Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
So - here they are:
☙ I am a hockey fan. My favorite NHL teams are the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins. I also enjoy watching minor league hockey and have watched hockey since I was a little girl. My dad said that when I was quite young he knew I would be a fan when he took me to a game and I screamed, “KICK HIS ASS.” I played hockey until I was no longer able - even in the beer leagues in Atlanta. SO. MUCH. FUNS! YAY! HOCKY.
☙ I do standup and long and short form improvisation. I love doing it and am probably only average at it – but here again – PASSION BEATS GOOD. Being in love with it and LISTENING to your scene partners matters more than being FUNNY or GOOD. Humor is about PEOPLE and REAL LIFE. I regularly volunteer at children’s hospitals and nursing homes doing my schtick. Kids are WAY better audience members than paying adults and more fun.
☙ I love to boat and sail (have certifications even!) and grew up on the water. I feel at home on the water. My heart is at peace here. Water is nature’s way of holding you – like you are being held in palm of God. Once when I was floating on the water as a young child I heard a Bach song – and I still hear it now every single time I’m on any water vessel. The metaphor for sale boats is this – if you are so in over your head and the weather is CRAZY cannot figure out what to do – you just let go of the tiller and the boat will round up in the wind and just float. It is THE PERFECT METAPHOR FOR SURRENDER. Just let go and let life hold you. Then, you grab your wits, gather shit back up, haul in your lines, and get the hell out of dodge into safe port till the storm passes.
☙ I love being in forests and mountains. I love sitting in hot springs. I love hiking – day hikes only (do not carry heavy things on my back or poop in the woods thanks). Nothing makes me more calm or energetically connected than redwood forests in California and lying on old ground and gaining energy from the earth. My greatest memories come from lying on the ground in the Redwoods soaking up the energy of the earth. Wisdom and peace and calm and direction came from those forests. I needed that.
☙ CITIES I WOULD LIVE IN OR LOVE: Toronto is the most beautiful city, followed by Sorrento, Italy, the Tuscan area of Italy, Auckland, NZ., and San Fran. These are places I would live in or love. Many more I need to see again or have called to me.
☙ I have done yoga, tai chi, pilates, and various martial arts since I was 18. My favorite is forms and least favorite thing to do is sparring. I enjoyed stick fighting though and only just gave away my fighting sticks because I thought it was bad ass to smack people around with them in slow motion.
☙My undergrads were English (Medieval Brit lit) and psych. Minor political sociology. I started my undergraduate studies when I was 16. Favorites to read were Beowulf and Chaucer, loved all Icelandic authors, The Book of Good Love.
☙The first teacher who ever realized I was civilly disobedient was my 6th grade teacher. She gave everyone parting gifts before the end of the year. My gift was a little white picket sign made out of a popsicle stick and a piece of white cardboard marked, “UNFAIR.” On the back she wrote, “May you always fight the good fights Melissa and pick your battles well. I appreciate your spirit.” Not all teachers did. I still fight that fight. I am grateful she saw that in me. It is to this day my most precious gift.
☙I love the word FUCK! I love all curse words because language is power and we use power to control people. And I hate all forms of controlling other people’s right to be free. CURSING IS THE EASIEST WAY TO FUCK PATERNIALISM, PATRIARCHY, AND POWER UP THE ASS. Boom. Fuck it. Fuckity fuck. Fuck. Look at me –I’m cussin. Look at my dirty whore mouth!!! Look at my highly educated dirty whore mouth throwing away all my classist bullshittery. Haha!
☙I met one of my best friends on an airplane. I hate talking on airplanes. I usually read. She hates talking on airplanes. She usually reads. She’s a hot fucking dyke. I love hot dykes. I was reading some spiritual book about the Dalai Lama. She looked over and inquired. A two hour conversation and a 12 year friendship ensued. We both moved from Ohio to Atlanta within a month of each other.
☙Once went on a date with an ex con… He had TWO master’s degrees and was very well spoken. We made it ALL THE WAY through dinner and then my “wait a minute wtf dar” went off. Yes – not even a good kind of con – like Martha Stewart where ya do the crime, pay the time and move on. No no – this was massive stalking, sex offender shit. I was like – HOW DID HE SLIP PAST MY FILTER! Now, before I go on any first dates I have to say, “Are you married? Are you an ex-con?”
☙I have more Godzilla and comic-book t-shirts than there are days of the month. This probably speaks very questionably of my ability to dress up but I HAVE paired them with skirts and sassy shoes before.
☙I became mostly vegetarian at the age of 12 when I saw three gutted deers hanging from the rafters of my uncle’s garage dripping blood from their open necks onto newspaper on the dirt floor. Also- having known pathologists and looking through their microscopes at human flesh and realizing our cells look just like all animal cells gave me heebie geebies. I felt like a cannibal. Though now and again I do eat meat – and I do not apologize – because I became one not for political reasons – even though I AGREE with the political reasons – but because it hit my guts that I WANTED to stop eating it. And so when I WANT to eat meat – I DO. MY CHOICE MY BODY MY EATING HABITS. Nothing worse than moralistic vegetarians/vegans.
☙ I LOVE to garden. Nothing makes me happier than being out in one. I love planting and planning and knowing how everything will turn out. I love flowers. I love it. I have had master gardeners ask me who planned MY GARDEN. I feel so at peace when I am still and with my hands in the dirt. Life is calmer when I am gardening. All living things thrive in my garden - and when they do not - I simply say- OK- this spot is not for you- we will try some place else. METAPHOR FOR LIFE. We don't always belong somewhere but that doesn't make us wrong. It means the spot is not right FOR US. Dig it up and put it in shade or more sun. Give it more or less water - IT THRIVES. It is rarely the plants fault - It is often the spot or neglect - not the plant that is a "problem" -- well tended plants THRIVE! Just as well tended people in the right places do. -- I am at peace in my garden. It is as though all the world says, “Here you are grounded and you are safe. Here you are part of something bigger than yourself.”
☙ The first time I knew I was a “healer” of some sort was when I watched a hockey teammate break his ankle and I had the intense desire to put my hands on his leg and “fix it.” I knew that if only I could touch him I could make him feel better. I fought the urge because everyone would think I was nuts AND because it was my shift. By the time I was back in the locker room he was at the hospital. But from that day I always felt that my presence MATTERED to people – physically and emotionally. I have since learned that my COMPASSION and NURTURING are just as powerful as my PHYSICAL TOUCH… but I am still a very touch centered person. People are afraid of TOUCH more than they are of any thing else. I now touch people with my WORDS – MY HONESTY- MY COMPASSION- MY LOVE as best I can. It is up to them to accept or decline.
☙ I love sci-fi, Joss Whedon, most B-monster movies, zombie movies, GODZILLA, every kung-fu movie ever made, Dr. Who (but Torchwood was better), and vampire shit (unless they sparkle- and then your own).
☙ I love board games – especially multi-player against the board. I THROW TWENTY SIDED BABY. I’m bad at strategy games, have more passion than skill – so suck it. I LOVE IT ANYWAY. Yes. I play D&D when I can. Dragonborn. He serves the the Raven Queen who is DEATH, carries a scythe, wears black, has the mark of the blue raven, is NEUTRAL, neither evil or good, is +strength and wisdom, terrible at spells, and uses up 3 squares in front of him to kill – so he even kills his own teammates standing front of him during his dragon fury. He has cold killing breath so I named him silver killing breath in dragonish -Argonthon.
☙I LARP. (live action role player). Vampire larp. Dress up, make your character. Have fun. I know – but I enjoyed it. My character is a 1920’s French knife thrower who grew up in Paris, transitioned mid-century wearing outfits of same kind, and is involved heavily with finances and is also a powerful mind reader w/ clairvoyance. Powerful clan, ambitious business oriented, heavily into staying alive through financial gain of other vampires. Part of the proud Ventru line. Named -Clara.
☙Grew up playing a Midwestern card game called Eucre. My grandfather taught me. Words like, “HORSE SHIT YOU DON’T THROW THE GODDAMNED LEFT BOWER UNLESS YOU HAVE THE RIGHT AND YOU NEVER LEAD WITH THE ACE IF YOU HAVE THE MATCH PAIR- GODDAMNIT – PLAYING WITH YOU IS LIKE PLAYING WITH BOX OF ROCKS.” I learned fast. I am a good Eucre player. For that reason I cannot abide Bridge – it is too civilized. I do enjoy other card games but Nothing. Beats. Eucre.
