Iron Gate


“NAVIGATION”, 30″ x 45″, 2000, m/m
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I truly recognize that my ticket into true abundance is vulnerability.

I’m speaking of a particular kind of vulnerability, here.

We all hate the word, I know.

It is overused, has connotations such as ‘soft, weak, grow a pair, get over yourself ‘….

VULNERABLE as an adjective means ‘open to being hurt or wounded.’

The key word here is OPEN.

My life, these days, is turning markedly toward a miraculous inflow of goodness.

It renders me speechless, to be frank.

For a couple reasons..

One is a warrior-stance I have lived inside for too long:

That of the ‘I’ll give to you first so you’ll feel real good about me and that will deflect your attention away from how bad I really know I am inside but you are too stupid to see it.’

This is what is called SHAME with a capitol ‘S’.

It is the IRON GATE extraordinaire.

During this precious season of the returning light I have received two gifts of the ‘over-the-top-blast- your- heart-open-with- gratitude’ variety.

And in each instance it was VERY apparent that there WAS NO ONE HOME TO RECEIVE THEM!!!!!!!!!

I’m the GIVER! Not the RECEIVER!

Gifts of this magnitude are the purveyors of life-altering insight.

They put you right there at the wall..

Do you have a Self there which values it’s existence enough to open to the expression of love from another?

Or will you defend and squirm or just take leave and go through the culturally acceptable motions of gratitude and awe at your good fortune?

I hate writing about this.

I really do.

I want you to think of me as cool and together and wise and wonderful.

And there are those parts of me, sure..

But this thing of which I speak has had me by the tail for eons.

And now it is boring.

Not just neurotic or irritating.

But BORING.

Yeah.. I am well aware of the genesis of my shame.

But moving from that awareness into standing naked and RECEIVING ANOTHER’S LOVE without armoring up is another thing altogether.

The fact that these gifts are here in my life tells me that it is time for me to lay down my guns.

I am going to let these people in my life love me in this way and honor their gifts by receiving them fully.

They are giving to me in this way because they see someone here who is worthy of their efforts, time, money.

And until all of me believes that too..

I can honor their choices by softening my protective and ‘oh-so-overused’ muscles of deflective giving,

And truly receive their love and care.

Amen.

Letting Go…. Again


detail of textile, pigment on wool flannel
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My favorite architect is John Pawson.

He designed a monastery that I just keep wanting to look at.

It is pretty severely minimalist by most accounts.

And yet.. I am drawn to it with a hidden velocity that won’t quit on me.

Why is this? I wonder…

During any of my days I can be found moving around my home with an incessant backstory going on.

I am ALWAYS HANKERING AFTER SPACE.

Or, rather- ‘the pause.’

My senses are overstimulated by the clutter on my desk, the pile of clothes on the floor of the closet, the plethora of too many appliances on my kitchen counters, the bathroom shelves unordered, too much stuff on my altar, computer, et all….

Remember, my little nest here is 450 sq. feet and I adore it for the location, space and light.

And yet.. I want less.

In a small space it becomes clear what and how one wants to live.

I see myself giving away art these days.

And boxing up stuff for Goodwill.

And hardly ever turning on music preferring the silence to anyone or thing holding my hand and guiding me away from the state of being I might be having at the moment.

I am just watching myself be drawn toward an economy of speech, movement, consuming, stimulation, doing, wanting.

My nervous system WANTS ROOM, though…

And that is a desire I intend to fulfill.

I will generously give myself one shelf ordered or one box set out to be gifted or one file deleted or one drawer tended to each day..

And take immense pleasure in the emptiness

And pause

And possibility for peace

Those little actions will provide me.

Voodoo


detail of sculptures, 1995, 12″ x 3″ (varies), porcelain
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“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
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– The Buddha
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I gave the sculptures above to a friend years ago.

I find myself missing them very much.

They took me so long to create; each tiny hole pierced as it’s own mark in time.

Some people in the community ceramics studio I worked in at that time thought it was like voodoo..

Poking a figurative shape over and over as I sat there for hours in a trance-like state.

