i have nothing good to put into a poem this morning.

i am all stomach gurgles and questionable breakfast choices.

i am the instrumental music that comes on when the medical office puts you on hold and you’re on hold for five years.

i am the jack in the box that opened up after your favorite falafel place closed down.

the 24 hour diner with the lights shut and locked door at 2AM.

i am the tone of your mother’s voice after you’ve ignored her last 3 calls

the friend who wants to talk to you about carbs

the hairdresser who aggressively combs out your earrings

the person who cuts in front of you in line casually, like he had been there all along when he was really over two feet away flipping through US Weekly

the smaller city Target that doesn’t have anything you want or need.

i’m the truck who won’t let you get in the right lane

the stained plastic take out container you can’t recycle so you can feel good about your environmentalism.

i’m the starbucks that opened in italy.

the disappointing salad you spent $15 on

the medication that gives you explosive diarrhea.

the leftover goo stuck to a bottle after you removed a label.

the ghost booger you have while you’re waiting in the lobby for a job interview.

i’m over lotioned hands that won’t let you turn the doorknob

the lego embedded into the bottom of your heel that you’ll still be feeling days from now.

please don’t ask me how i’m doing today.

i blow the candle out because i don’t want to remember. it’s not the right time. funny how the brain does this, starts closing the sliding door to that room. no, it’s not time yet. you’re not ready. it’s too much. the mechanisms your body has to keep you alive. your body wants you to thrive even though the world is shit and people can be horrible selfish creatures, even though you can’t think of good things to put into a poem this morning, even though you are surrounded by moments that are loving and earnest, even though you can’t see them right now, they’re here, they’re happening and the brain shuts the door to the really dark stuff because even the grey stuff is too much right now.

being filled with too much from the outside world. the people who love you are worried about you.

dehydrating water beads you need to spread them out. they dry out quicker the further apart they are from one another. the ones that stick together remain full the longest, pulling life from one another, like living things, like if they could create a raft of themselves they can keep themselves afloat for much longer than if they were alone.

IMG_3445.jpg

i want to thrive.

please don’t give up on me. i don’t want to wither alone.

i write to remember

I remember the night we cobbled dinner together out of all the things I needed to eat before I left Boston. 5 mangoes leftover from the box Fred impulsively bought at Haymarket. A cup of cereal leftover in the box. 2 packs of ramen. A box of mac n cheese. Leftover Rice a Roni in a tupperwear in the fridge. Fred gathered the mangoes in his arms and carried them like a baby in his arms.

“I got these,” he said.

“You’re going to be shitting yourself for weeks!” Jesse laughed.

“I know,” Fred replied. “It’s going to be epic.”

I finished the cereal in one handful to the mouth.

“What’s next?” I asked, still chewing.

“We can do the mac and cheese with water.” Jesse grabbed a pot out of a box, like magic, nothing ever appears that easy in an apartment full of boxes and trash bags. all soft sided things were thrown into hefty extra tuff garbage bags. everything else in brown cardboard pilfered from the market down the street. it makes sense that my last winter in boston was the coldest and our heat was broken for most of it. i remember throwing matches at the pilot light, willing to risk life and limb for working warmth. at first, leaving boston felt like admitting defeat, a failure of sorts. I had told myself that there was nothing left for me there.

I could have stayed. I would have eventually left Lawyers Weekly and gotten some other office job. I would have fallen in love with someone else, someone who wasn’t Fred. someone who wouldn’t insist on eating 5 mangoes in one sitting. someone whose pants i didn’t need to mend on the regular. I would have found an apartment with working heat and would have never let my constitution go soft like it did in sunny, warm LA. I don’t remember who ended up with all my winter gear, the grey wool men’s coat i found a thrift store, the only thing that ever fit me from a thrift store. the fleece gloves that you couldn’t hold shit with if you were wearing them. the duck boots from LL Bean. the flannel lined jeans. none of it came with me to LA and now I want them back just so i can smell them and remember what boston in the winter smelled like.

***

three starts. three assignments. no editing.

