Category Archives: body

Today is August 21, 2017. I am alive and well.

It takes far less courage to kill yourself than it takes to make yourself wake up one more time.   Judith Rossner

I have spent days finding life particularly hard for no good reason. I trip on the curb of a sidewalk in front of a beauty parlor. One of the manicurists sees this and comes to offer a hand. She picks up the magazines I have dropped and my keys, than reaches for me. I don’t take her hand for fear of pulling her over with me, both of us landing hard on the sidewalk.

An invisible hand offering to pull me up each morning is always there. Most of the time I actually take it. The grip is strong. I don’t fall back against my pillows but instead place my feet on the floor and stand. I turn on a light. My little area in this world brightens. My cats walk figure eights around me and between my feet. I am able to feed them kibbles for breakfast.

I use to wake but not wake, if that makes sense. My body would motor around the house heavy with depression. It hurt to move. It hurt to talk on the phone. It hurt to sit at the table with my grandmother with whom I lived. Magically, this changed.

I have attempted suicide many times in my life. My last attempt was 20 years ago. I remember it clearly. My grandmother found me unconscious in the living room after I overdosed on Ativan and called 911. I woke up in the ICU a day later to the stare of an East Indian doctor. She was young. I guess mid-thirties. Petite of stature. Probably, 5′ 4″ and a hundred pounds. She took my hand and told me I had much to do in this lifetime, that my life was important. I said nothing but let her face imprint itself on my heart.

I’m no longer the cactus who refuses to bend in storms, refuses to let go the thorns. Instead, I’m a bush who waves in the wind and allows herself to be pruned.

I can’t say that I wake up happy all the time, but I do wake. Eventually, it occurs to me that I’m living in love. That my life is charmed and blessed. I’m a 6′ tall woman with no weight on my shoulders. My stride is wide. My gaze no longer haunted. I roam around in my day a free spirit. The ball and chain that I use to be attached to sits quietly in a corner of my bedroom as a reminder that movement has not always come easy to me. But now I do wake. I do walk with my breath a steady in and out.

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Today is June 14, 2017. I am alive and well.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.  -Anais Nin

I don’t want to miss out. I don’t want to throw a curve ball at my future when it is possible to throw a no frills fast ball. Straight and in the glove. Thrown back at me straight and in the glove.

“Tight in the bud” is like being an unopened can of chicken noodle soap gathering dust in the pantry. I deny myself and someone else nourishment. Rather than being noticed in a crowd, I remain on the periphery of people, my arms folded against my chest, void of deep companionship and the experience of others.

I have loved one man deeply with all of me. I use to think to do this meant I would become lost to myself. I have worked too hard to bring myself forward and in doing so gain an understanding of me in my body, home in my body, to throw it away.

Loving Guy was like pulling off a bow, unwrapping a present, opening the box and finding wool socks and slippers. Comfortable. Warm. Protective. Easy to slide in and out of. We held hands everywhere; in front of the television, on the sidewalk, in the parking lot, at restaurants. 14 years of intense loving, giving of myself, and receiving from him.

He is now in Florida with another woman. The love I have for him hasn’t changed but obviously the delivery of that love has. Our contact is not physical. Our contact is through telephone calls and texts.

I live single today. As a single woman, I can do so much more. Read when I want. Write when I want. Cook what I want. Have coffee dates with friends when I want. I am a force tugged at only by my cats. I am a tree with bare branches looking majestic even in winter. In the fall, I support leaves that offer silent beauty.

I am of myself. I am that blossom that Anais Nin writes about.

June 5, 2017. I am alive and well.

I am unable to give you the rest of the piece of writing I gave you last week. A friend says I wouldn’t be able to enter it into a contest because of it being self published on my blog. If you know anything about whether or not that’s true, please let me know.

Excerpt from Emma: the Giraffe at the End of the hall, my latest memoir

Sleep is a wonderful thing, but I think I indulged in it too much this past weekend. I spent both Saturday and Sunday in bed with a book.

Today, I feel like I’m up to my chin in mud. What happened to the light feeling of rafting on clouds? Life spun a change and I am feeling heavy. It’s not a bad heavy. I still breathe freely and deeply. It’s just different not to have my toes tingle.

