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hand-painted silk jersey, 1987
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In my youth (elementary school) I had a friend named Mike Hershman.

One night we took 2 big cans of Nestle’s Quick and poured them into the pool of someone in our subdivision we didn’t like.

I remember feeling dastardly because I actually thought the whole pool would turn dark brown like chocolate.

Needless to say, that is not exactly what happened.

NOTHING happened. Except we laughed till we cried all the way home wrapped in the secret world of childhood shared.

I lived in the basement of our home which had a window well for ventilation purposes, I guess.

I loved living down there as I was far away from the bitter tailings of my family’s dysfunction.

One night, my boyfriend of 4th, 5th and 6th grade, Mark, took his chance and crawled into the window well trying to get into my room (invited guest).

Pretty bold, eh? On both our parts.

The stuff of legend.

The thing is that my dad came into my room just at the moment Mark was halfway in.

We were horrified.. all of us.

My father had no idea how to father, actually, and let my shame be the neon scarlet letter I wore for a long time.

That was a pivotal experience for me as I look back beyond all this adulthood.

Because even though I wore that shame around the house, secretly I LOVED THAT WE DID THAT!

Nothing neutral about those actions.

Devilish, desirous (as much as 10 year olds can muster) and just damn FUN!

I have had a postcard tucked into my bathroom mirror for years.

It’s a tattered black and white shot of a man and woman barefoot as they run with glee down a winding dirt road.

The feel of it is the same as the window well story; abandoned and free.

Where in the world did I lose that girl?

Intent on making her own rules needing agreement from no one.

I catch a glimpse of her behind the set of my jaw or twinkling shyly in the corner of my crows- footed eyes.

She is in the involuntary salivation driving past an ad for chocolate milkshakes.

And the disregard for the speedometer on a 2 lane lonely highway in the desert.

I absolutely love that girl.

Her voice comes from low in the belly.

And her lines are never straight.

She is prone to laugh at sick humor all the while wearing Chanel No. 5.

Serious, schmereous… yuk.

Louise Hay, who wrote a book, HEAL YOUR BODY on her ideas of the emotional causes of various diseases says under the MS heading: “Iron will, fear, mental hardness.”

I see myself in there.. too much deciding instead of allowing.

Eons of ‘armoring up.’

The affirmation she gives as an antidote is: “I am safe and free.”

I’m really up for abandon these days but what if I’ve forgotten how?

All I need is a little help to begin the sly turn of the corners of my mouth into the start of untamed laughter.

The rest will take care of itself.

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