While I was in treatment I was given Recovery Workbook by my one on one therapist. There were many sheets on which to detail the progression of my disease. When I was in active addiction I would try to write, … Continue reading
I’ve forgotten what it’s like to love myself.
To look at myself in the mirror and see beauty instead of flaws.
I’ve forgotten how to love myself.
To touch my flabby and cellulite covered skin and not hate it.
To rub my own feet with thick lotion and not wish that the heels were softer.
To hold my hips and wish I could remove all of the fat inside of them.
To trace my wrinkled hands across my ample breasts and hope that someday a man will behold their beauty again.
To gaze at my face in the mirror and not see wrinkles, but amaze at the brightness of my blue eyes and the perfect symmetry of my lips.
I’ve forgotten how to love myself.
To find that little girl that resides inside and tell her that she’s going to be okay.
That she is loved.
That she is free.
That she is important.
I’ve forgotten how to love myself, but I do hope in time I’ll be able to again.
The opening lines from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, floated around my head while Meggie drove me to my follow up appointment with Dr. Perdue. The day wasn’t particularly sunny. In fact, the skies were threatening rain and the humidity slicked my skin with moisture. All I could think about was taking my first steps after a 95 day journey that changed my life.
Meg helped me with my last wheelchair ride, all the while calling me an ‘old lady’. We laughed together, me and my Chica. We checked in, had x-rays taken, and were guided to the surgeon’s cast room. I hopped up on the exam table like a pro, and removed my boot cast. I conversed with Meggie and the nurse while my vitals were taken.
“Is it hot in here?”, I inquired after the nurse left.
“No old lady, you’re anxious”, Meg chided. “Stop fidgeting.”
As we waited, I surfed through the pictures on my phone, until I landed on the ones I took at my two week check-up. There, in full color was my ankle, purple and swollen. The three incisions still angry and fiery red. Black sutures protruded from my skin looking like railroad tracks to hell. You would have thought I would be disgusted by the sight, but I was utterly fascinated. I grinned as I slid my finger across the smart phone screen and viewed the progress of my recuperation. I had come so far.
“Mom, you look weird.”
Dr. Perdue and Pete the PA joined us in the cast room. The surgeon smiled his teddy bear smile and shook my hand. We chatted about progress and recuperation. He said the Talus bone was turning white, meaning it was getting blood flow.
“I’ve never seen healing like this after such a traumatic injury,” Perdue said.
“Are you saying we are like Wolverine from X-Men?”, Meg asked.
I giggled anxiously, “I just did everything you told me to, I didn’t want to screw this up.”
“You’ve got good genetics.”
“And I had lots of people praying for me. I prayed a lot. I yelled at God too, but mostly I prayed.”
We talked about the future. That I wasn’t out of the woods yet, when it came to the Talus bone dying. For right now, we focused on walking. I got the go ahead to stop hopping on my left foot, and start walking on both feet. I laughed like a little kid and shook the doctor’s hand. After 95 days, I was going to learn to walk again. The busy doctor left the room and I secured my boot cast. I ruminated on the exam table.
“So…are you going to walk?”
“Gimme a minute, I’m trying to psyche myself up.”
Meggie aimed her smart phone at me and took video of me walking for seven seconds. Every tendon, ligament and muscle from my right knee to my foot screamed as I bore weight. Right foot first, then left foot. And so on. I…was…walking. Again…
We pushed the wheelchair out into the vestibule by the elevator. Meg carried my purse as I took my first walk outside in 95 days. Sure, I’d been outside, but it was not on my own. It was in a wheelchair or hopping with the support of a walker. No, this was different. I could walk on my own. In sunshine, moonlight, darkness or rain. I was free.
The rest of the afternoon was a blur. Lunch with Meggie and Adam Boy. My phone being blown up by friends and family asking if I was walking. A script filled and then home. For the first time in three months, I walked up the 13 steps to my apartment door. I unlocked the door and there in front of me was an old friend, my wheelchair. I burst into tears when I realized the magnitude of the change in my life. I had been reborn.
