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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Dione

Cave Woman, Party of One

One hour. That’s how long I had relief from what I can now confirm is Sciatica. It wasn’t until I was icing my back in a position that made it look like I was imminently going into labour, that I remembered where I had packed the Ibuprofen. Two of those and some gentle stretches later and I was a new person with a can do attitude, a smile on my face and a new lease of life. It is amazing what minute and nagging pain can do to a persons energy and vibration. No writng was being done, not movement was pleasurable, no words of comfort made any difference. I think in some ways excruciating pain is less heartbreaking from a productive point of view. (Obviously I would pick nagging pain over excruciating pain, but I would always choose 2 hours of excruciating over days or weeks of nagging pain... get it over with, you know?).

Nagging pain is so annoying to me probably because I have experienced so much of it. Luckily I can count my experience of excruciating pain on one hand. However, the hours of nagging pain I have felt in my life is more than some people feel in a lifetime. I am prone to injury and a little faulty when all is said and done. Ingrown toenail, toothache, sciatica, hip flexor, trapped nerves... I experience them all frequently. The thing I find most annoying with nagging pain is that you are still able to envision the activities you want to do, but there is no way in hell you can complete them. At least when you are in excruciating pain you know your day is cancelled and you have no desire to do anything other than fix the pain. Nagging pain leaves you angry, it leaves you looking into the life you want to be living but can't. I am happy that my back is feeling better.

Moving forward with my day, I fashioned a standing desk out of the two shoe boxes and am pleasantly enjoying the experience. Did you know; sitting puts 90% more pressure on your back than standing... ninety percent! I knew it would be an increase but that’s huge. One of the things I am really enjoying about the standing desk is my increase in focus and productivity. The distinct difference between work and pleasure is solidified in the change of body posture when using a standing desk. I wouldn’t want to watch Netflix standing up and I wouldn’t want to scroll through my phone either. Therefore, If I wanted to procrastinate from my work I would have to physically walk my lazy arse over to the bed and sit in my shame as I pulled out my phone. I am also finding that it makes down-time more enjoyable. I feel like I can really settle into some relaxation after a productive couple of hours standing by my Nike shoe box and laptop. Funny how the human brain functions.

Cave Woman

Today, I did something new. Something I thought a twenty-something year old woman in 2022 would never need to do; I washed my clothes. Of course I have washed my clothes many times and I have even hand washed when the time called for it... but never in my life have I done a full load of laundry in a bathtub. Stamping around on garments and smashing them against a rock like a cave woman in a stream. It was actually quite fun! Before attempting this task I did some research. I wanted to make sure that the clothes were going to be thoroughly cleaned and not stiff from left over exercise residue… (fancier way of saying 'sweat'). What did I learn? Clothes in the tub, scatter as much laundry powder on them as the hotel saw fit to give us (not enough), also sprinkle half a sachet on the white load of laundry being carried out in the sink. Then, fill the bath and sink with hot water until clothes are submerged and leave to ‘pre-soak’ for 15 minutes.

In this time, my feminist brain was proud of me making the most of the situation I was in, being resourceful and smart like a forager collecting berries for her tribe. However, there was another voice that was very loud and seemed thourally pissed off about the whole thing. She was very sassy about me not only uprooting my life to follow a boy to the other side of the world, but now I was doing his washing! How dare I?! To put this diva at ease, I got back to some second-income-building/strong-independent-woman work.

(Most of the laundry was mine but this sassy diva
simply did not care and she was not happy).

Whilst the ‘pre-soak’ took place in my make shift stream, I got to editing one of the videos for my YouTube channel. The footage of home and the preparations for leaving felt like a million years ago. So much had happened in such a short period of time that it felt like time had stretched. I can’t believe how quickly I have adjusted really, maybe right now it is more like a holiday and I have some hard core emotions incoming. Plus, it's not like I am miserable in quarantine. Being in a hotel room with three meals a day, exercise, sunshine and no parents has its upsides… especially when you’re a couple in your 20’s that accidentally moved home for 8 months last year.

Pre-soak finished, it was time for what the website described as “stompin’ time”. Cleaning off the bottoms of my feet I hopped into the tub and stomped on the clothes until I was red in the face. Water was everywhere, my arse was soaked and my Fitbit thought I was getting in a second exercise session. Result! The next part of this process I would highly recommend to anyone struggling with the emotion known as anger. If you are frustrated at work, is you want to skip therapy this week and get some laundry done at the same time… this is for you.

First off, get your man involved (not a crucial step but I highly recommend getting your fella involved for any and all house work). Now, his job is ringing out. Men have more muscle groups than us and the vast majority of the time, whether we like it or not, they are physically stronger… so why not put that strength to good use? Now, your job is to make him fear ever hurting you. Pick up the rinsed items of clothing one by one and launch it at a hard surface like you are trying to demolish it with nothing but cotton and aggression. Serve your T-shirts, underwear and bras at the wall whilst grunting like Serena Williams playing for the winning point at the Wimbledon finals. Allow your stress to melt away and your partner to fear for his or her life as they see the aggression you show your beautiful clothes and feel your stress melt away. In all seriousness it was actually really fun. Myself and Ben soaked the bathroom and had a giggle at the same time. The result? Clean clothes.

It’s a Party in MIQ

Wine, open. Prosecco, popped. Finally the jet lag had shifted enough for alcohol to not make us want to crawl into bed at 8pm and sleep till sunrise. We put on some tunes, looked at old photos and drank happily in our little room of isolation. As we reminisced over photos only taken weeks or months ago, we remembered all of the fun we had with our friends and family before leaving. We looked at videos of the beloved dogs we had left behind and shared stories that we both knew but still made us laugh. It was a beautiful 45 minutes that made me feel like a character out of a movie. How lucky we were to have friends that made it so hard to say goodbye.

Dinner was steak and scrummy steak at that. To really lean into the housewife/cave woman theme of today, after the laundry had been put out to dry I did my make up and put on a real bra with an underwire and everything! I was dressed to impress and an impromptu date night was upon us! The glasses (plastic fruit and salad cups), went down slower than usual, with the excitement of where we were, there was little need for cocktails and wine (but that didn't stop us). We basked in the reality that we had created for ourselves for a short time as this was the first time since take off that it was properly sinking in. "We are on the other side of the world!"

At 7pm I was starting to feel the wine and bubbles make an impact. For the first time in over one week the alcohol was flowing freely and I felt the need to be out in the gorgeous evening sun. Ben was still feeling sore from his run not three hours before and so, it was a tipsy walking party of one! Trainers on, some belting tunes in my ears and off I went for a 20 minute power walk around the car park. It is strange how we value things more when we can’t have them. I wouldn’t go for a walk every day normally, not even close. And yet the fact that I knew the 7pm slot was fully booked made me want to be out there even more. Luckily, someone went up early (or didn’t show up at all) and I got to have my second walk of the day unencumbered by static pain.

Returning from my walk the night rolled on, tiredness waiting at the door patiently for us to be done having fun. We cleared the beds to the side of the room and danced in our excitement with dream filled heads and smiles so wide. We have had so much going on in the last week and I'm not even talking about travel: Apartment hunting, tax forms, visa applications, booking flights, renting cars, sorting accommodation, health checks, covid swabs... rotating the laundry. It was a perfect night in isolation that drew to a close a few songs after sun set. The gin was put away and the water bottles were filled. The slice of chocolate cake I had for dessert was struggling to soak up the booze and so it was time to hydrate and migrate (to bed). My sundress hit the floor and white linen welcomed me in for a dreamless sleep. "I'm on the other side of the world!"

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