Nope…and Yes


detail of painting

.

Aging is really shitty.

And not.

The other day I had a memory snafu the likes of which scared me to death.

This morning I ran into a female friend who blasted me with her opinion that all the sexual abuse victims voicing revelations hidden in pressure cookers for eons were, in her reality, just out for attention and money.

My tolerance level is at its lowest point.

No.

Nope!

I cut and ran from my friend.

I did.

Never did that before.

I used to have more Grace and room;

Space for differing opinions, values and humanness I might find prickly.

Aging and illness has given me a great gift of boundaries.

My physical body immediately registers energetic DANGER and unceremoniously steers me clear.

With the acute registration of “NO!”

Comes an equally insistent knowing of when and with whom to exhibit a hearty “YES!”

Yes to space and beauty and undefended connections.

Yes to nature and prayer and Emma and soul-polishing books and film.

Yes to eating well and rituals that keep me comforted and warm.

Yes to giving back to and investing in those who continue to support my well-being.

Yes to learning cool stuff and musing about big questions.

Yes to leading the kind of discriminating life that only comes with age and illness.

It is only by saying a definitive and hearty “NO!”

That I can even begin to know what and who to say a true “YES!” to.

All of It

.

Early this morning Emma and I jetted downtown.

The holiday streets were bare of humans.

The return of my wheelchair after a week of being in the shop and me held prisoner at home

Provoked a middle-of-the-road, fifth gear frolic.

The line at Starbuck’s was out the door already.

A single dad behind me in line chatted me up due to the cement grey solemnity he met in his visiting 3 kids.

I could taste the awkward hunger for some sort of bridge between them.

All of us turned to Emma to save us.

A loud, video-gaming recalcitrant young un’ pushed everyones’ borderline sanity into the red zone

Until a stranger braved an approach to the family and said: ” Please turn down the volume of the video game.”

The father huffed.

I had left my paper, sunglasses and Emma’s leash on a table to ensure I had a place to sit.

Negotiating my chair through the throng of holiday-altered folks

I returned with coffee to the safe zone I had smartly saved for us.

The single Dad settled his chicks at a table nearby slurping breakfast Frappuccinos and headed over to my table.

He stood chatting for too long and I understood he desired safe harbor.

I just couldn’t save him.

I needed the pseudo- peace of this morning to feel the simple pleasure of Emma in my lap and muse about how it feels to be a sensitive person; perceptive enough to pick up the nuances of the surrounding family constellations

As well as the slight fog of single people without family near.

I was pleased I did what I needed to do for myself this morning by not throwing the life preserver to the guy.

He ended up sitting at the community table by himself.

Feeling the world as deeply as we all do; the discordant symphony of Life itself

Tests us all moment by moment.

Finishing my coffee I left to roll about my beloved town.

A bit of silent communion was had as I caught the eyes of a few fellow travelers and smiled.

I felt in love with all of it.

Freedom


detail painted wool flannel

.

On the street recently I met Monica; a lovely butter-colored puffer clad woman of an age who shared with me she had recently paid to have a new small dog enclosed park built nearby.

No small feat what with fencing, getting city approval etc..

I soaked in her uber-generosity as I rolled home.

Since Emma was a street dog in Los Angeles before we met and likely a puppy mill resident before that

Her history of the pleasures of just plain being a dog were severely truncated.

When taken to the new park and let off the leash she was very confused without the familiar thread to her person.

She remained in one place just looking around and yawning from anxiety.

Witnessing the learning curve to enter freedom is really interesting for me as a wheelchair user.

My own learning curve is to continue negotiating constant loss of freedoms

And how to stay free within the peeling away of those I take for granted.

My wheelchair was picked up by the repair company yesterday as it needed over-hauling.

I was grateful they left me with a loaner at least

Though it is far inferior to mine.

Venturing out last night to walk Emma the motor began faltering and I turned around to barely make it home.

Here I sit for at least a week able to use this chair around the house but no more.

I feel like a caged animal having lost my freedom;

A visceral inner howl.

Big STOP.

Each cell of me is wriggling with discontent.

To get through this I understand meditation to be my salve; get quiet..sit down and know there is nowhere to go and deal with the fucking truth of THAT.

Nowhere to go.

Nowhere to go…..

Nowhere to go…………..

I am free.

Simply Complicated


my garden

.

When I screw up with a friend I am really hard on myself.

My path in life has been devoted to lifting up the heaviest of metaphorical rocks in my being and having the courage to see, smell and touch the stuff of the dark.

Somehow, I never lost the trail the faint perfume of an innocent, highly charged girl/woman trapped under that weight still exuded.

I found her at last and with oodles of assistance did what it took to dig her out.

I really like her a lot.

She is still revealing herself to me.

It is a damn messy business..getting authentic.

So many costume changes till one finds the right color and fit.

Sometimes I use a telescope..sometimes a magnifying glass.

For all the editing I’ve done over the years.. now, when I find a friend I don’t need or want to edit myself with

All manner of unpolished communication passes between us.

To many people I have seemed complicated in the sense I live a very curvaceous life.

As an artist I know the dark..the light and bright horizonless white of a blank canvas too.

They are the same for me.

The worms and shed skin of a snake are catalysts for curiosity as much as the loamy, sexy smell of dirt under the rocks I’ve displaced.

My life is a lot of the nothingness most pay handsomely for a ticket to once, maybe twice a year.

My life is not a sunny beach

But a swath of sand visited in the early dawn hours after a surprise storm has left large and little treasures strewn every which way.

I must bend down to reach them..not a one has jumped directly into my pocket.

That would be my parting Facebook profile picture:

A woman walking bent over one early morning in half-light; pockets heaving with the damp stretch of treasure.

A little white dog two steps behind tries unsuccessfully to keep it’s feet dry.