I send dust to the air and sneeze. My desk looks new again. I wonder if the action of dusting and cleaning, creating a clean space is equivalent to showering..do I get to start new after soap? I say yes because it is so good to feel like I am new again and not some lame robot with battery operated energy coursing through her body.

end of excerpt

“When you narrow your focus, the whole universe opens up.”

I narrow my focus to showering. I don’t like to shower. It takes an hour to do this. I don’t like sacrificing the hour to soap. But to be clean, I think, is a holy thing.

The body starts fresh and the mind follows like a tail on a kite.

I stare out the window. The bushes relax in the wind. The sidewalk is silent; no one walks on it. The side walk leads to a swimming pool. It’s been twenty-five years since I’ve been in a pool. I don’t like the sun or the chlorine. The medications I take cause me to burn easily and I would have to shower to rinse myself of chlorine. As I said, I don’t like showering.

But I do like a clean mind. A clean mind is not a greasy dish. It is not the oil stain beneath the parked truck. It is not the butter cream frosting on a wedding cake.

A clean mind is light infused with imagination. It is thoughts traveling through fresh air.

I will shower today. I will spend time with soap and shampoo. After that, I will dress in loose cloths and sit on my bed allowing my mind to skip beats and travel far.

Again, my mind will move and shift and play with language. A “p” moves me to peas. I will have peas with dinner tonight.

Today is May 22, 2017. I am alive and well.

I miss clothes shopping. There is no money in my budget to do this with. The truth is I own 17 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of dress pants, 5 blouses, several shirts and several jackets. I don’t need anymore clothes. To think I can wear a different pair of jeans everyday for a week and a half is mind blowing. And I don’t grow out of them. My weight is stable.

People think I’m naturally thin. This is not true. I work at it. If I had my druthers, I would eat cake with butter cream frosting on a daily basis. I love butter cream frosting. I always go for the flowers. If a cake has whipped cream frosting I am disappointed. Cake is an elixir. Cake is a joy. At Safeway Grocery there is four different kinds of cake, single serving of all, in the same container. Whoever thought that up is a genius! And yes, I would eat it all at one sitting.

I also exercise a great deal. I’ve been lifting weights and walking on the treadmill for years. Guy, my ex, is a personal trainer and set me up well with this. Currently, I weight train with Christy for an hour four times per week and walk on the treadmill six times per week for 50 minutes. Believe it or not, I don’t like exercise. I wish I could send my body to the gym and leave my mind at home reading books.

I’ve been thinking about homelessness a great deal, lately. My sister did telephone me. She is homeless. I asked her where she slept, hoping she would say a shelter. She didn’t; she sleeps on the street. Maybe there’s a park nearby. There is a big park by the library where I work. People commune in the grass. People sleep in the grass.

I wonder about little things being difficult. Where do you charge your phone? You’re on FaceBook…where do you use a computer? How do you shower? How do you maintain your clothes? I mean, c’mon, I have 17 pairs of jeans and they’re all laundered.

I have a full refrigerator, a stove/oven combo, and a dishwasher. I don’t use my dishwasher, but I do have one. I also have a microwave I use to heat water often in order to make coffee. I have coffee, by God. No, God has nothing to do with my coffee, but God has given me life; I’m talking spiritually. I say in respect to my sister, “there but for the grace of God go I.” I spend time in the hope of growing my spiritual condition. If I were on the streets, would I do this? Probably not. Where is God in my sister’s life? Maybe that’s not a question for me to ask.

I love easily today. I love my life today. Any problem today is a luxury problem. And have I mentioned?…I have two cats who curl up to me as I write in bed. Heaven.

Today is April 17, 2017. I am alive and well.

Change the pants and you change the person. I read something similar to this and agreed with it. When I was in first grade living in New York I wore skirts with tights in the winter. On my way to the bus stop one morning I slipped and tore up the skin on my leg, shredding the tights. Had I been in pants, I would not have bloodied myself. This wasn’t enough for me to stop wearing skirts.

