Basically a bento lunch uses small portions of a variety of foods to make a healthy portable lunch, usually arranged in an appealing way. I found several sites that were written by moms of young kids that said it was a great way to use up leftovers and since they were small portions and a lot of finger foods they were a hit with their kids too. That solved two problems I have--using the leftovers and offering a variety. Want more info? Google "bento lunches" to get tons of ideas.

Last week was "Invisible Illness Awareness Week" and I posted a couple of things about my own personal struggle with this. I have reposted them below if you are interested in reading them. Kip and I were talking about it after he read it and he had some interesting points to bring up. I am usually not that open about my pain levels (okay, normally I flat out lie about it) so opening up about this was something I don't normally do. Since Kip lives his life with me of course he sees more than anyone else will and I am pretty honest with him about my pain levels. He knows me well enough to know when I am lying anyway so there is no real point in pretending with him. His main point was that since I was being open on my blog, he didn't think I was descriptive enough about the pain. Interesting. 

I have always had difficulty describing my pain, finding the words to use to make someone understand. Especially people that do not experience pain in a chronic way. I keep up to date with scoliosis happenings and am a part of an online group of people like me that have had complications from our scoliosis and the related surgeries. But I had always limited my research to the area of scoliosis. I know some other people with scoliosis too. But for the most part I have felt like a freak**, even in that world that I unfortunately belong to. Recently though, I started looking outside that world and into the world of chronic pain. Finally I have found a world where I am not a freak. I hate that there are so many of us, but oh to find people that understand! People that experience what I experience. The root of our pain is different. How it manifests itself is different. But we understand each other in a way that no one else can. 

I remember reading a poem when I was younger about a man that went to the country of his birth to look for a connection and he felt alone. He went to a church with people that worshiped his God the way that he worshiped, but he was still alone. He went out into the rain and was offered the shelter of an umbrella from a stranger and in the kind eyes of that stranger he finally felt that connection with another human that his heart was crying out for. That's how I feel. People all around me care for me and I know that and we are connected, some very deep connections and others that aren't as deep, but I know I am loved by many people. Finding people though that understand how my pain effects every part of me has been freeing in some way. I don't really have to explain because they just know. 

**I use the word freak just to mean someone that stands outside the circle, that doesn't quite fit in or can be understood. That is something that Kip and I had to work out recently. I didn't mean it like a side show or Quasimodo or anything. Just someone that's different. 

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