Monday, December 10, 2012


I used to think of myself as a series of uncategorized items. Undefined, out of color and alphabetical order. Bourbon and cigarettes, and unwashed lucky socks. Second hand combat coots, and mixed tapes with  names like Heartbreak. I suppose I used to think of myself as a junk drawer. I am none of those things anymore. I have none of those things anymore.

I have this shell that feels nothing like me. It hasn't in four years. It is like I walk through the earth in a machine, bumbling and inoperable, left moving me right. My body turns against itself, and the pain that plagues me feels finally like the manifestation of years of anguish. And that is what my body did to me, or rather I did to my body.

In the past few months, I have felt sick. Arthritis, depression, weight gain, exhaustion, lethargy. I can't remember to return calls or emails or thank you letters. Perhaps, after Lucia's death, I just couldn't muster too much sympathy for me. I grieved and felt sorry for myself, yes, but I also acted out, and retreated and pushed. Those two Angies, the one of good and the other of evil, I hadn't reconciled. It makes me sick. One swallows the other, like the Ouroboros devouring its tail. I am one, not two. I draw it, like an enso, in a few strokes a circle, and a snake eating itself. Then I sage it, say a prayer, meditate on the image. It is not an image of destruction and self-sabotage. It is about rebirth and recreation and primordial unity--that which was, is, and will be. 

I no longer want to feed myself the storyline of her death and of my responsibility. I don't want to feed it to my ailments and my dis-ease. I don't want to give it strength anymore. I wonder if I caused my sickness to find a cause of her death, then I shoo it away as overthinking. I don't want to speak its name anymore. Even when I think grief is over, it comes back, like a mobius strip, the beginning is the end, and the two are a moot point anyway. But the grief and the action of blame are too different things. I release the blame, release the hatred, release the guilt that I didn't even know was there anymore.

I open, open, unfold the turns and twists of me. I, maybe folded into a swan, am still just a piece of paper. The words, melodramatic and wordy, run around me like the rings of a tree. Each description a year, telling the story of me. The song I call out into the night, my song, as I journey into a world where time lays easily on top of itself, and the dead live again. I pocket the paper away, fold it into an elaborate fortune teller game.

Eenie, Meenie. Miney. Moe. Catch a Tiger by the toe...And then it reminds me:

"2008, you were the happiest you ever felt, most contented. Your daughter died."
"2009, You wept for a year. You walked through the underworld. You mourned. You alienated. You survived."

This upcoming year, the one ahead, I envision something magical, important. The path before me has changed in 2012, a hair pin turn back to a spiritual center I had before the marriage and babies and jobby jobs. It was covered over the decaying leaves of grief and alcohol and self-loathing. I sweep them away as I find my footing again.



Remembering this way of beauty and strength and surrender and unconditional love of everything including myself. There is moss on the northern facing parts of me, the shadow parts. I must turn toward the sun now, open to the air, water, fire, and earth. I emerge from the machine that has trapped the storyline of Lucia's death. I emerge from the sickness that I imagined killed Lucia and Michael into the strong body that brought me to this place right here. I emerge from self-loathing into a place of unconditional love and acceptance.

I have been meditating on a word to encapsulate my year. 2009, Grieve. 2010, Create. 2011, Recover. 2012, Open. 2013...what word can you be? I create another fortune teller. This one with words that encapsulate what I hope for--love, blessings, miracle, opening and counting until we reach the fortune for next year. I write on the inside all the words that I hope the next year will be: Balance. Self-acceptance. Open. Clarity. Growth. Trust. Heal. Spirit. But I know the word as I write it.


What is your word for 2013? What does it mean for you?


  1. I love the hope and possibility in this word (and the idea of a word of the year at all). I'm still contemplating mine.

  2. I love that word...emerge. My word is "trust". Trust in the universe, in <3

  3. I feel like I have 3 words even though it has been 1.5 years.
    2011 my word is: Split. One of my best years, and definitely my worst. Camille died smack dab in the middle of the the year at the end of June. I enjoyed my pregnancy with her, I was happy, I was enjoying my life, I felt very joyous...and then she died and I crumbled into the depths of despair.
    My second word is: Grief which kind of picks up where you would imagine it to be....not much to say about that except that I cried almost everday for a year. My soul has a hole in it and my heart broke into a million pieces.
    My third word is: regain...I hope I can regain some of who I used to be. Like a blade of grass trying to shoot up between cracks in the sidewalk, I know there are still remnants of that person. Being pregnant and postpartum for 2 years is hard. I hope I can regain some health, some better body image, some kinder words for my heart. I hope I can regain some sleep. I hope to regain the love I had for cooking and reading that both have been a challenge for me after Camille died. I can not regain many things like innocence and nievity. I have to settle on regaining a semblence of self although I really am not exactly sure of who I am anymore.

  4. Agreed, a beautiful word. I haven't thought about my years like this. To have a word for each one. I'm running this through my head now. I might have to blog on it later.

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