☙I don’t gamble because I am a LOW RISK TOLERANCE PERSON. Which is why I am a terrible strategist. INDEED- The reason all my characters in above mentioned D&D games or larping are always STRENGTH or wisdom is b/c I will just go blow shit up and kill everyone. You can all go clean up after me. I have learned you must either be skilled OR NOT BE AFRAID TO DIE in such games. I – have ladyballs. More than most men. I AM A SIGHT TO BEHOLD. Let’s play. GO BIG OR GO HOME.
☙I love spoken word and performed it and listen to it and love it. My first spoken word experience was Lydia Lunch – “dear whores – fuck you – fuck off and die you filthy fucking prostitutes, ok… focus on a pin prick…” Yah—it stuck with me how powerful WORDS could be… I became involved with it in Atlanta with a group called Cliterati. And I love slam performances. I am in awe of what people can do to and with the spoken word. CRAZY.
☙I got my first acoustic guitar when I was a young girl. I forget my age – perhaps 6 or 7 – but I have a picture and I am wearing a pink panther shirt. I still have it and I still have not mastered it. PLAY BADLY. Took piano- PLAYED BADLY. I moved on to bass guitar and still have both of those as well. DID BETTER – played in bands. Much better received – probably b/c gurl bass players are hot. Also I played saxaphone and clarinet as well as bass clarinet and soprano sax growing up- and EVEN went to jazz camp. I LOVE music. All music (some exceptions). BUT MUSIC IS LIFE. It is the universal language. I love it. However, If it plays on a current radio station - I probably don’t like it as much and probably haven’t heard it.
☙I have collected art from around the world. I have a good eye for gifted individuals. Even before they become popular I have seen talent. And I am proud of that. I LOVE original art and I have never been able to afford “real art.” So I buy it from local artists. And I am delighted to say that several of my pieces that I saw and KNEW were artists going somewhere – were going somewhere!! They are now FAMOUS! And I feel fab. And I am not afraid to put my “fancy” art with a thing I make myself or something cheap and inexpensive. Art is art. Beauty is beauty. I do NOT allow others to tell me what art is – I SEE IT MYSELF.
☙Travel is life to me. Cultural awareness is my most treasured gift. That I understand and love other cultures matters more to me than any other thing. When I visit friends I say, “Take me to your grandmother’s butcher” or “Take me to where your grandmother worships.” Going to weddings or funerals is a big deal. Watching holy festivals and holidays – A BIG DEAL. Eating foods- BIG DEAL. Understanding it when you travel.
☙I brush with Toms of Maine organic fluoride Spearmint and then at night I use Fluoridex leave on fluoride toothpaste. I have really straight teeth and floss with oral b tape.
Are we there yet? This was so much harder than I thought it would be.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I've been feeling especially painful... been feeling the bitterness, been feeling it hard to be happy. Been feeling as though REAL LOVE does not exist. Been feeling like God mocks me. It was too much for my ex and me. He would look into my eyes and say, "Our children will be so beautiful. How could she be anything but beautiful and brilliant. We are beautiful and smart they will be double so." And then he was so happy with me -WITH US. SO HAPPY. He would pick out names - a man - choosing names when I was away. Imagine!
I was happy. I WAS AN OBLIVIOUSLY HAPPY WOMAN. Who could ever take that from me. I'm so quickly pleased and easily pacified by being loved and by loving. I felt a tremendous failure as a mother to not protect my child from death. My doctor said, "Melissa- this isn't your fault- but it always felt like MY FAULT. How could I be so far along SO FAR ALONG so I even knew she was my girl. I COULD SEE HER - KNOW HER- and yet lose her?
This healed me today. This ritual. I feel like a group of woman bore witness to my pain. For only a woman can understand what it feels like not only to lose a child but to have a husband leave me so soon after wards - BECAUSE HE COULD SIMPLY MOVE ON two months later. I had no time to mourn him or her. I had no time to mourn my losses because I had to move on with my life - jobs and living situations and dealing with illness and scrambling to make sense of the last two years. And so thank you Peggikaye - for seeing my daughter playing and safe and at peace. Thank you for the ritual today. Thank you for healing me. Finally my tears were shared by women who UNDERSTOOD and I felt held and loved and acknowledged. I wanted children - I wanted to love them and nurture them and be a mother more than anything on the planet. Thank you for bearing witness to my loss.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I am going to Dragon*Con and seeing various doctors... The endo called to tell me the lab lost one of my blood tests. Of course. I've been considering changing endos for a while now. I'm not vibing. It is too hard right now. I'm not happy with this. I'm frankly feeling a bit afraid and I DON'T GET AFRAID about my health anymore. I just don't. I JUST DON'T. I roll with it. I'VE ALWAYS rolled with my health.
There is very little you can throw at me anymore that makes me worry. But this thing - this is one of them. I'm only blogging about it because I'm frustrated and annoyed and because waiting a few more weeks or a month or two isn't going to KILL ME DEAD ON THE SPOT. It will merely create more fatigue and drain... It is DRAINING not to get your health under control. And it is draining not to have your adrenals function properly. It is DRAINING to have to get up day after day after day and pretend that you're feeling ok when you're not... it is DRAINING.
I'm low right now because I miss my city. I miss my friends just dropping by. i'm not reaching out either. I'll be honest- I'm expressing what looks like depression. I realize it's not "clinical" yet - but it looks just like depression if I was out of my body looking in.
But what is the chicken and what is the egg... and what is HEALTH and what is the moving crisis... what is it? If I FELT BETTER would I do better? If I slept better? What is it?
I'm pretending a great deal - but I'm not PRODUCING. My body and my mind are NOT up to the tasks at hand. I have great deadlines that I am barely meeting... and even so - I am unhappy with the resulting quality. Rather than actually put away my clothes or toiletries they are sitting half put away and I have gotten a trash bag... I am now considering just donating large quantities of clothing rather than deal with folding them and putting them in dressers. I just cannot be arsed.
Is this depression or exhaustion? Is this fatigue from illness or is this me being a lazy whore? I DONT KNOW! I wish I knew. I don't know how we will repeat that blood test because it is a complicated matter to repeat it from here and send it down to Atlanta... it takes 5 days to go off the preds and on to a different med and then send... but IT CAN BE DONE. But I must wait to hear back from them. We will see. WE WILL SEE.
Dealing with my dad's illness and his mood swings and the fear of him is horrifically painful... I'm not processing that or dealing with that AT ALL RIGHT NOW. I'm just not. I'm on SHUT DOWN over that. I have a therapist to see in 4 days and we'll see how that goes. I went from having a great neuropsych and therapist I saw weekly to having no one and that is NOT GOOD. So we'll see what happens when I get back in the rhythm of seeing someone regularly. It is pretty necessary. I just cope better with social support. I just do. I like to process.
I like being open and sharing and creating positive things - but I don't FEEL LIKE ME right now. But I suppose that is how it goes... right? Not FEELING LIKE oneself happens when one is unhappy or not feeling well. I mostly just want to cry and be held. But I have no one really. Who do I have?
The world is made up of people who all want desperately to be good, to be loved, to be understood and crave peace... I know this. And I am one of them. I try so hard to be compassionate and be loving and be generous with my love and my time and my energy knowing that people give back... but right now I feel that I am being less than my full self.
I have been doing something I DON'T LIKE... I have been listening to doctors mostly- making fun of their fat patients... and I have been listening to fat patients who complain about their weight. Both of these things bother me. They bother me. THIS BOTHERS ME. And I have succumbed. I HAVE CRUMPLED. IN MY WEAKNESS I HAVE NOW DECIDED TO FEEL FAT AND PATHETIC AND WEAK AND A LOSER. I am fat. I am. I hate it. I hate everything about it. I have gained enormous amounts of weight and I so wish it would stop. It is one of the primary things I want to control and discuss with my endo... It is NOT all in the thyroid stuff.. It is also in the preds, it is in the adrenals, it is ALL OVER. I am physically in need of doing something more about it - I MUST.