It was a viable conclusion to draw..

But, for me… it was REVERSE VOODOO.

Each time I pierced the forms I imagined that part of my body WAKING UP.

I was at the stage in my life where I was beginning to peel back the masks and costumes

To reveal myself… my Self with a capitol ‘S.’

So.. in the process of piercing and prodding these pieces of gorgeous and delicate white porcelain

I let this sort of self-inflicted acupuncture wake me up.

And now… years down the road… here I am still doing it.

I’m speaking metaphorically now, of course.

The woman revealed after all the seeming ‘navel-gazing’ as my life may appear to others

Is, at last, becoming quite vulnerable in the highest sense.

Like the young and moist clay I worked with back then..

I am slowly discarding the burnt and impossibly hardened layers

Left by the fire.

And what’s left is a new garden

In an unfamiliar location.

But the dirt smells fine.

And someone nicely has plowed the thing.

So now…

I am dropping my heart-chosen seeds carefully into the eager soil.

And I say a little prayer of gratitude to myself

For the courage, tenacity and discrimination it has taken

To keep choosing authenticity

Over convenience or costume.

The Love Thing


“RED”, 1995, 6′ x 4′, m/m
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For me.. this says it well.

I send you wishes for a season of peace in your heart, the privilege of rubbing a dog’s belly and some Great Mystery to ring softly in your ear.
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Blessed Non-Attachment


untitled, 2006, ceramic, 30″h x 18″d (varies)
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There are a very few pieces of art I have kept for my personal collection.

The ceramic sculptures pictured above are one example.

I have loved living with them.

The other day I was preparing to take my dog for a foray in the neighborhood.

I bundled up and sat in my wheelchair.

I powered her up and we took off slowly for the front door.

BIG, GIANT CRASH heard behind me.

Dog freaks out and thinks I am VERY angry with her.

I am weirdly calm.

VERY weirdly at peace..

Like I took valium or something.

I know exactly what happened..

The power cord was not fully disengaged from the chair and as I took off it caught the bottom of the urn on the left.

I swivel around and the prized sculpture is in bits all over the floor.

Here are the things that went through my head:

1. Oh, God.. I don’t have the energy to clean that up.

2. I really loved that piece. Why don’t I care if it’s broken?

3. Am I totally in denial, here?

4. No, this is really real..

5. I don’t especially care that it is gone.

6. This is like REALLY weird, Cathy. WHO HAVE YOU BECOME???????

I opened the door and Olivia and I went for our walk.

I came home and got the broom and did all the bending and scraping necessary to sweep away the remains.

And I carried on with my day.

When one is challenged by chronic illness

Value systems shift around in profound ways we aren’t even quite aware of

Until we are.

For me, yeah.. I loved that sculpture very much.

But it was only a ‘life-enhancer’ to a certain extent.

And I saw in my reaction to it’s demise that it’s value had fallen considerably

On my list of my true needs for a thriving life.

Used to be that inanimate beauty was key to my survival.

And being surrounded by things that reminded me of who I was: Cathy the artist, etc..

But I am much more these days.

And who I am seems not defined by stuff.

I am certainly not immune to someone coming over to my home for the first time and seeing how small it is; simple and great for me but not one of the aesthetically fabulous places I’ve called home before,

And maybe judging me or having some opinion or concern for me in some way because they are unfamiliar with ‘this Cathy.’

No, I see and feel people’s reactions.

But I also see their confusion and wonder at my level of ‘ok-ness’ with my life and Self.

I recognize my level of peace is palpable (when it actually IS a part of my life…caveat: NOT really here during the holidays).

What gets me there has absolutely nothing to do with the urn I loved.

No one can take away the feeling I had while creating that piece of art.

And the process of making this life, day to day, is no different.

The medium has shifted.

But my life is my art these days.

The Light! The Light!


untitled, 4 1/2′ x 6′, m/m
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“Innocence is what we allow
to be gifted back to us
once we’ve given ourselves away.”

