Friday, 13 February 2015
A New Desk
I have been searching for a table or desk of about this size for a long time, years essentially, though even more determinedly since I moved to this location. I had my heart set on something old, a second hand find in part because I simply prefer older furniture, but also because I did not want anything precious but I did want solid wood. I found this desk, solid wood though not fancy, marked down to nearly half price in a local furniture store that is downsizing and moving. Other than not being old it was what I had been looking for and gives me twice the surface area that my previous table did. In my opinion it is furniture of quality materials that looks best when it develops the patina of age and use and heavy use is the destiny of this desk. This is my painting spot. This is where I do all artsy craftsy, doodling, things and now this is also a good place to write. There is my easel in the corner but sometimes I work on a flat surface. I will probably initially protect the surface with butcher paper but in time this desk is going to look well used. It already comes with a bit of faux distressing, which normally I am not fond of but in this case will make it a bit easier for me to inflict my own first marks in much the same way I had expected a second hand piece would. In many ways I look forward to the day when it is well distressed by my own hand. I have bought this desk to be used, enjoyed and well loved, not to hand down to my heirs in pristine condition.
This photo was taken about fifteen minutes after the desk was delivered. I was so excited and happy, so there is not a lot of styling going on here but an attempt to set myself up for immediate use. I am sitting at the desk now as I write this. As you can see I do not have a fancy chair, but one of a set purchased second hand and of which the other three are in storage. They exist in case I ever get the urge to feed dinner to more than myself and thus need to actually seat people around my table. Normally I just find the chairs to be in the way and I am inclined to partake of my own meals while sitting on the sofa. Now perhaps, I will be eating at my desk, enjoying the view. Anyhow, here is the one chair, metal, painted white and with white vinyl padded seats I always assumed I would change. Vinyl seats make me sweat but they are at least washable and relatively paint-proof. The chair is not ergo-dynamic nor is it even particularly comfortable for long periods of time but then for me, few chairs are. I have difficulty sitting upright and like an infant just learning to sit, given a short period of time I begin to slump.
As a child I had excellent posture, enhanced, no doubt by years of ballet lessons. By the time I was in my twenties, I was beginning to be told by people not to slouch and was highly offended by this. I didn't know I was slouching, I did not see myself as a slouching person, and what I also didn't know at the time was that I was already struggling with CFS/ME and that the simple act of attempting to hold myself upright was exhausting and I was losing my ability to do so. It did not matter how much I worked out and strengthened my core muscles, in time I found that the demands placed on me by the general upright world, were too fatiguing and my exhausted body could not always engage the muscles it had. I could not stand for any length of time, though moving around, walking was easier to sustain than actually standing. After half an hour of standing I would be nearly in tears and ready to sit or lie down on the ground. But even sitting in a chair became difficult. I slouch in a chair too. If it is a soft chair or a sofa, I look merely like I am louche and lounging, though my slumped posture is simply the best I can manage. If I am forced into a situation more formal, if others are present or I need to make an impression, I will make super-human efforts and I will succeed but at a cost. It takes adrenaline reserves to sit upright for long and this is in part why even an outing to a cafe leaves me exhausted the next day.
So all of that means I will have difficulty sitting at my desk for long periods of time, but my particular manifestation of CFS/ME is a waxing and waning one. My condition varies not only from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year, but even on a daily basis it varies from hour to hour. I believe this is partly because I have been living with it for so long and have learned to pace myself enough not to have major bedridden- for- months types of relapses too often. In thirty years of living with it I have definitely cycled through relapses and remissions many times, but to some degree I have learned how to play the game. As I sit here at my desk I am beginning to slump. It is probably hard on my back but I don't have much choice. Even a special support chair would still require me to use some of my own muscles to hold myself up and eventually those muscles would get tired. But there is nobody here to point out my unlady-like slumping, my unattractive slouching. Nobody to shame me for something I cannot help and no need for me to explain myself as my back begins to take on a C curve. I can lean on my desk. Later I will do some gentle stretches and attempt to bend myself back in the other direction. I have to do the same thing every morning when I wake up, as gradually over the night my body has begun to curl in on itself like a sensitive fern does when touched.
I'm off to do some downward dog. Have a lovely weekend everyone. If you have any tolerance at all for my first draft fiction writing, you can now find all 15 chapters written to date linked at the top right in my sidebar. My process is currently about working out plot and characters, with the writing being absolutely first draft and unrefined.