In third grade, I leapt form the top of the monkey bars on the school playground. In flight like a pigeon before it lands on a bread crumb. I had done this before. This time, though, my skirt got stuck on one of the protruding metal bars on my way down throwing me off balance. I landed wrists bent in front of my face in order to prevent myself from breaking my nose. Something happened to my wrist. I knew this as I knew the color of my skirt was mint green. I approached the two teachers who were monitoring the playground. They were talking amongst themselves and being the shy girl that I was, I didn’t interrupt them. I took myself to the nurses office and explained to her that I had broken my fall with my hands and that something felt wrong with my wrist. She said it was probably just a sprain but phoned my mother anyway. Mom came and got me and had the where with all to take me to the doctor’s. The doctor took an x-ray and determined that I had broken the two largest bones in my wrist. Had I been wearing pants, this would have never happened. I took to wearing pants.

My hair was cut in a pixie. With my hair short and my body tall, people mistook me for a boy. I still remained in pants like a male skater in gear, warding off the cold and protected should he fall. No shorts. And certainly, no skirts.

Pants were and are freeing. No need to cross my legs in fear that someone will look up my skirt. Able to do cartwheels and stand on my head. Able to fall and get up from the dirt and simply brush myself off.

My person was definitely change with my change of apparel. I gained confidence despite being called a boy. Years later, I grew my hair long. It’s amazing how life changing that simple gesture was, also. Yay for jeans, coordination, and a pony tail. When feeling feminine I will still wear a skirt. Just no splits or cartwheels.

I think this blog lacks charisma. Sigh. I’m still determined to blog weekly. Thank you for reading. Always, thank you for your support.

Today is April 10, 2017. I am alive and well.

So I let my friend, Gloria, know that I would be posting a blog every Monday. Letting her know this makes me accountable. I’m a say what you mean and do what you say kind of woman. I will indeed make an effort to post every Monday.

Rather than write, I’ve been doing a tremendous amount of reading. Sometimes I flash back to 1998 and the two years I spent depressed, in bed, wishing I would never wake. When I did wake, I read. It was two years of chocolate cake, cheese danish, and reading. I was so sensitive to sound and stimulation that my grandmother’s feet shuffling down the hall outside my bedroom door infuriated me. I was the stalk of a sunflower who had lost all her petals and could only dream about the color yellow. The stalk I was, rotted. I had to morph into the roots of a potato, a yam, something of the earth that was sturdy enough to withstand long periods of drought. Waking was brutal.

I have an enormous fear of depression. I never want to find myself confined to a bedroom for long periods of time again. I don’t want to rot in my own mind.

I have a friend who is severely depressed. I share with her where I’ve been. I might as well be talking to a snail. She doesn’t respond to things I say, but then, I could not perk up from pep talks, either. I could not fathom that someone else could have been locked in the tunnel, also. No light. Little breath. Short gasps. And me, tucked beneath dirty sheets.

Thank God life has moved on since then. I read today and remind myself I am not chained to books. I can put the book down and fix myself a spinach salad. I can put the book down and shower, allowing the water to massage my shoulders. I can put the book down and wash my sheets, making myself comfortable in the family room. I answer the phone. I put gas in my Fore-runner. I drive to work. And I do work.

I may have a dark night, but I don’t have dark weeks. I am free to roam outside my home. I love being alive the way my cats love watching the wind rattle the bushes from their perch on the window sill. The light pours in. I am alive. I feel my cats rub against me and I do love.

Today is July 4, 2016. I am alive and struggling.

I stopped taking my anti-anxiety medication three months ago. I had been on it for at least ten years. The doctor said my body had probably gotten used to it and it no longer was doing what it was intended to do. For two days, I have been riddled with anxiety to the point of being paralyzed. Anxiety is like having all the nerves outside my skin, pulsating with fluorescent lighting. It is having a brain obsessed with what could go wrong:  my truck could get a flat tire again or die in traffic; someone could have logged into my checking account; my home could get bed bugs; and the new, cheap products for my face could cause me to break out in a rash. Silly. Nonsense. Whatever it may be called, my mind doesn’t drop my obsessions easily. They pin themselves to me as easy as pinning a name tag just above my left breast.

I have been hiding out in books. No writing. No shaving my legs (I’m a hairy Greek girl). No cleaning my condo. I talk my way through grocery shopping and laundry, grateful that I’m able to do those things.

Maybe the solution is to take anti-anxiety meds again. That seems too easy, like filling an empty ice tray with water. Today, I choose not too. I am happy to be free from one of my seven medications. The others my brain needs–I don’t want to fall off the scale again. Here’s to weight keeping me stable. I am heavy enough not to float away with a lopsided mind. This is good.