#1

things that don't suck. my cholesterol. surprisingly. i think even my NP was surprised and a part of me wanted to be like, "Ah ha! I got you!" like i'm wearing a fat suit  and all of a sudden i shed it. surprise!  fooled you into thinking this thing about me which is totally untrue! but...

this is not a fat suit.

the realization that comes with a lifetime of being in this skin, my viscera, the way my hair thins in  this one spot. these moles, the fact that i keloid, my scars becoming puffy little masses, like they're raising their hands saying, "I'm here! I'm here!"  the secondary chin that pops out to say hello when i'm tired and i let my head nod forward. my fading tattoos. my inability to jump upright out of bed, the ay i can feel my bones scrape against one another, my juicy days are far behind me.

these things suck. sort of. mostly.

the miracle of walking my dogs after 2 knee surgeries. finding the best recipe for buttermilk pancakes. the warm pocket my husband leaves in the bed when he gets up. the ability to live anyway. to do anyway. to be happy anyway. to keep it all wide open despite it all.

that doesn't suck.

#2

no thank you. no it's ok. i'd rather do without. i know already that i didn't feel better when i looked like that. no thank you to eating disorders and treadmills. i'm saying goodbye to that. she. her. she never served me. she was always a means to an end. she was the promise of love, relationships, of acceptance, success, of normalcy. she was the end of a 90 minute rom-com, all lilting acoustic guitars as the credits rolled over an image of a sunset over the bay. she was a shiny gold thing, all coveted sparkling gems.  she was all ease. at least that's what everyone suspects.

no thank you to her.

there used to be tremendous effort to day goodbye to her. she's just an idea. she's not even real and i can't help but sit here looking at my hands in wonderment at this dream that was sold to me so long ago that i believed it was my own doing. my own fault.

no thank you to accepting blame for everything. for doling out forgiveness to every space i walk into, issuing apologies before anyone has noticed me. i'm so sorry i'm like this. i'm do sorry for asking for anything. i'm so sorry i'm not her.  

#3

there is a certain kind of trouble with this kind of harsh light.

exposure therapy. it's a thing, right? it feels relentless and unforgiving. 

it's in my own control right? i'm doing this thing. opening the wound over and over again.

i don't turn on this lamp for a reason.

i read at night in low light. i prefer the darker months of the year. when the world get a little too cold for comfort. where the outside is wet and saturated and the sun is nestled into a cloud pocket. this kind of grey is nice. the neighbors stop grilling and we all go inside for warmth. we all do the things we do to nourish ourselves to the ultimate cozy. 

i'm all over the place when the seasons transition. i'm wondering how long i can be barefoot in the house. i'm unsure if i should wear pants outside. i look at weather apps and it's like a completely foreign language i refuse to read correctly. it's never right and i want to wear dresses and flip flops with scarves and hoodies. everything is uncomfortable. the temperature of a room takes up way too much real estate in my brain, pushing more coherent thoughts. what was i talking about again? am i running away from something important? filling in the uncomfortable gaps with talks about the weather? is my brain tricking me? protecting me from myself?

permission

you have permission to use the wrong word

to take the easy way out

to walk away when you realize it's a waste of time

you won't believe this but it's ok to throw away politeness

there's not enough time left for sitting on your hands wishing for something better.

you have permission to fart in public, to change your mind, to say how you really feel

to not compromise

who likes pineapple on pizza anyway?

say no to obligatory dinners with people who make you feel bad

let go of people who wished you were different

     if only you had more money

     if only you were as much fun as so and so

     if only you wouldn't wear that shirt or those shoes 

     if only you didn't let yourself go so much

     if only you didn't drink so much

     if only if you drank more often!

     if only you didn't have bad knees or listen to old music or like that tom hanks movie or

    insist on getting your own popcorn because you don't like to share.

yeah. fuck those people.

you have permission to say fuck that noise and whatever whispers that will come after.

let your soft fat body go out in public, eat popcorn shrimp in the food court and get your ice cream in a cone even though you know it'll end in certain disaster.

be the sticky faced three year old you know you still have rattling inside of you.

buy the $8 orange juice because it tastes good.

buy the $2 concentrate can because it tastes like your childhood.

go to the grocery store and buy nothing but $50 worth of juice because you can. give it to people you meet on the street. hand out dixie cups of it to marathon runners. join the race for half a mile or however long your body will take you then go to a bar and order a ridiculous drink full of sugar and booze and fruit.

feel free to drink it or throw it at the next person who warns you about diabetes or the person who tells you how juicing cured their cancer or how chia seeds makes them less hungry.

 throw your beverage at people who offer nutritional counseling without your want or permission.

take a nap dangerously close to bedtime.

wake up in a panic at midnight cursing you and your bad decisions.

make more bad decisions. 

because life without them isn't life. 

