writing

My month of extraordinary goals, at the halfway point

So here is why I believe self-care is vital to being able to keep doing the work we’re here to do.

I choose to embrace life after losing my mom. I need to make some changes to sustain me. Time to focus on my health now.

Taking care of mom in her last years, these past 20, gave me the opportunity to experience a form of parenting, many of its joys and some of its frustrations. My care and love helped my mom believe that she had led a life worth living.

Here is what I must do to make my life matter now that she’s gone:

I need to flex my journalism muscles and start reporting on how real and virtual communities are helping each other to stay physically and emotionally healthy in these times.

What got in the way last week? (besides work, which I am grateful to have)

Animal Crossing. A game I play as an act of deliberate self-care.

And why is my life worth caring for? Cause my mom raised me and she didn’t raise no bad kid. We were a family of deeply felt philosophers and utopians and rabble-rousers. Irish American storyteller poets, famine survivors made bootleggers made construction companies, made teachers and bankers and actuaries, artists and art dealers, made good. Like philanthropist good.

Why is that important to me?

Because otherwise, why am I here? I guess I just don’t want to waste my time. Or my gifts. Taking care of my mom was like raising a child in many ways. I succeeded. I did a good job at that. So I’m ready do go out and do more good. I just bring a mask. The one I put on before helping someone else with theirs.

 

writing

Heavy

I’ve decided to use my mom’s unfinished poetry journal for the memory book I started today. It’s the same faded old book, with a cover that looks like an offset print version of italian marbled paper, that I used for a last minute makeshift guest list at her service and memorial.

This is grief in the age of pandemic.

Mom bought the journal maybe 25 years ago, to celebrate landing an awesome job in the city. I found my dad’s journal today from that time period. He wrote, “Catherine’s going to work for the CFO of Fabrik Communications. We have health insurance again for the first time in 3 years.”

Now that made me cry. Did I know they were uninsured? I didn’t start taking care of them til the year 2000 or so.

Use what you have, I told myself the morning of her funeral. There’s no time now, to shop for the quote-unquote “right thing.”

Anyway, such a relief not to have to go out. And go where, exactly? That’s right, everything’s closed. This was before Books, Inc opened back up. She died at the start of Memorial Day weekend, 2020.

But in letting myself not over-plan anything, I was able to accept and even be grateful for, all the constraints placed upon me during the process.

I found the perfect notebook to upcycle.

womenwhosubmit, writing

Left or Right

When the new neighbors moved in across the street, Major Charles Cornelius McWilton counted two hippie parents and two small children. One, a babe in arms; the other, a little girl who was past toddling, and well into running. Though retired, Major McWilton continued to live a highly ordered life and was none too pleased about these new arrivals.

The husband had a shifty look about him, with that wide tie and bushy mustache. The wife wore a shapeless muumuu every day. She also left her long, lank hair hanging down in her eyes. She probably hadn’t seen the inside of a beauty salon in her entire life.

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writing

The Predetermined Path

“I’ll be right back,” the doctor told me. My feet in stirrups, my sit-bones teetering over the metal edge of the table, my lower back and upper ass stuck to the paper sheet. Call me hysterical, but I do not much enjoy the spread-eagle position while my gynecologist leaves unexpectedly to do something mysterious elsewhere.

I know I shouldn’t have, but I’d stayed up late the night before, reading everything on WebMD about the fertility-confirming procedure I was having, called a hysterosalpingogram. Vast numbers of Internet commenters warned me it could be painful. Very painful. Like screaming painful.

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writing

The hidden message

Try as I might, I struggle to hide my emotions. I have dimples and I blush like nobody’s business. My cheeks give everything away.

At this morning’s monthly videoconference, a beloved colleague hailed me via instant message. It lightened my mood considerably. “I SEE YOUR DIMPLES!” she wrote.

We were both onscreen with about 39 other people. I’m sure no one else was looking at me except her. But I still tried to keep a poker face. No dice.

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