I’m not interested in teaching ways to love or even how to think it up.
I can’t teach you about sacrifice or about how many times we die in this life while we’re alive raging in this deteriorating flesh.
I want the unreasonable and clever aspects of existence to clinch among the goodness and omitted parts of one another. I want for them to discover the undiscovered.
I want to be taught and be on the receiving end of the million and one things I don’t know like why roses guard themselves by using thorns or why immortality comes on slow but heavy with disdain.
I won’t allow others to share my prayer rug with me if I love in greater ways than them for I would be unfulfilled at an uneven heel feeling the disgust of unjust.
I don’t want to feel less is more when it’s impossible for me to give in smaller amounts as I evolve.
Yesterday I made a decision to rejoin the gym again.
I had many reservations about it. Okay, it only lasted for thirty minutes, but those small reservations felt like an anchor that was going to last longer than twenty-four hours, which is unlike me. I think I’m going to blame it on the miasma of depression and the uncertainty it causes. Now I know to most people joining a gym doesn’t sound even remotely significant, but when you’ve made the gym half your fucking life – it’s a big fucking deal!
Joining Blink was a happy accident if I believed in accidents. I didn’t know they built a spanking new gym walking distance from me. So could you imagine how big my heart swelled as I sat tipsy nursing my white plum wine across from the gym Pre-Valentine’s Day eating like a silly pig at my favorite Thai restaurant? The thought of the gym alone gave me enough excitement to give my entire body a staggering erection.
Old memories flashed before me in all my assertive and madwoman training and the way I felt empowered simply by owning truck loads of ego and exhibiting strength and personal space in the weight room alongside the brutes of men. It all rewound itself to foggy windows, smelling the dampness of other people’s sweaty gloves, headbands and fabric while zoning out to chalky protein, diverse tunes, and colossal sounds of iron clanks as well as cardio machines that squeaked for mercy and oil.
But since I broke my ankle I’ve become somewhat of a recluse and kept myself as inaccessible as a teenage girl in her Gothic room. Over the course of two years I joined a gym twice and canceled the same. At first I liked the idea of going back to who I was – the full time badass who wanted to spank everyone in the gym while priding and lifting for power, mass and size. Until I realized I wasn’t the same woman. I transitioned into something else (I don’t fully understand yet) and my goals did too. The thing I do know is over the course of time I wanted to default to a natural size, lose a substantial amount of weight (still do) and still keep a lot of the strength I’ve earned from a decade.
Plus, I got used to working out in my own personal space at home. I was made aware of my troubled hermit existence only after I started to go back to the gym and notice whenever someone would come near me I would practically hiss, sneer and snap at them if they even asked, “Are you using this mat?” I think I lost some social/interactive skills by being a recluse. Well, I live and I learn and I also change. I’m at a different place now mentally, emotionally, spiritually and especially physically.
So once again I’m here joining a gym. I know some of the good involves: Being able to strengthen more of my ankle by using certain machines like the Treadmill and I’ll also lose weight quicker by devoting longer and steadier sessions instead of doing HIIT and circuit (strength) training multiple times a week. I burn myself out all the time. The bad is being around people and their bullshit, whether they say no when I ask to jump in with them on any given machine [or insert any other annoying gym attitude/behavior here]. Is this something I want to deal with?
More importantly joining this gym is about reflecting harder on the possible notion that I’ve outgrew the gym. I may no longer find the gym a daily requirement in my life. If there is a chance I don’t feel like I need the gym anymore, then I have to learn how to come to grips with that instead of wasting precious money trying to figure it all out. However, if I wind up falling in love with the gym all over again, then that’s just true love that feels like sticking and I’m with it either way.
At this moment I’m setting up to go on my date with Blink Fitness. I haven’t decided on the time yet. It’s not only about Blink impressing me; I’m not above impressing Blink. Don’t ask why. It’s a gym. I believe in making all kinds of impressions.
The gym from what I assessed is on the smaller end with just two floors. The people there seem somewhat motivated, but they lack passion, which I’m surprised about because I guess I expect more out of people. But I can see their blank faces droning whether they’re weightlifting, cardioing or stretching. I’m telling myself it’s just the weekend and perhaps the energy is different during the weekday.
I’m going to shower, put cold cream on my face, smooth it over with some serum, and shave my underarms and legs. I’ll slick the ends of my hair with protein polish and a flat-iron only to hide it’s slickness in a bun. And although I have lots of variety (DVD’s, YouTube and paid Fitness Streaming Subscriptions) working out at home, everything is much different in the gym – energy, friendly competition and even meeting people or bumping into a gymrat I used to know takes place there.
