Juxtapositioning

words are foreplay for the soul

Archive for the ‘Ho, Earthling!’ Category

October 21st, 2017 by me

My Beautiful Broken Brain

broken-brain

From the movie My Beautiful Broken Brain. I feel like this looks.

There is a documentary out called My Beautiful Broken Brain, about a woman learning to communicate again after her brain injury. I keep meaning to watch it. But I just realized I don’t need to watch it — I am living it.

It turns out that I am not as invincible as I once thought. Repairable, yes. Invincible, no. I have permanent brain injury. Brain damage. My brain got jostled about during its two surgeries, and it was even shifted over to one side for a few months, which I am now told is a Bad Thing. Some people don’t recover well from it. I’ve beat worse odds than this before, so I may recover just fine. Neuroplasticity of brains and all. Hard to tell right now though.

My deficits are in communication and problem solving. That’s what I know so far. My neurologist wants me to attend Brain Camp, an intensive rehabilitation program where I get to relearn how to make words happen and hopefully learn how to think better. I, of course, think I think just fine. I like my ways of reasoning. But apparently it makes less sense if you’re not inside my brain.

Do you know the Spoon Theory? It goes like this. You have 12 spoons to spend each day. Only 12. Each thing you do in a day requires spoons. For instance, just taking a shower may require 1 spoon. Driving to the grocery store might require 3 spoons. But you only have 12 of them. How do you determine what you can do that day and what you cannot? Blow all your spoons on a big fight with your beloved and you are toast for the rest of the day. Spoonless toast, I might add.

I totally get the spoon thing now. I think it as Brain Hours. Some days I get more Brain Hours than others. Some things I do add to my Brain Hours, and some things subtract from my Brain Hours. Regular gym-going mostly adds Brain Hours. Eating well keeps them steady; scarfing down plates of waffles drenched in maple syrup (Grade B — the good stuff) generally subtracts. So now I get to practice self-care things like getting up, stretching, and  doing 5 minutes of my physical therapy exercises every hour. Going outside to feel the sun on my face and the breeze on my skin. Making sure I eat every few hours. These don’t add to my Brain Hours but they ensure that my time spent at my computer attempting to write doesn’t subtract from them.

For the past month I’ve been using an app called Luminosity. I grit my teeth through its constant manipulations to buy the “premium” version. My thought was to practice things that can help my retrain my brain. So when I remember to, I play my three free little games for the day. Today they sent me an email telling me how I’m doing. They compared me to other people my age. What I didn’t tell them is I lied abut my age. I said I was 40. I am a fair bit older than 40. But compared to other (presumably) non-lying 40-year-olds, I am barely functional. My problem-solving is in the 1st percentile. That means 99% of those non-lying 40-year-olds did better than me. My highest percentile was 17th. My days in MENSA may be over. Once I had 150 IQ. Now I doubt I could hit 100. I wonder who I am anymore, who I am becoming. I am afraid.

I used to be funnier. I used to remember things. I used to write faster. I used to use more words. I used to not have a broken brain.

October 20th, 2016 by me

Belongingness

On weekends, she wandered across late-80’s on-trend gray-carpeted floors, regarding the mauve sectional they bought after hours of agonizing over seating choices. She walked right through the living room to the front door and peered listlessly out into the blinding-bright Phoenix sun. Then back again, this time through the kitchen with its white tile and whitewashed-mauve cabinets, over to the family room that the house’s one visitor said needed personal touches (tchotchkes, she thought — yuck) and then it would feel like a home.

She wandered because there was nothing else.

No long streams of adding-machine tape to pore over, looking for the one mis-entry that kept everything from adding up. No yellow bags of Lay’s potato chips to pretend into non-existence, to remove any temptations, since she knew that one bite (of anything) was poison and fatness and also a gateway to desperate binging to quell the ever-present inner emptiness she avoided feeling at all costs. No books to read except for the worn copy of Butterfield 8 that arrived in the mail from Chris with a cryptic statement: “she reminds me of you”.

She wandered because she didn’t belong.

Oh, the gray-carpeted floors were hers, as were the mauve sectional and the white metal day bed (with gold finials) in the guest room and the bare tchotchke-free walls and the trendy mauve pleated shades on the windows. It was all hers, technically, since it was her money combined with his that made this Dream House possible.

And yet it wasn’t. Nothing was. Not even herself.

And now, and now, three decades later, the man, the house, is long gone. The wandering starts again. That woman has become this one.

This time the wandering is over Pergo and area rugs, while gazing at multicolored paintings I made myself, looking out onto the wide green world. The details changed but the inner part, the nugget, the kernel of that life-long pain from the long, missed grasp of belongingness, fingertips barely there but slipping off soon after because when you are a person who Doesn’t Belong, there’s really nothing you can do except howl at the pain and injustice of it all.

This time I wander in my mind, my imagination. I pretend I feel connected to this place, this house, but now I wonder whether my lifelong sense of non-belongingness isn’t connected to a place but rather to a person — me.

