When the Stars Landed in My Eyes

A falling star fell from your heart and landed in my eyes
I screamed aloud, as it tore through them, and now it’s left me blind

Last night, after I placed the cannula from my temporary oxygen machine in my nose, I laid back and placed my ear buds in my ears. It had been months since I’d enjoyed any kind of music because it seemed like every time I listened to it all I did was get pissed off or sad.

Tapping the touchscreen of my smart phone I selected Cosmic Love by Florence and The Machine. Letting the sound envelop me, I tried my best to slow my breathing, enjoy every nuance of every note, and feel every word wash over me. I needed to be taken under the waves and made clean, and I figured Flo singing about standing in the darkness listening to a heartbeat would push me through the abyss.

Then I heard your heart beating, you were in the darkness too,
So I stayed in the darkness with you,

At the utterance of these words, my body began to shudder. I wasn’t sure if it was from the steroids that I was tapering off from or the words that had finally hit me. Tears began to stream down my face and I wrapped my arms around my waist. I whispered into the air, ‘hold me, just hold me, I’ll be okay if you just hold me.’  I didn’t know who I was speaking to, but I didn’t want the experience to end.

Still shaking, I fingered my iPod to play Never Let Me Go. The tears continued, but with it came a sense of calm. Through the sounds of the oxygen machine, the fan, the music and my tears, I heard a crash. My old spirit was breaking free and I was on my way back to myself.

Finding the love of music again made me want to listen to more, but I forced myself to turn it off. I placed the phone beside my bed, rolled over and fell under the wave of sleep. I dreamed of Him, and fell even deeper into oblivion. I dreamed of the promise of him, and hoped that he was dreaming of me too.

Looking out from underneath,
Fractured moonlight on the sea
Reflections still look the same to me,
As before I went under.

And it’s peaceful in the deep,
Cause either way (Cathedral, where) you cannot breathe,
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am under, Oh.

And it’s breaking over me,
A thousand miles down (on)to the sea bed,
Found the place to rest my head.

Never let me go, never let me go.
Never let me go, never let me go
.

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me,
And all this devotion was rushing over (out of) me
,

And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me,
But the arms of the ocean deliver me.

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Superwoman is Dead

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Curled up in bed on my left side, I opened one eye and viewed the Life Manifesto hanging on my bedroom wall. I struggled to discern the words in the dimness of the coming morning . ‘Life’ the largest word on the canvas, filled my vision as Eddie the Wonder Pup glued his body to mine. I reached behind me and gave his back a soft pat, his crooked tail began to beat against my crippled right ankle. I dreaded getting out of bed. Not because of chronic pain, because there’s always that. No, it was the chill of winter in my bedroom, that made me want to stay snuggled under two comforters with a little baby puppy by my side.

The promise of daylight was beginning to spread across the manifesto on my wall. I could now read the line ‘Life is Simple’, and I shivered. I wasn’t sure if it was because of the line I read or the chill in the room. In the last 16 months I’ve learned how complicated life can be. I ended a 24 year marriage, had a horrific car accident that’s left me disabled, and the job I’ve been doing for the last 14 years has been dissolved and moved to another department.

I shifted my weight on the mattress enough to wake my drowsy fur baby and he moved from my side to begin poking at me with his paws and kissed my ears and face. His eyes smiled as I stretched and lifted the covers from my body. He kept jumping on me and biting at the a few errant strands of hair that had fallen from my hair tie during the night. He knew what he was doing was bad, but he also knew his cuteness would let him get away with it. I slid my yoga pants and slippers on, then Eddie and I headed to the living room to grab his leash.

As I stood outside Eddie relieved himself while I continued to shiver. The wind cut through my rebuilt ankle, and I thought about all of the people that have told me how much worse my situation could be. Though I do agree with them, I alone know how much the last ten month have just plain old sucked. Each time I work with my PT or try to walk more than the length of sidewalk outside my apartment, I’m reminded that the minutes, days, weeks and months have sucked swamp water, wind, and a big old giant ass!

