[For a more heart-centered home, begin painting an approximation of a human organ on the kitchen wall?]
Anyway, I sat down on the couch and thought, “What is going to be the thing that you are really glad you did tomorrow morning, if you do it tonight?” Then I realized that I truly did want to write you and I have no idea why I put off doing things that I love to do?
I think that my body/brain/mind/heart/spirit systems get worn out, and I just want to go to sleep…and I will go to sleep soon . . . but, in the meantime, I wanted to try to write you, and now I don’t remember what I wanted to tell you about or whether I had anything to say at all?
I put blank paper on the clipboard. Actually it wasn’t entirely blank. One page, front and back, had doodles on it from an effort I made to graphically represent the mechanisms of multiple variables that are expressed as “wellness” – or “not well” …and what does the procession from wellness to not well or vice versa look like, what are the shapes of the lines, how do the connect? All the doodles like mystic mountain high-school dropout landscapes, or a seismograph…an EKG…a cluster of cells. I drew those lines when I was sitting in the sun at the administrative offices of the organization I work for, waiting to do my CPR training. It was a pretty afternoon, last Monday.
So, one page had that on it, more on one side than the other.
The other page had a few impressions of lines and written text on it, from where I had written a to-do list on Saturday over the drawn on page, picked up lead as I wrote.
I had paper, but I couldn’t find a pen . . . pencil, yes . . . markers? Galore…even sharpies, but I wanted a pen to write with and I don’t know why I would be stubborn about something like that? Going up the stairs and down the stairs, looking for a pen and only finding pencils, plus a brand-new-in-the-package toothbrush that was gathering dust on a cabinet in the living room.
I guess that’s why I am writing you here…in this email…because I couldn’t just use a pencil already…for whatever reason.
I think I am going to bed now, but I will print this out tomorrow and also maybe write you some more.
March 31st (13 days ago)
The sound of a body hitting the street. Passing out after standing up too fast sweet relief.
The smell of damp stones.
[I saw these people on the beach while I was observing the sunrise. It looks like a wedding proposal at dawn to me. I walked back to the house alone, struck by the fact that whoever those people are they will likely remember that moment for a long, long time.]
Apr 4 (8 days ago)
It’s been days since I have written anything much to myself…like, a week or so….and I have been okay with that, as I have kept up my noticing and thinking and have felt pretty good, even though I have been busy…with all sorts of expansions of time and responsibility at work, extra days with the young people…more doing of things in general, and not feeling really “stressed out” about much of any of it, other than a minor tension in my core, an occasional bit of worry…i have been keeping a close eye on myself, not obsessively distracted and absorbed with my experience and how I am doing, but a periodic-frequent checking in with my thoughts and sensations, where I am generally at in my okay-ness…and trying to do things that I know typically help me in my okayness…running even if I am slow and don’t feel much like it at the moment, breathing in forest smells, eating 1/2 decent food, taking my vitamins, folding the laundry, setting out my clothes for work the night before, so I don’t have to think about it too much in the morning…getting at least 7 hours of sleep…drinking a lot of water…breathing.
I was fumbling with my phone’s touchscreen keyboard and the setting shifted – for a moment – to outline mode…and I thought, Gee, maybe I could write out an outline of the things I do and the relevance of my doing them in relation to my wellness, amounts and experiences, potential barriers and ways to circumnavigate those barriers. That’d probably be informative…and maybe I could share it in the WRAP class, as an example of an adapted wellness toolbox of some sort?
I ought to go to sleep in 21 minutes or so and still have a 1/2 hour of paperwork to do from today at work that I absolutely will not want to think about tomorrow morning.
So, I probably won’t be making an outline. However, I am writing down the idea, because I think it sounds fun and informative. I like making outlines…how they show the relationship between facets of information in a way that is linear, but also dimensional. Outlines, if I use them, help me to better understand what all is involved in a process or an idea or a situation…i ought to try outlining a piece of writing. I did an outline for my thesis. It was massive.
I’d like to look at that outline again. Revisit what, exactly, I was trying to do, to convey.
Apr 4 (8 days ago)
I realized the other day that I have a tremendous fear of getting cancer and that I have had this fear, quietly and every day, since I was a kid and I had to spend entire afternoons listening to my great-grandmother, whom I love/d dearly, going on and on about who has cancer, who died from cancer. The word shrill and cutting at the second c in her age-garbled drawl.
I do, of course, realize that this fear – itself – could possibly give me cancer, in my semi-conscious picturing of rampant cells. I have been trying – as I have been, here and there – to be vigilant in the picturing of myself as healthy, damaged and old cells being smoothly disposed of and replaced with vibrant new, shining cells, my body systems healthy. I don’t know if I fully believe that it is possible for what we powerfully imagine to become real, but it seems as though if – in any possible realm of our lives that this might be possible – it might be possible in the body / Mind connection.