Maybe I don’t belong anywhere. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe that’s my superpower.

October 17th, 2016 by me

Moonlight serenade

Twenty years ago, a little more, I walked. Nighttime solo walks. Walks under the light of the moon. Walks to breathe cool air and smell the damp on cut grass and hear distant dogs singing to the sky. Almost every night, in all weather, but especially after a snow. It doesn’t snow where I live now. I don’t miss it, but I remember how I loved the sounds of snow shovels patiently scraping driveways, and I especially remember how quiet the world is underneath a white soft blanket.

Those walks, those twenty-years-ago-walks, were my sanity and salvation, my private world-wide Quiet Thinking Space. I do some of my best thinking while walking. The feet just go where they go and the mind opens wide into distant lands and star-bright worlds.

Tonight I slipped on my pink New Balances and a purple jacket and stepped out into the cool night, the just-this-side-of-full moon beaming bright. My world has been so small for so long. I’ve barely been anywhere by myself in more than two years. I clutched my keys in my pocketed fist and then laughed at myself. This isn’t that kind of neighborhood. Still, I was aware of where light pooled on the sidewalks from the occasional street lamps, and I looked for ominous shadows. I saw no shadows — only Sasha, the tiny white poodle who yapped at my ankles (to his owner’s chagrin) when I walked past.

Free. And strong. I’ve missed how that feels.

September 13th, 2014 by me

The Circle Game

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

— Joni Mitchell

This is what reading my archives does to me. Inspires me, that’s what.

Thoughts that go through my head:

1. She’s a damn good writer. Why doesn’t she write more? Where’s that fucking book she promised? (oh hey, I did write this one)

2. Seriously, where is the damn book? The other book?

3. Aha! A Category titled Rants. I shall make use of that one.

4. The Way Back Machine goes all the way to here. The beginning.

5. Shit. I didn’t leave my problems back in 2012 or whatever.

Okay, that last one is a bitch. That’s why I’m here today, to reconcile the sad fact that despite the passage of six years I’m still the same [read: gloriously fucked-up, insecure, self-judging, wants-to-be-awesome] person I was in 2008. Read the rest of this entry »

August 21st, 2014 by me

Phoenix

phoenix

 

I am reborn.

The birthing process took far longer than I ever imagined — two years and counting — but oh so worth it. I now live less than a mile from a sunny warm beach. I feel welcomed into the warm embrace of loving community. My yoga body looks strong. And I feel very loved.

A year ago last night I stood in the center of a circle of love, pledging to spend the rest of my days (then still an even more uncertain number than for most of us) with my beloved Mister Splashy. A year is a long time. It’s been a lifetime already, these past 365 days and the 365 before that. Two lifetimes ago there was a real possibility I would die within weeks. Now I love one moment at a time, and each moment stretches into eternity.

I suspect this is how we are meant to live — this full-breathed YAWP, inhaling gulps of fresh wonder in each moment, falling in love with every pair of eyes-connected-to-a-heart that I meet.

I have a secret.

Life is meant to be fun, a carnival ride, a glorious adventure.

I rose from the ashes of She Who Came Before, and I stand aflame now and ready to embrace even more yum, even more breath, even more possibility. Life beckons. It’s what you do with your moments that counts.

 

August 6th, 2013 by me

100 and counting…

There are so many ways to die.

She knew this. Daily she plotted her death. Little ways.

A sheaf of papers could grow edges and slice knifelike across her white soft throat. The cord of his headset, sprawled oh so innocently across her bed, could stretch and wrap itself like a hungry boa around her neck. The closet door could slam so satisfyingly, crushing her skull into the jamb. Kitchen knives could grow wings. Heavy pots with heavy lids could crash like cymbals into the grapefruit of her head. Cars could swerve and leap over sidewalks.

So many ways.

There’s no point to being here if Here just means pain. Refresh. Reboot. Wipe away years of dried tears, years of rust around your heart, and for what? More pain.

The circle stands unbroken. You can’t get off the carousel. She prayed for the ground to open and swallow her into nothingness. She was so very tired.

November 3rd, 2012 by me

Why I Have Cancer

I figured it out. It should have been a no-brainer. Why I never suspected that years of self loathing would lead to cancer, I don’t know. But it clearly did.

I hate myself.

I tried to wipe me away by changing my name two years ago, but like a bad penny and a lost puppy, I came back. And all I can do now is imagine I’m jabbing an ice pick into the side of my now-irradiated head because the pain of being me is unforgivable.

Please make it go away. The pain. I would do anything not to feel this anymore.

I shouldn’t be here. I can’t be here anymore. There is no place for me and the pain of being me is unbearable. But everywhere I go, there I am, way less of me now than a few months ago, to be sure, but I’m still here and there are no icepicks to save me from drowning in a sea of me.

