LIFE

One snow day last winter Henry and I went through old photos and made a folder called “LIFE.” To qualify for the “LIFE” folder no one could be posing, there had to be some level of mess, emotion or action. It had to look real. These are usually the shots we edit out, clean up, make more palatable before presenting them to the world.

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Meat Suit

My therapist is fond of talking about meat suits. My meat suit, her meat suit, everyone on this planet’s meat suit and what are souls are here to learn once we put one on. It does make death sound less scary doesn't it?— taking off the meat suit? Pleasant even. A relief.

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Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma'am

It's so weird when your life is on a collision course both towards excruciating heartbreak and the person you were always meant to become. That walking through the hardest shit is sometimes doing the best work, the work that shapes your character and your karma and your destiny. It might feel a little bit like an amputation, the severing of self from people and friendships you love who were never meant to live or last forever. It might feel like the morning after a one night stand you thought was just the beginning of something good.

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Lucky

It is the final days of 2018 and I am in South Nags Head with truly amazing friends. From where I sit I can see swaths of ocean, clouds, sun, sky, and earth. I hear the roar of the surf and the chatter of birds and my son playing ukulele. I’m wearing a sun dress, a hoody, and brand new sheep slippers covered in decorative fuzzy balls. Every second feels like stolen time, an extravagant gift. I can’t afford to take a second of this wild beauty for granted.

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Daughter

A few days ago, sobbing into my husband’s chest, I said aren’t you glad I’m on antidepressants?

Yes, he said. I am. I imagined the mess I’d be without them. Medication and meditation, yoga and dance, meetings and writing and friends and therapy. There are so many beautiful things in my life but the foundation those things were built on is a rumbling fault line. I wish there were things to write about other than my parents’ illnesses— the hospitals and surgeries and oxygen tanks and cancers and Parkinson’s and dementia, the doctor’s visits and healing wounds and the PTs and follow ups—but it’s the ocean I’m swimming in. Their world is my origin story and I carry them with me everywhere.

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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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