 

 

love me like fresh everything. but also like the forgotten shea butter in the back of the drawer, years old, its oils rancid. if you can love me like that, the rest will be easy. love me like the forgotten. love me like the rediscovered, where everything you've lost becomes found again.

love me like first kisses, all unknowing and unfamiliar but full of wanting. love me like last kisses, the holding of faces, the teary goodbyes.  the last goodbye, how do i show you what a lifetime of love is in one last kiss? the one that i hope isn't in a hospital but somewhere cozy with a fire and our dogs laying at our feet.

love me like you know how i will die. love me like that.

like every morning you've ever reached across the bed to kiss the back of my neck. like the dogs and how they jump and squeal and bring us their most prized possesions when we come home. love me like someone who has come back after a long journey. like a homecoming after a harrowing disaster. like a near car accident, a close call. love me like i'm something you could possibly lose.

love me like the ninjas love their own stealth but make it loud.  make it like the garbage trucks on an early friday morning clanging the bins against their vehicle. make it loud like getting stuck in  front of the speakers at a show, like you wished you brought ear plugs. love me like the crying baby on a plane whose lungs are on the verge of giving out, all the wailing and uncontrollable emotion.  she wants what she wants. she needs and she needs and her parents can't stop apologizing.

love me like that. all unraveled and disheveled emotion, all last push for the finish line of the longest marathon, like the last exhausting step up the mountain, the last stroke of your weary arms hauling you ashore where you can finally rest.

love me like that.

it doesn't have to be beautiful.

when i started working from home i stopped learning how people dressed themselves in public. or i just forgot how to not look like i just came from the gym or from sleepy time yoga. i don't know what to do with hair that just wants to live in a top knot everyday or worry if i need to shave my legs if i'm going to some sort of formal event because i refuse to let pantyhose back into my life.

i'm letting myself grow unruly, like our unkempt back yard.  i'm overgrown with spring flowers growing wherever the seeds were tossed months ago. the dead straw like stems of mowed down clover left to bake in a the sun during a too hot summer. the random potatoes jeff buried in the corner to see if we could get new life out of wrinkled aging spuds we forgot on a counter. it is all randomness. it is all throwing stuff out there and seeing what nature will let stick.

i'm a lush jungle of too much stuff. my belly grown and flopping over, too full of memories, of meals both consumed in joy and in sadness. the binge of breakfast cereal and breads and all the things i denied myself. there was a time where there simply wasn't enough honey nut cheerios in the world that would satisfy. this hunger that was let loose after a lifetime of being tidy, neat, being all things good and quiet and easy to swallow.  full of order. easily contained.

these days i'm unraveled, like ursula unleashing her tentacles, an uncontrollable mass of life and limbs coming undone. the first deep breath after a long breathless evening in an undergarment squeezing you small.  the sigh of relief after letting go, shaking loose and sitting with whatever you are now, now that you are free.

i have no discipline because it does not serve me anymore.

i am unruly because my days have no structure.

i am judged by the state of my body and the rules i now no longer choose to live by.

it doesn't have to be beautiful.

nothing has to be.

it. just. is.

i don't know how to eat a mango.

i could google it. i could watch a hundred youtube videos.

i should know how to do this.  is it not the fruit of my people?

i don't really have a people.

feeling very 'other' lately.  like i'm special but in that bad way kind of special.  it's easier to cast my lot with american. i grew up drinking juice out of metallic pouches and eating cereal that tore up the roof of your mouth. i was born here. i only speak english. 

