emohen

in flux

Exposed and naked

Cora had believed that living built a cumulative bank of memories, thickening and deepening as time went on, shoring you against emptiness.

The present was always paramount, in a way that thrust you forward: empty, but also free. Whatever stories you told over to yourself and others, you were in truth exposed and naked in the present, a prow cleaving new waters; your past was insubstantial behind it, it fell away, it grew into desuetude, its forms grew obsolete.

The problem was, you were always still alive, until the end. You had to do something.

I’m 93% finished with London Train, a little gem I picked up on my Kindle last month and am just now getting around to reading. It’s so wonderful, sweet and sad – and full of lovely imagery, like that.

mew.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to sing.

Going on living

This morning, I sat with my client and talked about grief.

She was holding an iPad, which had been her late husband’s. She’d made an hour’s drive to learn how to use it, suddenly seized by a desire to know how it worked. That had been his thing, before he had died – knowing about computers and technology, so she’d never bothered. When the clerk at the store could not help her, as she had not properly signed up for a class, she was overcome with sadness. She turned away and stared out the window until she could control herself. “I had a big cry,” she told me, “Nobody knew it but me.”

He’s been gone just over a year. “I don’t know if you’ve ever known grief,” she said, “but it’s very unexpected. Everything’s fine, everything’s fine, and then…”

And then you smell something, or taste something, or hear a song on the radio, and then it’s all over.

From my perch on the corner of her desk, I watched her work through her story. When she was finished, and looking back at me, I told her that I understood. I lost my uncle, very suddenly. He was a Marine, long ago.

I will never forget that strange phone call, right in the middle of our morning rush at work. From the very first word my father spoke, his voice heavy and soft in a way I’d never heard before, I knew something was wrong. I did not tell her, My uncle robbed a bank; my Uncle shot himself; he died alone. I did not share how I’d spent the rest of the day reading the story, shaking and crying, over and over, hoping to learn something new.

All I said was, I lost my uncle very suddenly. “Oh! You must have been very close?”  I did not see him very much, but we were close, in a way. He was my favorite.  There was something, I can’t explain what, that made me very fond of him. It took me a year and a half before I could speak his name, and talk about him as something in my past. And then I told her about my buddy, serving in Afghanistan. He died there, fighting in our war, and three years later, the thought of him still makes me cry. I hadn’t seen him for several years before he was killed. But I remembered who he was to me, and the pain was there, hard and fresh.

It doesn’t matter how physically close you are, because they’ve always been there, living inside you. They exist in your memories, and then your memory of them is all that’s left. It hurts; it never stops hurting. But the sharp pain become a steady ache, and the steady ache gives way to a dull throbbing, when you run across their photo, or smell or taste something you shared. Then, suddenly, there they are again.

“And sometimes, you have a cry in the Apple store,” I told her, shrugging. “And that’s okay.” She smiled at me, and I smiled back. What can you do, but go on living?

Phrase of the Day: burbling froth
From: How to Eat a Popeye’s Biscuit

People are shitty sometimes

I was scrabbling for a way out of my own head, and Fate handed me a $.99 ebook and a pat on the ass.

The pat on the ass may have been wishful thinking.

Things have not been great at home. Come to think of it, things haven’t been all that great outside of home, either. What’s important is, it’s getting better wherever you look. Attitude, I’ve discovered all over again, has a larger impact on life than everyone else in it combined. Easy to see that now, as I relax on the couch with the day off work and a drink in my hand. It’s all so simple, after the fact.

This book reminded me of my family, in the most unexpected ways. The collective sense of humor, the teasing, the pain and guilt over being yourself. I saw everyone I knew in this great little novel, alive and existing in yet another world that I cannot control. Cheating, swearing, hurting and laughing together, in a big nasty mess. A big nasty mess – that’s how it feels sometimes. You can get so worked up in the sticky details of living with someone, being someone’s child, sister and colleague that everything else goes grey as you deal with whatever Major Crisis is occurring today. Oh, please.

Anyway, Jessica Anya Blau: Please write more novels, because you are fantastic. Drinking Closer To Home was exactly what I needed to help wake me up from the telanovela (needs more Bumblebee Man) that has been my life lately.

Doing It Wrong: Beach Towels Edition

Spock Beach Towel – GeekAlerts

Beach Towels: They’re more complicated than you think! Gizmodo breaks down why you suck at sitting on the beach with a helpful guide to this unique towel’s many handy features.

Unfortunately, the jury’s still out on how a beach towel matches up against your everyday variety when it comes to interstellar hitchhiking.

Shoulders down, heart open to the sky

Not gonna lie: I haven’t been to yoga in almost exactly a month.

That is, I haven’t made it to an actual class, but yoga’s been on my mind every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday since the first time I tried it. What to eat before, what t eat after, class sizees, warming up, water-or-no-water? Is it normal to get so sweaty? Lots to think about. In fact, up until a half hour before class tonight, I was still working on my hairdo. Then, I fretted about what to wear. I actually called my husband at work to ask if I had to wear a bra at yoga. Yes, I did that. Over-thinking everything will be the end of me.

(His answer was, basically, no. Just make sure nobody can scope out the goods, “when you’re in the downward doggy style pose, or whatever.” I also Googled it. No bra, tonight or any other night. Wee!)

I came home from work tired, my upper back aching with stress, and all I wanted to do was sit down and fall asleep. But I’ve been coming home, sitting down and going to sleep every day for almost a month now and I still feel like crap. Instead, I grabbed an orange and went to class.  Good move on my part.

This class was more intense, with a lot more fluid movements and far too many high lunges for my shaky, inexperienced thighs. I almost fell over twice, sweated my ass off, stubbed my toe and accidentally crammed my face into my discarded sandles while executing a rather impressive [the pose where you start in plank, lower down with your arms and push your chest up?] with my eyes closed – but I did every single pose, from start to stop, and only modified once! (Fuck you, side plank!!)

This evening, I learned to love the Tiger:

Good gravy, do I love the Tiger pose. Shoulders down, heart open to the sky.

After a wonderfully calm  savasana, I stood up and felt … high. I’m talking bong rip high. It was intense. Good, but different than last time. Then, I felt a rush of joy and energy, but today was more altering, and way outside my normal range of feeling. It was so intense that I felt no fear or shame in walking up to the instructor and asking for some clarification. Highly unusual for me, especially when I’m sweaty, frizzy and smelling of communal yoga mat.

We walked out together, chatting and laughing – it felt so wild and freeing to be there with her, giggling, body so wobbly I could barely navigate a straight line. I can’t explain it, but I want it again. I swear, I could feel my body sing.