Camp Nanowrimo excerpt: Eczema & me

If you’re wondering how things are going for me at Camp Nanowrimo, thing’s aren’t going too great. As expected, I have fallen behind. I guess I was trying to inject too much creative writing into the project. I shall be attempting to craft more candid, straight-up kind of writing pieces to fill in the gaps. And hopefully, I will catch up somehow. The prognosis is rarely good at this stage: I typically give up. But… well, fingers crossed. 

For now, though, here’s an exceprt of something I wrote in the spirit of catching up. It’s still within the theme of my project, of course, and also features me getting a bit vulnerable in my writing by sharing with you about my personal life. 

Enjoy! 😉

*    *    *

Eczema & me

Apparently I was diagnosed with this skin disorder even before I was one year old. As far back as I can remember, I have been quite literally plagued with skin problems. Many times, it seemed like there was hardly ever a moment of reprieve.

What this means is that I am almost always scratching or having a previously clawed wound in the midst of the healing process at some spot or another on my body. On those even more unfortunate times, I’d also be battling some curious allergic reaction in addition to my typical eczema woes.  

Nowadays, it appears to be rather common for children to suffer from eczema. But back in the days when I was growing up, it was less so. So I endured a fair share of teasing and getting ostracised. I guess that’s because it not only looks unsightly, but some have the mistaken belief that I might pass on some allergy to them if they hung around me. I recall being called “kucing kurap” by a peer in primary school before. 

Seeking to alleviate my discomfort, my parents made it a point to write letters to my teachers requesting that I’d be exempted from Physical Education (P.E.) activities. So I’d often find myself sitting it out while my classmates played netball, ran in circles around the field, etc. Oddly enough, I do remember joining in on certain days… but as to why I participated during certain P.E. periods and not others is something that has since been forever lost from my memory.  

“Don’t scratch!” is probably the most frequently used phrase that I heard growing up. Usually, I would ignore this instruction. That’s mostly because you just have to scratch an itch. Those who believe it’s possible to completely endure it have obviously not had enough of them throughout their lifetime.  

Besides providing a sense of relief, scratching eczema patches is also hugely therapeutic. This is especially so when it’s a large patch of dry skin that has recently healed and is covered in scabs. There’s something strangely satisfying about peeling off an entire surface of scabby skin with your fingernails, one piece at a time. You’d have to experience it for yourself to understand. (FYI, I’ve talked to a friend who also suffers from eczema and he has verified this fact too as he finds it is also true in his own life).  

A common reaction to the discovery that I have eczema is to recommend a cure for me. I suppose most people mean well when they do this, but to be honest, I find it rather annoying. That’s probably because my parents actually took up some of these suggestions in the past and I had to experience all sorts of things in the name of getting me healed of eczema. I don’t recall any particular one working out in the long term.  

So, in many ways, perhaps it’s to save myself the disappointment that I never heed any of the advice that people give me about eczema. (See earlier paragraph. Perhaps I’ve grown too fond of scratching as a technique for coping with life).  

The other thing about having eczema is that you fall under the category of People Who Ought To Be Prayed For To Receive Supernatural Healing within the Christian community. Believe me, many have prayed. The eczema endured, just as surely as God is eternal.  

What conclusion does this leave me with? I cannot accept the notion that God is cruel enough to want to continue afflicting me with eczema because He doesn’t love me. But then comes the often proffered classic Christian perspective: “This is a test which God puts you through to refine your character and make beautiful things emerge from your life”. Oh and there’s also the “by the measure of your faith it will be given to you” angle whereby it’s supposedly my lack of faith which defines whether or not my eczema will vanish after a wholehearted prayer of a devout believer.  

No matter the reason, the fact remains that I. Still. Have. Eczema. Today.  

However, I should add that it has gotten much easier over the years. Partly it’s because I’m so used to having these skin woes. But it’s probably also due to the fact that there has been much less eczema patches appearing on my body as there used to be when I was a child.  

They say you can apparently “grow out of it”. And then when you don’t, they’ll say, “Oh, since you didn’t get rid of it before you reached adulthood, it’s now permanent”. Why not just tell me from the get-go that this is because my body functions in a certain way and that my best shot is to figure out a way to manage it that works well for me in the long run? 

Honestly, living with eczema isn’t too bad. As long as I don’t let flies lay eggs on my open wounds such that maggots start wiggling out of them (an unfortunately true story of a fellow hospital inmate that I was woefully made aware of while being admitted to the children’s ward), I suppose I will be alright.  

