I. blooming flowers and a friend, reminding me: you have to start somewhere. not all things are beautiful when they first begin.
II. a morning walk on a summer day in northern california which means I am wearing two jackets and a hat but you can hear the rising sun saying to the world “watch out for me today.”
III. collage (n): an assemblage of different forms…thus creating a whole. when I pick up these camellias (that have fallen onto the sidewalk – once beautiful on their bushes, now browning and alone) and press them underneath a heavy book, I like the idea that I am giving them a second life.
IV. I look at the clock and see an hour has passed since I sat down on the couch to read my book. I am thankful for artists who conjure up these other worlds that can so readily relieve me from my own.
V. I see a whale! – no, it’s a wave and then – a spout! I am sitting near the edge of the cliff and my sister is on the phone and I start crying.
It’s 5:04 pm on a Saturday but if I hadn’t consulted my phone I’d have no idea what time of day it was. The sky has been the same translucent grey since I woke up, making it impossible to distinguish between morning and evening. I’m typing this on my phone as I walk laps around the park a few blocks from my house; I wanted to sit and write but my body – just like my mind – is not accustomed to stillness. For a multitude of reasons (global pandemic included, of course) I’ve felt more thrown off in the past 24 hours than I have in a while.
I have so much anxious energy in my body; not entirely in a bad or negative way like it sometimes is – but just an overwhelming amount of it, like if I don’t move around it will swirl around inside me like a tornado, sweeping up everything in its path, gaining strength until eventually I explode?
I miss my sister so much. I painted this watercolor while thinking of her:
I wish I could reach into my belly and extract like a heavy mass all the love I have for her and Express Mail it to London.
This morning she sent me pictures of the gorgeous flowers out in London and I had this thought that they’d all bloomed for her. Like all the flowers, in all the gardens across London, put their heads together – each arching in with their stems so that their flowered heads touched – and were like, “OK guys, it’s time. Leslie needs us. Give us your best bloom.” Like the flowers knew that she – more than anyone else – is always, always there for her family and friends, sometimes to the point where she neglects herself. And that the flowers saw this and said, “Hey, Leslie needs some love, too.”
And we all do. We all need love, especially now. And so much of this energy I have in my body is made up of love for everyone in my life: Leslie, my family, my friends, even strangers I pass (six feet away) on the street. Sometimes I don’t know where to put it all and it swells up inside me and I find myself like I am now: walking in circles, typing furiously on my phone, looking like a madwoman. Which, a lot of times, I’m pretty sure I am.
I take a deep breath; the moisture in the air tingles in my nose.
One of my best friends said to me the other day, “I like that you only post [on your blog] when you have something to say.” (She is also, un-coincidentally, one of two (2) people who reads this blog.) Unfortunately, I’ll be straying from this paradigm today – and likely in the next few posts as well – since I’m couch-ridden and have nothing better to do than spew my thoughts into the black hole of zee interwebs.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of my recovery process (my days alternate between sleeping and lying on the couch) is the lack of creative inspiration I’ve felt. Most of my (subjectively) great ideas and thoughts come to me when I’m in motion: walking, jogging, or biking, which is why this post and the following will likely lack direction and inspiration.
Anyway – trying to remain ~on brand~, if you will, during my hospitalization and recovery process has been challenging. Thanks to the appetite-suppressing effects of my medication, the drastic change in my lifestyle from (arguably too) active to completely sedentary, and the logistical difficulty of eating with a neck brace, the consumption of my favorite foods has proved to be a formidable endeavor. That being said, I managed to consume a burrito and some pizza and, of course, plenty of mint chip ice cream which, thanks to my amazing friends and visitors, has not been in short supply.
The frequent delivery of mint chip ice cream brings me to the most important reflection of my recovery process thus far: my friends and family fucking rock. I’ve never felt as much gratitude and love for the people in my life as I have these past few weeks. I can’t lie – I’ve spend a lot of time the past year or two wondering if my relationships are OK; I’m constantly anxious that I’m not a good friend or daughter or sister or colleague, and in my darkest moments I ask myself the question, “If I died tomorrow, would anyone come to my funeral?” I want so badly for all of my relationships to be perfect all the time, even when it’s unrealistic, and I have an unhelpful tendency to take everything extremely personally. So when I returned to consciousness after my surgery a few Saturdays ago, I certainly wasn’t expecting the outpouring of love and support I’ve received these past few weeks.
To everyone who has come to visit me in the hospital, or sent me a thoughtful text message, or had flowers and chocolates delivered: thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve had more than one of my friends who, after visiting me in the hospital or at home, have said, “You seem so positive and in good spirits!” and each time I’m surprised because how could I not be? I have never felt so supported as I have the past few weeks, and I’ve never felt so full of gratitude and love for the people in my life. I may be going slightly stir-crazy being confined to hospital beds and now to my house, but this process has confirmed for me that the people in my life are all that matter. My heart aches when I see people walking and biking and moving about the city, and sometimes the pain in my body gets so bad that I can’t think of anything else – yet I keep returning to this incredible feeling of fullness. Even when I’m back up and running (literally and metaphorically), I will hold onto this feeling. My life is so very blessed. Also, if we happen to experience a crazy snowstorm in San Francisco that confines us all to our homes, I definitely have enough chocolate to last for a few months.