Living with Heart

Creating connections…nourish, harvest, repeat


“Get up, dress up and turn up”.

You can take that quote anyway you like. Sometimes it’s achieved by just getting out of bed. For me, it’s about turning up (sometimes when I really don’t feel up to it) to social events whether it’s a small coffee catch up or a BBQ with friends/family.

For others, turning up may mean keeping in contact via text message, WhatsApp, Facebook, FB message or even a simple phone call – any means that keeps you connected to others in a positive and meaningful way.

I know that if I stop turning up, those precious connections could over time wither and die.

And I can’t let them wither. They keep me grounded here. They give me an escape from ‘being unwell’. They give me a chance to talk & think about ‘other things’. They make me feel like I am offering something to others. They fill my time. They allow my mind to work. 

So friendships are the plants that I nourish, I look after, I give attention to. And these friendships I can then harvest when I hit a low spot. 

Last night I was amazed by a discussion that I had with a long time friend MM and her husband D whom we’ve known for 20 years. It started in an innocuous way and ended with her saying some of the most beautiful words I’ve heard. I’ll try to paraphrase.

 “D and I know that when we book dinner with you guys it’s early in and early out because you’ll be uncomfortable sitting in the one spot for too long. In winter we never book an outside table because its just too cold. Michelle – you always make an effort to turn up – whether you’re feeling crap or not. The least we can do is make it as comfortable for you as possible.” WOW! Like really WOW!

Ok, it was a simple statement but what lay beneath was soooo important to me and so powerful. For years, without me even realising it, without it being a “thing”, without it being an inconvenience, MM & D had been taking my health into consideration. They had been making it as easy as possible for me to be part of ‘going out’. I must admit to a slight tear in my eye. But I also felt a little uncomfortable – which surprised me.

I’ve shared with most of my friends and family over the last 9 years as much or as little information about arthritis as they want, need or ask for. I rarely post anything on my private Facebook page and generally try to ignore my pain/discomfort when I’m out and about (which you all know is pretty damn impossible at times). I occasionally talk with friends about how I’m really going but only if they ‘really’ ask. 

But there is a heck of a lot of management in the background that makes it possible for me to have that elusive ‘energy peak’ to flat out dazzle my friends with (My name is Michelle and Im a Dazzler). I time my pain medication to maximise my socialising time. I rest before and after. I plan my week in advance. A fabric expedition on a Tuesday might mean I have to rest on Wednesday to catch up on exercise that I’ve missed. I also always keep Thursday low key as I’m preparing for the weekend when I love to do things with HotY. 

But every single day I “get up, dress up and turn up”. Now, whether I actually flat out dazzle my friends is probably a warped construct of my own mind – but I’m holding onto the dream!! The reality is probably more like a faint fizzle and pop… but hey – I’m the one writing this.

I am an extrovert and I gain sustenance and a certain amount of energy from spending time with friends. Thats my mind that gains energy, my body – well that’s another story totally. My friends may not realise that having a coffee with them might be the only thing I’ve done that day – and they don’t need to know. I like it that way.

So, if you haven’t made any connections lately I’d love for you to pick up your phone and text someone, message someone or make a connection – even leave a comment below if you need a connection right now.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for taking time to listen and to hear. Thank you for seeing my life through my joint perspective. 


  1. You’re always a dazzler Michelle 🙂

Leave a Reply