“….it seems as if the developed western world has entered an extended twilight, as if it has for a moment lost its way or doesn’t want to find the way or is too tired to find the way or as if it needs a good glass of wine and a good lie down to catch up with itself. It is as if it has no time for bravery or new beginnings and as if it is ending a very awful, bad day indeed, its sole perspective a pervasive indebtedness; a profound buyer’s remorse.”
– David Whyte

I get up in the morning and read the news in various places: CNN, NPR, Huffington Post.

Trying to keep one finger on the pulse of what’s outside my sphere which feels so myopic at times.

I have particular places that are my ‘go-to’ web locations

When I REALLY need to find LIFE.

I mean LIFE at it’s pulsating best.

Not a technicolor version with incessant bells and whistles,

But real life, unveiled and naked and trembling.

I don’t want a report at times like these..

The lively and fluid and impossibly red blood we all share as humans is what I’m after.

Today, I found the above quotes from David Whyte’s site.

He is a poet.

But more..

He is a depth connoisseur.

A deep and wide listener of the Mysteries and Realities we each hold hands with on a daily basis.

I sense a wriggling and patient (sometimes not..) LIFE in his writing and thinking.

He is a ‘go-to’ guy for me when I stumble

And get the dead air knocked out of me.

He helps me breathe again.

Usually, it is impossibly fresh.

Falling in Love With Duality


“BLACK AND WHITE”, ceramic, 18″ x 4″
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My girlfriends, (of ‘the dinner’ I wrote about over the weekend)

Sat in a circle and aired our concerns.

We found them to be small in the face of the shining thing that is our friendship

And left the circle a tighter knit brood of broads

Than we were before.

That healing would never have occurred had the ‘bad’ part not catapulted us onto the playing field of love.

My heart feels soft.

And I am paying homage to the contrasts that accentuate the things we’d like to be different.

I checked out a favorite site this morning: STEVE McCURRY’S BLOG, and found him posting some of his ever-so-poignant photographs on the subject of contrast.

Please do have a look.

As we go into the darkest night of the year, I think it is good to remember the light as well..

And value them both equally for the gifts they are and those they help us see clearer.

Happy Solstice.

Girls With Claws


textile designs, 1988, various silks
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If we, as women, find ourselves in the company of good and true girlfriends sometime in a life,

We ought to pause and reflect on what it took for us to get to that shining place.

Because it ain’t easy.

We are bred to find one another the enemy.

Are you prettier than I and will you gain the attention of the man or job or acknowledgement I WANT?

Do you have more money or better breeding than I and does that make you shine brighter and maybe keep me from acquiring someone’s attention I might need or desire?

Are you smarter than I?

Do you have a law degree and maybe that gives you a leg up on the ladder that I can’t even reach?

Is your home one I might envy instead of just taking joy you have it?

Do you know mysterious and secret things about Nature that might make you a better student than me?

Do you have a lover who is handsome and when he puts his arm around you, you look 16?

I want that.

I want those things.

I want what I have and everything else, too…

Four women shared a dinner table last night.

We like and respect one another a great deal.

We are beginning a study group together and this dinner was the first time we sat ’round a table together.

The energy between us began to get competitive and judgmental and wonky as the dinner progressed.

I was withdrawn from the start as I should never have been there because the place was too expensive but I had missed our first meeting and wanted to belong so I went.

One friend walked in looking like the pure gorgeousness she is.

I couldn’t just leave it at that..

I wanted her giraffe-print coat.

Then, when she talked about ‘three-day horse events and caviar and chignons and her family’s power’ I felt lonely and began to judge her.

It was my response to feeling lonely for her company.. the woman I know and love when we are by ourselves.

All of a sudden, when the four of us got in a group, the various defenses came out; our honed protective mechanisms.

We used what we knew to separate ourselves because we haven’t yet learned how to be together.

Some of us judged.

Some went to sleep.

Some told stories.

But we TOTALLY MISSED EACH OTHER!

We each left with claw marks on us.

Inadvertent, yes.

But there, just the same.

Women have to work to feel safe with one another and not hyper- vigilant that we’ll be left with ‘not enough’,

Is a cultural overlay that we’ve lived with for eons.

