Back Pain & Why Tattoos :

Hi Hi Y’all,

I know more and more I talk about chronic illness. It’s not meant to just be a purge, a kvetch or a notice for recognition. Lately, my flare up have just been getting worse and longer. All the advice doctors gave and the awkward hard to explain moments just seem worse. More then ever, I am just tired. So very tired…

A friend of mine is coming up to visit me in April and I am so excited to have someone see where I go to University and be an understanding friend. I had been debating when ( and more importantly) where to get a back tattoo I have always wanted.

When I was a kid I was obsessed with Yakuza movies, samurai movies and ronin movies. I loved the traditional colorful tattoos on them and the values that seemed to come with them. As I got older, learned more about what it meant and how it was perceived I didn’t want such a large piece anymore. For awhile, I thought about abandoning the idea completely.

Then I got my diagnosis and I started to reconsider. What eventually solidified the desire to get the tattoo was this increasing problems. My drugs are increasing and surgeries that seemed far off seem sooner and sooner. More and more I feel like I am missing out and that I’ll miss out on things even more in the future. Weighed down by everything around me and having it all be unseen is taking a bigger toll on me. I can do less then I used to at the moment and no one really sees it or understands it. More and more I have to come to terms with being seen by the average person as a ‘disappointment’.

It’s these things that make me stop caring about some of the things I used to. If I feel like life is short and changing so much for me I have to at least do the things I enjoy? A giant back tattoo or some crazy visual representation of all my problems probably won’t do much for me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t stick to aesthetic and feel as if I did something to show it.

My back has two curves and a tiny hump on my neck. At the top of my spine there are signs of bones thinning and possibly going to fade away. As you got to the bottom of my spine fusing has started, my hips are out of place and my legs are now two different lengths. None of this can be seen or understood unless I give up and say I want to walk around like Quasimodo so people notice me. That is always going to be the reality of my back. Anything from now on won’t be seen.

I like small minuscule and thin lined tattoos. Normally, I don’t want color and just want simple black. I’ve known since I was small I would want tattoos that represented ideas that meant a lot to me in life. Knowing this it isn’t hard for me to know what sort of tattoo I’d get on my back.

At the top of my neck, I would want in thin black lines Vegvisir. Vegvisir is one of the most popular Nordic charms. It wishes for the person to never lose their way in storm and bad weather even if the path is unknown. I don’t think there is anything more symbolic of everything going on then that. However, there is one more reason. My great grandma’s mother was a Swedish Orphan. She had come to the U.K. and met a Spanish Jew. They married and moved to the U.S. Apparently, unlike her husband and the efforts she put into now being Jewish and raising Jewish kids she never gave up her belief system. She was very very very Christian. I’m talking crosses and bloody Jesus pictures everywhere sort of Christian. Yet, there was one thing that my great grandma remembered seeing even when she didn’t know the name of it until I told her: Vegvisir. In a legacy where only food and some old myths managed to be passed down, my great grandma could vaguely in her dying times remember seeing Vegvisir as a child. Now how could I argue with that? Jewish or not, my great grandma read me Nordic myths as I was growing up, joked how if it was true Odin was 100% cooler than Zeus, and how we were meant to be tough because it was just in our blood. I’m traveling rough waters right now and maybe that means it isn’t just about being Jewish, but remembering all beliefs that helped create me.

Underneath Vegvisir is the real highlight though. Running in small thin lines will be the I Ching and its 64 changes. For a person of my aesthetic and weirdness (and love for Asian culture) what is better then 64 line patterns each symbolizing a different part of early understanding and divination? Nothing. Seriously, nothing at all. My life is certainly one of change and phases, of fortunes and dis-fortunes, and of joy and sadness. These line patterns will follow the crooked path my spine takes all the way to my tailbone. Maybe it will seem funny to some, but to me it’s a little part of the truth. And when these inevitable surgeries come, the scars appear on my back and the fight through new types of pain begins, I have marks of it all. Little lines that exist as part of scars and as part of the journey.

Going through all of this has taught me that living behind a mask is no longer something I’ll really be good at again. My body demands of me the truth. It demands that I grow past the angry cynical jaded girl I was when I was young and try to find the joy of life. It tells me that it will not tolerate lies and will only tolerate truth.

Don’t I have to do it then?

I.L. Knight

P.S. Odin really is way better. Norse > Greek everyday <3

Vegvisir

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I Ching

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Pagan Folk Music – Vegvisir

A Topsy Turvy Day :

Here’s the thing:

 

I can’t help, but write about my health. It’s one of those things that becomes an all consuming void…pride? Relationship in your life? Still, after 2 years I somehow have not managed to accurately explain it to anyone. The frustration of it all. It’s invisible, you know! You are a child about it, you know. You look fine. You must have anxiety? Must not be able to handle the stress in becoming an adult in a modern world? You’ve adapted your mother’s issues. Damn it all, man. Damn it all. How do you explain something that no one will ever be able to see. Except, when you have black circles under your eyes from extreme lack of sleep during a flare, or a rash from your skin deciding it likes to have temper tantrums. Even then. It’s all fixable with some magic cream prescribed by a doctor. The wondrous marvels of modern medicine.