August 20th, 2012 by me

I’m a bitch, I’m a lover

Something has turned me into a total raving bitch. Does cancer do that? Although I would like to blame [everything] it on cancer, sadly, I believe this is my doing.

Last week one of the people I love most in the world came to visit. And that was right about the time that TB (Total Bitch) showed up. All her fears and anxieties and need to control came out while this awesome person was visiting. I hate that. I hate that my son, this amazing young man, saw me being a bitch, saw me in my fears, saw me struggling to walk across the room because my body is so weak, saw me fighting with the man I adore, saw me doing anything but being the perfect goddess woman I advertised I was going to become. Read the rest of this entry »

December 7th, 2011 by me

Broken

For a few weeks I’ve been toying with the idea that I am broken.

At first I felt resistance to the idea. Who would want someone who was broken? We throw away the broken things. They are unwanted, unloved, undeserving.

I decided to take my resistance as an invitation. Go deeper, it whispered.  Okay, broken. What is broken about me?

Every step for the past seven months has brought pain. Literal steps bringing literal pain. The cartilage in my hip joints is not what it once was. I am a young woman for this to be happening, but it is. I suspect there is little cartilage left. Hip degeneration is in my family. When I began a deep martial arts practice seven months ago, I had no idea there was anything wrong with my hips. I had no pain. I had no idea about being broken in this way. I quickly found out, when my hips were asked to move in ways that they hadn’t in a long time, that I was not in the condition I had thought I was. Broken. Read the rest of this entry »

November 20th, 2011 by me

Broken

For a few weeks I’ve been toying with the idea that I am broken.

At first I felt resistance to the idea. Who would want someone who was broken? We throw away the broken things. They are unwanted, unloved, undeserving.

I decided to take my resistance as an invitation. Go deeper, it whispered.  Okay, broken. What is broken about me?

Every step for the past seven months has brought pain. Literal steps bringing literal pain. The cartilage in my hip joints is not what it once was. I am a young woman for this to be happening. Hip degeneration is in my family. When I began a deep martial arts practice seven months ago, I had no idea there was anything wrong with my hips. I had no pain. I had no idea about being broken in this way. I quickly found out, when my hips were asked to move in ways that they hadn’t in a long time, that I was not in the condition I had thought I was. Broken.

My practice will rebuild the broken parts inside me, but it will take time. Perseverance. Acceptance. Pain.

Connected to this broken part of me, the part that connects the upper me to the lower me and binds me to the earth, is my idea of beingness. My femininity. My sexuality. Those things are broken too.

This week on Facebook, a video made the rounds. Orgasmic childbirth. I remember rolling my eyes about this years ago. Me, squatting in a warm pool of water in a darkened room with a midwife, at one with the experience of exquisite deep pain and fighting for control in an uncontrollable process. Giving birth. I had heard about orgasmic women and thought they must be broken.

Now I know it was me.

I have been fighting my body a long time.

I know I created protection for it. I have deep compassion and love for the small child who was so successful at hiding herself so she would not be hurt. The hurts were many. Deep. Insidious.

But the walls I built around me as protection made me fight. Resist. They helped me think of myself as broken. In my desire to not feel pain, just like with my hips, I denied the fact that I was broken.

I am so very, very sad. I did this. And I can get out of it again.

Today in martial arts we practiced a Dragon form. Coiling, sinuous movements that engage the hips and lower back. Twisting, coiling, striking. I have come a long way in my practice in seven months but am still a beginner, seeing my lacks, feeling the way my body should move but does not. Broken. I cried in class as energy rose through my pelvis. Hot anger, cold fear. If I opened this part of me, I heard, I would be hurt. It was my walls talking. I heard them. The Dragon could not surmount these strong walls that had been in place for so long, thinking they were protecting me. After all, I let the walls be there. I did this.

Tonight my dear friend Rebecca suggested I do a moving meditation connected with Golden Tara. She could not describe it exactly what she had in mind for me, but it connects to the pose that Golden Tara holds. Hips open. Wide. Birthing something, perhaps, or in closeness to the earth. Hands strong. This is a powerful position. The moving meditation also connects, Rebecca said, to the gurung, a traditional ghatu dance in tribal Nepal. I watched the dance, entranced. Two women, moving slowly, deliberately, sinuously, beautifully. I would do this. I could do this.

I took the Golden Tara pose, made it mine. Then my body began to move. Side to side, slowly. My stance deepened. I was one year old, just learning to walk and wanting so deeply to dance free, but tied down so that I could not. I would be toilet trained if it killed me, my mother said. One year old. My sighs became wails, releasing energy through breath and sound. My child self wept, wanted to walk free, to dance. I danced her pain for her, her anger.

Broken things fly, too.

There is irony here. My beloved adores me. As I am. I ponder this when I see his eyes smiling his heart into me as he sits across the room, laptop in hand, having just clicked “Like” on my Facebook status update. My beloved loves me. Broken. Wanted. Loved. And oh so deserving of this amazing brilliant man who lights up my heart.