It takes honesty and effort to dissolve the armor we’ve all got that prevents us from truly enjoying our sisters.

Today, I’m trimming my nails.

And forgiving myself.

And all of us.

For wanting so much to love but often not knowing how.

To The Dogs


detail of painting on wool flannel
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My friend Marc, over at WHEELCHAIR KAMIKAZE has a slightly renegade sense of humor like mine.

I do believe possessing such has kept us ‘weller’ than the next.

When all the world feels like the enemy, I go directly to my dog.

I love her beyond any knowledge of love I can conjure.

Marc posted the following ditty which, for me, acted like an IV of some sort of divinely concocted medication.

Look here:

Saving Spaciousness


detail of painting, 2001, m/m
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Moving into more authenticity as a woman has meant, in part, becoming aware of my deep need for a sense of spaciousness in my life.

For me, that means lots of light, silence and connection-to-Spirit time.

This may sound as if I’m just a couple steps away from a monastery.

But really.. I have a very connected life.

I’ve noticed that as holidays approach I begin taking steps backward.

Away from the static and morass of cultural expectations,

And all the tempting goodies.

A friend recently told me of his 4 year old son’s comment while looking through a catalog; “Dad, this makes me want stuff..”

Uh, huh…..

Yeah, it’s clearly working..those pesky advertising people..

I like Christmas lights, and choral singing in old, adobe churches and Native American displays of their reverence for the season.

I like the sting of a surprise snow and my new shearling hat.

I like feeling in to what I ACTUALLY WANT MY HOLIDAY/LIFE TO BE.

It is a lot about space.

And that very space allows me to be fully present with people.

People…space….people…space…people….

I cannot have one without the other.

Which has prevented me from knocking on the doors of the nearest monk-haven.

And so- I make it up and watch where my toleration level is crossed in either realm by registering how my body feels.

Because after all those years of numbing myself, my physical body is finally my greatest and most trusted tool for deciding what is good for me.

It will not let me over-ride it anymore.

And when I do, IT FEELS SO BAD.

Exposed


detail of textile painting, 1980, pigment on wool flannel
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I have a new person in my life who challenges me.

And I let him.

He said: “You don’t let your family help you.”

For some reason, when he said that, I heard him.

Here’s just one example of how closed I have been:

My brother, Peter, rode a whole 100 mile MS ride a couple years ago and I couldn’t even find it in myself to call him and let him have a look inside my heart to see what that effort on his part meant to me.

In order for me to deal with this health challenge, it seems I shut down in some major ways.

I am not proud of this.

In fact, my heart hurts.

One of my personalities stepped in and put her soldier hat on and started marching.

It seems I’ve been so intent on keeping step (so to speak),

That I’ve entirely missed a whole storehouse of kindnesses and invitations and offerings of support.

Yesterday, I sent my entire family the letter I wrote addressed to the Social Security Dept. which outlined a ‘day in the life of Cathy.’

My effort towards transparency gave me peace.

I know it was damn hard for them to read.

Because they love me and we all want those we care about to be living in ‘suffering-free’ zones.

This is where I’d like to have Buddha’s phone number…

Today, I feel so much more connected to my family.. more of the sister I know I have inside me.

I haven’t heard from all of them yet but the first reviews have been relieved, I sense.

Sobered but relieved just to know.

We can’t ever play our hand with the chance of a win if we keep it too close.

I am grateful to my friend for his forthrightness and urging toward this exposure.

He would say it is just ‘who he is.’

But we always have the choice to speak or be silent.

And we are until we’re not.

Today, I am grateful for my choice to speak.

(ps.. I have been asked to share this letter online but it feels too vulnerable, as yet.. stay tuned.)

Authenticity


untitled, 1998, 20″ x 5″, ceramic
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If I had to pick one thing I feel most passionately about it would probably be authenticity.

Leading an authentic life.

Not a ‘culturally correct’ life,

Or even one whose bedrock is created from the rock harvested from another person’s mine.

Is this possible?

The path I’ve chosen is rife with ‘little deaths.’