i had a job in belmont once. 6 of us squeezed into a tiny office nestled in a weird strip mall off of el camino real. 3 white men and 2 filipinos.  i was the whitest person there. my bosses grew up and spent more time in the phillippines than i had and the language would switch when they wanted to discuss things they didn't want me to know about.

i've lost my ability to grasp meaning from the few words i knew. as i grew, more and more words slipped from my brown, out my ears, needing to make room for more interesting things. whatever things teenage girls liked.

wild writing starts back up in september but in the mean time i've signed up for 27 days so i can do it on my own.  i've only managed to word vomit my feelings in a non-pretty way. i've only managed to be 1/2 way through michael arceneaux's memoir.  the part where he's currently broke in LA and how it mirrored a lot of my same experience of the sprawling city.  carless. broke. embarrassed about being carless and broke and how that keeps you lonely in a place that is already designed for peak loneliness.

we had a two day break in the heatwave but that's pretty much over.  my inherent asian anxiety wants to keep me living in fear of wasting every singly privilege i have.  the rest of me is trying to take a staycation.

therapy should be interesting.

 

 

i could hear the tubes filling with blood. my blood. i could hear it and it made my toes curl and my insides go all squidgy.  i was looking away. i always look away because i hate needles. i can't look.  i remember getting nauseous catching a glimpse of an iv in my hand pre-surgery.  

my blood pressure was high. again.  the nurse asked me about it and if it's something i talked to my NP about and I told her no, i had only come in once before last week and it was high then too.  it's doctor anxiety, i'm sure.  it's also brown person anxiety.  it's fat person anxiety.  it's 'i took the bus here and i've been feeling ick about the bus lately which goes hand in hand with brown person anxiety.'  i have privilege though. i know it.  i'm not black. i'm not indigenous.  i'm not the most marginalized of the marginalized. i filled out their questionnaires on depression and anxiety.  they gave them to me after i filled out my initial paperwork.  probably cautionary since i went into detail about how anxious i've been lately.  there aren't enough lines in your form for me to tell you why.  if i could boil it down to something that would fit into the small space you allotted i could say:  historical trauma. marginalization. trump.

i'm bracing myself for the lab reports. i cry on the bus to the coffee shop on the way home in between bites of a protein bar that tastes like sadness and self loathing. i can't eat them anymore. especially on public transportation. i was always scarfing down sugar free protein bars to and from some sort of workout class because i was always scared of passing out, like a part of me knew that i was existing on barely enough food to keep me going.  i was a vegetarian with a gigantic fear of carbs at the time so i was always carrying around quest bars, the lowest of the low carb protein bar options.  

i was grateful for the empty corner table at kainos, my favorite coffee shop.  i was grateful austin was working because i always get hugs from him no matter how busy the shop is. i drank my coffee. i ate my biscuit. i read my book and tried not to think too much about it all.  i need to parse it out. i need to let it all slowly make its way into my brain so i can digest all these conflicting emotions.  this need and want for my body to be different than it is.  this need and want to not change how i've been making decisions about exercise and food because this way has felt balanced.  watching my belly expand and grow and feeling conflicted because i do not love this body but i do not wish to change it because i've done that before and it doesn't work. 

how do you not feel like a failure when society says your body is shameful?  and if you don't work to change your body your behavior is shameful? 

i'm supposed to be writing poems about this kind of shit, i'm sure.

 

when i was a kid i'd often day dream about my funeral.

out of all the adult milestones it was easier imagining dying than getting married.  that and imagining my life as a waitress in a city a la "it's a living" because that's what you did when you moved to a city.

i couldn't wait to be a waitress and i couldn't wait to die.

it's still pretty accurate.  lenny kravitz' 'fields of joy' is still the song i imagine when my body is carried into a churchy type place. when i was younger dead bodies were carried in coffins and i thought that was my only choice but now that i know being turned to dust is an option, i imagine a viewing, a wake before being cremated. i can already hear my playlist. star witness by neko case on repeat.

things i will be remembered for:

- food on her shirt

-tenuous relationship with social media

-very nice. maybe too nice?  

-she liked dogs. like, a lot

-lots of crying

i look down at my lunch, a bowl of instant ramen extra souped up with shitakes and frozen corn and a medium boiled egg. at the end of the day no one will remember that i didn't eat enough green vegetables or consumed gallons of diet soda or preferred americanized mexican food.

