a) my feet prickle with light and nerve, i am kidding myself when i say ' things will take care of
b) my eye twitches. i am kidding myself when i say ' i have control '
c) change is on me and my body lets me know it's fear: twitch. tingle. scratttchh. the body is a
myterious channel from the brain and spirit. an article talks about how we know who we
are, how patients after brain trauma can develop identity issues and think they are imposters
of themselves or those they love are imposters of themselves and i pull back and glance at
my undone nails and the slight pucker of my knuckle and gaze at these two hands and know
that they are mine, and wonder how well i know myself, after all these years. i know myself
in the context of my life: here with Mr. Curry and my children, and the years as a single
mother with Dakota, and the years before Dakota, the childhood years. i am two people:
one person beaten to a pulpy, nerve popping spine pain slobbering fearful mess by anxiety
and panic, and another person who has worked years, ' sharpening the blade of my soul ' as
CWLewis says, soothing my way out of panic like a dog being coaxed from underneath a
porch by a kind woman with food in her hands. when too much change occurs at once, and
the measure of that is relatively small, it seems to me, then i begin, like a bad electrical
connection, to short.
d) zzzst zzzzssstt pop miscarriage at 13 weeks. zzzt my 2 favorite people at my place of work leave,one fired, the other moving far away. zzzttt POP the other woman i work with closely has
a stress test- for the heart- and leaves anxious, as i explain to her the deep breathing i
have practiced over the years to manage, to calm the savage beast, to trick the heart into
complacent beating and the hormones into their beds. she leaves, and has a heart attack on
the stress test, on admittance to the hospital has found that she is at 27% heart function and
also has a blocked artery. the doctors aren't sure what is going on, maybe a virus. zzzzt. pop.
Mr. Curry is struggling, needs space, and I feel the aching, relentless yawn that comes when
he is unable to calm me when i am afraid. he is a loving husband, a good man, he is allowed
by me his struggles, because i know for sure this is how we will stay man and wife and in love,
by giving each other space in our marriage for individual struggles and triumphs. but. it
doesn't make it easier when he's retreated and i feel 10. maybe 9. maybe fetal. zzttt Dakota
left for camp and felt a small lump which he told Mr. Curry and myself about and i felt it and
it felt like.. a lump. a doctor would say ( i've been there before with lumps ) wait a week, see
if it goes away. come back if not. i think it's a lymph node. that night, i sweat. i try not to be
irrational. i talk to myself. ' maggie, don't waste precious hours feeling intensely about some-
thing that does not exist. ' the next morning it's almost gone, that lump. i think of Kate McRae.
i pray for her harder. ztttttttZTTTPT the kids start school soon. 3 new teachers, paperwork,
inumerable tiny things to remember and be responsible for as a mother. a working mother,
trying so hard to finish my novel. i love my novel. i love the protagonist, Parish, and her
husband, Henry, and all the characters and the story and the words, and i want to write them,
and i am, but school-- a time eater, a maker of homeworks and rigorous bedtimes and early
risings and paperwork and meetings and backpacks and !
e) when in doubt, hug.
f) i hug a LOT. my children get kissed and hugged an unreasonable amount. so does Mr. Curry.
e) i would like to be taken care of. my mother once told me the common thread that unhappy
adult people have is they are spending their lives waiting for someone or something, God or
a parent or husband or X, to take care of them. they never truly squarely face the fact that
while a Universal love or spirit or energy or God etc may be present and available for strength
and help in life, the actual grunt work is done alone, by our hands, our feet, our mouths, our
work. the essential aloneness is a truth i feel. although i also feel the connection. these are
both true and run parallel throughout life. if we are lucky. i am lucky. i am loved, and i love.
but sometimes, when i am afraid, that doesn't feel like enough. i want to be consumed and
uplifted by someone else, so i can rest and look around with meek baby eyes as if i am a
swaddled infant in someone's arms. i believe that this desire might make me actually ill.
being ill is this state of helplessness, where you do not have to decide, but then- you do not
GET to decide, even if you change your mind, or feel better on Sunday. i remind myself.
i want to decide. even if it means being afraid.
f) maya angelou wrote a children's book called ' Life Doesn't Scare Me ' that i bought for my
children. i bought it and i thought, ' i wish '