She only likes me for my body….

That was a search term that got someone to my humble corner of the internet yesterday.

It’s more interesting than “cranberry oatcakes” but I’m befuddled over how this search term sent someome to me. It feels racier than I tend to think my blog is. Is there something I’m missing? Some secret sexiness that I haven’t intended but through some strange alchemy appears on search engine results?

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terrific image by my friend at http://peiphoneography.com/

What’s interesting about this is that I had been intending to write about my body today.  The last time I wrote about my body, it was because someone had searched for “fear in a box“… I like this, it’s like a game – search terms appear on my stats page, and I have to find a way to wrap them into my  Box 761-iverse.

Not sure what to do about this one. There are all sorts of tortured conceits I could twist about – my own body consciousness, my feeling invisible in the world because of it, my thinking it might be kind of nice to be wanted for my body, the beauty of my big brain…. blah blah blah.

But you know, I’m kind of bored with the whole thing. I’m eating better, I’m trying to be more active, and I’m overweight. I want it to disappear without my having to exert myself. It won’t.

The boring truth is that as with anything else, only time and effort will fix it.

I prefer to think about this as being from some other perspective. Say, what if my husband wrote that search term?  Let me tell ya, I like him for more than that… don’t worry, my love. You keep writing blogs like this and you’ll have nothing to worry about.

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Life is good, my friends. I’m feeling lighter and happier than I’ve been in years. My family is happy and whole and healthy. I’m taking great big gulps of this and savoring every moment. I’ve spent the past too many years waiting for that “other shoe” to drop. It’s not that I don’t still, in my secret self, expect another shoe… it’s just that all of a sudden I don’t really care.

I’m fairly sure I can take whatever that shoe throws at me (man, I wish I had an editor. They would tell me that was not a great sentence). I’m sure that even if another shoe does drop (oh, I get it. It throws a shoe at me! phew. oh… wait.)….

Ah hell, I’ll just go barefoot from now on. That way, if a shoe drops, I won’t need to wait for the other.

Image of bare feet on the beach

Another great photo by my friend Patty. Click here to see more of her work.

Embracing the mess

We all start a new year with good intentions. I’m not silly enough to make resolutions as such, but if I’m being honest I was kind of keeping a quiet internal list; as if silent wishes would make me less cranky, slimmer, more focused….

I’ve kept it all on the down low, as if speaking them out loud would jinx it.

Shoot. Now I’ve gone and let it out, and ruined it.

Actually, I haven’t. Because that’s silly.

In moments of sloppy thinking, I do tend to think that wishes will indeed make it so, and I forget that change is hard. That it takes work.  It’s not as simple as wishing, is it? I was taking stock of my past year the other day and realized that my first order of  business is to

Am I empty or full? Depends on the day.

move away from stock-taking and move toward, um, stock-making.

All this past year I’ve been trying to hold myself so still; to hold my life… still, just long enough for me to catch a breath and see what I’ve got. It was a veiled attempt at control, I think.

Total control would mean no anxiety, right? Control would mean that everything is where and how I need it to be, right?

But control isn’t the point. Control isn’t good, not the way I seem to be leaning, anyway. That way lies more  anxiety, more  useless joylessness. I forgot that stock-taking wasn’t actually ever the point, right? The point is to create more stock – to have something to see when I look.

So, it’s not a resolution, but I do have a plan: I want to stop trying to keep everything still. What’s the point in that? I want to learn to move with the flow of it all, to just get on with it instead of treating my self and my life as if they are anything other than mutable, shifting and gorgeously complex.

Here, then, is to messiness and a tiny bit of drama. To not taking it all so seriously, and to having some big laughs, some tears, and to falling down and getting back up. Here’s to love and shiny things and yes, to deep quiet moments when I can look at it and think:  I made that.

Happy New Year, all.

(credit where it’s due: the fabulous after-party image courtesy of one of my new fave new blogs: http://www.peiphoneography.wordpress.com)

Sometimes I am the water

My last post felt pretty personal, and I liked it. I feel like I took a little part of me, washed it clean, and put it back in place – just a bit more shiny, a wee bit lighter.

And that, there, is what I’m seeking these days – a bit of lightness.

The funny thing is that it’s there, but I forgot to notice it. I’ve gotten into the habit of lurching from one drama to another, to stewing in chaos and tripping over obstacles that jump out into my way, without warning. What I’m learning, though, is that this is really just a viewpoint. It’s not how things “really” are. It’s all linked to how I’m looking at it. This isn’t a “turn that frown upside down” blog post – don’t get me wrong. It’s never as easy as just pretending things are good.

What I’m talking about is my habit of seeing the worst, of waiting for another shoe to drop (and lots of times? It does drop – that’s what makes it so difficult – there’s no way to anticipate). This is about my temperamental and situational predilection for trying to harden myself up, to be prepared for anything that will jump out of the shadows at us. I’m talking about my high-strung-cortisol-pumping nervous system reacting to the world in a way that has made me clench my teeth in my sleep, use sugar as  a mood enhancing drug, has carved worry lines in my face, and made me sort of unpleasant to be around sometimes.

You know what lowers cortisol levels? Laughter. Tears.  Both work, so it seems to me that I can choose which one I want to use, right? I’m going to choose laughter a lot more from now on.

Now that I’ve let the disability cat out of the bag, while I promise that not everything I write will be about it, I have to tell you that my daughter’s disability touches almost all parts of our life. That’s the thing about it – you can’t just shut it off for a day, right? She can’t say “hm, I don’t feel like needing a lot of care today“.  It can be maddening, and scary, sometimes, having this person rely on me for everything.

Like her, I can’t take a day off – no parent can, really – not unless we have someone reliable to take over. See Vicky’s amazing blog post of the other day to see her side of this.

All of that said, while I worry and fret and clench my teeth and have little melt down tantrums, I forget. I forget that it’s not all about waiting for that emergency. Sometimes I feel like the lifeguard, unseen in the photo above – standing, literally guarding life. And yes, sometimes I am.

Sometimes, though? I am the oars of that boat.

Sometimes, I am the boat.

Sometimes I am the water, buoying it all up.

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Don’t you love the photos, above? My very talented friend Patty Maher took that photo. Go to her site and look at the amazing photos and read her wise and elegant, spare prose. It’s well worth your time. Today, her photos reminded me that it’s sometimes all about reframing something, making a choice in how to look at things. Thanks Patty!

Since it is World Photography Day (how serendipitous!) I’ve made her the official photographer of Box 761 today. Here are a few of my favorites of her photos: