What migraines are teaching me

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #125

I am grateful for migraines. This may seem like a very strange thing to be grateful for considering the extreme pain they bring, leaving me writhing in my bed, eyes closed against the slightest ray of light, each sound magnified, my brain banging incessantly against my skull. You would probably never hear me saying this while I’m in the throes of an actual migraine, but now safely on the other side of a recent one, I can appreciate how migraines are teaching me to respect my limits. To accept what I cannot control. To reset my overachiever expectations of what I should be able to endure and instead practise (again and again) being kind to myself.

In the (not-so-distant) past, I used to resist the migraine, then wish for it to disappear as soon as possible so I could go straight back out into the world. Recently, I’ve decided that the strategy of walking shaky-legged, weak and raw right back into the day to day grind doesn’t work for me, and I believe this reflex has been exhausting me over time. So I’m experimenting with allowing myself a day to recover after the tsunami of the migraine, to rest at home with no obligations. It gives me time to simply rest, find my footing and my appetite again and gather my strength, so I can go back into the world with more appreciation and vitality.

I realise this is not a possibility for everyone, and that I am very privileged to be in a situation where I can take paid sick leave and take time to recover.  However the reason this is a turning point for me is that for many years I believed that to-dos and other tasks had priority. I feared I may be letting people down by taking the proper time I need to get better.  But it turns out that putting my self-care first hasn’t caused the world to stop turning in any way, and I hope this might inspire others to push themselves a little less hard when possible, in order to be more resilient in the long run.

Photography afternoon in Blijburg

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Lovely colourful flags blowing in the wind in Blijburg, where I went with my photography class on Saturday for a photo shoot on the beach.  We were really lucky with the weather, as the overcast sky with just a bit of sunshine peeking through from time to time was perfect for taking pictures.

We had great fun creating scenes inspired from our moodboards, with two models and a random collection of props, as passers-by looked at us with curiosity. It’s quite amazing how many creative ideas a bunch of people can come up with using a pineapple, a guitar, a shovel and a red-velvet cake on the beach… I laughed a lot:)

I particularly enjoyed exploring the story-telling aspect of photography and plan to use that more as a source of inspiration. Also I definitely want to do more portrait photography.  It’s a good way for me to get out of my comfort zone, as it is much more challenging than my usual subjects like plants or landscapes.