I’m hoping being at closer distance would keep me motivated at first and I’ll have fun second. I want to remain a gym member in my heart of hearts. Also I don’t want a third cancellation on my gym life resume. I would say wish me luck, but I don’t believe in luck.
The blood stops short trapped before a hair tie, until I release the bun of tension: post exercise of body-induced drama. This is the captivating magic of night.
The mind works itself into heavy persuasion. The body labors with intense urging. The heart never questions what the goals are or what state of peak condition or overwhelmed fatness I stand in. A sober thought I do entertain is how someone can not understand the significance of body awareness and its dynamism.
I have a passionate addiction to adrenaline and to the exclusive kick of the way my muscles drum within its act of compulsion. The heart skips, skips and skips uninhibited. It beats obsessively and storms out my mouth like an aggressive bird. It ignites the fight and frenzy over the psyche and tissue land of freedom.
I’ve failed many times and am more successful because of every stoppage. And now every weakness is formed into substantial strength and what strength has already been established has now constructed itself into marble and stone.
The focus is better determined than years previous. The focus is better established than the last set and the mind-muscle connection tastes stronger than the last seething rep. I’ve been sucked into a craving that’s unaware of its bounds. I throw my fists into the air to battle and enter new coordination and balance ground.
My chest hovers over the floor, shoulders and triceps contract, hum and weep pushing up 200lbs plus over and over again. The brace of my abdominals is my body’s endless support and savior. Now there’s a surge spreading like a wild forest fire burning each of my hamstring fibers and into every angle and groove of my glutes with a various amount of hip thrust and single-leg pelvic bridges I can muster under time and tension. The inner thigh screams by its own distress signals and fleshly vulnerability. The burn degrees increase and I pull my center deeply to the spine to further the accuracy of the focal point along with the present.
I grimace in pain and drill my teeth into my own mouth. I start to elevate and disappear like smoke. I’m high now and there’s an exit. I’m high and there are no thoughts struggling its way to birth other thoughts. I’m high and suddenly there are no problems in the world. There is no suffering. There is only bliss and light. There is only presence and heaven. There is only the state of pure being.
Before the love of writing started I began with reading lots and lots of books – all kinds really. Then for a few years came book reports. I enjoyed breaking down a story as well as making drawings for the report cover, particularly as a way to stand out from the rest of the classmates. After book reports I started to write around the age of 9.
I wrote short stories back then, mostly horror because my family was big on watching horror films and I needed an outlet for my reoccurring nightmares. So I wrote and wrote and each time I felt my heart become more and more alive. I remember I enjoyed writing not just because I felt full of life, but because all my teachers said I was good at it. And whenever someone gave me constructive criticism I was determined to get better. Eventually I won a writing medal at elementary school because of that attitude.
In Junior High I would go on to write graded screenplays for the entire class to act out on. By seventh grade I turned my attention to deeper writing like journaling and confessional poetry and during this time short stories were put on hold (and for the most part still is) as my writing began to take on a form of therapy. With being a loner and feeling like an outcast from family and school, I learned to create friendships with my writing. Then in later years, I learned about blogging.
So, even though I wouldn’t change a thing, it wasn’t until very recent that I realized I tend to write predominantly when I’m feeling glum (manic), bitter, displeased, enraged or dispirited. Then of course there are the feelings of when I’m hyped, full of mania (highs) and excitability with huge shots of adrenaline when I train before, during or after. Once in a blue I write when I’m happy, obsessive or in love too, but my heart lies with writing sorrow first. So what’s the dilemma?
One dilemma is I believe I’ve limited myself to writing with and/or about certain emotions, so when I’m actually happy I find it difficult to write or get inspired to write.
During the time I was on a mood-stabilizing pill I stopped writing for 3 months completely (which is absurd), not just because it changed my persona to a degree, but because I had less bipolar episodes, less sadness, less excitability, less highs and lows. I was somewhere in the middle, but not quite. I wasn’t necessarily happy, but wasn’t necessarily sad. Maybe neutral? But it made it difficult to find any drive to write. Now, I’m trying to come up with solutions and creative ways to write about anything and everything to push myself over the boundaries I’ve created.
The second dilemma aside from finding inspiration through negative tone emotions is I started working on a book (a novel). But, the problem for me is I stopped writing short stories decades ago, so I doubt my abilities since I’ve been out of practice. Writing in narrative, I find to be more difficult than say, writing a poem, prose or a blog. This is another challenge I’ve been trying to work on AND I’m open to suggestions from anyone who is kind enough to share.