With this final angry thought, I unlocked the door to my apartment building. After entering my unit, I set about the tasks for getting ready for my day with my right foot dragging. I worked hard to shift my weight to the right side of my body while I stood in the shower, brushed my teeth, and did my hair. Though it was painful, I knew the more I stood on it, the stronger it would become. My surgeon and PT have both told me that I’ve healed and progressed more than they thought I would. Superwoman may be dead, but I have been bound and determined to work hard. I’ve fought through pain, depression, suicidal thoughts, and hopelessness, but I still haven’t ‘got’ this. And if one more person tells me that I do, I might lose my shit.

At work I checked the photo stream on my phone and grouped together all of the images of my accident, surgery and early recovery. I wondered, should I delete them or save them for posterity. The post surgery images made me feel sick because of all of the blood, swelling, discoloration and railroad track stitches. I decided to speak to a dear friend about the photos, and get his take on what I should do with them. His advice, look at them one last time and delete them. Let go of the last chapter of the experience and move on. I haven’t deleted them yet, but I swear I will.

There is this shyness to me now, and a realization that being a manic pixie girl doesn’t always pay off. Sometimes it’s good to let the grass grow beneath my feet, and feel the grounding force of a foundation where I once didn’t want one. For even in my slowness, there is a passion that burns within me. A smoldering ember where a wild fire once burned, and it emits heat all the same. I’ve often heard that the embers burn hotter because the fire is contained in the core. It doesn’t burn out easily like that of the brilliant orange flame that can die quickly, even though that flame dances with an unadulterated exuberance.

I’m not afraid of death, and I wasn’t before my accident and the death of Superwoman. After the car accident, I’m even less afraid. No, I didn’t have a near death experience, but I experienced extreme shock. I nearly drowned in the abyss of it, and I can tell you I welcomed the feeling. If it had been my time to die, I would have gone without a fight. I wouldn’t have railed against the dying of the light. There was such peace in that cocoon in the early hours of my accident, that many times during my recovery, I wanted to go back to it.

Even as I continue to heal and realize that the old me is dead, I often wish to return to the cocoon, never to emerge, because I hated the moth I’d become. The one that kept flying to the light and dying each time it was zapped and suffered a setback. I miss the butterfly I once was, and it pains me to know she won’t return. As I endure ongoing recovery, I know I’m going to emerge from my chrysalis. I won’t ever be the same, but I will be beautiful again. And I will dance, live, love and fly…again.

**This will be my last post about recovery and chronic pain. 2015 is already a better year. It’s time to stoke the embers, and write with passion again.**

 

Even flow, thoughts arrive like butterflies
Oh, he don’t know so he chases them away, yeah
Oh, someday, yeah, he’ll begin his life again
Life again, life again

Four Little Children

Tom my new friend and taxi driver, dropped me off this morning at Domino’s Farms for my Pre-Op appointment. Once there, I checked in, completed forms. Next, I was poked and prodded. I sat in the lobby and waited for the physician’s assistant to explain the surgical process to me. In two weeks, hardware that held my ravaged then rebuilt ankle will be removed. Tendons will be unwrapped from freshly healed bone in hopes that it will alleviate some of my chronic pain. I am tough, but I am scared. I am scared, but I am strong. I pick up my phone and the heat from my fingertips bring it to life. As I begin to play a game I mutter in frustration, “I’m so fucking tired of this injury sucking the marrow out of my very existence.”  

I’m an observational writer. Two and a half years ago I would have laughed if you’d said such a thing. Most of my young and adult life, with the help of ADHD, OCD, married life, parenting, and plain old rushing around, I couldn’t observe more than five things at once. Once I realized that my dream was to observe and write about it, I couldn’t stop. Life was a rush. I was constantly stimulated, and inspired. I say passionate, everyone else in my life said I was obsessed.

This morning, as the lives diminished in my game, I remembered who and what I was.  Placing my phone in my purse, I began watching four little children. One boy and three girls ran wild up and down the hill outside in front of Lobby C. The girls, ranged in age from 8-11, and wore short skirts with little shirts. Their feet were clad in sandals and their long blonde hair whipped around their faces as they ran. The little boy, about 7 was clad in shorts, t-shirt and black flip flops. He ran up and down that hill, faster than his sisters did. He didn’t seem to care that  he lost his shoes in the process.

The oldest girl walked away from her siblings to stand in the stone and ivy garden. The foliage and ceramic toadstools made her look a bit like Alice when she spoke to a hookah smoking caterpillar in Wonderland. Her young charges continued to run up that hill, around the tree at the top and back down.  I’m sure if there wasn’t concrete at the bottom of that hill, they would have rolled down it. Staining their knees and elbows green, as their little brother lost his shoes again.

