Let the Light Blaze In

This weekend I went to a two day dance retreat in Virginia Beach. If you’ve ever imagined a primal ceremonial dance where everyone’s doing their own thing— a few people whirling and twirling, some running around in circle, some rolling on the floor or writhing against a wall— this is it. I don’t think I could love it more. It’s helping me crack through a rigid self-consciousness as old as a snake’s first skin.

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Love, Death, and Survival

My mother had cancer for the first time when I was a little girl about three or four years old. When she went to the hospital for surgery, leaving me at home with a friend of hers for several days, I was convinced she had left me on purpose and forever. In anger and grief, I took all of my pictures down off the walls. Let’s just say disease and abandonment- real, imagined or otherwise- do not work well for me at all.

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Friends + Family

There was a time in my life when I wanted to know everyone. The more people I knew, the better. As an only child of divorced parents I was used to having special relationships. I had a special relationship with my mother, I had a special relationship with my father, I had a special relationship with all of my friends. I felt good at being a friend. It was one of the only things I felt good at. One year in the third grade, three different girls told me I was their best friend on the same day. I remember feeling honored… and terrified. How could I give all of myself to so many different people at once?

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Just Human

I recently canceled a speaking engagement because I was just. too. overwhelmed. I was torn between guilt and relief until one of the organizers sent me a card: I am just one Wonder Woman, read the inside. Not all of them. And them my own name. Apparently this was something I had said when she was a student in my class! Sometimes we have to relearn our own wisdom because we have FORGOTTEN IT COMPLETELY. It’s still disappointing to not only not be ALL the Wonder Women but to have a broken lasso and a downed plane, to boot. To be more like a child than a superhero. To need to slow down, nurture, play, breathe and heal.

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Powerless

Over the weekend I bought a black T-shirt that says I Am Powerful in pink letters and wore it for three days straight. This is both true and not true. In fact my powerlessness has never been highlighted in greater relief. I am powerless over my own husband‘s collection of MG motors and boat engines and corpses of cars who have long since given up the ghost in our own backyard. I am powerless over the insane violence in our world, my stepmother‘s cancer, my dad‘s dementia, alcoholism and mental illness in my family, Halloween Reese’s pumpkins, racist homophobic, antisemitic bigots in the world my son is entering with his big tender heart. I am powerless over the heartbreak I feel that I can’t take of, save or rescue everyone I know. I do, however, have the power to go to therapy, to show up to class, to get dressed, to write a letter, to donate to a fund, to try to do the right thing even when I feel the wrong way or don’t feel anything at all.

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Heaven at the Hyatt

Last Friday night, Stan and I splurged on a hotel room……in Short Pump. Which was, unfortunately attached directly to the mall. Also unfortunately the Jacuzzi was out of commission for the season and the bathtub I thought would be big enough for two was the size of a dish pan. Still, it was a luxury.

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What It Was Like

This week I celebrated 20 years of sobriety which prompted me to think a lot about what it was like before I quit drinking. At it's most basic my life can be divided into years of taking destructive risk, BS (Before Sobriety) and years of taking creative risks, AS (After Sobriety).

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The Cost of Living

This week I got a mammogram and wore the paper napkin of a gown they give you at the gynecologist. I spread my legs for rubber gloved hands and angled my breasts to be smashed in a machine. And this was a major highlight of my week. The doctors were compassionate and gentle and kind. I was proud of myself. This was self care. This was me doing the horrible responsible things adults are supposed to do. This is the cost of living.

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I have never been sexually assaulted.

I have never been sexually assaulted but I have decided to have sex with men I didn’t want to have sex with, men who disgusted me, men who were cruel. I have never been sexually assaulted but I have had sex with strangers, men whose names I’ve forgotten or never knew.

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HELP

In the last two weeks I have sobbed, hyperventilated and lost my fucking shit. I have felt like a toddler having a tantrum and a daughter transforming into a mother. I have cried everything out so I could go on again. I have asked for help and it has arrived like the cavalry.

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