Emotionally I realize that when I feel fat (bc I RARELY DO) IT MEANS I FEEL USELESS and judgmental and hateful and out of control. I have bought into every single thing that everyone feels negative about themselves and about life... Usually- I feel pretty beautiful and sexy. I just do. And if you are around me longer than a few minutes - you don't see the fat either - and you like me and you want to get to know me b/c it is impossible to feel uncomfortable around me... b/c I'm awkward and silly and I like to laugh. I will just love you - where ever you are and in whatever space you come.
But right now -- I don't feel that - I feel JUDGED A THOUSAND WAYS FROM A THOUSAND PEOPLE AND PLACES. I do. I am no longer feeling SAFE in my world - the world *i created for me.* And Rhi said to me, "Melissa, you can unfollow those people." And she is right. I can also filter them. I don't HAVE to read them. I don't have to care about their words. Because JUDGEMENT of anyone - race, or age, or sex, or religion - if it Islam or gay - OR FAT -is them being jerks.
They are NOT being medical professionals - they are being judgmental and holier than thou. And if they walked a mile in some shoes that people like ME and people I know and love walk - they would not judge... they would feel the pain and heartache of being the way we are...
And the people who agonize endlessly over their weight.. oh god -- I don't need to read that either... it is too much for me. It is rarely EVER about weight. It is about self-worth, self- love, control, or other things... but WEIGHT is just a way to target self-hatred onto yourself in todays world. We never say, "I feel like a bad person" Or, "I feel sad or out of control" or, "I feel if I express this, people will ignore me or laugh or not love me." We say, "I feel so fat soooo fat, and ugly." I'm so sick of hearing it. I love fat women especially. Though mostly any men I have been with have been very thin- THEY have picked me - not the other way around... I find people BEAUTIFUL. Their spirits, their bodies, their persons. All of them.
When I was having some surgery I watched a BARELY overweight woman in the surgeons office frantically flipping through a bypass folder... she was having a bypass surgery because it was going to "change her life" more than exercise and eating differently. She would rather undergo PAIN of being under the knife - the risk of infection, the trauma of never being able to ingest the right amount of nutrients again EVER - in order to lose some weight (and she was NOT morbidly obese - not at all)... because she felt so desperate about her life and her body.
I saw another woman post ob so happy that she had lost 12 pounds. And I realized that surgically changing our lives- pills and surgery have become THE ANSWER because food as medicine and exercise and THOUGHTS and TALKING to friends and therapists and REALLY LIVING THROUGH OUR PROCESS (the way I am now even) IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED ADEQUATE.
I AM SAD. I WILL DO SAD. Tonight I will cry. I will cry and cry. Tomorrow if my tears are not gone, I will consider a different method. But I presume that there ARE an end to my tears because I KNOW HOW TO DO SAD. I am ok with my emotions. I am safe to FEEL SAD. Feeling sad does not FEEL GOOD- but I am ok with it. I don't have to EAT through it - I dont have to stuff it down. I CAN FEEL IT. And move on from it.
Anyway-- I'm processing this raw. It is vulnerable. I don't have a therapist to cry to ... it's rough... but here it is...
I miss my home, I'm frustrated by my health, I feel "FAT" AND I AM FAT. I DON'T LIKE the performative aspect of my online presence when I want it to be more nurturing and I LIKE performing when I want it to be there. I just want more nurture when I feel THIS WAY. Sometimes I'm on and sometimes not.... and right now, I'm not "on." I want held. I want hugged. I want to be SAFE... and no one feels safe. People feel estranged and judging. And I don't like it. Meanwhile - I am always - stories heal. Write. Heal.
And so - I am practicing my words. And I hope it works.
Thank you for listening... it is vulnerable. x
Friday, August 13, 2010
This happened to me. In fact, I have been so super spoiled. I just have. I got here and I felt like a birthday party. I was met with some graphic novels from a man I love dearly - a fellow improvisor out of NYC. And then I got a beautiful sugar sparkle card from a fellow lupus traveler who sent it so it would be here in advance for when I arrived in Ohio.
And- then I opened my package from my Naomi I just... I cannot express to you the amount of friendship and support this woman has given me. She has a gift. She is shy about expressing it. She's intuitive and has a knack for KNOWING how people tick. She has her PhD in child psych- and you can just TELL why she did it. She just GETS PEOPLE. She just does. In ways that don't need words - in ways that don't require EXPRESSION - in ways that go deeper.
I often don't BLOG about my past or my illnesses... I just don't. I feel like an attention whore... People do you know... the chronically ill - we feel NEEDY and "look at meeeee I'm still sick even though you've given me all your time and attention." And so - throughout this - I met Naomi online because I was so sick I was spending the majority of my time in hospitals. All I did all day was twitter, skype, and play on FB.
When she met me I was HAPPILY married and in love. And then THE WORST HIT and the worst keep getting worse. And she never left. She just kept knowing me. Do you know how rare that is? I'm not a stupid woman. I know what ALL THE RESEARCH indicates. I know that I can expect to lose up to 80% of all my friends (done) and that my spouse will likely leave me (done) and that even my family will become estranged (done and back again) as I go through my chronic illness.. I know that my doctors will NOT LIKE ME AS WELL AS HEALTHY PATIENTS BECAUSE I WILL NOT EVER GET BETTER.
I know this. And I hold it in. And I resent so much of it. I fear it. And I cry so much of it. And yet- Naomi has been there - watching so much of it. NOT LEAVING ME.
Chatting, IM'ing, FB games, getting me through research, getting me through hospitalizations...
When I had no HEART to tell a single living soul that I was in treatments I would tell her and for the life of me I don't know why? I just would. When I felt estranged from my culture it was she who would encourage me to have electronic passover with her - and sent me a digital seder because even though I had purchased tickets to temple this year, I was too sick to go out. My face is pouring to tell you...these are meaningful things to me. I am a spiritual person. I am NOT highly religious- but I AM a spiritual person - and my culture is increasingly important to me - and Naomi understood this side of me- and encouraged me without judging my lack of religiosity.
And when it all started getting a little better, a little better, she was still there on her end, celebrating with me... telling me her life, sharing with me... supportive, happy for me. Coaxing me in her own way- to celebrate my life in whatever way I could.
So when I opened this bracelet - I was not only touched by the kindness of a thoughtful gift made by a friend - but by a thousand conversations and a thousand supportive gestures. Of housewarming gifts, and stuffed tigers and bookmarks, and comments left on my wall... of IM chats late at night, and worried texts... of sick fathers and annoying friends and planned trips and job hopes and dreams and ideas and hopes and disappointments and all the things that friends do... and I - who love so deeply- RARELY expect people to LOVE ME IN RETURN. I just don't. I just don't anymore.
So when someone does-- I am always completely taken back - I am shocked - I am grateful- I am overwhelmed. I am humbled. I am happy. I am in a thousand different ways celebrating my life and my connection with her. Her kittehs - her old and her new balls of fur- four leggeds she loves and one she will grow to know and love.
A city she has left behind and one she is getting to know - much like me. A life she is trying to move into - much like me. Disappointments and hope.. much like me. No- she is not terribly sick - but we are all human. We do not need to be terribly sick to have empathy- and that is what she has in spades- SPADES. She KNOWS how to connect because she is gifted... but that is not why I love her - it is just one of the talents I recognize about her.
I'm so lucky to have her in my life. She has supported and bolstered me through the thickest parts of the darkest nights. Things you will never know about me only because I just cannot. I cannot. I have no words for so much of what happens. People who stand and hold open their hearts I eventually trust - but it takes time... because it is such a rare and beautiful quality. And I LOVE IT.
I want to show it to you. Would you like to see it?
I am so grateful and lucky. I feel as though I'm doing a terrible job expressing it. I've been pouting about losing my life in Atlanta. I miss my friends, my best friend, my sweeties, my home, my "known life" - even the little things I know and find comforting... but here... I'm learning to just relax a bit. This will come. Life will come.
But this bracelet is more than just a token. It is a symbol of more than simply friendship. It is a tangible token of real life mattering to another person. MY LIFE MATTERING TO SOMEONE ELSE. And she matters to me. Do you realize how powerful that is?? Do you realize how amazing that is??