Anyways, I’m not here today, not present in some form of anchoring, to rant about the invisible pain in my life. Well, not that specific pain or any pain to be exact. I’m strangely here to talk about something good. Shocking, I know.

Tuesday, I faced a massive amount of apprehension about walking back into a school environment with an unsupportive Uni and professors who seemed to hate me for taking a medical leave due to becoming unable to walk properly. Hence, the equally invisible frustrations. Anyways, back to the point. I somehow did it. I survived the anxiety, left an hour early to walk up a giant hill at eight in the morning all without having time to do my morning stretches. I was a fat robot who struggled for an hour to get to a class I didn’t even know I could do. I mean, I was totally out of it. I had stayed up till 4 am the night before to do the readings I was supposed to do for the first day of class. It was a riveting set of film theory on studio films and how it applies to the development of cinema in China. News flash, it was another sense of fetishing the ‘Oriental’ as somehow being a child like country that white people loved to look at as enticing. A conspiracy of a Lolita reenactment going on as some sort of expected lens. Feh. White people. Although, it isn’t really fair of me to say that…considering even my insistence on a Jewish ethnicity can’t cover up the fact my bastard of a father I’ve never met before is as white as you can be. A good old U.K./French mix that made its way to Canada to only end up as a wannabe redneck in South Carolina. Apparently, a yellow pick up truck and a lucrative business in drugs was quite the enticing offer back in the 90’s.

Man, I’m really rambling on about all of this. I don’t know its like something is stuck in my head. Tuesday, was good though. I knew the professor very well. Three classes checked off on the list and it wasn’t hard to guess what his rambling was leading too. I had already learned he loves analytical metaphors, over zealous vocabulary and a hint of alliterations. Not that it is necessarily a bad thing if you have a writing style like mine: unorganized, spastic and completely dependent on the poetics of another fucking person. He’s a pretty great professor. Maybe that’s why the success in the class could only make me feel good. Not special. Not self assured. Not anything other than good. I had simply taken a step back into the stress pot of education at a pretentious Uni I hadn’t completely faltered on my first day. Yep, this invisible suffering outwardly bitchy female was doing good.

But Wednesday man, this day has been more than good. I fucking got away with only doing half the readings, falling asleep during the film screening and being completely silent during the actual lecture. I even saved enough coffee in my cup after 4 hours to be able to walk home. Ah, I hadn’t mentioned yet. I went to bed at 4 am on Tuesday. A friend I really need to keep at a distance due to her all consuming ability to extend everything to be about her self and her timeline made sleep impossible that night… I’m sure you are wondering, if you actually take time out of your day to stop by to this blog, how then did I seemingly do more than good? Well, not only did I never have this professor and she most likely heard terrible things with my somewhat destroyed reputation within my department, we managed to have a delightful conversation after class.

Part One a refreshing acceptance of the fact students can have disabilities or problems that you can’t necessarily see on their fucking face all the time. Even managing to ask what I might need during the year to make class actually be put on the same level as everyone else for me. Riveting, I tell you. Absolutely a fresh experience. Well known Unis’ often suck monkey dick.

Part 2 though is where I somehow managed to hit the nail on the head. I asked her about a simple sub point of a debate I had once back with the Professor from Tuesday about the difference between Modernism and Modernity. I told you over zealous and pretentious vocabulary works every time. Although, I happened to not agree with the insistent pop up of the word modernity everywhere. In case you don’t know the difference let me explain. Modernity is like a transitional movement where a culture or location goes from sort of point A to a point B. The transitional frame is colored in the ideals of Western industrialization and Western dipshitting around the East. Got to make people wear suits to reflect that they have officially entered into a ‘modern’ society. Modernism is not that. It is like the distinct choices one makes most likely within modernity to reach this point of ‘Modern’. An example would be the person moving from traditional work attire to a suit in order to display the new status of the individual within the society. Wow, even I think I sound smart reading this back… Too bad I’m not.

It was a total rip off, in a sense, of the fact Tuesday’s professor is crazy about the ideal and on Tuesday I watched the film Shadow Magic which is about the emergence of film in China. Told through fictional lens of course. Naturally, then I could pull out some off the cuff analytical bull crap about the locomotive movement of the story displaying an upward movement within society was actually a display of modernism and not modernity. The guy was going from the country side to an upcoming area of Tokyo. Now wore a suit to work and over the film was shown with foreign goods increasing around him as the plot went on. Modernism. The decisions made by a character within a transitional point of a narrative style of film.