 

4 seasons in one week

i'm going to remember this when i'm knee deep in my own S.A.D. this winter.  

this feeling of glorious relief at the grey that is this morning.  the cool breeze coming in from the open bedroom window.  the grateful heart that is so glad that it is not going to reach 98 degrees today because i cannot stomach another day spent in the baby pool wishing it was an olympic sized swimming pool or at least something i can immerse my entire body in.

a lot of the thoughts i've been having lately are not safe for public consumption.  i'm on a self imposed social media ban this weekend. i deleted facebook and instagram from my phone last night before going to bed. i won't beat myself up for checking anything on my laptop.  extremes have not benefitted me before so why set up another challenge i am sure to fail?  i'm rarely at this thing anyways now that i no longer have to frantically check my work email for certain catastrophes.

i went to bed so sure i'd work out this morning.  i even woke up before my 6:15AM alarm.  i cancelled my core circuit though. and here i am, still awake, still with the opportunity to make it to class on time and... i can't.  there is this severe mental block on going to the gym.  my body is craving movement but the idea of going and lifting things, of hoisting my heavy body up and down and around whatever is too much for me.  

i saw my weight. i logged onto the patient portal my new doctor sent to me and clicked on the tab that said vitals because i wanted to know what my pulse and blood pressure were.

this was a mistake.

while i'm not drowning in the typical "let's make a plan to diet forever and get a revenge body to get revenge on no one." the # weighs on me.  i have no desire to change my current way of eating and moving but each meal feels so weighted down with "choice" and "bad decisions" like all I am is a mass of bad decisions and cancelled workouts. all i am is a bucket of fried chicken and loathing with no will to change any of it because i know the other direction doesn't work, and who would i be doing it for? me or everyone else? because i'm a really good patient and i do like to impress. all the gold stars for me please while i do all the right things for everyone else but myself.

my first week without the pressures of work and i've given myself the herculean task of trying to sleep in and read a book guilt free.  or play a mindless game on my phone without the voice in my head telling me i'm going to waste this entire time off and have nothing to show for it. i always need to have something to show, some sort of proof of life.  i did a thing. here it is. i wasn't just sitting here shooting colored balls into an iphone game sky to amass points that don't amass to anything tangible.

it's been a weird week.

halfway through gloria lucas' talk on colonialism, historical trauma and eating disorders my mind drifted off.

'you're only making things harder for yourself.  you can choose not to think about this, you know?  you can just live your privileged life like nothing ever happened. none of this happened to you directly.  the past is way back there, barely even touching you.  historical amnesia can help you move forward, just let it help you.'

it's the voice of what i imagine my friends would think. what my family would think. what my husband would think.  because they love me. because they want me to be happy.

forgetting or not acknowledging has helped me push through and succeed in a lot of ways. i'm here. i'm alive. i've managed to build a life.

having the time and the bandwidth to step out of normal everyday life to reflect is one of the hardest things i've ever done. staring down a life of all the choices i've made based on fear and the need to assimilate. this need to be someone else because if can just fake it until i make it maybe one day i'll wake up a thin white woman who has it all.  i think about all the movies i grew up watching, all the tv shows, all the romance novels, they were the ones who won.

but things are changing right?  it's the future now, right?  short fat women of color are stepping up to take their turn in the spotlight, right?  and once that happens, our lives will get easier, strangers will stop talking to us about their concern for our health all stores will make clothes in our sizes and having a 'beach body' and foods won't be marketed as 'clean'...right?  

right?

permission

the sun this morning has the same beautiful light lilt as kishi bashi's violin.  his cover of 'this must be the place' is on repeat.  it is full of familiar happiness. it pulls me out of bed. it drives the dogs from the covers and they stretch before running down the stairs to be fed.

the dogs inhale their breakfast and instantly fall back asleep and i watch them snooze under the dining room table jealous.  i've got conference calls, systems that continue failing causing a lot of work that is all hurry up and wait. 

