I don’t want to be on Facebook, because he’s not there. I don’t want to post to Tumblr. He won’t see it.
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Ok, five things about me you probably don’t know
1. I have an adventurous palette, and will try most anything if you put it in front of me. I especially love Pho noodle soup, tripe and all. I especially dislike strawberry anything.
2. I am a good cook but incredibly lazy. All my favorite recipes have five or less ingredients.
3. I have been all over Eastern and Western Europe, singing with my college chamber choir as a soloist, but the weirdest, most amazing vistas I ever saw were in the American Southwest.
4. I am a Buddhist, and I will tell you that the worst meditation I’ve ever done has still been Wicked helpful, (with one exception).
5. I Hate waxing, and I will tell you that meditation during waxing was ZERO help. None! Fuck waxing.
Today the wind was constant and bitter cold. It stung and froze and was something to hide from, to fear. I wore ankle to wrist long underwear, white and waffle-weave. Silly looking and cheap, but an important layer. I wore normal cotton socks and normal gym shoes, which I regretted, as they have mesh panels. I wore jeans over my long underwear, a Tshirt on top. Then a sweatshirt with a hood, then my wool-blend skirted coat that goes to my knees. I pulled up the hoodie’s hood, squeezed a hat over top of it, wrapped a scarf over it and my coat, then put on my hooded raincoat, pulled up it’s hood and tied it. Put on gloves, cracked two hand-warmers and put them in the raincoat’s pockets. Then grabbed my stop sign, thanking my lucky stars that Justus had given me white grip tape to stop the handle from slipping across the fabric of my gloves and going flying in the wind.
This morning it was at least as cold as yesterday, but with no wind, the morning felt safe, painless. Easy. I was loaded for bear, having experienced the cold yesterday, and wore warmer shoes with no mesh, and proper leather fur-lined mittens that go to my elbows. I put my earflap hat on over my hoodie’s hood again, and tied it under my chin. Got rid of the raincoat altogether. Didn’t need it with no wind. But then the wind came up. I was so glad for the hat, tugged it down farther on my forehead, adjusted my scarf to make sure it was secure. But believe it or not, I didn’t need the hand-warmers today. The mittens, stopping the wind, stopped the need for them.
The sky was winter blue, and the light sparkled on the fountain and the water, the wind making the big dry leaves flip and tap on the sidewalk, the constant sound of people walking. It’s hard to see behind me in the winter, the hood and the scarf make it hard to turn my head, my body feeling bulky and slow in so many layers, the fluffy hat occluding my peripheral vision, the ear-flaps covering my ears and making hearing the little sounds of people approaching harder, the dry leaves making children’s feet tapping on the sidewalk sounds, which means I ignore the Actual feet tapping sounds after a while.
Most of the little children have piping high voices, and are happy and make noise all the time. It’s my polite, quiet, sad children I worry about. They will walk up to my crosswalk and wait while I turn my back on them and walk out of the street, not knowing they are there, or even worse, the quiet four year old who doesn’t know any better than to dart into the street just after I’ve put down my stopsign so the cars that are waiting can steamroller him.
Honestly, people cross streets all the time when I’m not there, and almost all of them make it. But because it is my job to make Sure, 100% sure, that nothing happens on my watch, I worry. Perhaps I can figure a way to keep my ears warm but still working. Not sure that will help when the clattering leaves are replaced with soft snow. Different problem, same effect. Eyes sharp, head on a swivel. Maybe the hoodie needs to go. We’ll see.
When it’s cold, or when I get stressed out, or anytime anything makes me tense the muscles in my arm, I get pain. First, just below my elbow, a cold high-pitched whine, a tiny sharp explosion like a bee sting. Sharp and immediate. It’s a tendon, where it was torn, and it causes a cold fear. The wondering if I’ll ever be ok again. If my arm is going to be delicate as glass for the rest of my life. The pain isn’t bad, I wouldn’t care if I had just pain for the rest of forever, but what it signifies gives me a cold chill every time. Which adds to whatever stress I was feeling that tensed the muscles that pulled on the ligaments in the first place. Will I ever fight again? Do pull ups again? Be strong enough to use the rope? To help carry boxes in a friend’s move? Or will I always be just on the verge of a horrible year-long injury?