When I wear it I feel LOVED from my core - and cherished and known. I feel known. I feel as though the gifts that I have used to take care of and love other people have been used on me AND IT FEELS GOOD. I feel nurtured. I feel like I am enough and can be connected to another woman who is reaching for her own life in her own way.
I wish I could express this better. I wish you could see and touch and understand this bracelet. It is a tangible expression of love. When I wear it I am wrapped up in love. I have jade love on my arm.
Thank you Nay Nay. I love you too.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I want to tell her no. But I'd be lying. This is part of it. This just is. When you're there - when your doctors are at their wits end. When your test results are all fucked up and you have multiple auto-immune disorders the way she does (I do) YES IT IS NORMAL TO WANT TO END IT ALL. Yes it is normal.
Yes - you should want to take a fist full of every fucking pill you own and wash it down with a bottle of fucking scotch. Yes you should want to die. Yes. This is normal. Suicidal ideation is not a bad thing right about now. If you were fucking happy about this YOU WOULD BE INSANE. And then I would worry about you.
YOU CANNOT BE SENIORITA HAPPY WHEN LIFE SUCKS THIS BAD. Get it. You are in the shit.
Now- if you are SERIOUSLY SUICIDAL and seriously contemplating you must tell your doctors. I did. I told my neurologist that I was at my end. He gave me a 30 day supply of meds to ease it up for me. And that is all it took. Make sense? A good doctor will not want you to mentally suffer. I didn't NEED to go on anything long term. A good doctor will take care of you.
I am not generally a depressed person, and I personally have a high tolerance for ambiguity and anxiety... so I didn't need anything for that either. All I needed was something short term to take the edge off. So he gave me fast-acting meds for my suicidal moments.
He didn't put me in the slammer. He didn't put me to be watched by anyone because I promised him I had no INTENT. I just was at my wits end. I was there. I couldn't take it anymore. However... if you are there - YOU NEED MORE HELP... you just do.
Dealing with chronic illness is hard. This journey is difficult. I want to scoop every single one of you up and hold you for as long as it takes to make you comfortable. But I cannot. So many of you e-mail me to ask me questions... and I give you all the advice I can. So many of you resent your doctors... and wonder how I have found "partnership" with mine.
And I am going to tell you again IT IS NOT A PARTY. Some doctors are tools. I have been through the ringer. Some doctors are not kind. They have lost their healing touch OR THEY NEVER HAD IT. But MOST do. Many doctors are simply waiting for YOU to be open... it is a touch and go game and YOU have to be open to them... Go to one you feel comfortable with... if you are not comfortable and do not trust them after a visit or two - LEAVE. If they are abusing you - LEAVE. But IF ALL YOUR DOCTORS SUCK - YOU HAVE TO LOOK INSIDE YOURSELF and realize that YOU NEED TO FIX YOU... you need to fix what is broken inside you-- that trust... you need to trust. You need to stop abusing the people trying to help you. And you need to reach out and ask for help.
Do not mistake this for the idea they there is no love out there. And do not forget about the nurses and the health care staff that CAN LOVE YOU AND HELP YOU. How many times have the receptionists gotten me in at the last apt of the day or the first - "squeezed me in" just because I love them and they me?" SEE?
How many times has a nurse done something COMPLETELY ILLEGAL FOR ME because HE OR SHE LOVES ME. And remember - I NEVER ASKED. Do not ask for favors. LET THEM GIVE YOU THEIR LOVE. Stop expecting it. Let the love come to you... I cannot even tell you the number of times they would have lost their jobs by taking care of me... by making sure that I was seen to - that my needs were seen to.. and I know this. Nurses are powerful helpers. POWERFUL. They have the doctors ears when you do not. They make sure that you are taken care of long after the doctor has left the room... They hold the keys to the kingdom. Remember that. Hold on to them when your raft is sinking.
And - specifically for those of you who are at the end of your wits. YOU HAVE TO START TRUSTING SOMEONE in the medical profession. Stop whining to them and stop demanding things. Just tell them your story. Stop accepting abuse. Stop acting like a victim. JUST BE A PATIENT. You cannot deal with this on your own. I am here for you because I have put myself out there in this way... but I too am on my own journey. We are on a healing journey. You have to start trusting that a doctor somewhere somehow will TAKE CARE OF YOU. Maybe - if you open yourself you find that healing person they once wanted to be... if you are honest and drop the shields and just admit that you are at and end you will find that healer in them EVEN IF THEY ARE SHUT DOWN AND WEARY WITH COMPASSION FATIGUE.
I don't know. I have had TOO MANY BAD EXPERIENCES to promise you that you will find it on the first go. But I know that you can make another appointment with another doctor and try again. At least get the suicidal bullshit stopped... don't end up in true suicidal depression. Let them help you.
This path is hard. Try to stay out of the ER. Please. Please. Stop going to the ER for shit. It only makes your cycle of abuse and pain worse unless this is your ONLY access to medical care. Even then there are free clinics and county hospitals where you can ask to be directed by social workers and helpers to psychiatrists and doctors and BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND TRUST. ER doctors cannot give you that. They cannot. You NEED THIS because you are chronically ill. You need to start TRUSTING AGAIN.
I love you. I have had some powerfully good experiences in my life with doctors and the SAME BULLSHIT THAT YOU HAVE.... But I know that you will NEVER get the help you need if you don't start trusting now. And no one will save you. YOU MUST SAVE YOURSELF... you need to show up for yourself. Life only gets worse if you don't.
Our spouses leave us. Our kids grow up without mothers... So do this. Do this for yourself. Guilt is a wasted emotion. SHOW UP. Take care of yourself. Use every ounce of energy to make the call and take care of you. I'm getting too many e-mails right now asking if its "normal" to want to die.
Yes. You should want to... but NO YOU SHOULD NOT FOLLOW THROUGH. Life gets better when you feel better.
I promise you. I promise there are nurses and doctors and healthcare professionals out there who can and will help you. I promise. They will not find you. Be your own hero. Just for today. Be your own hero. I've got you.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
A quote is filling my heart tonight... one that I have never understood. One that I grew up being taught THE OPPOSITE of ...
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” - Mother Teresa.
It is easy to say this if you grow up wealthy... but it is much harder to do this if you are poor. Yet- the poor give more time and more money to charity and social and civic programs than the wealthy (per ratio) than the wealthy. Did you know that. And then the middle classes. And THEN the wealthy do... (hello tax cuts).
I'm trying not to be cynical. My point is this. I'm having a hard time loving a few people right now. They rub me the WRONG WAY. And in so doing - I realize they are HOLDING UP A MIRROR to my face. they are SHOWING ME ME. And so every time they do I say, "I see you. I see me in you." In so doing, I am telling MYSELF that I am them. We are each other. I say that over and over.
If someone is making me angry- THEN I AM SEEING MYSELF REFLECTED IN THEM. And I must stop and realize that what is bugging me is something I have been working to heal.
"Why do I make you afraid?" "Why do you fear me?" "Why do I make you shy?"
These reactions are the most likely reactions from me. The others are outright dislike.
I also don't like mean people and bullies. But those are more b/c I just do NOT like inequality or people who are unkind. Even so- I have been all of the above at some point in my life. I am sure of it. Even when I thought I was not - I'm positive that SOMEONE thought me so.
Anyway-- from helpless victim to nasty nancy there are so many pet peeves out there that raise my ire. And it always shocks me when I find it. I don't like to be called names, even if I do it too. I don't like impatient people, even if I am.... All the things that bother me about OTHER PEOPLE are the first things that I AM TOO.
Just reflecting... just realizing. “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” And truly- honestly- and selfishly- after all the gifts I have been given and the generosity that i REALLY truly want to blog about but must sleep first- I am always worried that I love people too much. I worried about it in my practice. I worried about it in my classroom. I have always worried about it. I am a dupe. I am easily misled. I am an easy mark because i want to believe the best in people. Yes I grew up rough. Yes I grew up "street smart." but in healing FROM THAT i want it TO GO AWAY. I don't look at a crack head and SEE A CRACK HEAD.
