Misdiagnosed- A Memory

This picture (below) was taken a little over a year ago at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta. We had taken Wy to our local ER and that visit quickly turned traumatic, as we were told he (95% likelihood) had leukemia.

Leukemia. Cancer. The ER doctor said words like “morbidity” and “prognosis”. I didn’t cry. I remember clearly that I, quite uncharacteristically, did not dissolve into a heap of tears. I was angry. Indignant. I came here expecting to hear he has the flu, and now you’re spouting life-expectancy statistics? I was mad. At who? I don’t know. Everyone?

It was close to midnight. I called my dad. We drove home, left our older son with family, packed a bag and traveled to Atlanta to be seen immediately (around 3 am) by an Oncologist. It was a quiet car ride. I texted my Doctor friend and my Mom (who is an RN) the entire time.

In my stomach I felt sure the doctor was wrong. I don’t know how, I just knew he was. Wyatt had fought through so much just to be born. Just to be our son. He can’t have gone through that kind of hell in order to live, just to die two years later. It wasn’t possible. I believed he was well. Sitting in the back seat of my father’s sedan, I felt an overwhelming peace. Wyatt was ok. My job was to be calm for him and to gather information, so that’s what I would do.

Still, it was a tough couple of days. Blood tests, screaming, scouring Google, waiting. Sitting in the Oncologist’s office a few days later we waited to find out the lab results. Wyatt gave in to his exhaustion and fell asleep on the palm of my hand. I was exhausted too. I started giggling. I think it was that nervous kind, like when you laugh at a funeral. None of us had really slept in days.

Thankfully, Wyatt was cleared as quickly as he had been diagnosed. We weren’t given much of an explanation, and frankly I didn’t care for one. I wasn’t mad at the ER doctor and I wasn’t upset at what my family had just been through.

I remember this string of days with enormous gratitude. So much gratitude, it probably seeped from my pores. My big little guy was healthy, and all was right with the world.

This whole fiasco is on my heart today as Wyatt has been very difficult this weekend. I am reminded of how much I cherish him, and how quickly things can change. I take a deep breath, regain composure, and hug him tight. I’ll take a temper tantrum over a night in the ER every day of the week.

Wyatt and his beloved Doggy
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artist’s dilemma

it’s tough to write about things i don’t know about,

and i do it with some amount of humility

careful not to overstep or offend

which usually results in rubbish

it’s tougher to write about personal things,

but much more real, raw, accurate

which usually results in spectacular prose

not everything here is autobiographical

(except my disdain for uppercase, that’s all me)

writing a book right now – a novel – a fiction

it’s hilarious how much of it is drawn from real life

and how much of it is drawn from this other life,

one i’ve imagined a million times but never visited

and how authentic they both feel to me.

it’s not that one is real and one is imaginary

both are real, to me. both are me. both are.

i want to present a story that is gripping, heart-wrenching,

imaginative, amusing, compelling, magic.

to do that i have to tell my readers things i’ve never told anyone

admit to things, examine them, lay them bare

i’m mostly ok with that, except

judgement, of myself and of my work – that is myself

i think all writers feel this way, or at least

the good ones do.

Unsolicited Advice

Don’t choose a woman who is smart, if you don’t want to be stimulated, challenged, and pushed to explore.

Don’t choose a woman who is beautiful, if you don’t plan to worship and cherish her, body and soul.

Don’t choose a woman who is brave, if you want to remain comfortable, never evolving or growing.

Don’t choose a woman who is strong, if you don’t plan to support and encourage her as she learns to use her power.

Don’t choose a woman who is mysterious, if you don’t respect the darkness in her or the magic she brings to your life.

Don’t choose a woman who is funny, if you are not willing to laugh with her, be silly with her, look like a fool for her.

Don’t choose a woman who is sensitive, if you don’t plan to understand her, reassure her and keep her safe.

Don’t choose a woman who is wild, if you don’t want your life turned upside down, your heart in your throat, your guts in your mouth.

Don’t choose a woman who is creative, if you don’t want to hear her talk about her ideas, her art, and her fascinations.

Don’t choose a woman who is honest, if you don’t want to know the truth.