i used to be so scared of too much free time.  this is the burden of a catholic upbringing. idle hands and all. you can't trust yourself because you are inherently bad.  you must be cleansed by godly fire. you must suffer and toil and riches will await you in heaven.

i don't want to wait. i'll stay here and burn I guess. i choose this life, this time, while i can remember it all. i will put real sugar in my oatmeal. i'll have all the toppings. i'll nap after breakfast.  i'll wear 'unflattering' clothes. i'll say please and thank you but I'm not going to ask permission anymore to let myself off the hook, to order two desserts, to wear short shorts i know i'll be picking out of my butt crack when i walk the dogs later on this hot summer day.

all this freedom is still tempered with the work i need to do to finish out the month.  i can do this. it's almost over.  what happens when you have the privilege and freedom to pursue the things that matter?  

i guess i'm about to find out.

golden

i've been obsessed with yellow lately

this sunny yellow, not pale and pastel, not muddy and mustard but the color of meyer lemons

the color of egg yolks

the color of yellow birthday cake, my favorite kind, with the chocolate frosting and the rainbow sprinkles 

the color of sunflower petals

i want to wear this color all the time.  it feels holy.  sacred.  i want to carry it with me through the city and say, 'look at me. look at all this goodness. don't i look like the sun? my body is grand and round and bursting with heat.'

this can only mean one thing.

i am healing.

new moon in cancer

it's a new moon in cancer tonight.

i want to believe in magic

in the moon

in my inherent connection to something larger than me

something other worldly

something bordering religion

but not religion

i want something with less suffering for redemption

and more offering and accpeting

and maybe here's a little dance and some piece of nature

or a tiny token

     the aluminum rings from a 25 cent vending machine

     a bracelet made from embroidery floss

     a $2 bill i found pressed inside a library book

that anything can be sacred and our rituals don't have to be so exclusive

i may not be at the point where i bathe my crystals in the light of a new moon

mine are mostly tumbled smooth worry stones from an etsy seller in arizona

i scream imposter syndrome

but i want to believe

so that should be enough.

saturday june 30, 2018

early morning reading and falling asleep again and then waking up because the dogs with their empty bellies are shaking and whining.  my own belly reminding me to drink water and don't even think about coffee until after food unless you want to ruin yourself for the day. 

a carton of buttermilk becomes a stack of pancakes.  i didn't really know what buttermilk was until i was an adult. we grew up with skim milk, the only kind i could ever stomach as a kid. it needed to be grey and almost translucent. buttermilk itself is disgusting.  in cakes and biscuits it is amazing.

i binge listen to old episodes of 'she's all fat'.  people had been mentioning this one for awhile and i've finally gotten around to it and now i can't stop listening. i try to fill the dishwasher in a way that makes sense but everything is too unruly.  i eat a pancake. i let it settle and then let myself have coffee. i make potatoes because we have a dying sack of them on the table.

nothing is sadder than aging vegetables. wrinkly. limp. shrinking. like all things. i will become an elder vegetable someday.  

my body will shrink, my skin and bones will become brittle and the juiciness of whatever youth i have left will leave me.

i think about asia and her failed butterflies. i feel sad and confused that a reality television show contestant could make me want to write her a poem. there is so little kindness these days so hers made me cry.

all this business of building walls. all this process of breaking them down. there's a robert frost poem in here somewhere isn't there?

i sit at the dining room table and i cheat myself, my saturday, by looking at my work email.

i shut the laptop quickly and move on to something else. there's so much more around me that deserve my time.  this bowl of old halloween candy. my little sweet bean who would love nothing more than for me to feed him green beans from my bowl. the husband still asleep in bed.

i read tony hoagland poems. i play the piano. i open the refrigerator several times thinking something new will appear. i contemplate going to the movies simply because i like the snacks. i reassure my dog that the mailman isn't satan for the hundreth time, rubbing behind the ears the way he likes as he hides under my chair. 