Let me explain -- even at my old ghetto house- I saw a crackhead playing with his dog once. He LOVED his dog. He would feed and water it every day before he hit the pipe. And one day he was out there playing with his dog. He was PLAYING like child with his dog. I saw DIVINITY IN HIM. I saw god's love in him through his dog's eyes. That is how I want people to be. He didn't want to be a crackle head anymore than I want to be sick with lupus. And truly- crack is a social problem. I have no answer for it. There is no help for him. What help is there? Take away his crack and give him WHAT TO COVER HIS PAIN??? what??? what would you do to cover a life time crime and abuse??? YOU TELL ME? I have no answers - but I saw a man playing like child with his dog - I SAW PURE LOVE. That was not evil intention. See what a fucking dupe I am.
There is no hope for me. Because I have NO ANSWERS FOR THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS THAT EXIST. I just know that they do. And it hurts my heart. It breaks. But you can judge him a thousand ways but he is not a "bad man" any more than any one else.
Loving until it hurts... I will seek guidance on this. Perhaps there will be some. I have been reflecting and pondering- but perhaps I have not TRULY been LISTENING with ears that HEAR.
Monday, August 9, 2010
I suppose by calling my healing story a miracle you might be disappointed. There were no cracks of thunder or lightening bolts. If you wish for BOLD AMAZING CRAZY this is not the place. Mine were more subtle shifts that happened from the time I was a child. But these shifts kept me alive throughout my time on this planet.
And from the time I was born, my body wanted to be sickly and my heart wanted to be well. My DO found this desire in me and nurtured it.
I come from a family of stoics. My mother’s first words to me before ever seeing the gushing blood or how deep the wound were, “put a bandaid on it and go to school anyway.” We still joke about this in our family.
No one had TIME for illness. And yet- from the time I can remember I WAS the sick child. I had swollen lymph nodes and fevers and horrific joint pain – the way I do now- only worse- because now I have medications that calm it.
Pediatricians shook their heads. No one helped me. “Mono” was always the answer. IV’s of fluid always the answer. Until FINALLY we met my DO… who incidentally was also a DC. I’m not sure which came first for him, the chicken or the egg, but he had both a DC AND A DO and I’ll call him Dr. G. He was not the kindest man. He was compassionate and he was a visionary- but he wasn’t a coddler.
I LIKE TO BE CODDLED. I still do. I have grown up without much of it and so I respond to any sort of physical and emotional gentleness. But Dr. G was not so much… he was more old school – a little more gruff a little more, “tell it how it is.” But he still reached out and grabbed me by my energy and yanked me back in when I needed it. He found me.
He went to my father’s church. And because by this time I had a strong disinclination for ALL THINGS WESTERN MEDICINE even at the age of 5, he told me he was a chiropractor and a doctor of osteopathic medicine. “We let your body heal from the inside, we let you find your innate healing, do you want to do that?” He NEVER treated me like a moron. It is as though he KNEW I could understand, just the way my body did.
This alone probably healed me more than anything else. For once no one waved suckers under my nose while they jabbed needles in my arms. After all this I no longer felt the needles. I could show YOU where the best veins were. I was no longer AFRAID of the needles even. Or the hospitals. I just didn’t believe that western medicine could help me.
I would tell my pediatrician, “I hurt here and here and here.” And he would say, “But Melissa I cannot see your pain.” And he would look at my mother and wink and say, “Growin pains.” (BULLSHIT- early onset RA/lupus).
But I would look at Dr. G and tell him and he would LISTEN to me. He HEARD ME. He sat QUIETLY and listened to what I had to tell him. And he would ask me how long and where it hurt. And he would point to other areas and say, “If I touch here does it make it better or worse?” And lo- the pain would get better! No only did he believe me- but HE MADE IT BETTER, ever so slightly he made me feel better.
At night, I would ache, my limbs would ache where my joints held. They were swollen you see. I was not yet in 2nd grade. My hair fell out on the left side and a terrible discoid rash covered my entire face and left side of my body.
My pediatrician called it ring worm and sent me to the pathologist for biopsies. They all came back negative. No one CONSIDERED checking for lupus. White girls at the age of 7 just never are. But I was not allowed to go to school anyway. I was mortified. It was worse than lice because IT WAS VISIBLE.
Dr. G looked at me more- he CONSIDERED ME. He took an xray of my spine… (something no one else ever did). He said, “would you look at this?” My spine had a severe scoliosis. He sat my mother and me down. “This is actually bad – very bad. You might not walk for long. You might not play sports. You might have pain Melissa. This is where much of your problem is coming from and I don’t know if I can fix it. It is the worst I have seen.”
I looked at him. My GUTS (the ones I have come to learn to trust as an adult) were not yet kicked in- but they were very trusting and becoming intuitive. “You can fix this. I am coming to you because you CAN FIX THIS. I will not go to any other doctor. YOU WILL FIX THIS.
My mother shrugged. If she cared about anything it was always covered by her stoic demeanor. She might have been panicked a thousand ways- but as a child I remember only her bland acquiescence. I was a child who saw only through a child’s eyes. My back was injured, I was broken out in a terrible rash. It made no sense. No one would touch me. It didn’t seem contagious yet I LOOKED contagious. No one had a name for it yet I was a leper.
Dr. G began touching me – HE TOUCHED ME. He did! He would rub my spine and my entire back first – because it was SO TENSE AND TIGHT. I think perhaps he was working intuitively. There was no way he could have admitted this was the worst case he had seen without trusting some God to do the work through him. He was not using his ego.
Some days the adjustments went well. Some days they actually hurt. He was not always gentle. I am surprised I have no fear of the OMT but I do not. They always felt PRECISELY right. If I told you how long I went you would not believe me. But I went for a very long time. From age 7 till Jr High in decreasing amounts of time – first weekly and then bi-weekly and then every three weeks. Until the last visit I remember for a long time. My Aunt had driven me there. Dr. G took an ex-ray to see how I was progressing.
“Stand tall, hold your breath.” “Come here Melissa.”
He put them side by side. One was a curved little spine – in two places one above in the thoracic where no one gets a curvature and one in the lumbar. And the second looked like every spine I have ever seen.
“You did it” he said. “Yes.” I said, “You did too.”
And that was the first “partnership” I had ever experienced with a doctor. All while I went to him he would tell me how my body healed itself intuitively. He would tell me how I WAS allowed to play sports and do ANY exercise I could do. How if I got a cold I should move to help the body clean it out and how my lymphs worked.
He told me I was allergic to wheat (didn’t call it cealiac) 20 years before anyone ever diagnosed me with celiac. I was a child and unable to dictate my food – and so I my or may not have had a better outcome with my auto-immunity if I had. But HE KNEW. He could tell- probably because HE trusted HIS GUTS.
Later- when I went to college I became increasingly sick again and again, “Mono” they said, “I would come home to him and he would give me an adjustment here a manipulation there. We would talk. “You cannot have mono five times in your life Melissa.” I know I said, but they keep giving me IV’s to keep me hydrated.”
He shook his head. It was out of his hands because I was away at college. Everything worked until the lupus hit my CNS when I was 23. THAT was a defining moment for what a DO can do that surgery cannot.
Unfortunately I was guided more by fear than by what I knew. My left side was paralyzed. It wasn’t sciatica. Nothing worked. No doctors could figure it out. MRI’s OBVIOUSLY picked up on a sonic fuck ton of spinal injury. What else would you find on someone who had been healed from scoliosis and played so many sports for so long?
Dr. G. was unconvinced. This is not a disc problem. This is nerve damage and nerves can heal. This is not a disc pressing on your nerves – this is pressure coming from somewhere else.
I do not know why after all this time I did not trust him other than it was time for me to spread my wings a bit. I was grown. I had gone to him my whole life. He felt like a small town doc. He spoke to me like one. “You’re gaining weight, if you get fat you’re make it worse. You’re still eating wheat – you know you’re allergic. If you do not help yourself your body will not help you.”
I did not like the way he spoke to me anymore. It smacked of my parents. I left them at age 18 and suddenly I wanted to leave him too. And so I did.
A surgeon looked my MRI and said, “I can operate on that.” And me, being 23 and INGORANT of medical language heard, “I can make you feel better, I can take away the nerve pain, I can heal you.” I had my spine surgery. And guess what- EVERYTHING GOT WORSE.
My body was doing its very best. Dr. G had given me a lifetime of affirmations and love for my body. He helped me RESPECT my body. I was not allowed to BE ANGRY at my body. And yet- I had betrayed it by cutting into it when it did not need to be cut. I felt mortally wounded.