I sat in a comfy armchair inside, but I wanted to run with them. I wanted to walk on stick thin legs made tan by the summer sun. I wanted to be the young girl standing in the ivy garden that looked like Alice. I wouldn’t have even minded being the little boy that lost his shoes as I jumped to touch the arbor at the entrance of Lobby C.

I don’t wish to go back to that age, but I do wish I could let the wind whip my hair as I run. And to feel confident that when I run, there wouldn’t be pain. I want to suck the marrow out of life again. Maybe after this next surgery, I will.

100 Word Song-Deep As You Go

We find two lovers embroiled in a heated discussion. I’m not sure of the circumstances that brought them here, but the words came to me. I was in the shower when the woman began screaming, tell her the truth! I’m learning that there are so many degrees of love. So many ways to turn your back on happiness. When we fall, we fall hard. And every time we do, it’s more difficult to get back up. We must though. We must get up, and brush the dust from our hearts. Remove the shards of glass too. Sweep them into a pile and discard them. Hopefully the next time we love, it will be forever.

Thank you Lance Burson from My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog for hosting the 100 Word Song story prompt.

(He… She…)

I miss you so much.

If you did, you’d tell her the truth.

I can’t, you know that.

I know nothing, but what is between you and me. Tell her that you love me.

I love you more than I’ve ever loved anyone in my life.

Do you believe in the strength of that love?

Yes.

Then tell her the truth. I am not the reason you faltered, I was merely the catalyst.

What would you have me do?

Tell her that you love me. Own what you feel. Don’t lose me, don’t leave me. Please, don’t let me drown.

 

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Our Only Constant is Change

I attended a training session on how to make myself marketable for a new job venture at the university that I’ve worked at for the last 25 years. Basically, the ‘instructor’ wanted me to market myself as a product. Like a gym shoe made by Nike. A car for Motor Company. Or  a new formula type of soda made by Coca Cola. I was shocked. Here I am, a human, being told to liken myself to an object. As you all know, that’s not me. I am very flawed individual. I’ve  shared that fact with all of you on many, many occasions.

One of the things they told us to do was change our privacy settings on Facebook. Basically hide who and what we really are. In my mind, I stomped my feet like the insolent child I am, and adamantly opposed doing so. It didn’t matter that no one in the room knew of my rebellion. I did, and that was all that mattered. I’m an author, and I have to write. I want my words read. And felt. And shared. So the setting stayed public.

At our break, I met a fellow employee that I had corresponded with over email and the phone. We hugged and laughed. And talked way too loud. We were then shushed by the ‘instructor’. I nearly lost my ever loving mind. I wanted to say ‘fuck you’, I’m talking to a human being and I don’t have to take your shit. My colleague and I stared at each other in disbelief. She shrugged her shoulders. Everything was changing around us. How we ‘marketed’ ourselves. Our jobs. Our lives. Even the interview process was going to be sterilized for us.

In retaliation to the shushing, I hugged my colleague again. Once seated, I jokingly told the ‘instructor’ we were colleagues that had never met. She looked at me coolly and said, ‘isn’t that nice.’ No smile. No warmth. Barely an acknowledgement that we were all going through incredible changes. She was a consultant and clearly didn’t give a shit. All she was focused on was getting through the workbook that we were working on.

I sat through the rest of the ‘workshop’. At the end, I silently left the conference room. Never looked up at the ‘instructor. I just kept my head down and walked out. And vowed that I would not attend another ‘class’. I did jump through the hoops of the resume and interview process. I waited patiently to find out if I’d been promoted. I guess 25 years of experience and supervising employees for 15 years results in a lateral move. I wouldn’t be supervising anyone. I couldn’t believe it! After a week of knowing my fate, I’m still struggling with the decision they made.

Now, I’m on extended sick leave until at least the middle of June. A major car accident and lengthy recovery reminded me that impulsiveness is a very, very bad thing. I know I have a job when I return. I’ll be back at my beloved faculty and staff at the SSW. For how long, I’m unsure. I’ve rediscovered yet again, that change is the only constant in our lives.