I act one way and it doesn’t match up with the template slowly taking form in my being.

I get it.

Stop.

Try not to judge.

Choose again.

Life goes on like this for me.

The rewards are rich and beyond my comprehension in how my life and well-being are enhanced on all levels when I get it right.

This subject is the true core of my healing.

As I get clearer on what’s true for me,

I get healthier.

I came across this website which addresses authenticity as a core value: THE AUTHENTICITY ACCELERATOR.

This man has come up with 5 attributes for an authentic life:

1…BE PRESENT
2…PAY ATTENTION
3…LISTEN DEEPLY
4…SPEAK TRULY
5…ACT CREATIVELY

We are all so very unaware of the power in the identities we’ve taken on as ours:

Mother, father, brother sister, artist, computer programmer, gardener, teacher, busboy, banker, MS diagnosee…

Who are we without these costumes?

This is what interests me.

I think eyes are a reliable method of seeing who’s sitting across the table from you,

As well as looking into the mirror.

Is there light there?

Depth?

Sorrow?

Pity?

Curiousity?

The eyes are a reliable place to look for a person unveiled, shall we say.

I catch myself looking in the mirror too, too often.

Not solely from a vanity standpoint, but I am a woman who likes being a woman..

No, I look to see if my eyes match up with the person I feel I am in that moment.

Often, they don’t.

And I pause or withdraw to readjust.

And see how that feels.

And if I sense I am closer to ‘home’ in that shift,

I know I’m on the right road.

Flux


untitled, 2000, 30″ x 30″, m/m
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I love the word FLUX.

It has various meanings as any good word does (Cathy’s bias) …

1. a flowing or flow.
2. the flowing in of the tide.
3. continuous change, passage, or movement: His political views are in a state of flux.
6. fusion.

(I took the liberty of honing in on the definitions that interest me today)

In metallurgy, flux is the soldering agent that allows two separate pieces of metal to be joined as one.

It starts out in what looks like solid form but you can certainly see that as it gets heated and placed near another like piece of metal,

IT WANTS TO GO THERE!

The flow is directional, insistent even..

Yes, it needs heat for the alchemy to happen.

But the IMPETUS is inherent in the thing.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about here..

The instinctual impetus to go where we go.

Which is very different than making a DECISION to go or do stuff.

The mind is ONLY ONE kind of intelligence available to us.

And that thing we call ‘intelligence’ seems to be built into us,

And awakened when we get close to some thing/one possessing enough common factors,

That the ‘pull’ to do the alchemy thing begins getting insistent.

This has been occurring in my life more frequently.

Ideas, people, goals I’ve set, food, books are all playing fields.

These are the forces which interest me most.

They need “BIG MIND” as opposed to “small mind” as the heat I spoke of.

But when I really get out of my own way,

Some thing/one new is revealed,

Which resembles me,

But shines a bit brighter.

The Man Box


textile design, 1987
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My sense is that men are having a tough time of it lately..

We, as women, are in the throes of redefining ourselves.

The pendulum may have swung to a less radical and more integrated display:

ie.. we are not burning our bras anymore.

But, really.. we’re still figuring ourselves out as far as what THE RIGHT TO BE looks like for us.

And so it makes sense the confusion men feel regarding how we want to be interacted with.

The template hasn’t quite stopped reeling enough for all of us to get the outline drawn in the sand.

When I saw this short video of a big black guy; Tony Porter, talking about THE MAN BOX,

I couldn’t help but listen.

My pre-conceived (prejudiced) notions of seeing a guy like that, looking sort of ‘thug-like’ dressed in a fine suit and holding a microphone speaking to a full house of thousands of women,

Was more than I could ignore.

His honesty, apology and vulnerability moved me.

They also made me ache for all of us committed to evolution.

It’s such a chore.

And takes so long.

I feel blessed indeed, when I am in the presence of anyone who has done their work, effected change in themselves and fought the fight of unlocking the heavy chains of family and cultural status quo.

I am so moved , sometimes, in the witnessing of that kind of courage and tenacity in myself and others that I drop to my knees,

And say thank you to the Something-larger-than-me for what it took for us to make that leap across the chasm.