The shoulder starts hurting if the tenseness doesn’t go away. A bigger, warmer pain. An ache, spread over a bigger area. Not a cold pinpoint like the elbow. The shoulder is less scary. I understand it better. It feels more like muscle pain, which I’m used to.
I just don’t like my arm hurting. The injury took too long to heal, and I don’t know how to safely fix it. I wish I was a physical therapist, some days.
I was reading an article about southern women today and I realized something interesting.
My father is from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and my mother is from southern California, and the girl I modeled my social skills on in high school was an army brat from (mostly) Texas. I was raised in Indiana in the woods, like a savage, but while my accent is that of a hoosier, my manners are not.
I quite often compliment my friends, and the folks around me. If you’ve ever been a clerk at a grocery store that’s helped me, or a barista who made my drink, you’ve probably felt the sweet side of my tongue. But here’s the thing- I don’t give false compliments. I look for something about you I can honestly enjoy, and I tell you about it. As simple as that. If I know you well, you’ll get compliments that are deeper and more to the heart. If I’ve just met you it might be on the order of your pretty earrings, or the color of your shirt. But there’s nothing, I’ve realized, keeping me from being nice, except the fear we all have to show weakness to someone who might hurt you. Well I have made my sweetness into strength, my borrowed southern manners into a face I’m willing to show to a stranger I just met. It’s weird to some of my northern brethren (which, honestly to say, I am one of) but this sweet smile has opened more doors than any number of polite nods or grouchy frowns. People who don’t know me well wonder if this is all an act, false smile, false compliments… I can’t say that I never cry, or frown, or gaze off with a thousand-yard stare, but I make a concerted effort to make the decision to be as positive as I can. Which, frankly, most days, is pretty damn sunny!
Fear performs a useful process in my mind. It keeps me from doing something stupid and hurting myself, warns me when I’m about to do something that has hurt me in the past. It’s not all bad. I’m still alive, after all, due to my survival instinct.
But I fight fear tooth and nail, calling it bravery, all the time. Any time I’m in the company of others, sometimes even fighting fear from my own brain in the privacy of my own home.
That’s because fear is powerful. It holds me back, stops me from making amazing leaps, stops me from doing amazing things.
Wisdom is the enemy of action. Isn’t that the quote?
As people get older, they tend to get more staid, more afraid of risk. I’ve always been risk-avoidant. Doing the thing that has the least risk, the most liklihood of keeping me well and alive. College, boring job, straightforward whitewashed decisions. I could have run to some hotbed of music and thrown my whole future at the wall, to see what would stick. But I stayed close to my family, my safety net, and gave myself goals that were what I considered normal.
So when things go to hell, I reassess my strategies, and realize that risk avoidance isn’t avoiding the right things. Quiet, easy-to-reach goals are not the same thing as capturing the passion of the heart. And even if you win at this game, you lose.
The only way to live is to live. Make big decisions, big mistakes. Action, reaction.
So I detest fear, despite the fact that it’s kept me alive and reasonably well so far. Alive and living can be worlds apart, despite the similar spelling.
On the other hand, fear has a secondary effect which is wonderful, delicious.
Fear creates a frission which can be the very basis for enjoyment.
What roller-coaster would be fun without fear? What paintball tournament, BDSM session, or poker game would be complete without the fear that goes with it? Life would be boring without fear. Competition dull, gambling pointless, excitement not so exciting. Without fear, life is nothing. Not worth living, not worth caring about.
And how do we not experience fear? By not wanting anything. By giving up attachment. By cultivating wisdom.
So yes, we can give up the pain that comes with loss, the fear that comes before that. But in doing so, we give up living and everything that makes life exciting, fun, new. We are nothing without our sense of fear. And THAT is power.
I believe that we are here on this earth to play a game. Our spirit is limitless, all powerful, and here we are, crouching in these tiny meat bodies, walled in with the laws of physics and the unstoppable end of death, 100% fatal.
