The Hierarchy Of Disability

ceramic urn, 14″ d

As I sat there waiting for a table at a favorite haunt a man with cerebral palsy finessed his way down a step and out the door as his sidekick held tight to him to prevent a fall.

I saw. I shrunk. I smiled awkwardly and turned away.

I surely did not want to look there, at his misshapen limbs and valiant efforting.

I can put on lipstick, dress myself, drive, eat solo if I choose, do assorted daily life things and get by still able to keep my chin lifted in a dignified stance

Which is often true

And sometimes faked.

I comport myself as I do, dress as I do, act as I do, read what I read, choose words, friends, dreams as I do because it entertains me.

The devilish ‘slippage’ occurring in the form of functionality leaves me feeling naked.

That guy I turned away from was closer to ‘stripped to the bone’ than I am. I am still pretty in my disability. He is not.

Straight vs. misshapen, struggle vs. ease, independent vs. needing support…. hmmmm….

What would I have found there in his eyes had I looked? Perhaps only the effort expended getting from table to door.

Likely much, much more I’d guess.

That restaurant held a man close to 400 lbs. stuffed into a booth and sweating. Next to me were two gorgeous men in their 30’s locked onto their smart phones throughout their entire meal together. At a table across the way there were three women with undernourished skin the color of a pale grey sky and speaking ‘lite’ and cautiously.

I wish I had acknowledged that guy I shrank from.

I really do.

Working So Damn Hard

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Truth Be Told

“When we are fragile, when we are guarding ourselves, the rules of normal life do not always apply; and there is a sense inside that “truth” would be unnacceptable, and make us look too pitiful.
-Daniel Villasenor

My last post regarding manufacturing stories for ‘cover’ when dealing with an illness helped me in the act of writing it. Some may call the way I live my life akin to ‘navel-gazing.’ For me- the (hopefully) gentle act of self-examination yields a trove of treasure by the very act of just choosing to look and not turn away.

Choosing to look.

Choosing to look.

Those quantum folks speak about the object never being at rest and shifting when observed.

I have ‘looked’ so very long; both with love and not toward myself in all her many costumes. It is just what I do naturally because it interests me.

I interest myself.

Leaving moth holes in the cashmere of myself is not in my nature. It may take me years to have the courage to look and repair the thing
but my character is being/has been built by doing just that.

For some it may seem splashing every crack in my foundation across the blogosphere unseemly.

I often use this forum to keep myself accountable to myself.

I use you for that.

And I thank you for being there to witness me in these ways.

You help keep me real.

And I love that I continue to have the courage and interest in inviting you into my life in this way.

I Lied

“BLUE MAN” 14 x 14″ m/m

The casualties of a chronic illness are many.

I lied recently to someone I love.

I did it unconsciously and just to appear competent

When, in actuality I was too exhausted to do as I had promised.

Instead of asking for help I let days and then weeks go by

Without completing this fairly small but important task.

Then, the day came when I was in his presence

And held accountable for my promise

And in my mind I just couldn’t seem to really get it that I did not do this thing

So the excuses and stories just popped out of my mouth unbidden.

And now I am sitting here trying not to feel dirty.

Trying for the life of me to forgive myself for this infraction

Which feels like it was against all I hold sacred.

In my teenage years lying was so common to me;

I was trying to save my life by never letting my family know my truth.

Now, as the adult I have become

The action of a lie has the power to kill me- it is that much against my nature.

Sometimes I surprise myself in the darkest sort of way

As I deal with this physical challenge.

One day there is a Cathy who is so sure she can follow through on a seemingly insignificant task-

The next, there she is again- asking forgiveness from those her non-count-on-able faculties and feeble attempts to cover for them have affected.

I am living inside imperfection

As are we all.

The fact I hold myself accountable in this way is good news I think.

What Do I Want?

detail of painting

The very act of wanting is a movement outside myself.

But I can’t help it.

My heart wants to be at peace. I know what the feeling of this is.. a quiet and ripple-free heart.

But I wake up each morning and begin collecting stuff inadvertently; ideas, people, lists in my mind of things left undone, guilt over not doing them, future thinking (I wish I was in a relationship with a good man), worrying how long my heaven-sent living situation will last, I wish my leg worked beetter, are the people down the street drug dealers?, my dog needs a bath, my desk is messy, I wish I was a better communicator with my family, do I have enough energy to do this errand?, I need a sun hat, the laundry……………

That was an example of about 4 minutes worth of mind-machinations.

And on and on it goes…

A friend recently gave herself the gift of a week long silent meditation retreat.

When my sister was here recently, she asked me what the purpose was of doing such a thing?

I gave her a truncated answer in the moment and said something like: “A week of silence allows an experience of discovering what the state of being is behind all our incessant thoughts.”

A thought-centric existence is quickly becoming uninteresting to me in lieu of my awakening to the salve of emptiness.

I want smooth and effortless.

In company with the Grace of a life standing comfortably in a state of NOT WANTING.

When I was a kid my family spent summers in Northern Michigan on a lake.

In the evening just after the sun went down we would go waterskiing on the cool and ripple-free water.

I could slalom ski (one ski) at that point and would stand in the shallows in readiness waiting for the sudden forward movement of the power boat.

I’d hop a few hops and then! I WAS UP! Skimming the glassy water.

With ever so slight a lean to the right my weight would guide me wide and out past the boats’ wake into perfectly undisturbed water.

I’d hover there until it felt right to do something different.

All the activity and noise of earlier in the day were at rest now and it was just me and the impossible ease of no-effort.

I needed nothing else.

I need nothing else.