After my surgery I had a series of awakenings – deep powerfully spiritual awakenings.
In one dream an angel revealed to me that I would become incredibly ill – with not only lupus but cancer over my lifetime. I would suffer deeply – and in my suffering I would heal from the inside out and bring meaning to the others and find healing within myself.
I called Dr. G because I was too ashamed to visit him. I cried on the phone. And for the first time his voice was loving and gentle. He always had a subtle stutter.
“Sometimes the only way in is way out. And sometimes Melissa, the only way out is way way in. Trust your process. I love you.”
That was the first time I realized that he had given me himself his whole life. He had put himself on the line when he took a 7 year old body and healed her. I was getting discoid lupus from the time my mother can remember. I broke out in lesions and crazy patterns all over my back and body from the time she can remember – even age 3 or 4.
And when I told him how profoundly I hurt - HE LISTENED. He GAVE ME HIMSELF. When I called him – like a prodigal child – he opened his arms to me and gave me his love. “I love you too.”
When I moved to Atlanta to accept my first faculty appointment 2 years later he was too far away to touch me but he put me in touch with some of the best chiropractors and DO’s he knew – colleagues from school and people he trusted. I got tai massage, acupuncture, meditation techniques, and had an amazing healing journey.
Surgeon after surgeon saw my MRI’s and all wanted to cage my spine and fuse it with rods. And I trusted my guts. “No – no science can promise that you are able to heal it. You are still practicing an art and I am doing my own art.”
Just last week before my move I went to my DO and I got a manipulation. It was gentle and loving. He’s not Dr. G but he got me through three rounds of chemo and three years of the most profoundly awful sickness I have ever been. He was there for me the entire time offering me tips and ideas for getting through lupus and the subsequent fall out from autoimmunity. He did crazy things too – things you might not believe in – things you might think medically wack. But I love THEM.
He offered me insights into myself that are different than Dr. G- but because I TRUST my process I also trust his. I trust that we are each on our own journey. I trust that when I meet with a healer now with the name “doctor” we can vibe now and I can build a relationship with them. I go to a rheumatologist who believes that people can see colors and energy. Did you know that?
I believe now that I CALL IN my healers in all forms. I am less limiting and believe M.D.s can be integrative and holistic too. I no longer limit myself because I can no longer BE limiting. I no longer hate doctors. I no longer hate western medicine.
I had profound experiences once in Turkey and once in Chicago where I realized that I must succumb to western medicine as well as my own inner healing. I must take my medication IF I WISH TO HEAL WELL. It is time for me to be partner with my own body.
AND THIS is the story of how I have been saved – perhaps many times – by a DO. Yes- it is not a screaming success. Yes- you might consider it boring. But I do not. I believe he gave me the tools for a lifetime of healing. He gave me techniques for BOTH believing in my own bodies signals AND listening to them. Something most people do not do.
When my thyroid began being attacked several years ago I went to an endo with the same trust that I would Dr. G. And she blew me off. I was SO FRUSTRATED! I THOUGHT EVERY DOCTOR would be like him! But no. Only a few of you are. I still do though – I still go to my doctors with the same trust and the same matter of fact honesty. “My thyroid is pulsing in my throat- I wish you would test it.” I said to my rheumatologist… and this time SHE DID. And of course –they found more.
Too little, too late.
TRUST YOUR BODIES MESSAGES. Dr. G gave me tools. He gave me HIS TRUST. He gave me his time. He LISTENED TO ME. He HEALED ME WITH HIS HANDS. He put his hands on my body – my body that screamed for attention and touch. My body ACHED FOR LOVE FOR TOUCH FOR THE RELEASE OF THE DISEASE THAT WAS INSIDE.
This is a healing story. This my healing story. And it is STILL inside me. I have more to heal. I have more doctors to see. I am still on my path.
Sometimes the only way out is way way in. –Dr. G
STOMP STOMP - WHY DON'T YOU LOVE ME BACK? BUT I DO LOVE YOU - DON'T YOU SEE? DON'T YOU SEE HOW MUCH I ADORE YOU? DON'T YOU FEEL IT? WHAT ELSE IS LOVE IF THIS ISN'T IT? WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS IF THIS ISN'T LOVE MELISSA? STOMP STOMP I WANT MORE MORE MORE... BUT I DON'T LOVE YOU IN *THAT WAY* I LOVE YOU THE WAY I LOVE YOU. HUFF PUFF REJECTION.
And then - I realized... I was being stupid... and I called him and apologized and said, "I want you in my life no matter what. I'm sorry that I pushed you away with a stupid crush. Can I have you back?" That depends on YOU." he said. "Ok, I will behave and love you." And that was 9 years ago. And we are still loving each other. And he is still in my heart so big. So big he takes my breath away. He is my walking ideal. Truly. He loves his family. He walks big on stage. He is creative. He IS LOVE. Every friend he has HE IS LOVE with them. How does he do it??
That's how kind he is. I mistook his SINCERE kindness for romance... I didn't understand how someone could be SO GENEROUS, so kind, so sweet, so thoughtful, so sincere, so absolutely wonderfully loving. And we're all cool now. The minute it was over - it was over. Shook hands, made up. Done. Done. (I guess boys get it b/c they are stupid and get crushes on girls all the time. So if a girl gets all moon faced over a boy- they know how it feels?)
And then I figured it out about him. He's just someone who LOVES. He is a man who loves. And when I realized that I simply need to be open to his love- I stopped feeling the need to have a crush on him - and could just LOVE HIM AND ACCEPT HIS LOVE. (But I would be LYING - LYING THE BIGGEST LIE not to want a husband exactly like that- thoughtful, kind, sincere, loving, compassionate, etc - someday- because I do and I would).
On my birthdays he sends flowers, when I am sick he sends me tokens of love, when I am down he sends me cheer up gifts. And this week when I moved- he sent me a box of Battle of Angel Alita graphic novels-- by Yukito Kishiro. Every time I open a gift from him - no matter what they are - they are JUST RIGHT. He always makes me CRY WITH JOY. It is like I am the single most understood person on the planet. It is as though God picked him for me - to tell me that I am OK -- in that moment I AM OK.
And so today- I had package awaiting me before I even unpacked into my home... from a man who FEELS LIKE HOME TO ME. I am so grateful for this. I have more mail awaiting me from other friends and must pick it up tomorrow. HOW GRATEFUL AM I THAT I HAVE SO MANY FRIENDS IN MY LIFE.
It has been a difficult journey up to Ohio. I didn't want to come. And I don't want to be here right now. No part of me wants to pay attention to my reality or do what matters - WHAT REALLY MATTERS.
I'm still figuring this out. Last night the only thing I had was a mattress on the floor and a sheet and blanket, my 2 cats and my dog. We all slept in a bare room -them huddled into my kidneys. And I felt "home." Home because I had a friend WHO LOVED ME DEEPLY NO MATTER WHAT. Home because the only things I REALLY CARE ABOUT were lying with me in my bed loving me - loving me no matter what. On the days when I was unable to get out of bed - THEY WERE THE THINGS THAT GOT ME UP TO FEED AND CARE FOR THEM.
THIS is why I exist.
My people were gathered up and thrown into ghettos. And then they were gathered up and thrown into worse. And then they were killed and killed and killed. And NONE OF IT MADE SENSE. None of it. None of it still does. And yet we find reasons to celebrate and love and find hope and cry our tears and join culturally for support and kinship.
People have been ethnically cleansed for years and it doesn't make sense. And yet they find ways to continue their stories and their hope for their children and their world.
People get sick and die - in 3rd worlds and here in the State - and it doesn't make sense. Worse- we have 3rd world conditions HERE IN THE STATES. And it doesn't make sense. And it NEVER WILL. And it shouldn't IT NEVER SHOULD. It should feel unjust. IT SHOULD FEEL ALIEN TO ME.
And yet we continue to make children and a world and find hope and make dreams and have compassion and have friends like mine - whom I love deeply. None of this makes sense. I use words like HOME and LOVE... and really... what does it mean?
Home used mean my husband. And after he divorced me and I lost my house and my garden it meant where I lived... but NOW it means simply - where my animals are whom I LOVE and... it means that I have friend in the world WHO KNOW MY SOUL... AND STILL LOVE ME.