If I have to move to a new location that’s fine. It’s closer to where I live. I’ll walk to work.  I can’t wait to see my colleague from the ‘workshop’ we attended. I’ll give her tons of hugs, and talk too loud. You see, these folks at my new place of employment have no idea what they’re in for when I finally settle in. No idea at all. I’m a leader, not a follower. I have big plans, and they don’t include sitting in a cubicle till I retire. I’ll do it, for the pay.

But my heart, ah yes, my heart, it will be living for another place altogether. It will be in the country on a blanket spread out in the backyard. French Bulldog lying in my lap. Pen and notebook in my hand. Flowers in my hair. And dirty bare feet. Yep, that’s where my heart will be….

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I am Worth Loving

Worth Loving

I stood in a roomful of people on Saturday afternoon and wanted to scream, LOOK AT ME! LISTEN! GIVE TWO SHITS ABOUT ME! From across the room, Roger Darling could see the frustration on my face. My brow was furrowed. The wrinkles between my eyebrows made prominent as I tried to hold my emotions in check. He came up behind me and rubbed my back. It gave me reassurance that at least one person in the room “got” me. There was another person there that had my back too. We sat and chatted. I wished that I could sit in a quieter room with him and shoot the shit. I love the man that looks like Tommy Lee Jones. He loves me too. I always thought I was looking for love and validation from him. Turns out, I always had both. He’s proud of me. And my little family too.

Rog and I made our way out to the car. I told him I was so glad we were going to see our kids. I needed to laugh. Hell, we both did. We’d had a sucky ass week. As we made our way to Ypsilanti he looked over at me and asked, “are you okay?” I replied, “fuck no.” Tears streamed down my face. I lost my breath and shook my hands in the air. “Honey, we’re going to see the kids, it’ll be okay.” That’s my Roger Darling, always trying to make me see the positive in the middle of a negative situation. I told him, “I just don’t understand why they don’t like me. What’d I ever do, but be born different?” He stroked my hand and let me finish crying. That evening there was laughter and conversation with our kids. It more than made up for the few moments of unhappiness earlier in the day.

As we made our way home Saturday night, I checked Facebook on my iPhone and saw the quote graphic by Danu Grayson. I shared it with my FB friends and found that there were many others that felt the same. RD voiced, “you could have been the one that penned that quote.” I heartily agreed and cried again. Not for long though. A post was already noodling in my brain. One about love and acceptance. I decided right then and there that I could cry over a few people that don’t “get” me. Or, I could accept the fact that they never will. Instead, I’ll revel in the glory of all of those that do. For they far outnumber the ones that don’t.

I am loved. I return that love, every day. With word, gesture, touch, smile, laugh, advice and story. I know that I will always be loved. Always.

Happiness is Strong Pain Meds and Valium YAY!

Pain makes me a whiny baby bitch.

The last four or five weeks have not been good ones. I have been dealing with chronic pain that has been steadily getting worse. I’m no longer able to hold a pen or pencil and after about a half hour of typing, my left hand becomes immobile. The pain in my back has been excruciating. I was hoping that after quitting my job in the salon that I would heal on my own. That turned out not to be the case. I am now having muscle spasms that radiate from my shoulder blade to my finger tips. The spasms last anywhere from 15 seconds to at least one minute. The Motrin and muscle relaxer the general practitioner prescribed didn’t do much of anything. If I wanted any relief, I had to keep my arm completely immobile. That’s not easy for this busy woman to do.  It fucking sucks!

I’ve seen a chiropractor and he’s awesome, but I’m still suffering. I finally gave up and went to the ER today. Roger Darling had a mandatory meeting so I called my Meggie to come be with me. She shows up at the ER with what I think is the entire contents of her house. She’s got her book bag, her computer, her cell phone, and her purse. I think she plans on moving in. My sweet girl cheered me up, and made me laugh a lot. She spewed the F word about as much as I do. We talked about her fiance, the wedding, school, her goofy dogs, her all organic food kick. We talked about everything. Then I’d have a muscle spasm. We’d wait it out and then she’d bitch because we had to wait almost three hours to see a doctor.