 

 

poems like this are everywhere

the girl riding the bus bundled up in layers on a summer day, large muffin top like headphones covering her ears as she swipes up and down, left and right, on her phone.

i thinks she's playing a game.  i'm not sure. i know there is a dating app that involves swiping maybe she's finding love. maybe she's swiping left. i think that's the bad swipe. is it?

in the last row, sitting in the back, a tall black man in hospital scrubs naps, his legs taking up the 2 seats next to him, i worry about his head, lolled to the side, hitting the bus wall with each ka-chunk down fremont street.  it's early so i'm not sure if he's on his way home or to work. for his sake i hope it's home.

i wished i was going home instead of to therapy. these days where you wonder why you're going. i have nothing to talk about. i'm fine. life is fine. my people are fine. we're all surviving and that's enough. my parents don't know. they're on the don't ask don't tell plan that includes just enough data to get through the month. our phone conversations are 5-10 minutes tops.

my mom uses facetime so she can see me and recognize that i'm fine because all my features are in tact. i'm still here and i'm still me. the dogs bark in the background and she says hello to charlie and bean and sends here regards to jeff who is working in the other room. 

i wonder if she sees me  and if she can identify which features of mine are her own. i can see it when i wash my face in the morning. i'm looking more and more like her every year.  it's not a bad thing. i want to increase her plan. i want to let her in.  i'm not sure if she's ready or even if she wants in.  it's enough for her to facetime.

five minutes. proof of life.

i'm here. i'm still me. we're all still fine.

post gym

my body is doing its thing.  this breaking down to build itself up. at least that's what the specialists say and i believe it to be true. i lifted heavy things, mostly the weight of my own mass, up and down and over, wherever i was instructed to go. i clenched all the things. i picked up 40lbs worth of dumb bells and walked around like a woman with too many groceries.

in their very essence, fitness classes are very odd but comforting and familiar.  i don't have to think twice. i just do what i'm told and at the end of 45 minutes i get to lay on the ground, my being puddling on the floor unable to move although my ride to class is already gathering her things to leave.

for the rest of the day i'm lead legged and creaky and slow. long gone are the youthful bursts of energy that came from a morning workout. this new body wants to be horizontal, this new brain can't adjust from gym to work, but i have to, i have to. i take on new work knowing that it's temporary and fleeting.  all of it is really, but i nod my head and say yes and i do the thing and i lift the heavy objects and i try to remember to eat protein and i make myself shower because...

because this is life most days. 

which is perfectly fine.

i do not long for the unknown to come find me and tempt me with excitement that's only meant to ruin me.

i just want what i want.

a quiet place to rest. the soft body of a dog curled up against my thigh. someone who loves the me that limps around the house after the gym and complains about work.

we're always trying to come to a decision.

it's taken me 40 years to realize i need to sit with it for awhile. i can't tell you right away if i think this tastes delicious or if i like this song. i need to listen to it several times. i resist the need for immediacy.  i can't tell you if i want to move to berlin. or if i'm going to take self defense classes. i did buy pepper spray after the election after spending most of my ripe and juicy years walking the city late at night without any want for a weapon.  i don't know if i'll make it to yoga class tomorrow. i  can't tell you what i want to do for my birthday next month. we're always trying to come to a decision. yes, that year we picked lavender and went to the beach at sauvie island was nice but july is too far away from me to think about, just like how sometimes the next breath feels so far away.

welcome to the new normal

people don't want to talk about it unless there is resolution.  everyone wants closure. there was criticism about roxanne gay's memoir because everyone wants a conclusion. but there is no real end. she is alive and life is hard and no one owes you a happy ending.

people don't want to talk about it but portland is very white. after living in san francisco for 13 years i think about how i can be waiting for a bus here and if i don't open my mouth and speak perfect english something bad can happen to me. jeff wants to get me a jean jacket with a giant patch on the back that says "I WAS BORN IN NEW JERSEY."

people don't want to talk about it, how my dad was one of many filipinos who enlisted in the us navy so he could come to the states. america. it's where it's at. it's where good things happen. i wonder if my parents would have changed their minds if back then was right now. they've handed down their hypervigilance because it's what keeps us safe and while they've become easier people in their old age, going on crusies and making pasta salads for family bbq's i can't stop thinking about the stabbings that happened last year not too far from my house. 

"free speech!"  he yelled as he harassed two brown girls on the train. "this is america!"  as he stabbed three people in the neck. this is america.