I feel hopeless. I do. I want to cry a thousand tears. This wasn't mean to be a hopeful post. But I cannot tell you lies. I have friends I have loved and loved and loved. And they still love me. I have people I worry for DEEPLY WORRY FOR. They are quite ill and getting sicker by the day. And no one can make them better. And it hurts me deeply. Some would get better with better medical care -- And they live HERE in the RICHEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD... and some are simply sick because that is how it goes.
So - Friendship, Love, Home, Senseless Killing, Poverty, Inequality, Death, and yet - STILL people find reasons and ways to celebrate life - even through their pain and darkness, their fears and their sadness - celebrations of life do not have to be about anything "happy" they just have to acknowledge that sometimes there are mysteries in life that are bigger than us. I am living one.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I will miss this. I will miss having friends who come over and eat my food and just talk to me and HUG ME. I will miss you Atlanta. I will miss my best friends, I will miss my beautiful city, and I will miss KNOWING in my heart that I belong somewhere... knowing where everything is - where I belong - where to go in emergencies, when I'm hungry- and when I'm bored.... I will miss THIS feeling of BEING LOVED TANGIBLY.
Meanwhile -- Nick just stopped over b/c he was on his way home after being out on the gay town. He told me a beautiful story... one that moved me to tears.... I want to tell you about it because it is so fitting right now to how I feel:
He was having the shittiest week on the planet (totaled his car, school difficulties, etc) ... and he was driving past an Indian temple. Being a very spiritual person and a studier of film and religion he pulled over... he took of his shoes and socks and he went in. He meditated there. He went to every deity and he petitioned for mercy, for healing, for intervention. He felt NOTHING. He wanted to feel BLESSED.
It made him feel WORSE leaving the temple to leave feeling unblessed and unheard... he felt MORE DEJECTED than ever. His shoulders slumped and he began walking to the exit slowly... His heart felt shunned. He felt that all the gods ignored him. How could this be?
Then - at the door - an old Indian man met him as Nick was unsteadily putting on his shoes. Nice almost fell and said, "I'm so sorry- I'll try not to fall on you!" And the old man laughed and said, "Don't you realize if you would fall I would catch you?" And suddenly Nick realized THIS was the message he needed to hear. He looked up and the man said, "No one who seeks ever looses their footing in God's house."
Nick thanked the man for his words and shook his hand. Then he felt his heart lift. He had received his blessing. IT IS NOT THE GODS BUT EACH PERSON WHO GIVES US OUR BLESSINGS.
At his car Nick looked back at the older man who was still at the door. The man nodded at Nick and Nick nodded back. It was true. He had been blessed.
Nick got into his rental car and drove away feeling blessed. Life is OK no matter where we are and we receive what we need and all our blessings even in our darkest hours... perhaps especially in our darkest hours.
He shared this with me tonight... and it hit me. I have been been in a dark place. I have been in SUCH a dark place that I have been sharing MY DARK STORIES with other people. I rarely do this. I have been burdening YOU with MY SHIT. Yet-- I have needed to be lifted - and YOU have blessed me. I have been blessed by other people... some complete strangers to me - just as Nick's chance meeting was a blessing.
Life is beautiful. We bless and heal each other. We cannot lose our footing if we are seeking in God's house. If we fall we must catch each other. Thank you Nick for sharing your story with me. I love you.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I called a former doctor of mine - someone who is very special to me - someone who impacted me a great deal b/c of his compassion to me when I needed him. And how once my issue was resolved our relationship was over. I never had a reason to stay in touch with him though I missed him and his personality. He returned my call and I said, "I'm going to be in town for a week and I'd love to stop by your office for a visit to say hello because I'd like to see you." (I think IF I wasn't moving from Atlanta I wouldn't feel the need to visit- but I'm MISSING people right now - and wanting to connect).
I also feel more, "Me" lately- more honest.... I'm sharing the truth of myself because so much of ME is getting lost and saying goodbye. He stammered for a bit then said, "I don't think that would be appropriate."
I felt shocked at first - stung that he would not wish to see me as it had been a while since we last interacted and I truly like him. Many of my doctors have given me their e-mail addresses and continue to interact with me. Both of my therapists have given me their e-mails (and one her phone number). I'm not a creepy person. I have boundaries. I have love. I'm not... "broken" like that... I'm not a stalker! (Really- I'm just going through your garbage because I'm into recycling!)
Maintaining a steady voice I queried, "Because of "doctor patient stuff?" "Yes." he said - stiffly. "Ahhh - That is a great sadness then, because I only wanted to maintain that relationship with you in a way that worked." I replied as honestly and whole heartedly as I could. Maybe he thinks I'm coming on to him?
I wasn't inviting him out to coffee... I wasn't asking him to bend me. If it was a woman I would have said, "I miss you and I love you and I wanted to give you a HUG." Instead I said, "Well, I will be in town and I will keep you in my thoughts. Bye then."
Sometimes people die. I have found this over and over and over. I watch death happen. And you have to let it go. Same as in a garden - sometimes plants WILL NOT GROW. And sometimes, in spite of what is supposed to happen - they bloom beautifully. You never know. I let him go. He hung up. One more relationship over. Gone. I felt BETRAYED by the doctor-patient relationship patriarchy - where I am only someone if you have something to treat- but once that is done you have NO MORE INTEREST IN ME AS A PERSON- A WHOLE /HEALING PERSON. That is bullshit. It is like that in academia too - and I will snuff it out. It is like that sometimes in therapy as well... and BULLSHIT TO THAT AS WELL...
Then - I realized - that many of my doctors have given me their e-mails. And both of my therapists too have wanted to maintain contact. And then something beautiful happened later that day... though my heart was confused - as though i was a naughty puppy- I left to say goodbye to the therapist who had helped me do more of my spiritual grief work over the last decade as *I* healed and helped OTHERS - bc I can only help so many people with their own bad health and death (long before I got diagnosed - and trust me - helping people is a difficult thing- therapists NEED therapists! and she was MORE than a therapist to me - but I will not go into it here.)
And so here is where the TRUE beauty happened:
I showed up with a book for my therapist - the 2nd by an author that we both love. And a heart of crystal that I have long used in my own healing work. I decided to give her my own crystal that I have used in my office for a decade. It was my most precious item. And she cried when I gave it to her... and showed me that she had JUST gotten a small table in her healing room and it was empty and in need of a small item. And she put the heart down and it looked BEAUTIFUL. And it was just where I would have put it (and I had actually put my own heart there for years and years when I was doing clinical/therapy work in my own office).
And so-- she gave me a gift then. And sat with me as I opened it. And what was it? A beautiful statue. She said, "I don't know what this is- but I KNEW IT WAS FOR YOU."
I burst into tears! "Kuan Yin! - How beautiful- How amazing!"
For those who do not know me- Kuan Yin has been my guide - she is a goddess of compassion. she is my true guide - "karua- compassion" has been my ultimate goal since I can remember. The meaning of karuna is that the plight of others affects us as much as if it were our own plight. And since I can remember I have been pinched by the pain and sorrows of other human beings... (and my JOB in this life is to accept that YOU might love me in return... My job is to learn LOVE AND TRUST and to RELEASE FEAR... see... we all have work to do!)
I have long been guided by her, St. Francis of Assisi and to a lesser extent, Mother Theresa and Mother Mary... and what is important about all these figures - all of them - ALL OF THEM have extended themselves to others.
I do not see myself as like them in any way- just GUIDED BY THEM... I am loud, and stompy, and opinionated- I get it all wrong all the time... I often weary of my road... But somehow - this gift.. this beautiful gift - it sparked in me the realization that PATRIARCHY is unnecessary. I HAVE NEVER HAD IT IN MY CLASSROOM. I have never had it in my therapy room. I have always looked at my clients and my students as FRIENDS, as PARTNERS - together we are working on a PROCESS OF HEALING. I realize that we need BOUNDARIES - and I honor those.
I have NEVER had sex with a student or a client. I have NEVER attempted to flirt with a student, a doctor or therapist -- or in any way take away from the beautiful teaching or healing relationships that we have. But I will say this. I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE WAY WE DO THINGS NOW - IS THE RIGHT WAY. We can do better. We can have MORE. We can.
