Flight Risk

It is 6 am in Guanajuato, Mexico. In 1.5 hours I will board a plane to Detroit, get felt up and frisked frisked by customs, and then fly on to Richmond where my family will pick me up from the airport at 5:20 pm. I have been up since 3:45. In the shuttle to the airport I noticed my shirt was inside out and backwards so I changed it by the dark of night and the light of the moon.

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Intimacy

This week, the women at the Caritas shelter wrote so deeply about themselves and their lives I swear you could hear fireworks exploding in the room around us. I almost forgot I had a soft side, one of the women said. I almost forgot. On the way out another woman stopped in the door and turned to looks at me. Thank you for seeing the secret thing inside of me, she said.

The secret thing inside of me.

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Protection

I have a snapshot of myself around age 4 with fat cheeks, a big smile, dark hair, and bright eyes. Lately this photo has been a touchstone. A touchstone to remember why I have to do the things I have to do. Because sometimes I still feel the drive to do the reckless thing the 17, 19, and 21-year-old did.

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11 Days

I have taught 13 workshops in the last 11 days.

I am feeling the intensity inside and outside and all around. It is good, it is thick, it is heavy, it is big. I have taught in my workshop space, at a large corporation, and at a shelter for homeless women.

Experience is experience, grief is grief, trauma is trauma, whether you’re in a suit or sweatpants, at an office or a nonprofit.

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FOMO

I've never spent very much time contemplating my own death. I'm too busy trying to figure out what to eat next, what book will carry me away, where to find the best cup of coffee. I'm too much of a hedonist to think about dying.

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10 Years Later

My 10th year of leading creative nonfiction classes for adults starts this Monday. I taught my first class out of sheer desperation. I'd been laid off from my desk job at Style and couldn’t imagine anything else I was possibly qualified to do. Of course I knew wasn’t qualified to teach adults either but some crazy little voice inside said to do it anyway.

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Big Fat Baby

Lately, I’ve been longing for a big, fat baby. My arms ache to hold and swaddle and feed. I stare at babies, dream of babies. I can feel a phantom baby in my arms, I can feel the letdown of breastfeeding, milk dripping down my chest.

Sitting in orange plastic booths at Huang’s Chinese Kitchen the other night I told Stan and Henry I was going to steal the baby at the booth across from us. They looked at me with alarm. You’re not really going to steal that baby, are you? they asked.

Of course not, I said. Would you steal him for me?

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Love Like Electricity

In a meeting last we we read a story about a young woman who meets an active alcoholic without a job or a car, twenty years her senior, and the first thing she does is marry him. 

That’s my type! I yelled. Everyone laughed. And that was the type I was attracted to before I began the long slow journey of recovery. Down and out, old and broken, with a look of hunger in their eyes. It was that hunger that attracted me most. I knew I could feed it. I knew it would feed me, too. 

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Learning New Ways

I need to write about my codependency. My addiction to people, the drug of love. The hunger and the desperation of the attachment issues, the overbearing and over-caring. The deleterious cords. The lassos and ropes and handcuffs of love. The total eclipse relationships used to be. You were the sun or hidden by it. Diving in to drown in the ocean of other people’s feelings.

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Wounded Healer

I had my astrological chart read this week by a spiritual guide I met in Mexico. He said that one of the major archetypes in my chart is that of the Wounded Healer. This rang true. The experiences I’ve had with addiction, chronic pain, miscarriage, and loss are some of the most precious gifts I have to bring to the table.

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