There’s a reason. It’s a game, and it’s a teaching game. We’re here to experience life in all it’s various forms. To play the game, hoping to win, to be happy, excited, to get all we want. But it’s just chips, playing cards. The rules of the game. Truly, what we win is experience, knowledge, wisdom.
The room was candle and fire-lit, two glasses of wine on the table, an ironic semblance of the setting for a romantic interlude.
She came in the front door, banging the snow off her boots and hat, hanging up her frozen coat and outer clothes on pegs by the door, and walking out of her heavy caked boots, damp stockinged feet feeling lighter than air after an long day in ski boots with broad, curved skis on.
All her clothes were wrinkled and damp with sweat where they had been pressed under her coat and ski pants. Her hair hung in wet strands where it had been under her hat, and where the snow had melted into it at the edges of her coat collar.
In a hurry to get out of the damp sticky-feeling sweats, she started peeling them off on the way to the bathroom, leaving a trail of discarded laundry down the hall. Hopping on one foot at a time to get her socks off. Her balance was never the best when she was exhausted, although you’d never know it, watching her on the slopes, knife-edged skis slicing through powder and dancing over icy patches, fearlessly attacking the drops like she could fly.
She felt more like sinking to the ground and never moving again at the moment, walking naked into the huge tiled shower with it’s glass half-wall, letting the hot water sink into cold bones and relax exhausted muscles. Why did her feet always start hurting After she got home? She’d always assumed she was just too busy to notice on the mountain, but you’d think during the long trip home, they’d have time to send her those pain messages. Weird. She shrugged, grabbing a white towel, feeling an almost startled enjoyment that she was touching something that was Warm and dry.
Toweling herself off, she padded into the living room, figuring she’d dry her hair the rest of the way by the fire, and enjoy the fact that she didn’t have to be totally encased in high-tech fabric to stay warm.
Poor sore feet padded gently down the hardwood floor, kicking the dirty laundry ahead of her into some semblance of a pile. Bending down to pick it up seemed too much like work, and she’d earned a glass of that wonderful mouthy red in the fridge. But first, hair.
She frowned at the two glasses, already filled. Figured the cleaning help had been getting it on while she was gone, and forgotten to hide the evidence. She smirked a bit, and kneeled on the soft white fur in front of the fire, put her head down and pulled her hair over her neck, to hang straight. Should’ve remembered the hair brush. She finger-combed her long hair and showed it to the fire, willing it to dry faster, so she could relax and stop being cold.
She was as fit as it’s possible to be, having a body only a job working for the NSP can give you, but it still exhausted her, being cold all the time. The times when she could curl up in soft, dry warmth were so precious. Something about having the incredible softness of a dry blanket or towel against her skin was just luscious.
Firelight danced over the muscles in her back, and made her hair look like a sheet of copper as she combed the last few wet strands forward off her neck. She always wanted nothing but to not move when she’d just got home, but after five minutes of lazing around, she’d get bored. Taking her newly straight hair over to the couch, she grabbed one of the glasses of wine. ‘No sense wasting it’ Plus, lazy was winning at the moment, and it was Right There.
The book was tucked just under the couch, and when she was cuddled in just right, wine in one hand, bare feet poking out from under the soft throw, she reached down and slid it out of it’s hiding place.
She was just at the part where he was showing her his boat. “Aye captain!” she giggled at the heroine using a line she so often spoke herself. So many similarities. Funny, because the hero was the classic romance-novel hero. Perfect in every way except his broken-winged bird status, terrible childhood, and amazing meteoric rise from horribly abused child to every woman’s daydream. Plus more bad luck than any one human really has, to cause drama in the narrative, she guessed.
She scoffed at the obvious literary ploy, but kept turning pages as fast as she could inhale the story. This was the third book in the series, and the worst by far, but she had no intention of stopping until the very last page of the very last book had been read.
She tucked her cold toes up under her ass, and absently tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she read, wishing it was his warm skin brushing her back, rather than the soft nap of the couch.
to be continued.