Meg decided we needed lunch. She took off to Whole Food for organic pizza, salad and soup. In the meantime the doctor finally showed up. It was discovered that I have a severely pinched nerve in my C7 vertebrae. They prescribed heavy duty pain meds and another muscle relaxer. After Meggie got back, Dr. A came into my room to introduce himself. We set up an appointment on Friday afternoon for an MRI and to discuss the next course of treatment. After he left the room Megan start singing the Ali Abua Abua song from Disney’s, Aladdin because that’s exactly what the specialist looked like. She told me I had to sing the song to him when I  see him on Friday. I called her a giant music geek. She just cackled. My God her laugh is just like mine!

After I was discharged we walked out together. I thanked her for staying with me and she said she was happy to. Said I’d been there for her all those times when she was sick, so she had to take care of me. My heart swelled and I got a little misty eyed. I told her she was a good daughter and that I loved her. She gave me a hug and a kiss and said she’d see me soon. We went our separate ways. She back to Livonia, me back to Tecumseh. As I was driving home I heard my favorite song by U2. It brightened me right up. I cranked it and sang along with the lyrics, It’s a Beautiful Day, don’t let it get away….. I may be in pain but the day really is quite beautiful indeed. Especially now that the pain meds have kicked in. Hope you all are having a beautiful day yourselves. I need a nap.

To write is to live, to live is to write

I live to write. To put pen to paper and make the words come alive. To make you feel my stories with such intensity they make you weep, hope, hate, love, feel. Everything. If I die right now, thats okay. To die with my pen painting a vivid story would be the only way to go. It has not been easy these last few weeks. The pain in the left side of my body has been intense. There’s weakness, aches, creaking and cracking. The nerves in my back and arm are inflamed and pinched. It angers me to be weak. This girl wants to write, run, and swing a hammer. I can’t do anything because my body is rebelling. I’m angry because I feel old. I don’t want to be old. I fear it. The slowing down. The wrinkling. The withering of the mind and body. I do not want it!!! And yet I know it is inevitable. I always thought I’d live fast and die young. Turns out I’m a middle aged writer wannabe. But then I guess it’s always better than the alternative. Death.

A Writer’s Frustration

Thank you my lovely Duane for sending this to me. I sure needed the pick me up!

There is nothing more frustrating for a writer than not being able to write. I’m in so much pain I can’t even hold a pen. I’ve been this way for a month. A pinched nerve in my upper back has made even the simplest task a chore. Lifting heavy dogs at the salon has finally taken a toll on my body. It’s frustrating, because in some ways I just got this body of mine back. I don’t want anything to slow me down. I lived slow for too long.

Most of the time I look at a picture and the words come to me. Yesterday I looked at a picture and the story I wrote was shit.  All I think about now is the pain in my upper back, shooting down my arm, to my fingertips. There’s numbness and tingling up and down my arm. I tried conventional medicine. Ibuprofen and muscle relaxants. Rest, Icy Hot and a damn heating pad. Nothing worked. The pain has worsened. It’s all I think about and it’s driving me mad. I cry at the drop of a hat. Which of course is typical for me. But not because of physical pain. You know me, it’s my emotions that get to me. A dying flower could make me cry if the mood hits me right.

I have given up and gone to a chiropractor. I was uncertain of the process, but I’m willing to try anything. The first neck adjustment scared the hell out of me. I gasped and the doctor asked if I was okay. I smiled and said, of course. The next adjustment caused my entire left arm to go dead. I was petrified! The doctor then told me to flip over. While I lay on my back, he contorted my head in ways I didn’t know it could move. Finally there was release, and relief.

He kept telling me these are the same adjustments he gives his three year old. What he should have said was, don’t be a baby! I stood up and felt less pain then I had in weeks. When I got home, I iced my back. I relaxed and read. Bedtime came at 8:15pm.

The adjustments have helped. There’s pain and numbness but my shoulders don’t feel like they’re chained shut. The doctor said it seems I carry most of my stress in my back. Hmmmm, I could have told him that! There are stories I want to write and lots of things I want to say. Unfortunately they are all blocked by pain. It makes me so damn frustrated I want to cry. A LOT!

For now I will work on feeling better and reading a good book. It’s called The Gargoyle, by Andrew Davidson. Rory told me about it. Said I would identify with it. So far he’s right. As always…

I’ll leave you with a groovy new tune from the awesome, awesome band, Muse. It’s called Madness. It’s about love of course. I guess if I can’t write, I can listen to a groovy band sing about love. Plus the video has a dystopian feel, which is my favorite. Sweet dreams my sweets.