Monday was a low day for me. After talking about the happy/sad thing, sad ended up kicking this shit out of happy. Sometimes the ache in me for Lucy is overwhelming. I miss her like I knew her. I miss her like we lived a lifetime together, which I suppose we did. We lived her lifetime together. My eyes would catch the glint of her urn, as I passed through the living room with a load of laundry, and I would be crying before I realized it. Where do these days come from? Why, on some random Monday when my husband is off work and the children are happy, am I reduced to a puddle of self-pity over Lucy's death? Will there ever be a time when I am not in turmoil over this turn of events?
I did it again. Signed up for a thing. I always do that when I am depressed. I have failed at NaNoWriMo. Twice. My RAoK Fridays petered out after a few months. Okay, when I signed up for a century ride, I did it, but I bitched the whole way there. Yet this seems decidedly more doable. It is the 21.5.800, which means 21 days of doing yoga, 5 days a week and writing 800 words each day.
Eight hundred words is really doable, I thought. And maybe I could get somewhere with my personal writing. I will try really hard not to pull a Proust and word-fill this space, obsessively checking the Word Count feature. I promise. Maybe I will be story telling a bit more this month. But let's be honest, I never really need motivation to write anymore. I write 800 words in emails on a daily basis. (poor you who emails with me.) I just need the time and space to write. I suppose the part that appealed to me most was the moving part.
I feel the heat of Summer Solstice bearing down on me. Eighteen months. One and a half years. It seems so long now, and then also not so long. One and a half years of having every idea I had of the universe and myself completely obliterated. I think that is why this challenge appealed to me right now at this moment--the physicality. I want to rebuild myself, physically. I want to make peace with this body. I want to forgive this body. I just do not know how to do that anymore. I thought birthing a living child would give me confidence again in the strength and health of my body. It didn't, sadly. Among my losses, I count a healthy, loving relationship with my body. I hate it. Really despise its curves, its rolls, its betrayal. I was utterly convinced that my body, which I once trusted to carry me through apocalypse, was a dying animal. A failing. I have nothing left to trust about these limbs, these organs. My daughter died for no reason but this body. What is it next capable of?
I once was an athlete. I have to say it out loud, because I don't believe it now. I pushed my body. I punished it into muscles to take me further and faster. While I have never been a waif-y creature, I was always self-confident because my muscles stood as testaments to my hard work.
Yoga after Lucy's death became a taunting ex-lover. Yoga was my time with Lucy, my moment of peace in the week. I loved yoga, the meditation, the movement, the physicality of the spirituality. But Lucy's death and the weird relationship I had with the yoga teachers made yoga feel so far removed from my circle of healing. Sure, this last year, I still did it, fumbling in my fatness and depressed exhaustion, but I didn't love the power of warrior position anymore. I didn't feel exhilarated and at peace. I felt like I had so far to go to love this flesh and to relove yoga that mostly I would detach during sessions. I could only feel its bloody limitations, not the freedom of movement and breath.
I was married once to someone who is not currently my husband. (Okay, maybe that convoluted sentence was a bit of word filling.) We were young and stupid and married on a whim. We believed we were different. We weren't. As the young and stupid and married are wont to do, he cheated on me and I stayed, resented him and made his life hell. I am not proud. I was a shrill harpy devoid of compassion for his joie de vivre. We slowly destroyed each others' spirit. (We are friends now, and I think he would agree.) You really never know how you are going to react in the moment you find out your life is about to fall apart, but when I found out that my husband cheated on me, I hung upside down.
There are a thousand things I thought I would have done in that moment. Punch him. Kick him. Call him a rat bastard. But hang upside down like some new age lunatic, no. But I said something akin to "La-la-la-la, I didn't hear that." I put my proverbial fingers in each ear, ran outside to the laundry line and hung upside down. I let the blood rush to my head and closed my eyes.
I flipped down, and we talked. I cried mostly, and called him a shit. After a few hours of finger pointing, asking for details and otherwise doing things which would cause long-term damages to my psyche, I asked him for a moment. I walked outside with a pack of cigarettes and begun running. Even though I have always been an athlete, running was something that was part of sports I did, but not a joy in and of itself. It was a summer night in the desert. I ran for miles, through the stadium and campus and on roads near houses I have never seen, and turned around and ran home. There was a calm in the sweat. A block from our house, I sat on a stranger's stoop and smoked a cigarette. I had nothing positive to say, so I stopped speaking. I just cried. And practiced kung-fu. For months.
There was something magical and beautiful about those moments of complete devastation. They were so completely, un-selfconsciously instinctual. I wanted the giddiness of blood rushing to my head. I wanted to be away from the hell, so I ran. And yet no matter how long I hung upside down, or how far I ran, my problems were still right side up at home. But somehow I still was panting and sweating and feeling powerful. My youthful visceral reaction to devastation was to move. My soul was on hot coals and I kept bouncing around my life.
That was not my reaction to Lucy's death. My reaction was decidedly staid. Static. I only wanted to sit and be still. To lie still and become part of the landscape. To be a pebble at the feet of the universe. I catch my reflection in the mirror, and it isn't the fatness that bothers me, it is the weakness. The decidedly unpowerful person I have become.
This is my first concentrated attempt at reconciling the old me and the new me. I want to be an athlete again. I want to be the cyclist again. The basketball player. The kung-fu girl. Sure, I am starting with a meager twenty minutes of yoga a day. I am ready to make that commitment to and for myself. I know yoga and writing won't fix my grief, but it might take me out of it for a moment or two. And sometimes that seems powerful enough. A moment or two of peace, because that is a moment or two more than I had yesterday.