Saturday, September 23, 2017

Speaking of starving

We decided to try a water fast.  That is, Shawn decided to try a water fast and I was swooped up, the way I often am, by his enthusiasm and certainty.  I have never fasted, excluding during illness, and so I do not have the benefit of practice to make it less difficult or to reassure me that I will soon feel better.  We are coming up on 48 hours with nothing but water, and so far I feel tired.  Everything I have read assures me that we are about to turn a corner and feel an incredible mental clarity unlike anything previously experienced.  I would like this to be true because currently I feel groggy and sort of mentally blurry.  The purpose of the fast?  I don't remember.  Too tired to think.  We are trying for ten days.


To distract ourselves from food we went to the ocean this morning and drank water (ha) sitting on a bench in the sunshine overlooking the sea.  It was beautiful and calming, and the walk (uphill) to the car assured my body that I still mean for it to do things.

After the ocean we went to a mall because I need new bras, and there I had the most satisfying bra shopping experience I think I have ever had.  The saleswoman was astonishingly determined to help me, in spite of my limp protests, and before I knew it she was in the change room with me assessing my boobs and deciding that all my choices were wrong.  She went off into the store without me and came back with the bras I should be wearing.  And lo and behold she was right.  Six times.  I spent a ridiculous amount of money but now I have the six best fitting bras I have ever owned.


Sunday, September 03, 2017

a hunger for contact

I gave up the end of my summer vacation to spend it with a semi-famous doctor of psychology, whose focus was on anxiety-related issues in children - but found that the information provided was applicable also to adults.  I always find these workshops somewhat harrowing.  I am meant to be learning about best practice for treating the teenagers under my care, but I cannot stop myself as I listen from diagnosing my family members, one by one, including myself, and wonder what happened to the ones who have always claimed to be healthy and well when they obviously are not.  My strength (and weakness) is that I cheerfully pathologize us all, myself included.  But the doctor did say the healthiest in his experience were those who had accepted the mess in which they were raised, allowed the pain to fully penetrate the conscious mind, and grieved it thoroughly.  I consider myself to have landed in this category.  So much of what I have written here is grieving - I call it processing - but it is grieving.  And I recognize, which I do not think they all do, that grieving is ongoing forever.  It does not have an end, the knowledge of which makes it easier as I get older to swallow it in small pieces rather than all at once.

What I take away is the comfort of knowing that my instincts work well, and that when my rational brain is combing through my books to find the right thing to say, my instinct to pretend I am the answer is a good one.  A self-fulfilling prophecy of its own.  I may not have any answers, but I can be one.  My own brokenness is of no consequence in this sort of encounter.  And what the doctor did not say - but I know in my bones - is that we all find healing in giving children the things we starved for most ourselves.


Tuesday, August 01, 2017

filled with imperfect thought (and spunk)

In the summer, when there is no tiling or painting to be done, I sometimes occupy myself with writing porn.  Yeah, seriously.  I don't share this information with a lot of people because: a.) I don't want to deal with their judgment (whether that be negative, ie:  Ugh you're revolting,  or positive, ie:  Whoa that's hot) and b.) I don't want people to ask me if they can read it.  Because it's TMI.  I use a pen name.  I'm semi-successful.  I don't make enough money to quit my real job, but I make enough money to know that there are a significant number of people (women, I believe, in most cases) all over the world wanking to the dark sexual stuff I think of.  Oh yeah, it's kinky porn.  (Like I said, TMI.)  One day I'd like to focus on writing something a bit more literary, but my longstanding suspicion is that the porn pays better.  I'm always surprised that people will pay good money for porn - but I can assure you, they will.  (I once shared my secret with RW and RH - because we were in Italy and had a few drinks.  RH only mused that porn without pictures didn't really count as porn, and RW has kept my secret in his pocket - I think - but alludes to it ocassionally when we drink.)

I have a problem with the porn industry in general because, of course, most of those women are terribly exploited.  But the women in my stories aren't real women trying to make money or get famous - they're fiction - and they're my fiction, and they tell me they don't feel exploited in the least.  And what's more, they never need reconstructive surgery to turn their orifices right side out afterward either in spite of all the dirty stuff they get up to.  I'm fairly convinced that my contributions to the porn industry are not harmful to anyone.  Plus they allow me to buy a lot of expensive shoes.

It is always a funny experience working with a cover artist.  Cover artists read your blurb - never the whole book -  and come up with an idea of what your characters look like.  Let me be honest.  When I'm making this stuff up, in my mind's narcissistic eye, the heroine always looks like me.  I mean a significantly airbrushed and perfected version of me, but still me.  She's always a somewhat non-threatening, never particularly bodacious, spindly-limbed awkward kind of woman.  I describe the heroines the way I describe myself - with a critical eye.  I don't write them to be perfect at all.  Yet no matter how much I write about myopia, social awkwardness, clumsiness, etc., the cover artist always comes back with a picture of a huge-boobed big-haired blonde woman who looks like she came from Texas in 1985.  I don't know why that is.  I mean, I suppose it must be what sells the story, but again, with an audience (I presume) of mostly women, why is that what sells?  Why don't people want to see covers with relatable women who have bodies like teenage boys?  Olive Oyl, now there's a sexy lady.