I didn’t set out to write about this. I wanted to write down a list of the songs on the radio this morning, because it was so epic for a few miles there, with the man walking on the shoulder, picking up trash and me rolling down the window in the slow, slow traffic and turning the radio up, so that he would hear something other than the sound of wheels and engines.
Ex-ambassadors – Renegades
B. Carlile – The Story
(Scanning, all talk and news and ads, no songs until I end up back at the original station, which is playing…)
The Beatles – Here comes the sun
(…at which point the epicness started to fade a little and then I passed the airport and the station broke up and I started listening to the news. What a debacle. I am learning a lot about the government and how it works. Even though I have a really pretty decent education and took political science at the college level, I didn’t know much other than the basic structure and most basic functions of those structures, not much about the details or how various branches interact with one another de jure.
It’s sad that we sometimes only understand how something works because it starts to fall apart and then we can see how it is broken.
Also, note on reaction to the word “nuclear” – how it was in reference to some legislative move to push or kill a bill, but I didn’t know that and for a moment inhabited a world in which the government of the country I am in is threatening the use of nuclear weapons. )
Speaking of life-long fears.
…which ties into the fear of cancer, and for a stretch of road I had a grim-good time considering the possibility that it is actually, as my friend once attested, already the post-apocalyptic era…and that maybe the apocalypse started when they first split an atom…and that this is a slow apocalypse, but an apocalypse nonetheless.
I don’t feel alarmed, because – really – I just can’t go there.
But, let me note here the experience of the strong reaction to the phrase “nuclear option” – an increase in heart rate, a flurry of thoughts and a numbness in my throat…
Apr 6 (6 days ago)
When I was six, on Christmas Day, I fell off a leaf swing (a bag of leaves tied with a rope to the sturdy limb of an oak tree) while the rope was stretched taut to the end of its upward arc. I spun out into the air, flew for a moment before landing with a thud that, unbeknownst to my parents who carried me upstairs and laid me on the couch to rest, ruptured my spleen.
I didn’t realize that I was hurt until I couldn’t breathe, from the internal bleeding pressing on my lungs.
I was in the hospital (away from home) for three months. My parents had to throw away the Christmas tree. There was Valentine’s day.
The only memory I have from that time is the middle of the night, crying that I wanted my mother and still feeling how desperately I wanted to be at home, with my mother, and the light from the nurses station was bright in my room, the bed was cold and metal touched my arms. The nurse in the doorway telling me that if I didn’t stop my crying, my mother would not be able to visit tomorrow.
That’s all I remember.
9:05 PM (2 hours ago)
…as I was saying, about a week ago, I have hardly written at all…at least in the sense of writing as being this act of recording some of the internal dialogue and external experiences that construct my reality…I have certainly written emails to other people, mostly work related, and have made a few lists…but, (this)? I haven’t been doing much of this lately. I feel compelled to mention my lack of time and many diatractions. However, that…hmm, auto-correct made distractions to read diatractions, which is a word I like a little more…because of the suffix dia- which means…hmmm, let me see…the first word that comes to mind is diagenesis, ha auto-correct changed diagenesis to diagnosis and then – real quick – changed it back.
dialogue diametrically diaspora
“a prefix occurring in loanwords from Greek (diabetes; dialect) and used, in the formation of compound words, to mean “passing through” (diathermy), “thoroughly,” “completely” (diagnosis), “going apart” (dialysis), and “opposed in moment” (diamagnetism).” http://www.dictionary.com/browse/dia-
…so, when I went to looks up the meaning of the Greek dia, all that came up on Google was a bunch of sites about the Defense Intelligence Agency. Ew.
Part of me wants, very much, to make this site Private again. It’s kinda of an awkward thing. I wonder what that would mean though, why I would be doing it…what there is to be embarrassed about, why I would feel embarrassed…or worried . . . and, what does it mean when someone who can recognize the bullshittery of normative culture and appropriate expressions…why it’s okay to talk about some things, some places, in some ways . . . but, other things . . . eh, awkward…at the very least, with the capacity to become extremely problematic…and, dammit, embarrassing.
…yet, I know that any feelings of embarrassment are based in culturally-instilled beliefs about what it is to be acceptable (read: safe from the effects of other people’s judgements and scorn) and what I have learned about what – in my life – is okay and not okay to say, do, and be. There are real reasons for my nervousness . . . like, for example, my nervous system…rattling around vague warnings, “You really made a mess of things before. You got in trouble. People you love were hurt.”