Gaining Entry


detail of ceramic sculpture
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Ring the bells that still can ring.

Forget your perfect offering.

There’s a crack in everything.

That’s how the light gets in.
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-Leonard Cohen, musician,songwriter
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Tequila


textile design, 1988, herringbone silk
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I spent last Sunday with a charming man.

We had never spent an afternoon together so there was some trepidation on both our parts, I’d guess.

Me, because I wanted to somehow take the charge out of the ‘disability- thing’ and smooth out the rough edges a bit so we could concentrate on beginning to ‘learn’ one another.

He, because being a gentleman, he wanted to make sure I was ok and comfortable and safe.

Before we even went out he said: “You have to teach me how to be with you.”

I LOVED that forthrightness and clarity.

It gave me an invitation to match him there..

Meaning that I felt much less awkward in orchestrating my needs.

I know that a huge stumbling block in relationship to one with disability is whether the person feels patronized by offers of assistance.

If I help you , will you feel even MORE vulnerable? kind of thing.

People are generally kind of heart in my experience and just need a wee bit of a ‘go ahead’ from me to step into the hero’s role.

I give the green light by smiling. Or meeting their eyes with warmth. Or asking for help so they don’t even have to go to that weird place of wondering.

Sometimes, in new situations like on our date, I get in a muddle.

We had gone for a gorgeous drive through winter-esque New Mexico with her inky blue sky and blonde grasses and rust,purple,red edges of creeks easing through pastureland.

He took me to meet some of his good friends whom I really liked.

We sat around a big round table piled with books of art and poetry.

And we drank tequila.

Just a little bit.

On the way out, I had to negotiate three flagstone steps without a railing to steady me.

My date wanted to help and I found that I have been negotiating the world solo for so damn long that I didn’t even know where to grab or what to do to steady myself.

He says: “You aren’t using me..” as we both laughed nervously as I stumbled and lost all equilibrium but somehow steadied myself in the end.

Fact was: I DID NOT KNOW HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIM!

I passed it off as the tequila.

But really… it has to do with too long spent reaching INSIDE myself for strength instead of taking the chance to hone the trust it takes to reach for another with the expectation they’ll be there.

Fact is: sometimes they’ll be there,

And sometimes not.

But what a sorry life it would be to withdraw the reach altogether.

Friendship Capacity


detail of painting, m/m
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I often look at Steve McCurry’s blog for inspiration.

He is a National Geographic photographer extraordinaire.

His work oozes soul and awe and innocence and wisdom.

I more than likely always want to follow the invitations he issues for imaginary adventures to far away lands.

Today, I found photos of FRIENDSHIP there.

I think he says it better than I could this morning, so I will leave you with the invitation to check him out and read the selected quotes he includes.

Looking at these photos makes me feel very wealthy, indeed.

I am blessed with extraordinary people keeping me company on this winding road.

You know who you are…

Addendum #2


textile design, 1988, silk
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A good friend gave me a welcome nudge the other day.

She mentioned I really hadn’t quite addressed the Social Security Disability issue I recently wrote about as completely as I might’ve.

And I heartily agreed.

What with all the outside coaching I received to prepare for my appointment like: “Dress like a bag lady and refrain from showering..”

I really was left with more missionary zeal than I had before,

To CHANGE THE WHOLE PARADIGM OF DISABILITY ALTOGETHER.

We, as a culture, are stuck in the antiquated and fetid position of forever shuffling our lame and infirm off into some shadowy place far away from the prized human specimens with all their parts shiny and buffed.

Must I actually stoop LOWER to receive governmental assistance?

Is it actually not enough that I use a walker to gain access to places others run and jump and spin their way into?

Or that I say prayers of gratitude for my access to ambidexterity as I’ve lost the use of my right hand?

No, I WILL SHOWER,

And I WILL wear the elegant clothes that help me feel beautiful,

And I WILL wear a particular shade of red lipstick.

Because hiding my light under a bushel basket will do nothing for me

But make me sicker.

