Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I miss my body electric

Since gone are my ambitious days of yoga and the library, my nights of torso-twisting tanguera body bliss, I've had to fill my time in other ways. First among these ways is trying not to cry. On good days, I am full of what I like to call recovery hope. On bad days, to go two hours without tears is quite the feat. Some faceless and malevolent force has slashed my pillow from the underside, spilling all the down. I replace the feathers with synthetic substitutes, prosthetic hours. In place of practice, I swim laps. In place of logging sedentary hours before the laptop screen, I go to chiropractors to be poked and plied. I see doctors, hoping one will find the fix to bring me back to life. I take deep breaths. I walk at dopy tourist pace. I carry only what I absolutely need, to spare the extra weight. I take elevators. I take cabs. I let my boyfriend carry me up stairs. I lie on my back. I lie on my side. I cramp, I twist. I futilely rub wherever's sore. I watch hours and hours of internet TV.

I am impatient. But I refuse to cease to learn. I've learned to cry alone, so as not to burden friends who've taken up the cause of keeping me afloat. I've learned that even when you're full to effing burst with Grateful, you still can take for granted something simple like the ability to move. And I've learned that there are always silver linings, or—at the very least—unadulterated good to harvest even in the worst of awful times.

Beyond the obvious: I have swimming, I have writing, I have Jack. So I take it like a crack addict, which is to say, one day at a time. I let things unfold in twice the time, I swim my thirty laps a day, and then I try again. The only thing I want (like breathing) is to dance.

(Let it be soon.)

In the interval, I watch—trying to cultivate my writer's observation deck, that infinite expanse behind my eyes.

Whereas before I found my stillness only in the movement, I'm faced now with finding the movement in my stillness.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

here's to opening and upward, to leaf and to sap

To be sure, between the lady part cancer scare and the herniated discs, I have complained a lot of late.

Really, since September, in my self-imposed exile, self-shortened by the crisp call of a Northeast October, I've been riding my one-woman roller coaster through the Depths of Despair. The peaks have been higher than the drops were low, but I screamed bloody murder all the same.

I've struggled with gratitude. Easy to come by at the tops and crests, arms up and face to the blinding sun. Woohoo escapes your lips and all gods and grandeur answer back.

Then the car catches on the hydraulic brakes, your neck jerks, and the fun comes to a complete and semifinal stop. Five weeks pass in slothdom and sedentary fever. You wonder who you are without all that you have worked so goddamned hard to be grateful for, those big yellow life rafts that steer you through your self-created shipwrecks. How easy it is to lose face, to lose footing.

Four months ago, I fell for a man who's brought me nothing but blessings. Abundance in Bohemia, a living fit for kings. And that man appears to have the patience of ten. Note how he cares for me, carries me down subway stairs, ferries me in service lifts and . . . (forgive me if I gloat) breakfasts me in bed.

I write while he writes. I sleep while he dances. So what if I crane my face away at three am to cry myself to sleep—the very next day he dries my tears. This too shall pass. I'm young and vital and my back will heal. Today the Quackopractor even let me swim.

(Moving through the YMCA pool, I am exultant.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I've stopped counting the days.

I've also shot to hell the theory that says I write best when I'm miserable, because—hell, take away tango, yoga, etcetera and I barely know who I am. Add the mandatory five pounds I've gained (so far) from fat lady rest, and there's not much left in me for lemon squeezing.

On the upside, my friends are really good to me. (Not that I feel guilty about this . . . after two ugly break-ups at the hands of emotionally retarded fuckwit fortysomethings, two Plagues of Locusts and one quarter life crisis, followed almost immediately by a brush with the big C .)

And on the down, we still don't have a diagnosis. Could be hip or back or gluteus medius. Could need surgery, could need six more weeks of rest. Could need ice, could need heat. Could respond to stretching, could get worse.

And here I sit, lumpy, losing muscle definition, losing patience, losing my grip. Paying for cabs I can't afford to ferry my gimp ass across Manhattan. Picking fights with the scary version of Jack that lives in my head and will never love me.

I'm not out of optimism yet, though. Just, almost out. May the MRI bring answers!