Last night rain poured down, and I craved to walk in it. I wanted it to wash me clean while I drew in the scent of clean earth. To baptize me. Though exuberant, I was too sore and tired go outside. My right knee hurt more than anything. I’m thankful for the pain, because it’s nothing like I’d felt three months ago. My body ached, but my spirit is soared. You know the next time it storms, this woman will be out in the middle of it. In a summer dress and barefoot, hopefully.
‘You look so pretty’, I told Lo as she walked up the stairs.
‘You do too’, she replied. ‘Why are you wearing a dress?’
‘Because none of my shorts fit.’
‘They will again, ya dork.’
I gave her a tiny smile while I put the brakes on my chair and lifted it over the threshold of my apartment door. I have to admit, I feel pretty bad ass when I do that. Who knew I’d be able to lift a wheelchair while standing on one leg? I stood at the top of the stairs as Lo walked past me and took my chair down the stairs. I laughed as she banged the damn thing down every step. She laughed as I hopped on one leg down those same steps. I’m sure my neighbors hate all the noise I make. When I run into The Old Lady that lives beside me, she often gives me the stink eye for absolutely no reason. Bitch! I digress.
Lo waited for me at the bottom of the steps. I hopped and fell into the chair.
‘I’m so damn sick of this shit!’
‘Think about how I feel’, Lo exclaimed. ‘I have to carry that damn chair of yours everywhere.’
We laughed as I hopped yet again and maneuvered into the passenger seat of her car. As we traveled to Saline, we caught up on the events of the night before. She went to visit a mutual friend of ours and I hung out with Bette. I tried not to cry while she told me of her happiness. I sat next to her and smiled, but behind my sunglasses the tears flowed.
‘I often think it would be easier on everyone if I died in the accident.’
‘Nae, God saved you for a reason.’
‘What is that reason though?!’
I for reasons I can not fathom think it would have been easier if I’d died. My family and friends would have grieved, and I wouldn’t have felt any more pain or loneliness. I would have stopped incessantly crying, or the constant wishing for things that are never going to come to me.
‘Lo, I feel so broken.’
‘Honey, we are all broken, in our own way.’
‘At least you have the prospect of someone to love you.’
God saved you in that accident. He hasn’t shown you the reason you were saved, because you’re not open to Him.
Our conversation died when her phone rang. I sat with my hands crossed in my lap and tried to compose myself. Rolling down the window, I let the fresh air dry my tears. I inhaled the scent of summer and freedom. All of a sudden, I was slammed with the urge to tuck and roll out of Lo’s car and find a pool to jump into. Wheelchair and advisement from my surgeon be damned! How I’ve missed my rebel spirit.
Before grocery shopping we met T at Cancun for lunch. I was so glad I’d done my hair and makeup. I felt pretty, even though I was sitting in a chair, and had gained so much weight while I’ve been recuperating. T’s daughter joined us and Lo and I made sure to talk about inappropriate things while we we ate. Sex was often the topic. T admonished us more than once, which seemed to make Lo and I act even more lewd. T’s daughter didn’t seem to mind, though she did blush a time or two. The young woman was so fair complected, I bet one could see her red glow from a mile away. She had a gentle but guarded smile, and all I wanted to do was hug her.
At Wally World, Lo brought around scooter for me to shop with. I drove the thing like a pro. I didn’t have my brace on and was constantly hoping other shoppers didn’t think I was using it because I was too fat to walk. I have no idea why I gave a shit what perfect strangers thought of me driving around in a Walmart scooter, but I did. I made sure to smile at the people that stared at me. Often, I balanced on one foot to grab items from a high shelf. Lo may have to drive me, but I did my very best to be independent when shopping.
