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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Sunday, February 13, 2011

the big chill

"sweetheart. do you want to go to the hospital? you don't look so good. you're a funny color."

it's true. oh, how i have devolved from the peaches and cream completion of my youth. my visage a shade only to be described as "rhapsody in sulfur"...

today was a bad day.

the omnipresent headaches and nausea aside, i can no longer accurately describe my BMs as bowel movements. more like streaming. constantly buffering the toilet like a "you tube" video.

stop and start. stop and start.

[talk about your coitus interruptus]

and i'm cold. always cold.

1987. barely 19. mere weeks before my transplant, i would sleep until noon, or longer. anything to expedite the minutes before my mum arrived home at 5:40 pm. winter in toronto. cold. dark. gloomy.

[and that was my heart.]

but, my beagle, ralph, never left my side. molded to my fetal frame, we would sleep together, smothered under a mountain of blankets; electronic radiator blasting, along with the one already clunking away in the corner. smiling eyes, silly poses and first loves gazed down from the surrounding walls, but i only felt them closing in on me.

eventually, ralph would squirm, pant and jump down onto the ground. scarce inches from the bed. one eye always half-cocked on his charge; my canine custodian. half an hour cool down. jump back onto the bed. bury in bedding. pant. jump down again. repeat.

even as the rest of the country endures an historical deep freeze, my adopted hometown glories in an early spring. today from my bedroom window, i saw trees exploding with green, our lemon tree weighed down by boundless yellow fruit, and in the distance, the mountains of the angeles national forest. no tv. no music. birds melodically conversing. it was so beautiful...

inside: a washcloth on my head. tiger balm on my temples and a system saturated with pills.

[ah, but the weather inside is frightful...]

funny how history repeats itself.

2011. in addition to my comforter and blanket, kevin's heavy cotton robe, and the basset hound come furnace named maggie; kevin bought me an electric blanket. omg. fabulous. now officially my second favorite electronic device...

but, as kevin has reluctantly been steamed out of his own bedroom onto the cool sanctuary of the couch, shivers of sadness rock my spine.

must everything be taken away before you can rebuild?

[the ol' proverbial rock bottom argument.]

illness. irredeemable. why must anyone go blind? become paralyzed? why does a 5 year old get leukemia? but "what i know for sure" is this:

[i hate quoting oprah. it makes me feel so pedestrian.]

the only way to truly "be in the moment" is when you are sick.
it's a remarkable, twisted, painful gift.

people flirt with this unattainable state and experience glimpses of its possibility. but, it vaporizes with dreams of the the past and the fantasies of the future. present company included.

working so hard to get to the present instead of just being there.

we distract. with diets. from no carb to low carb to all meat to vegan. with exercise. from running to yoga to pilates to yogilates. with religion. from christianity to buddism to muslim to atheism. with aesthetics. from minimalism to shabby chic to feng shui to nouveau riche. with hobbies. from music to shopping to video games and friends. and with family. oh, family...

i used to be a compulsive list maker. i am crystal clear as to why. it was my way of cementing the past, controlling the present and planning for the future. but, i haven't touched them in months. because it's only when the final autumn leaves flutter to the ground, that the beauty of a stripped arbor can begin to blossom again.

and in no longer having any options, perhaps that's when my only remaining option can begin to bud.

living in the present wipes the slate clean. but your fears can once again begin to take shape. if you let them.

[i'm freezing them out]

i have an image of a hibernating oak tree; barren branches spidering across a gray, winter's sky. icy, but alive. ripe with potential for rebirth.

the big chill.

like the movie, where the beautiful people realized their past was frozen solid and not even the most righteous soundtrack could unthaw it, their big chill soon warmed to the present. a present renewed.

and as for my big chill.

bring on the cold. i am canadian after all. the frigid present, burgeoning with life. i want no past. i want no future.

it keeps me clear. it fills me with fear.

but i am fully here.

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