Thanks for reading.
I’ve been trying to get out.
I’ve been trying to unearth the right time.
I’ve been talking to dead fish by the river.
I’ve been talking to the celestial body, reigning orb of night.
I’ve been trading places with shadows.
I’ve been in hiding.
I’ve been throwing things out.
I’ve been investigating my patience.
I’ve been talking to ducks by the Brooklyn bridge.
I’ve been talking to the brightest star, singeing god of land.
I’ve been trading in shades of light.
I’ve been in hiding.
It’s your birthday month. Will someone bring on the Bacardi rum? I no longer feel the sun since you’ve been gone.
I want you to trouble me, puzzle, muscle and rebuttal me. I want you to disturb me, discern, immerse and return to me. I want you to haunt me, taunt, flaunt and want me.
I think I found love with you. I spoke to mourning doves about you. I swear I found a home with you. I even ask the honeycomb on my altar about you.
I think I found wholesomeness with you. I’ve been at homelessness without you. I swore I kissed the skies when I was with you. I even ask my thighs why they cry now that I’m without you.
You put a love inside me I can’t get rid of and at times, you were my antidepressant drug, the one I sometimes dream of handcuffed, strangely enough.
I’ve been cold since we both disappeared. I haven’t found my heart in two years. Won’t you appear with your childlike light in my sullen atmosphere?
I had a boyfriend who cared about me but he came with his own limits, his own gimmicks and every minute he’s attempting to disguise low spirits with a million cigarettes.
He’s nothing like you and you’re nothing him and that’s just one problem. You barely came with conditions or superstitious wishes, but you were the warmth and blood to my heart even when it rocked bottom.
And I look to the sky and I ask why. I look far and I look wide and the answers were because I cried honesty rather than decide to spend the night with pride. You made me work for forgiveness like I was some damn spy.
What if I asked you to send for me? What if I asked for your body? What if I admitted to my monstrosity? What if every fear we own were given to prophecy? Would it change the divinity of possibility?
I can’t forget the first glance that cemented our song and dance. I can’t clean the scent of your home from my hands. I can’t eradicate the taste of you from my throat glands.
What if I still loved you beyond this distance and chip on my shoulder? How am I to know when my heart froze that last time in October when my entire life as I knew was over?
And if I show up at your door, will you come?
Written previously, recently revised.
We welcomed each other first with high spirited voices talking into our cell phones and waving from across the street like lost little kindergarten classmates. Then we greeted like sisters with tight long bear-hugs in the same way we always have because there are a few things in life that never change. I could hear her wailing happiness beating from her gut than her chest and out into the public and onto my ear. I smile in her hair with immediate joy but reserved the sound of my joyfulness.
Xyza is an undercover mentor, a maternal-like figure, full of flashes of hippie love, extraordinary kindness and massive angelic light that illuminates from her aura. I’m also an undercover mentor, half in age, full of loyal compassion, extraordinary hospitality and thoughtfulness that leave the innocent light on in the darkness of which I grow.
In the center of this embrace I reflect over our countless meet-ups and how it never fails, my constant awkwardness in the hub of sharing love and how despite iself, I’m genuinely able to digest her white magic, even if it leaves me depleted afterward. Xyza looks tenderly beautiful with her strawberry blonde shoulder-length bob. I compliment her on the new length when she declared, “I had a vision of myself twenty years from now, me with long gray hair and a flower in it off to the side.”
I love the visions she shares with me.
We settle in a Thai restaurant not far from her parked car. Upon sitting, the server asks, “Are you tourists?” “No”, we replied. Xyza turns my way inching up her nose until it crinkles with a question, “How come everyone thinks I’m a tourist? I was born in New York, but live just outside the city. I guess.. because I travel a great deal.” I nod in agreement and chimed, “Your aura never has that grounded feel from being in one place too long.”
But, with me it’s totally different; I’m a New Yorker who’s considerably considerate whereas I allow people to hit me with their bags as I stand overt with an introverted atmosphere on the train or bus. Unlike Xyza, my roots are established in New York and it’s on display when I talk about my suspicions concerning the worldview. I may come across as myopic, but I consider myself to be purely grounded.
Thirty minutes of conversation and I’ve been following Xyza’s lead because she’s paying so I never lay a finger on the menu. The server comes over to nudge us politely – then Thai Chive Pancakes, Vegetable Spring Rolls and a glorious Mango Salad along with unsweetened ice tea lands sweetly before our eyes. I continued following Xyza’s lead and didn’t touch a single carrot slinky. I sat glued in passivity to the tales of my friend.
