Category Archives: walking

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 July 31, 2017. I am alive and well.

I found god in myself/and I loved her/I loved her fiercely.   Ntozake Shange

This quote jumped out at me. The passion of this statement is like a toddler commenting on the smell of flowers for the first time. The passion is as great as the passion a homeless woman experiences as she bathes for the first time in weeks.

I have found god in me. The god in me is a small light that blazes in the creases of clouds. The god in me pushes me into the world when I fear Harm is waiting for me around the next corner. Harm is alive, just waiting for me to trip over my shoe laces, landing in his outstretched arms before realizing there are no laces in my shoes. I will not trip, at least not today. God has my back.

I refer to god as he although I have no problem with others who think god is she. One of my best friends prays to mother goddess and is not shy about letting people  know that. At the close of AA meetings, we always say the lord’s prayer which begins “our father.” My friend passionately and with purpose loudly says “our mother.” Sometimes I want to cover her mouth because I don’t want people judging her. I’m certain she would say “judge on,” not allowing people to get under her skin.

“I loved her fiercely.” I do love god fiercely. I also love words fiercely. My cats, fiercely. My friends, fiercely. Fiercely is such a perfect word. It exudes strength and purposefulness. It fires me up not allowing me to wade in dark water but rather coast on a paddle board.

“Cosmic imagination.” That is what William Blake referred to as god. I join him in this. God is cosmic imagination that pierces me from within leaving me passionate about this life I have been blessed with.

Today is April 24, 2016. I am alive and well.

I don’t like my ankles to itch. Another lifetime ago, with Guy, I had two little dogs. Shih Tzus. They would come in from outside and bite my big toes. I don’t like my feet to tickle. I would discourage them from their activity by kicking my feet forward from the chair upon which I sat.

A lady bug flew in from the open window. She settled nearby. The little dogs went after her in a black, brown, and white fury, their paws the size of a quarter. The lady bug is sharp; she flies off before her impeding death.

I no longer fly away. My body is of earth. The bloom that I am flourishes with clean air. I no longer seek gas or exhaust.

I would wake to walk the little dogs. They vibrated with excitement as I clipped on their leashes. I can only wish to be that excited, to have my skin tingle in anticipation of connecting with the sidewalk, of leaving the safety of wood floors and lowly light for the far reaching sun.

Today is my new life. The little dogs are in Florida with Guy. The two black cats I have leave my feet alone unless I have on shoes. Then they sniff. I read that when they sniff shoes, they are discovering where it is I have been. I wonder what the grocery store smells like. I avoided the spilled peach juice while my hands got lost in the avocados, hoping just one would welcome my squeeze, give in to my fingers.

I’m certain the floor of the grocery is mopped regularly. It is not the produce at waist high that Grams and Annie smell, but rather the wax that leaves the floor shining.

I am connected to the sidewalk without the little dogs. My legs bend rhythmically, no march here. The military at one time called to me just as the nun in the cathedral. I was desperate for discipline, for a plan, for structure, willing to stay my virgin self or to muscle my way through boot camp. Neither manifested.

Today, I am disciplined. I have a plan. I have structure. I fill the cats’ bowls with kibbles. Often, I miss the little dogs but Grams too gives me kisses while Annie stretches on the bed, resting her head on my leg. I have grown use to their unleashed lives. I wake to walk myself, and walk I do for an hour. My heart pumping. My mind intact.