We do not need DISTANCE. Once someone is gone from my classroom - I still maintain contact - always. I give my cellphone to my students for emergencies (instead of my office phone- b/c I am rarely in my office)- and do you know how many times ANY student has violated my privacy or called too late or early? NEVER - NOT ONCE. NEVER. Because I ask them not to and tell them to TEXT ME if it is too late or early.
I believe in trust and honor and healing and compassion. And if we do it together we can get somewhere. I just do.
Some how we have sickness in our world bigger than the sickness in our individual bodies.
And I think medical school is sickness all its own that my doctor needs to heal from. Just as academia with all its pomp and professionalism is a sickness that I had to HEAL FROM. This is no way to live. This is no way to treat people.
This Kuan Yin statue for me was a great gift. After she gave it me my therapist kissed me on my forehead and said, "If I had a daughter I would want it to be you." And then she made sure I had her PHONE NUMBER and her e-mail... and said, "When you come back in town, i would like to see you - to keep up with you. I have enjoyed knowing you. This is not the end of our relationship." AND SHE HEALED ME FROM THE PAIN OF ALL THE PATRIARCHY THAT I HAD JUST ENDURED. She helped me realize that THIS is the better way... THIS IS IT!!! yes!
And I realized that the doctor who refused to see me might not like me - but he probably does. He probably just isn't ready to HEAL YET. And that is HIS ILLNESS not mine. And maybe someday - someone will give HIM his own version of Kuan Yin (when he is ready) and tell him that he is good enough and WORTH KNOWING and the disease of medical school and patriarchy will fall away. I hope so. I truly do.
It washed the pain away for me and for that I am glad. I needed to heal from it it as a patient working with doctors, and as a scholar working with students, and as a therapist doing counseling work with clients. ALL WHO NEED ME JUST AS I NEED THEM.
Monday, August 2, 2010
“What other choice do you have Melissa?” my doctor asked me quietly. She looked up briefly, but I could tell she didn’t want to give too much purchase to my emotional outburst. She was letting me TRULY decide my options.
I sat quietly for several minute while she typed into her computer. She looked at me again, forcing an answer this time.
I sighed this time. “You’re right. I must. I must.”
“OK then, we will carry on.”
That day I made THE DECISION to carry on despite feeling BROKEN. Because broken is what most sick people feel. We feel it more than we do our own ill health. BROKEN in spirit is a culmination of physical pain, being misunderstood, family stressors, financial instability, GUILT at being the sick one, fatigue, and all the horrors of being overdoctored and treated into oblivion.
Right now I’m feeling broken – broken in spirit.
I was speaking to an online friend whom I usually just joke with and out poured all my losses. And that is how it happens at times like these. When we are at our brinks we never know when the safety valve will kick in and our steam will come hissing out to save our sanity. “I’m sad and I’m afraid and my whole world is shattering and my dad is sick and my animals need me but I’m afraid I’m not a good enough mother and I’m about out of money and I have no clue how I’ll afford anything till any comes in…”
And just this week every single person who is sick has gotten sicker and I worry for them. Every single person who was dying chose this week to leave the planet. My heart feel incapable of sustaining this level of compassion and pain, yet – I must – I must love more – because that is what keeps us human. LOVE.
Mostly though – I’m moving to a state where I never thought I would return and I don’t want to. I’m sad about it beyond words. I’ve had to say goodbye to so many friends, my therapists, my doctors (some of them), restaurants, even stupid places in this city I never thought I’d miss, I’m grieving over. And I find myself saying, “I can’t do this, I just can’t.”
And I hear a voice say, “What choice do you have Melissa?” And I sit there realizing this isn’t even a choice of life or death. There is no line in me today, just my simple day-to-day medications, my rituals, my everyday path I keep. I have no need for haste other than to pack. And yet – the tumult in my heart feels just as devastated as the day when I had to decide to carry on or not. The fight feels JUST AS GREAT.
And I wonder – I truly wonder if sometimes the big battles aren’t actually sometimes EASIER – BECAUSE of the nature of their force. We MUST go into dragon slaying mode. We must use what we call, “dragon fury” where we are blind to anything around us and fight with vehemence. But when we must make decisions like moving for health and finances and to be with our sick parents – those are done much more slowly and agonizingly. These have no furious forward moments. These moments are done in steadfast day to day moments.
Living right now – the CHOICE to get up, take meds, feed animals, feed self, find joy in life, live in compassion, share, live in the great MYSTERY of life – THIS is the CHOICE that I am making. This is the choice we all make whether we realize it or not, make time to acknowledge it or not. And it feels bigger right now than any choice I ever made to continue a treatment I promise you that. I PROMISE YOU THAT.
Maybe the pain right now is helping me to REALLY feel this. Maybe my brokenness is allowing me to have GRAITTUDE for the many kindnesses that I receive – from the messages to the cute songs that people sing on my voice mail, to the genuine time people spend with me. Maybe the great MYSTERY of life and the COMPASSION and the HEALING that takes place can only take place when we are willing to render ourselves VULNERABLE and admit when we are BROKEN IN SPIRIT and accept the love and compassion of other healing humans… and then humbly accept it. And I do- with gratitude.
THANK YOU- FOR SEEING ME AND FOR HEALING ME.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
And you know how dreams go. It doesn't matter if you are already in love or already stable or living in this state or that. Your dreams MAKE YOU HAVE THAT REALITY.
So - I was living in the state of this particular person with whom I've been conversing quite a great deal. And he and I intensely discuss many powerful and important beautiful things. We are always on the same page but he is more depressed actually- about change in the world, and I am more HOPEFUL. I know that there CAN be change. I KNOW THAT WE ALL CHANGE EACH OTHER AND HEAL EACH OTHER. I just do.
I know that it only takes one person at a time...
I was so touched by Mother Theresa and her quote "There can be no great things, only small things with great love, I prayed once - My prayer to God when I was "Please make me a great person." Knowing full well that it might mean I touch ONLY ONE LIFE. I was OK with that. I still am.
Though my ego struggles sometime - I AM OK with touching only one life at a time.
Meanwhile - in my dream - I had met a man who was truly deeply in love with me. And he had decided to marry me. And he said as much. He had invited his entire family to be at the restaurant. We were celebrating but I did not know yet that this was a marriage proposal. I was just happy to meet more people to love. I was INNOCENT.
And suddenly he looked at me and said, "Wait - you are sick - I need to see your bloodwork!" And I said, "I have never kept my illness from you or anyone! I blog about it - I talk openly about it! I am very up front about who I am. I am not hiding myself from you. If you LOVE ME - then you must accept all of who I am."
And he said, "But I must know just how sick you are. Because I need a wife who can live to perfection with me."
And suddenly I stung with rejection. The rejection of being thrown away by my last husband when I got ill. And the rejection of every racist person on the planet. The horrific things people do to be hateful. I stung with unfairness and hurt and hatefulness. I stung as a woman rejected - because this man had seen and loved my heart-- but I also stung with the INEQUALITIES OF THE WORLD.
I saw the world's hatred. And I said to him - I could show you my bloodwork - but that will not make you feel better. Your new unwillingness to SEE ME IS BORN OF FEAR. You must either love and accept me and work together with me - OR YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO HAVE ALL OF ME.
And I realized in my dream - that this is how the entire world works.
We are all human. We cannot open our eyes to see other pains, other hatreds, other fears, other horrific ways we treat people... the fears we have of cultures and differences and ways of being and doing - BECAUSE WE ARE UNWILLING TO SEE OR HEAR WITH NEW EYES AND EARS.
They don't speak English. Their skin is too brown. They use up all our oil. They use different techniques. They do this or that. We can hurl a thousand criticisms at people - but we never stop to realize that the FEAR and DISTRUST is born of an unwillingness to TRULY SEE THEM.
And it builds more walls and more pain and more distrust. And I don't know if there is any answers... But I know that there is an infinite God with infinite healing. And God has infinite Mercy and ability to HEAL.
There are no great things, only small things with great love. GREAT LOVE. And there is a verse - Jew or no that says, "Perfect love casts out fear"..and you know as well as I that FEAR is what causes everyone to HATE and not accept.
I have to believe this. I MUST.
I MUST accept that we are all able to heal - ourselves, each other, and the world -- one small thing at a time.