I listen to her speak about her ex-husband and how she’s pretty sure a demon owns him. I listen when she said she knows of two men who have transcended beyond the physical and how they both married wonderful women, but not perfect women. (It made me wonder, what constitutes a perfect woman according to a sixty-year old woman.) I listen on in when she said she doesn’t want to play the romantic game from a male’s physical perspective, nor does she have any desire to play the woman’s perspective which is to trap a man in a relationship. Of course, I agree. I believe life is too short to live conventionally.
When Xyza decides to come up for air, I volunteer my own discourse.
I speak about isolation from the world and if canceling my gym membership is the wrong thing to do because at least this is a place where I can maintain some social skills. I speak about having elevated to a place where physical sex is no longer an obligation of mine, nor is it ever a want. I speak about the tiny things that make me happy like being by the water, the vision of living in a beach house single with two pets: A husky dog and a petite cat. I speak about not understanding the point of being in a relationship with men when being the opposite gender I’ve yet to connect and remain on the same wavelength. I always feel superior.
We understood each other the way women and friends frequently do and we continued to eat, sip, laugh and talk the summery night away.
My new therapist wants me to open the mystery door about my mother’s death because apparently I’m not depressed enough for her. Ha! It’s been a little over a year and a half and I still haven’t come to terms with how I feel about my mother’s death except I’m happy she’s no longer suffering in this cruel world.
Sometimes I go to the river by the busy highway and speak to her directly or through the universe. I light candles for her in her honor every few months. My partner and I get her blue flowers also as tribute. At times, I believe, one reason why I cemented my journey and involvement with ballet-inspired workouts is because I remembered in her childhood she wanted to be a Ballerina, so I honor her by learning and performing ballet. Last, but not least, I hung her last painting high up on the wall of a bridge over water over a plush purple night that looks a lot like the bridge I eerily live close to nowadays.
And I’m not sure if because death came and went, or because of my denial, but it’s pretty weird how the older I get and the more I stare in the mirror, the more I realize how much I look like my mother’s daughter. I guess everyone saw it before me. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough before. Who knows?
The truth is I haven’t been able to sit down and stare longer than five seconds on any of my mother’s photos. I’ve seen a lot of her different dimensions at different times and the longer I stare at a photo, the more all those dimensions pop out and the more I may have to relive memories that leave me open and scarred.
The longer I stare, the quicker my eyes start to flood and the quicker I start to counter and strain to contain the waterworks. I’m not a sappy person. I don’t forget my cruel childhood, but death has a weird way of sitting you down and making you think about your mortality and everybody else’s even if you don’t want to sit down and think about it. And even though I can be heavily into death itself and metaphysics and pits of darkness, it seems at the age of thirty-four death seems realer than ever.
Death has also made me think more about how ending memories are probably the most important ones. This intrigued me because I’m all about beginnings, so for closing memories to leave a devastating mark haunts me. What’s worse is I didn’t even get to say goodbye while she was conscious. By the time I went to travel to the hospital to see her I was in a wheelchair with a very painful throbbing ankle in a heavy cast. It was hell for my foot to not be elevated, but I believe I was numb inside from my mother’s death. So much was taken from me in a matter of weeks from mobility and now her.
It was awful having the knowledge of how the doctors had to sedate her until she was finally gone because the pain in her intestines would be too much for her to handle. And that’s what hurts the most. I think about how hard her life has always been. I think about all the times I didn’t want to be happy in my own life because I felt guilty because she was always out there suffering with an incurable disease. My last memory of her alive was observing her writhing in massive pain. I knew in the way she talked, it was psychologically different from anything I’ve ever heard her say. In her words, in the way she spoke she was already gone.
It was hard to stomach mentally and it was harder to stomach visually how she could no longer go to the bathroom on her own and how the nurses were the ones bathing her in the room on her bed. But on the last day I saw her I caressed her hair. I remembered kissing her on her warm forehead telling her I’ll visit again very soon, but soon after I broke my ankle and I was already far far away from reaching her.
My mother was dying since I was nine years old. I became desensitized to every near death and actual near death experience she’s ever has, so when this became the day, it was as if life played a hardcore prank on me. It just seemed like every time she survived another one and another one and another one, but not this time.