I'm having wine and potato chips for dinner.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I don't mind the sun sometimes

A funny thing about Bikram yoga is that they always warn you to let go of your expectations and instead to be curious about the practice.  To let yourself just experience it without judgment.  This is difficult for me.  I have expectations.  I expect to get better, only better.  I expect to be uncomfortable.  I expect to struggle.  On days that I don't get better, I am frustrated.  On days that I do not feel the discomfort or the struggle the way I expect to, I wonder if I am not working hard enough.

The goal is not to think like this.  The goal is to notice, and breathe, and let it go.  Notice and let it go.  I notice that I used to be better at Bikram before the vertigo because then I was fearless about inversion.  In my current practice I regularly come up against a fear that stops me from tipping my head as far back as I know it can go.  It stops me from rolling as far forward as I know I can go.  I notice, and I cannot let it go.  The anticipation of dizziness prevents me from finding my edge.  That is, it prevents me today.  And maybe eventually it will not.


Sunday, July 09, 2017

start now, we'll be done by Easter

I received a call from my credit card company to tell me they suspected my card had been compromised.  We went over the charges together and they were right.  Someone was using my card at Bell Mobility, which is not a company I have ever used.  It's interesting how quickly it was caught - less than 12 hours.  I wonder how they do that.  Surely it has something to do with computers and not humans poring over incoming bills, but my brain couldn't stop conjuring up pictures of a roomful of workers tracking my movements based on my credit card.  "Oh, she's going into the grocery store! She's buying tomato soup for dinner." "She's on her way home.  She just stopped for gas."  "Wait, Bell Mobility?  No!  That can't be her.  Bell isn't on her route home!"


My neck muscles are weak.  This is indubitably from holding my dizzy head as straight as possible for two years to prevent an attack of the spins.  Now that I am using my neck again, allowing my head to move more, it is causing some strange sensations.  I am working to trust my body to be okay with this, to let the sensations enter my awareness, to notice them, to accept them, to let them pass through me.  Not to fight them.  To breathe through them and let them go.  It is a new exercise in self-discipline, and I like this kind of challenge.  By the end of summer I will get back my Ustrasana.


Tuesday, July 04, 2017


Summer is time for projects, and I have done many over the years.  Some gardening.  But painting and tiling, mostly.  (I enjoy these things - except for the weeding.  I now have a blow torch for the weeds, which makes it more tolerable.)  This year I have run out of things to tile, and very nearly run out of things to paint.  The only thing left to paint doesn't want to be painted yet.  I haven't finished thinking about it.

This leaves me with no projects, except one.  The project this summer is... me.

I have finally, finally, finally returned to daily yoga practice properly  - with no stops and starts, with consistency and focus.  And no dizziness.  None.  My apprehension is still there; I think that will take more time and practice.  But that is why it is called practice, and I am ready to practice.  With my dizzy inner ear at last acting normal, I have been able to do full inversions for the first time in two years.

It feels like starting over in some ways.  I can tell I have lost some of my strength, and some of my balance.  And yet .. the muscle memory is there.  It feels like spiritual awe to me when my brain cannot think of the next posture, but my body knows it, twists itself without me asking, to set up the next position, and the next.  Twenty-six of them, and they're all still there.  With practice they will be better.  I breathe in, I breathe out.  My body is doing what I am asking it to do again, and this feels better than anything else I know.

Tonight I went to "pyropilates", a class my yoga membership offers me for free.  I did not know what I was getting into.  Now, in the safety of my living room, I think I did something amazing.  At the time it was mortal suffering.  An hour of intense cardio and pilates in a hot room.  Hot.  I breathed a lot.  I might go back, maybe.  My body is not really a fan of the plank, but maybe that means I should make it plank more often.  It probably means that.


I had coffee with CE this morning.  She crossed the bridge in my direction, which was kind of her.  Toasted her retirement.  And talked about her future plans.  I think she will have a happy retired life.


There have been some tentative steps toward new friendships.  On their part, not mine, because I am cowardly like this.  I find reciprocating these gestures nerve wracking, a bit like dating.  I want to make a good impression without appearing to try too hard.  I want to be myself, but I want to be cool.  I want to be a cooler version of myself, less likely to spill something.  I wonder why I made friends so effortlessly when I was young, and now it feels so deliberate.  Sometimes I tell myself I have everyone I need in my life already.  And sometimes I tell myself to go ahead and crack open my chest and see what pours out - and in.


Friday, June 30, 2017

orphans and atheists not withstanding

This was the last day of work; now summer vacation.

Wrap up.  I gave a big speech before the staff in honour of CE's retirement.  This was somewhat difficult as a.) I do not particularly enjoy delivering speeches - Drama background notwithstanding, I am not a person who especially likes a microphone, b). CE is very special to me and her retirement means I will not see her very often anymore.

However, giving a speech is also cathartic, and I appreciated the opportunity to tell my colleagues how much she meant to me, and how much she (quietly) contributed without them even knowing. The feedback was warm, some in person and some text messages later in the evening.  I appreciated it all, because I am not confident about these kinds of things.  I have no doubt they knew I needed a little feedback.  (The quaver in my voice would have told them so if they were listening.)


The boss is also leaving, and I was invited to participate in that send off, another opportunity I appreciated.  My change in position in the school has resulted in great changes to my relationships with many people.  This is both wonderful and frustrating.  Wonderful to find that people are more human than I thought.  Frustrating that it takes a change in position to earn the right to know so.


CM was lovely.  She gave me her shirt, she gave me some dragons.  She told me my speech was beautiful, she told me some secrets.  Fuck I wish I had gotten to know her before she was leaving.