Of course the reasons I made a mess, and the reasons people got hurt, are also all bound up in those same complexities of belief…and culturally – reinforced relational power dynamics…
Which leads me back to the conclusion that there is some small resistance in simply creating a space for myself to remain in contact with who I am in the midst of my life.
Self-doubt mutters, ” I guess?”
I just got back from the beach. I went there for 3 days with my children. Occasionally, I thought briefly about writing, and wondered what I might say to commemorate such full, long days, which moments stood out to me, what did I want to remember.
I wanted to remember everything, and the only way to try to do that is to pay attention.
It was such a wonderful trip.
Diastraction: My physical heart feels like warm sand and choppy surf. I don’t know what to say. Where would I start. She stood between her children, almost as tall as she is now, big kids with brown eyes and strong legs. The ocean behind the low sea wall and splayed jetty was snarling and spitting, slamming itself against the railroad – tie pilings to spray water across the calm on the other side of the wood and concrete. “What’s this?” Her daughter pulling at an orange-black cord of steel gnarling from the top of a post. “It’s rebar, metal. This whole thing is sewn together with metal.” The wall cut along up close to the dunes, where it gradually was buried in sand and a person could join the curve of beach and marsh where the river flowed into the ocean, and vice versa.
Water flailed itself against the wall and the woman jumped back, a little squawk. “Come on, I don’t want to get wet!” She started walking, the lighthouse in the distance, small groups of people out to see the sunrise. Her daughter stopped walking, and moved closer to the wall. Her son paused his walking ahead. Waiting for his sister, his mother. “C’mon!” The woman felt impatient, but did notice that her daughter was playing, daring the water to push through the wall and splash her. The woman watched, small rivulets and wavelets oozing from between the ties. The moon was rising and the sun was setting and it didn’t occur to her at all that this place where she was standing was a place full of barriers and interstitial spaces, where everything could be all at once. The heavy concrete foundation of an old building, sprayed painted again and again, was standing in the shallows made by high tide. A woman lounged on the concrete, a man sat beside her. A drone flew overhead and the graveyard trees clawed up through the sand.
She heard it before she understood what was happening, and her eyes were open only long enough to see the scattered wave of water zooming toward her face, her body. The cold hit her, suddenly wet through her pants, her glasses speckled with droplets, her hair splotched and dripping in a few places.
Her children laughing.
“It came right at me, didn’t it? Like it was aiming for me!”
The woman didn’t quite laugh, but could definitely see how it was funny that she, the only one who didn’t want to get wet, was the one who was doused by the ocean.
The next morning, walking to the pier with her son. “That was funny.” Her son is talking about the wave, about how she got wet. “Totally.” The woman says again how it was funny that the ocean splashed her. She does not say that the ocean was messing with her, or maybe she does, some half-finished sentence about the ocean being mischievous. “The ocean doesn’t have a consciousness, Mom.”
The pier is already crowded, even though the sun has barely risen. It is before 7:00am. People are fishing and walking with their children. The ocean was making ocean sounds, hush and whoosh.
“…but, what about, like jellyfish? They are colonies of specialized animals. The ocean has a lot in it. I mean…”
Her son held up his hand, dropped his head. “Mom, could we please not have this conversation right now?”
She dropped it, and they walked up the wide stairs to the pier, saw that the water was filled with surfers, even though the waves were crummy.
Later, she will wonder why it is so wrong to think that maybe the ocean was playing with her, reminding her not to be so serious?
So, that was a couple of moments, pared down representations of a few minutes passing in a life.
That fear of death hasn’t gone away. I don’t want to talk about it. Is it stupid to believe that a cultured pearl in a tiny cage – like pendant purchased at a souvenir shop in a southern beach town could possibly bring me health and thus help me to circumvent death? Yeah, probably.
I have three of them, the pearls.
So, I haven’t written much. Not for lack of wanting to, but for choosing to not think about writing much, to not use my time like this, to do other things. To pay attention.
To be in my life, you know?
10:08 PM (1 hour ago)
One thing that crossed my mind a couple of weeks back, and somewhat stuck as an worthwhile thing to consider is this: If I have developed – through lived experience and the mechanisms of meaning making within my cultural context – an association between big white trucks and white supremacy, then how does that affect how I perceive people who might choose to drive big white trucks? I also associate big white trucks with service and craft trades, like house- painters and builders. I think that white trucks are chosen for business in these trades because they are visible and when they are kept clean they look very clean, because white looks clean in many cultures.
So, what biases does my association between white supremacy and white trucks bring to my perception of the human beings driving those trucks?
Also, I should probably write an essay about how the very simple knowledge of how trauma and stress vulnerability impact nervous system regulation (and, thus, experience) has given me tools that basically have allowed me to be more self-determining and aware in my humanity and participation in my life and how that is, frankly speaking, awesome.