On The Upswing


I still called in sick today.

But.

I am feeling better.

Better and better and better.

I am listening to music.

Always a good sign.

I took a hot shower, really good sign, I couldn’t fathom getting in the shower yesterday, the fact that I managed to brush my teeth yesterday felt like a hero move.

Today I brushed them and flossed them and hey, I might do that one more time before I go to bed.

I am feeling a bit sassier.

A bit sexier.

Doesn’t hurt that a lady took care of her lady needs.

I mean.

I had a window.

I took it.

Ahem.

I went grocery shopping.

Although, it was the biggest challenge of my day and I did have a few minutes in the store when I found myself just standing in an aisle wondering what the fuck I was there for and whether once I remembered it was going to be worth it to be in the aisle at all.

I missed a few things.

But I got most of what I needed to get and really it was enough.

It was enough.

I was scared to call in sick this morning, but I knew I was going to.

Especially as last night I lay in my pillows, propped three high so that I could breathe, and cried because the pain in my face-my cheeks were so sore from the sinus pain-was too much for me to go to sleep.

I was tired and I couldn’t sleep.

I finally fell asleep almost two hours after I had gone to bed.

No good.

I woke up feeling tentatively better, but in no way ready or prepared to get up and go to work.

I sent a message to the mom and the dad and said hey, I am calling in, I’m still too symptomatic, I am so very sorry.

They were very sweet.

The mom said no worries, rest and get better soon.

I turned off my phone, closed my eyes and slept for four hours.

Four hours.

And when I woke up I felt like I might actually be able to face the world.

Granted, it was 11:30 a.m.

The world had already been doing much its own thing for hours.

I stripped my bed and re-made it with fresh sheets and threw some laundry in the wash.

I made some coffee and oatmeal and returned a few messages.

I did my morning prayer and routine.

I sent out some gratitude lists to some folks and I did some writing.

Four pages.

And I knew I had it in me to get out to the grocery store.

Maybe not much further than that.

But that I could do.

I am grateful I did.

I am now set and stocked for the school weekend.

Yeah.

That.

Starts tomorrow.

Second semester of my second year of the three-year program.

Gett’er done.

I made a nice lunch.

I sat and did some reading.

And I got it all done.

All that I could get done.

I am still shy a couple of books for my Trauma class.

But I finished all the readings for my Couples Therapy Class and for my Community Mental Health class.

I am a little astounded that I got through all that reading.

Slow and steady and two days home sick.

I didn’t gel out in front of my laptop and watch a bunch of videos.

And because I got so much sleep today I didn’t feel the need to nap.

I mean.

I lay low.

I didn’t go out again after I went grocery shopping and the extent of my exercise was folding my laundry and making my bed and taking out the recycling.

I took the homeopath cold remedy medicine and sucked on a few zinc lozenges.

I read.

I chatted with a friend who later Facetimed me.

You know you’re friends when you accept a Facetime call in no make up and your hair in braids.

I mean at least my socks matched my pajama top and my pajama pants were right side in the entire day, so I suppose I was in a great position to take a call.

But it was super sweet to see her face and I’m excited to reconnect with all my school friends tomorrow.

I showed her the dozen roses I bought myself today at the store.

Buy your own damn flowers.

They are pretty soft pink roses tipped darker pink, long-stemmed and an apt dozen.

Because when you got twelve years (t-minus two hours and twenty-two minutes, unless I decided to run over to the 7-11 and score some crap.) you get yourself a dozen roses.

I wanted to wake up tomorrow on my anniversary with a pretty reminder of how far I have come and to acknowledge to myself that I am capable of giving myself everything I need.

I will gladly accept and take in your love but first I have to love myself enough to know that I am worthy.

I am worthy of your love.

As I am worthy of loving myself.

Such a fucking simple concept.

So hard to get.

“We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself,” he said to me, gripping my shoulders and looking at me with his sweet piercing blue eyes.

I believed him then.

I believe him now.

He has long passed, but his words remain with me, deeply entrenched into my being.

An affirmation of my basic humanity that I had so long stifled I didn’t even realize I had buried it.

There.

Right there.

And shoved it down and denied it and let it fester and rankle in the recesses of my heart where there should be light and not canker sores and sorrow.

The balm of that love settled upon me and care took me until I could take care of myself.

Until I could happily buy myself a dozen roses, cook myself a damn fine dinner (roasted chicken, hello and thank you) to take care of my sexual needs myself, to do my laundry, to comfort and soothe myself, to wear nice warm socks and drink tea that I like.

To listen to music I like.

Her good teeth smile was winding down.

Engines sputter ghosts out of gasoline fumes.

You had it but you sold it.

I am literally in tears of gratitude and joy.

The first time I heard this song.

True dreams.

True dreams.

True dreams.

Of Wichita.

Dancing in the living room at the house on Franklin Street.

My boyfriend had put the cassette in the boom box and when it came on I was floored I was sideways plastered with the glory of the words and how they resonated.

Listening to an updated version of it on the eve of this anniversary.

So many days and years and drunks and drugs later.

So many hang overs and calling in sick when I wasn’t really sick.

The bushes I threw up in before going into my lunch shift at Hawthorne Lane.

The demoralization of listening to what the line cooks side about what I was up to last night.

All the girls who were in relationships and said, “hey girl, take one for the team,” and then tell us all about it, in gory, glorious detail.

All those humiliations and stumbles.

And then the ultimate bottom and the climb up.

The long, slow, stupid, terrifying climb out.

Into the sunshine.

Blinding and overwhelming.

Held and taken care of and carried.

To this moment.

Full of light and love and music and joy.

My musical hero singing to me on the stereo.

A man I met in person and got to talk to and hang out with in someone’s kitchen this past September.

No biggie.

Because that’s my life now.

Full of surprises and insights and gifts.

Dozens of gifts.

Too many to list or count.

But I hold them all here.

In my heart.

Which is so much bigger than I ever knew.

Full of love for you.

For of love for me.

Seriously.

I let you love me until I learned to love myself.

I did it.

I really.

Really.

Did.

 

 

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