Don’t choose a woman who is a healer, if you don’t want your wounds nurtured, or your heart mended.

Don’t choose a woman who is romantic, if you don’t plan to sweep her off her feet with grand gestures and fantasize about the future with her.

Don’t choose a woman who is a lover, if you don’t plan to open your heart fully and give her everything she so magnanimously gives to you.

Don’t choose a woman who is a fighter, if you don’t want to fight for her and challenge the world at her side.

 

Knock, Knock

Hello

My name is Healing.

I came here to allow your vulnerability, to show you truth, and to wrap you up in the warm blanket of trust.

Hello

My name is Forgiveness.

I came here to help you embrace your humanity, and to learn grace and non-judgement of self.

Hello

My name is Compassion.

I came here to give purpose to your pain, and to show you that we are all connected. We are one.

Hello

My name is Love.

I came here to speak wholeness into your fragmented spirit. To infuse your soul with divine light. To help you see that your worthiness is inherent, and peace is your birthright.

May we come in?

I Am Woman

There’s this guy who stands outside at parent walk-up at my son’s school. I do not know him. Every day when I walk up, he stares at me. I don’t mean lingering glance, I mean full-on staring at me like a I was prancing down the sidewalk with a singing kangaroo hanging out of my purse. And he does it every. single. day.

It happened last year, too. Never a “hello” from this guy or a smile or even a weak, “you look so familiar.” Nope. He just looks at me without blinking for an inordinately long amount of time. My kids have asked me who he is. I don’t have any idea, except that he is a grown man with apparent respect and boundary issues.

Now….normally I’m not a confrontational person. My father calls me “peace keeper”. I prefer to avoid arguments when possible. I try to model problem solving behaviors to my kids. I’m not violent. But this guy, this guy is stepping over a line and I think it’s because I am female and I am small and to this man, small female equals powerless. Voiceless.

It makes me angry. It makes me wish I was some secret super-ninja so I could just reach out and snap his arm in half and leave him in a heap by his truck.

The funny thing about my size is that – as I said to my friend today – I am not small on the inside. I am mighty, lionhearted, and full of righteous indignation. You will not make repeated attempts to humiliate me or back me into a corner and not receive commensurate response.

So one day, as I was walking towards my son, this man was walking the opposite direction (towards me), his gaze fixed on my face the entire time. I had had enough. I stopped, right in front of him, took off my sunglasses, and asked him loudly if he had a problem. Yep. Gangster style. Threw out my arms and said “do you have a problem?”

Actually now that I think about it, it was much more Jennifer Love Hewitt screaming, “What do you want from me?!?” than anything else.

The guy… a bit unsettled by my Moms in da Hood behavior… stopped, looked at the ground, muttered something, and then made a beeline for his vehicle. Since then, each afternoon at walk-up, he makes a concerted effort to look anywhere else but at me. There have been a handful of afternoons that I stare directly at his face, daring him to look at me. He doesn’t.

Victory? Maybe. Maybe he’s not a bad guy. Maybe he thinks I’m a bitch (I don’t care.) I think plenty of men don’t know how scary/creepy/intimidating they can be. Maybe he was clueless. Maybe he’s just rude. I don’t know.

What I do know – or hope – is that thanks to our brief exchange he won’t choose to look at a woman like she’s on the damn dinner menu just because she’s small, or attractive, or defenseless against it. He knows now that despite appearances, she might call him on his disgusting behavior. A lion may live within her.

(Hear me roar.)

Burn

I used to think that love was a wildfire.  A hot, passionate, all-engulfing blaze, sometimes fleeting and often times destructive.  The kind of fire that consumes and takes everything for itself.  That exciting, fervid heat that tears through the dry brush of the heart, bringing destruction to all it touches and with it, a chance to start over from nothing.  A white-hot bolt of lightning illuminating the whole sky.  Electric.  A summer night’s kiss on the hood of the car that is so conductively charged, the engine might spontaneously turn over from the contact.

You think you might not survive it.  You’re not even sure you want to.

Now that I have more years – and in theory a measure of wisdom – under my belt, I still think that love is fire.