Who knew that was going to be the last time I saw her talking or breathing? Who knew that would’ve been the last kiss I gave her on her warm forehead? I think some people have fantasies about how they want people to go before they die. I always thought I’d see her one last time with my brother in the hospital room and we would both take turns saying, “We forgive you for everything. We know you did the best you could. We’ll always love you.”
But nothing ever turns out the way you expect in life and that’s just how it is. So now I think about the other ending memories, the ones way before she went back into the hospital for a gazillion time. I think about how even though I didn’t have the best relationship with her throughout my life, she did branch into a second mother towards the ending of her life. She was a newer mother, better mature. During that process, I believe a big part of her learned to really appreciate me because I was there to the end unlike my brother who stopped showing up to the hospital and didn’t even come to see her at her own funeral.
I’m left with the ending memories like how I did visit her more often in the hospice. How I left the house with $50 bucks one day and took her to a street fair where I bought her food, had her play games until she won a stuffed animal and I went back home with a $1 in my pocket. At the time, for a moment I was upset, but I quickly thought about how she wasn’t going to be around forever – so this is something I’m supposed to do and it was something that came out of my heart anyway. Plus I wanted her to have a good time and not worry about death coming closer and closer.
I think about the ending memories and how I would take her out on pass for a few hours to enjoy new foods, to get her soda and cigarettes, to enjoy the sun and we would sit in the park and watch the hot guys play soccer. I think about how for a very long time before I even thought about taking her out and seeing her often, for a time I stopped seeing her altogether. I stopped seeing her for so long with the intention to make her suffer like she did me and when I came in the hospice room she hugged me tightly and cried so much. I was still pretty numb at the time. I’ve always been.
I never thought she felt like that about me – love. Or how my friend (who now is my current partner) passed me a cigarette behind her back while we walked to the pizza shop out on pass and she scolded him lovingly, “Are you getting my daughter into smoking now?” And that was the first time in a long time where I thought, “Hey, she must care about me.”
A year and a half ago my life changed when I fell backwards on the skateboard and my foot got caught in the back of my other leg just before my bodyweight came crashing down on it and I broke my ankle. My life changed just because I wanted to have fun, just because I desired to take risk, just because I desired to feel emancipated. I made a choice despite peer pressure. I made a choice despite my beginner status. I made a choice because of adrenaline because of confidence and that single moment changed my life in a nanosecond.
After the cast, wheelchair, crutches and learning how to walk all over again I became afraid of everything from tying my sneakers to going outside. I also didn’t like anyone. I felt I couldn’t relate anymore with others. The people who I thought would be there when the chips were down weren’t even there. So I kept myself in isolation because this felt easiest. I wasn’t feeling the world. During the process I questioned the world. I debated on my entire existence. I no longer identified with the biggest part of my life – fitness. I only identified with healing and recovery.
So I became afraid of everything living in a repeated trauma. The body is an amazing machine. Still, the psychological portion is where my issue exists. For a good amount of time I didn’t want to walk on my crutches from fear of injuring and falling again. After the cast came off and I could walk without an extreme limp I had the problem of wanting to step in the shower because I could slip in there too. To this day I fight through many different mental and physical barriers. I tell myself, “I’m a warrior. I’m fine. I can do this. Everything will be okay.”
But no matter how wintry or full of spring it is, going outside is another battle because stepping on or stepping off the curb sends an apprehensive trigger within. Then in a split second an image appears with a thousand ankles all lined diagonal breaking at the same time and the bones make a big sharp crunch sound. This is where I remain frozen. I get lightheaded. I feel the panic and anxiety creeping like mad ants throughout my entire body. I stand on the sidewalk like a lost little lamb trying to hide my terror from everyone outside. I stand under the shade for 5-20 minutes or find the nearest bench I can sit and rely on. I try to shake it out my head like it’s the nightmare it has been for over a year plus but it’s painfully difficult. I wonder when these fears and worries will take flight?
Time, strength, online friends, partner support and my current therapist have been by my side. I had to break wall after concrete wall in order to get to an elevated place. What I learned is recovery comes in different stages. Healing takes forever and a day even with positive self-talk. Now I have to push through a new obstacle – one I used to love doing actually – riding a bike. Before the accident I remembered loving to cycle. I remembered the feeling of the wind giving me foreplay all over my body with its soft breeze. I remembered feeling like a madwoman cycling and eating down bridge after bridge like some sort of luxury freedom like a huge accomplishment.
But now I’m scared. Once again mental preparation becomes my only way through. Like everything else, I’ve come very far, and baby steps are how I work back to the old or with the new.