Sometimes I do face the setback of not being able to wear skirts or shorts whenever I want to because of weepy eczema patches on my legs, but it doesn’t happen too often (or I medicate quickly enough that the situation doesn’t persist for too long OR I completely ignore the issue and wear the desired item of clothing anyway).  

Although I do have some ideas about what triggers my eczema breakouts, most times I cannot say which of those causes is responsible for a particular episode. So, in many ways, que sera sera, and I continue to live life and not worry about abstaining from this or that unless something really huge occurs.  

And, as gross as it sounds that I like to scratch and peel of layers and layers of scabs, I’d like to make it known that I usually clean up my own mess afterwards. Especially on shared spaces around the home such as the bedroom mattress.  

There are far worse ongoing health issues to be stuck with, so I’m not complaining about my eczema. I just do what I can to live with it. Perhaps someday God will heal me of it. Or not. I just hope that I don’t pass it on genetically to any of my offspring so they can be spared of the agony.  

Advertisements

This is me (Re-introduction)

Hello world, it’s been awhile. 

And I’m not the person I used to be. 

I’m perhaps a bit wiser, but also a lot more jaded, humbled and reclusive. And self censoring has become such a reflex action that it’s hard to blog candidly as I used to. Also, having a free WordPress site as opposed to a paid hosting service (a relic of the past) has made me even less disciplined in updating this space. 

But I still harbour this love for words. And I still hope to tell you, in full honesty, all about my life, in the false belief that you will not judge me for it. 

I still bubble beneath the surface with whimsical tales and fantasies of a better home, a softer personality, a bolder outlook and a prettier face. (Not to mention, straighter, tamer hair too). 

Sometimes, I feel like wiping clean the entire archives of this blog and starting over. 

But that would not be a real picture of my journey over time. It would just be that idealistic, perfectionistic part of me wanting everything to be just right. 

However, as my Mum has reminded me countless times, life isn’t perfect and things don’t come to us packed in neat, little boxes. Real life is messy and hard to make sense of. But it is beautiful and it has just as much silver linings as it does its share of dark clouds and overcast skies. 

So maybe I should just trudge forward, and not look back on what I used to write. Let this spot on the Web be a testament of my long, painful journey to write something worthwhile. And in your company, dear strange and unknown reader, I may, someday, find my writing voice as I should. And be courageous enough to tell the tales that I thought were ordinary but were special all along. 

This is me. 

The one who loves being home. Who would rather opt for a book than a movie. A soul that comes alive with music, poetry, fictional tales of epic proportions, and arts and crafts of all sizes and shapes. The hopeless romantic. The emotional one. The dreamer. A simple girl. 

I still want to be here. And I’d like you to know my story. 

Lookout point 

The drudgery of day-to-day chores and freelance work commitments got to me a little in the week that was. 

As a result, I didn’t quite feel like blogging as much although I did have plenty to say. I guess it’s for the fear of saying careless things that I will regret publishing later. Well, there’s always the Undo and Delete features, but having been a journo before, I tend to err on the side of caution. 

Anyway, here I am. 

One thought that keeps returning to me recently is this: What could a homebound woman like me have to offer you, my dear reader? Aren’t there a gazillion other more fun and intriguing places to spend your time at on the Internet? Why would you want to be here? Why do I want to take up your time to peruse my nonsense? 

Perhaps I am blogging not so much for you specifically. Maybe this is for me. This is the space I need to say the things I want to say. To be the individual that I should be, even if nobody is reading. 

For  as long as “Writer” is a description that I’d like to attach to my name, I guess I should keep up this blogging discipline. It’s just daunting that everyone else always seems to have intelligent things to say and/or is a subject matter expert in at least one topic or more. 

Me, what do I have? Just a random collection of thoughts, anecdotes and the occasional life hack to share. 

Not a niche in sight. 

But maybe I like it that way. Why be labelled or pigeon holed into a particular genre? I like the freedom of being able to pull out any topic to write about, at any given moment, as though I were pulling that proverbial rabbit from a hat. Maybe you like surprises. Or randomness. If you do, I hope I do not disappoint. 

However, even if this blog amounts to nothing great on the scale of going viral (because what other yardstick of measurement is there on the Web nowadays, eh?), I hope it is the platform on which I build my courage. That boldness to just say things and not think so much about them. 

And maybe once I have finally cleared the backlog of thoughts in my head, hopefully something more meaningful will emerge. 

For now, it’s back to writing boring old business reports and editing longwinded sentences about serious stuff that nobody talks about unless it’s to do with either religion, politics or money. Or perhaps just money. 

Money makes the world go round. Or just words, more or less.