It’s the orange-blue embers that smolder in a deep stone fireplace in the heart of a woodland cabin.  Quiet, save for the occasional crackle and pop of the logs it slowly, methodically devours.  The kind of fire that gives itself to warm others, lights up the dark, soothes the world-weary bones that have been out in the cold too long.  It is the smoke billowing from a tall red brick chimney, signaling a safe place – a refuge from the elements.  The fire that though it may sleep for a night, is certain to resume its work in the morning radiating heat and lighting the darkness.  Dependable.  A gentle hand on the small of my back, reassuring me that we’re in this together.

Still hot, still potentially destructive, but a comfort to everyone who feels it.

You know it’ll always be there, no matter what you do or where you go, and there’s no satisfaction in the world greater than that.

 

 

 

Shame on Me

I never understood the phrase “what kind of fool do you take me for?” As a child it was strange to think there might be a variety of ways one could be a fool. Now I know there are innumerable ways, incomprehensibly vast are the possibilities.

A young fool, an old fool, a stubborn fool, a blind fool, an optimistic fool, a lovesick fool… You get the idea. I suppose it should be a comfort to us that we all will embody at least one of these fool archetypes in our lifetimes.

It isn’t. In fact, my ego bristles at the thought. The mere implication that I’ve been had sends me reeling. Yet, I rush in. I take people at their word. I believe love always wins. I’m a textbook fool.

Maybe it’s not that I mind being foolish. Maybe I just don’t like having it pointed out to me. There’s the rub. It’s embarrassing to have egg on your face and worse to have to clean it up yourself because the loud accusing voices have gone eerily silent.

Fools are hopeful, generous, and sometimes make stupid choices – but I always think they have great intentions. I want to open myself up and expose my intentions. Then I wouldn’t be called a fool. I’d be called a humanitarian. Maybe if I was understood I’d be better loved.

No… Foolish to think.

polaris

back then

before you knew you were a star

they tried to cover your brilliance

shroud you in silence

dim the light

it didn’t work –

my darling it never could –

you are bright enough

to illuminate galaxies

and your fire cannot be quenched

by lowly storm clouds.

your scars are constellations

aurora borealis

in your eyes

the moon itself hangs inside your chest

I come to you seeking;

wondering at your midnight sky

sleepily I lay down my head

eavesdropping

the deepest secrets of the cosmos.

playlist

I love you for

Endeavoring

To heal a heart

You didn’t break.

Keep trying-

It might just work,

It might just work.

Untitled/Chiron

I am the wounded healer.

I don’t want you to feel guilty.  You couldn’t have prevented this.  Bleeding things are my weakness and your soul is made of my own.  You were a gift from the moon herself, one I could not accept. But you promised.  I have loved you before I knew who you were, before I even met me…

I cut myself open to show you

That I hurt, too

My soul dripped out

Onto your hands

And we danced…

The beginning was different.  You were not like the others, then you slowly recovered and I reluctantly discovered… it wasn’t real.  It never was, it could not be.  It’s ok.  I understand.  Many have sought my radiating light. Your morning star. Temporary.  Like a storm that rolls in after a week of beautiful sunshine, I knew this would come.  Expected.  I hoped I was wrong, hoped I could believe my dreams, hoped there was a place for us.  You promised.

In the end I will be hollow

Drained from loving

All I see in that place

Is your face

Outer space

I have learned to keep my distance.  I will learn to shut my mouth, not let it out.  Do not be seen.  They don’t like that.  Vulnerable. Be strong instead.  Amuse them, but never reveal yourself.  Do not speak of love or sadness or longing.  Albatross. A lesson.  A gift. …but he promised.

There is no heart in me

It sits, unbeating, next to you

Whatever you do

Please don’t

Throw it away

I want you to know you are different.  You are everything.  You are the resplendent beach house I could never really afford. I will miss you in the way one misses a beautiful thing that was not theirs to keep. I’ll hide the photographs on my bookshelf.  I’ll whisper your name in my sleep.  I’ll hear your voice in crowded rooms and echoes of your laughter in other universes not yet imagined. I promise.

(I love you.)