Speaking Well



A slight and older woman heaved her frame by slow inches onto the park bench I was using to rest my magazine.

I thought her lovely in her obvious pride as anchor for her daughter and two grandsons.

After sitting with a hrrumph she informed everyone gathered she “has an energy problem.”

“I will sit here and you all go off in your directions but be sure to come back and tell me where you meander off to. You go. I’ll wait. Keep me in sight though…”

We are alone now and I am torn between pulling my invisibility cloak down tightly or engaging with her.

She says: “I hate aging. It is so shitty. My arthritis and lumbago act up at this altitude. I can’t breathe. My grandchildren tell me to chill. They’ll all get here soon enough. Mark my words. So shitty. A waste. I moved to London when Reagan was elected…..what do you have? (referencing wheelchair).”

“Oh God” I think…

My September issue of VOGUE is spread before me in the sacred, golden pre-sunset hour and now I am directed elsewhere.

“Well” I say…”I was diagnosed with MS.”

“What a shame..what a shame for you…oh dear…oh dear.”

“My back just hurts all the time” she continues.

Illness can provide an instant audience as every human knows the experience of their physical self in revolt; not behaving correctly with nuthin’ to do ’bout it.

This insta-attention we rope others into is seductive.

Oooooo….it feels so slimily good to be in the same club as another with an affliction.

I know it kindof pisses people off, my positivity.

We are reticent to speak well of ourselves, it seems.

Does God see us clearer all lit up neon-like when we exclaim from our brokeness?

Is it better manners not to draw attention to the shiny parts of ourselves in favor of all shades of gloom?

We NEED to exclaim our brokenness!

AND the gifts we take away from just that.

To be seen just as we are is our universal lust.

Shall I tell you how my voice has moved more fully into a far more satisfying (to me) resonant sound over time in my brokenness?

Or perhaps I’ll speak about the unfathomable fatigue I am in partnership with more often than not?

Is it more intriguing to hear me say I like myself better for this challenge? Better than pre-diagnosis?

Maybe we could discuss the horror of inaccessibility in our day and age? (Insta-bridge for able-bodied and not!)

I think it’s all good and has its time and place.

My days are lived at a higher elevation if I lift my chin up and even fake a smile if I have to.

They are catchy..those lips turned slightly upwards.


5 Responses to “Speaking Well”

  1. Maureen on August 22nd, 2016

    Just love and wanting to say you can speak both ways. You give yourself permission to be whole in your broken ness

  2. Jenny on August 22nd, 2016

    just been to funeral for 58 year old friend. His children will never have a grandpa for their children. I have young friend who lost her 22 year old partner when she was pregnant with their second.. I hope you rolled gently away, I hope she can find gratitude for the myriad delights in her life. You are not wrongly or fake positive but have done /are doing the hard graft and your smile is catchy.

  3. Cathy on August 23rd, 2016

    HOLDING THE OPPOSITES as Carl Jung says is, to me, the epitome of a warrior’s life. We are all warriors of a kind and sometimes I just get tired of being…just BEING..and get judgey. To be able to hold it all gracefully is a daunting task but worthy, I feel. xxxxx

  4. Dominique Mazeaud on August 23rd, 2016

    Dear Cathy,
    I heard you on KSFR last week and I have not stopped thinking of what you said about “living in partnership with your illness…” and many other wise things that came out of your conversation with Holis Walker. I will carry your words and your inspired spiritual attitude to a friend who is lost in her suffering. I signed up for your blog and am very grateful that you are now part of my life.
    With many blessings,
    dominique mazeaud

  5. Adele on August 23rd, 2016

    The human condition just seems to be
    We are all the other
    Cathy , you are always a blessed reminder
    and your sharing is a great gift
    Thank you xxxxx

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