After checking out, Lo took me home. I waited while she took my groceries up to my apartment and placed them on the table. Her car radio blared because we needed to hear how the Tigers game would end. While Martinez struck the ball with his bat, I raised my face to the sun and breathed in my last bit of summer and freedom for the day. The Tigers won while she wheeled me to my door. She dragged my wheelchair up the stairs, and I went up the steps on my butt. I slid into my chair like Lieutenant Dan and lifted that damn chair over the threshold on one leg. My BFF and I hugged and said our goodbyes.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the last time I would be lifting my chair over the metal molding in my apartment doorway. It was the last time Lo Lo would have to drag my chair up and down the stairs. It was the last time I would have to take my wheelchair on a shopping excursion. It was the last time she’d have to push me around in my chair while I stubbornly tried to push it myself.
Two days till touch down…I hope I find out why God saved me on that snowy night in March…Maybe it’s something as simple smelling the aroma of summer and freedom…Maybe it’s for something greater…Maybe it’s to experience the joy of becoming a grandmother…Maybe, maybe, maybe…
Photo courtesy of filmcamera999
A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.
Beauty and peace is what they see.
How to tell them that both are a lie?
My eyes hold sadness.
My lips long to kiss that of another.
To lay my heart beside his, and live forever.
I’ve been told I have the perfect nose.
Why not the perfect ass?
The perfect thighs?
I want to be happy.
There is no pill for what I crave.
But still I want.
I need a smoke.
A vodka and tonic.
I remembered the day. It was May and I’d finished planting in one of our gardens. I stood up and brushed the fresh earth from my knees. Removing my work gloves, I refastened the elastic that had loosened during my labor. Soft strands of hair had fallen from the knot and ended up flying in my mouth as the breeze blew. The scent of lilacs filled my nostrils and I hummed a lazy tune.
I walked up the steps of the back porch and picked up another flat of colorful pansies. I dug and dropped the hardy flowers with delicate roots into each aperture and covered them with fresh dirt. The air smelled of mud. Some of the dried grit, wafted in the warm breeze and settled between my teeth. It felt as if I was humming while holding a piece of sandpaper in my mouth. I spat a couple of times to try and purge the grains, but it didn’t help. I’m sure anyone walking by would have laughed at the young woman in short coveralls spitting into the dirt while she planted flowers.
You walked up beside me and knelt in the grass. You didn’t say much, which was unusual. I continued to dig holes and you dropped the pansies into them. When the plastic container was empty, you carried it to the garage and threw it in the recycling bin. As you wandered back out to the yard, I glimpsed your face. You looked ill.
“Honey, what is it?”
“I have to leave.”
“Do we need more flowers?”
“No, I’m leaving. I’ve packed my suitcase. It’s in the hall closet.”
“We’ve worked so damn hard and you’re not happy. You try, everyday. But I know you’re not.”
I turned away and stared at our freshly planted pansies. The tears came, because I know you were right. I stood and walked up to you, kissed you lightly on the lips. My nose ran and I wiped it on my shorts. I ambled to my lilac bush, leaned into it and took in the potent smell. The fresh blooms reminded me of childhood. Of easier times when all I had to worry about were mosquito bites and scraped knees.
“It’s okay for you to go. I don’t know how I’ll live though. Where I’ll go or what I’ll do.”
“You are an incredibly strong woman, you will find your way.”
You walked away and I attacked the bush. I pulled as many blooms off from it as I can stand. My fingers ached and are covered with scratches. With the bush almost bare, I carried my bounty into the house. I pulled three vases from under the sink and jammed them full. The air is already redolent with the smell of spring. I shivered as I heard the back the door slam. I knew you were gone for good. I placed my hands on the counter and wailed.
In my heart, this is what I’ve wanted, but my soul is that of a child’s. I longed to be cloaked in the familiar, and held. To be taken care of. As I placed the vases of flowers on book shelves and tables, my tears dried. I felt a strength grow within me. A light began to burn so brightly that if you touched your fingers to mine, you would burn.
I headed back outside and continued to place pansies in the little holes we’d dug together. The gardens may be mine now, but I realized, so was my life. I had to better learn to live it.
Proud of it.
Thrive on it.
Live and love it.
To realize my passion.
To be me.
It’s my spark.
I’m free in my Madness.