So..the whole experience of playing the game of acquiring disability assistance was and is a valuable one.

My survival depends on this financial aid, yes.

And I am not stupid enough to shove my attempts at well being under their noses to make sure they smell my Chanel #5..

Going through the process has me acutely aware that the system is so very flawed and dangerous, even.

Shrinking our psyches and souls in order to fit through the keyhole beyond which the money is placed,

Is the antithesis of health-promoting.

Which, if the powers-that-be are awake..

IS COSTLY!!!!!!!

Freedom


detail of monoprint
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I dated a cowboy once.

Or twice.

It was wild.

Free.

I’d drive out to the ranch and awkwardly (but trying to look cool) crawl up on the white horse.

My friend had all the cool stuff: stained hat, spurs, chaps if I was lucky, well worn gloves..

I had taken hours to lay out my outfit hoping to buffer my urban-ness with a patina you just can’t manufacture.

We’d ride out.

We galloped down arroyos (sandy run-off dry creek beds that flood when it rains),

I just held on, really.

I was enchanted with the whole thing but never really found my seat.

We’d stop for a rest by a secret pond somewhere.

I remember a sweet moment when he finally took off his hat.

And he was balding.

He was so shy about it.

But I didn’t care and loved that he wanted to reveal that to me.

I felt free back then.

Sexy and free.

And a total poser.

I was out there on the stage with wind in my hair,

Tan-from-a-can and a new plaid shirt.

The energy I put in to making myself up for that theatrical performance each time I saw him was exhausting.

It was really just the freedom-thing I wanted.

And I still want it.

Want it, I do.

But I need help getting up on a horse.

And help grocery shopping and steadying myself in the shower and walking my dog.

Weirdly enough, I actually do feel more free now than ever before.

And it is because I AM FREE OF THE POSER.

Not entirely.

But certainly getting there.

If it has taken MS to get me here.. then bless the damn thing.

But please make it stop. now.

So I can ride wild again.

Addendum


untitled, ceramic , 3″
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Yesterday’s post generated quite a bit of response and so I decided to suss it out a bit today..

I feel good about the effort I put into my disability application and effort it took.

I had heard from various people that the more work you do for the SS department, the quicker you will receive an answer.

Duh..

I came across this sample Social Security Disability application posted on the web.

I followed this person’s lead and gathered all my medical records and organized them thoughtfully.

Things I wish I HAD included were a separate list of the beginning and duration of my association with each physician.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing I did include was a story.

I wrote a two page journal in prose form of a day in the life of Cathy.

Of course, I took this opportunity to pull on the heart-strings of the teflon shielded intake person..

But I did not lie.

I wanted to have the opportunity to read it out loud to her but there was no time.

Just the same, as I left I told her of it’s existence and she made a point of sifting through the 4 lbs. of paperwork I’d given her to locate it and set it on top and crimped the corner.

I realized then that she was a warm- blooded woman and even after her years of intake, she could still recognize my humanity and it reminded her of her own.

I know she read it.

And I know it made a difference in some way.

Writing those pages was a sort of revelation for me, as well.

I often think/worry that I am stuck in ‘the narrows’ I call it..

What IS my life? Do I even HAVE one? Do I make a difference? What’s with all this sleeping, for God’s sake? Am I still desirable as a human and a woman as well? If I have to take one more pill, I think I WILL croak. Am I just taking up space?
Do I still have it in me to have an effect in the world? WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT I DO WITH ALL MY TIME?

When I read back to myself the words I wrote on those pages I thought: “Cath.. if you EVER question whether you are actually DOING enough, remember to read this.”

It was startling to witness myself in this way.

I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and forget what that takes, sometimes.

I decided I am going to send what I wrote to my family because I know they worry and want to know these things (sort of) but I would not be able to tell them face to face without editing.

This all sounds a bit ‘woe-is-me’ to me..

Which I hate.

But really..

It is real.

And good to look at what we humans can bear with a lightness of being as our choice.

It makes me proud of myself.

And so very, very…

VERY grateful for the support I receive.

To keep pressing forward

Like a samurai warrioress.