Just Be

May 10, 2013 § 4 Comments

I only saw the therapist with the long stares twice. In that time, her stretched-out stares made me feel as though we had enjoyed weekly visits for years and that we had walked all the way to the end of my earth and returned again with the sun setting on our backs. She may have even come to a few of my landmark birthday parties, later, when we became friends. I bought her a bracelet that looked like driftwood trapped in silver and she met my mother and they talked about canning vegetables with a knowing kindness. This is not to say she made me feel comfortable. No. She did not make me feel comfortable. But I sat right down in the armchair of my discomfort and I suppose I’m glad I tried to settle into her quiet strangeness.

I finally made the first appointment after months of talking about it. As soon as I made the appointment, I felt better. This is how it is with self-care, with professional help, we procrastinate because we think we can do it all alone, and when we finally admit we need help, when we make an appointment with an understanding that business will occur, we feel better, cleansed and ready to take on more of life’s weight. I was propelled towards the professional lamp because of all the thoughts flying around inside of me, like moths that seem frantic and stupid in the light and cryptically morbid in the dark. Even though I had watched the YouTube video posted on her website in which she talked about her focus, I still wasn’t prepared to know her when I saw her. It is a small thing but I was so surprised to feel a clicking into place, like Lego pieces that make the right sound against the soft carpet of your bedroom. « Read the rest of this entry »


Keeping secrets

May 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

It was her stillness that moved me. I could tell that she was keeping secrets. Momentum had been dammed in the illusion of her fresh beauty. Fuchsia tie dye t-shirt, tiny acid-washed denim shorts, white high-top sneakers with rainbow laces, and her long long golden hair and long long summer legs. I was puzzled. Why was this gorgeous girl sitting separate, away from her peers, in a state of stillness normally reserved for the hunted? Under the  rain forest canopy of high school, she was a tropical bird in shadows but still, still, she reflected light. I scolded myself, don’t assume that pretty girls can’t be ostracized from the social group. But no, it had nothing to do with her radiant physical appearance. It was more like I recognized myself in her stillness. I kept secrets too. I held my body in a tight frame of fear, I took short, careful breaths, I looked away when caring people asked me questions with knowing eyes, I kept my face blank and smooth, I pulled the shades down, I shut the blinds, I was the hunted, and I shook loose at night.


April 22, 2013 § Leave a comment

Mike Roe was a lonely wandering elephant forever searching for a smaller way to live, and when he finally found himself burrowing down, down into the secret hiding places of the tiniest bugs he realized he longed for the largeness he’d had all along.

On storytelling

April 19, 2013 § Leave a comment

Sometimes I think that a story is just putting two unlikely things together and trying to make sense of it, seeing what happens, letting the two things repel, swirl and then merge into an impressive concoction for our memory to store away like preserves in a dark, cool cellar. The end.

Grief or Memories of Sally

March 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Grief lurks in the most unexpected places. Like the lecherous single man in the seamy bar, it leans in the creepy corners of our bodies and comes lurching out of the dim light to startle us out of our busy, happy moments.
When I get sick in the car, always as a passenger, most often on winding roads, I usually experience the unpleasant shock of the most particular smell. It’s the stench of my childhood dog, Sally, panting at the back of the car as she gradually dried out after a swim in a river or creek. On long road trips my dad would stop at some spot he had noticed while coming around a bend, never a designated rest stop with signs, toilets, garbage bins and picnic tables, never assigned social encounters with other people wearing wrinkled country traveling clothes and eating humid snacks. We would stop at his spot and get out to quietly explore a place that felt like ours for fifteen minutes. Sally was allowed the most uninhibited enthusiasm for the experience and she would run over her own legs just to get into the crisp water as fast as possible. I always envied her as she splashed, plunged, and grinned her way through the rushing stream named something like Otter Tail River or Castle Creek. On the hotter days I longed to join her and feel the rocks on my feet as I submerged myself in the clean, wild relief. Oh sometimes, we took our shoes and socks off, or gathered handfuls of water to our faces but no one was as free as the dog. « Read the rest of this entry »

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