My words help me harness it.
Reign it in.
Revel in it.
I love my Madness.
Others see me as crazy.
I find comfort in that fact.
Let them think it.
For I know the truth.
It’s my Madness that gives me my spark; my passion.
I will continue to grow while they spoil.
I’m surrounded by words.
They float above me.
I pluck them gingerly from my heart, soul, mind and body.
If they escape before I can clutch them to my heart, I grieve like a lost child.
Sometimes they envelop me in softness and light.
Other times they are suffocating and render me unable to function.
I lose myself in them. Time speeds up, slows; diminishes.
I extend every part of my psyche to capture them and pound away at my keyboard till my fingers are bloody.
Words keep me alive.
Yet there are parts of me that die after I’ve written.
Whatever the subject was has escaped, and been given a life of its own.
By making its way out of my body, it helps me move on.
Or to become completely lost.
Words are everything and nothing.
All at the same time.
I’ve been asked if they ever stop.
No. They don’t.
It makes a brain crazy sometimes.
I become exhausted by their motion and their weight on my heart and my mind.
I pray they never stop.
I want my reader to feel the way I did when I wrote them.
I pray that they help me find peace, enlightenment and tranquility.
For if they do that for me, imagine what they will do for my reader….
~You surround me like a circle~
We are so used to numbing ourselves with food. However, we are no longer numb.
We are alive.
We want to experience everything.
We have the rest of our lives to do just that.
We are so afraid though. We’ve never felt so free. Freedom scares us.
(Yeah I said this. I know it’s scary that I can say something so profound, but dammit I swear I did!)
I was talking to a dear friend today who is struggling to find herself. She and I numbed ourselves with food for so long it’s hard for us to feel without hurting. It’s like that of an autistic person who’s senses are in hyper drive. It’s the same for us that have broken out of the addiction of food. Our bodies are finally free but so are our minds. Let me tell you our minds can think and do some crazy shit.
What she and I feel is static electricity running through our bodies. It’s a restlessness I can’t even explain. It’s the feeling that we need to go out and experience everything we couldn’t when our bodies were morbidly obese. The euphoria is amazing, but it’s also exhausting. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I felt this good when I was in my teens. I know I didn’t. I can tell you why. Because now, I’m thinking like a teenager and like a woman confident in her body. Confidence is sexy, but sometimes I’m a little too damn confident!
B. finally got herself out of a marriage that was no longer working. After losing weight the light bulb went off. She realized that what she was doing was merely existing. And she got tired of raising a husband like a child. She decided the best option for herself and the children was to move on. I have supported and loved her through it all. My heart breaks and cheers for as she struggles to find happiness. B. has no idea how incredibly strong she is. I am so proud of her. Yes, I’m envious in some respects. Not so much in others. Her life has been tumultuous. I hope that my words and actions have eased some of her pain.
We’ve both lost 150 lbs, each. Yes, an entire person. That person dragged us down, made us tired, and unhappy. We are finding though that we are still weighed down. With doubt, uncertainty and sadness. We are still searching for balance. For bliss. We may never find it, but we will go through hell looking for it. And I know she and I will always be at each other’s side. We’ll hold hands and love each other through it all. She has been my constant for 30 years.
I can’t say that I haven’t had my issues while going through such a profound transformation. I have thought about running away from my life and starting over. There are so many questions unanswered, and so many what ifs going through my mind. I struggle to find peace within myself everyday. I fight battles with a mirror, and my psyche. Fuck I’m a mess, but my sparkly heart is good. I seek new people and new connections every day. I look for new ways to thrive. I can’t sit still for long. If I’m stagnant, then I die. And baby I’m not dying for a long time.
I remind B. that her heart is good, but she must be guarded with it. Do not give it to the first person you meet. Do not tell them deep, dark secrets. Keep those inside and share them with the right one. I know she will find someone that is good for her, but she has got to find peace within herself first. Be happy in being alone or with her kids. Know that what she is doing is right. All I want for her is peace of mind and happiness. I want it for both us.