I mean, the side readings were also annoying as hell. Western critics and their fetishing of the ‘Orient’ literally looks as the introduction of early film in Japan as some unique cultural experience. It’s really not that unique. Not for the people there. Think about it. Traditional forms of entertainment started as some form of silent moving spectacle that was than enhanced by a spectacle of music and a narrator to draw attention back to the silent spectacle in the background. So now the ‘silence’ was coming from tiny squares. No need to cause some pure film debates within society over it. Media changed not your cultural standards. And saying it was being used to police the environment? Please, whether it is the modern NHK or back in the age of Imperialism, Japanese authority has always used popular media to persist structured ideals within the common populace. It’s not even a unique Japanese method. Most states do it. Making an emphasis on how controlling it is, because now the films had more directly stated organized structure of social mannerisms versus cultural ideals isn’t a great argument. It’s annoying. It’s being over analytical to the point reaches several moments where people need to shout at you to just stop. An apple can be an apple. It doesn’t need to be a solid Cider or a solid juice…. My analogy sucks. Never mind.

Damn. I really did leave that class on cloud nine though. It was like someone handed me direct proof that I can actually do this. That brain fogs and a struggle to be the student you used to be was not an inhibition. Oh no. I was right to take this challenge upon myself. I was a fighter destined to grow beyond my family and past life experiences. Even if I couldn’t remember when the dynasties were or the names of the movies I’ve seen I could still recall the beating heart that made me fall in love with the Asian continent. A lack of words to portray it or not. My ties to the continent were a life link in the blood and in the marrow. I couldn’t help, but smile on my way home. Try to call every single one of my relatives and tell them I got this, while I felt the light breeze of an enjoyable cool Montreal winter day. The world was alive and full of colors and I had hope to be apart of it all. To not just exist anymore, but to find a way to live. I know it was awkwardly optimistic of me. I didn’t even mind that much that the same friend showed up twenty minutes late to our appointment at the office of student disabilities and then made us go to her coffee shop and suddenly tell me at mine that she didn’t have time, because she actually had a class. Strangely optimistic. I normally don’t get over things in the way of my morning coffee.

Here I am. In bed. Still, slightly feeling the remnants of this wonderful Wednesday and of the new Boruto episode this week. Still, a part of me knows that my struggles have just begun. That a large part of me will remain invisible and un-understandable. That I have a higher statistical chance of not meeting this challenge and finding acceptance of myself than actually succeeding. I most likely won’t get the summer internships I need, because of my Uni being a dick and money makes the world go around. Study Away? FEH. Who will get approved for that. And god forbid if I try to lose the weight from NOT BEING ABLE OT MOVE FOR LIKE 4 MONTHS.

Fun fact. Did you know there is like no fat people in Montreal. Not even among the foreign students? Yet, here I am getting looked at because I am now one size away from having to shop at obese stores and all you can look at me is like I AM FUCKED UP AND EAT TOO MUCH. News flash. I gained my weight from a dead metabolism. I actually don’t eat that much and struggle to move. Yet, I can’t scream it at the top of my lungs. I’d sound insane. And in public. I am a good southern girl. I smile as best I can and not be caught with the matches. However, do trust that I definitely have those matches. As the same friend mentioned through out this point does lovingly refer to me as being a bitchy cunt who is a horrible human being. Well, it was my joke in the first place. Can’t necessarily blame her for that.

Here’s the take away of all of this:

  1. I am still strangely optimistic; although, it has returned to be mixed with extreme apprehension.
  2. I forgot I have no classes on Thursday, so maybe I can catch up on sleep and go the gym. *snicker*
  3. I still desire a semicolon tattoo on the side of my wrist, because I am fucking idiot about trends when it comes to messages. Especially when they are ‘poetic’.
  4. Intj are actually the coldest people in the world and Intp are the warmest robots…. I am Intp.
  5. All hail Slytherin and HP rps.
  6. I have legitimately no real friends in Montreal and should probable commit on improving myself for once.
  7. Can you fail a paid community French class?
  8. If I get to Asia I will definitely feel worse about being fat. Partly because I’m American and that can be an annoying stereotype to be labeled with. I already have to fight hipster and weeboo, because of dumb people.
  9. I don’t know anything in life. Not really.

So, before I go to sleep I need to watch the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Because some article informed me Jewish women were wonderful representatives on female representation and anti-discrimination within Hollywood at the Golden Globes. I didn’t even see the award show. Although, I saw Natalie Portman’s quip. Fuck yea. Ani ohev et Israel. You kind of cause a lot of problems, but you gave the Jewish community Natalie Portman. By the way did you know the Jewish comedy lead actress isn’t Jewish? I mean, she sort of looks more Jewish than the Jewish actresses that get cast more often than stereotypical Jewish images, so I get it. You can be a MOT that brings the hammer at the Golden Globes.

I fucking love crude comedy,

I.L. Knight

P.s. I have listened to Joseph King of Dreams and The Prince of Egypt way too much today. I might have to re-compartmentalize my internal angst.

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Demons – Imagine Dragons

 

** The singer is my brother in Chronic Illness warrior training. Respect.**