Spelling Wishes

The world weeps, screams, points fingers, tells of heartfelt love without showing much… My flesh and bones and the soft bits inside my skull are relaxing the ill hold they’ve kept around my health’s throat for three turns of The Wheel… I’m grateful and cautious and often I want not to breathe the human stench. But I watch and see and hope… and I wish.

I wish for better for you and for me and for all of us to give better than we get. My wishes go macro: a clean Gaia, chiefs with hearts and brains and uncommon sense, less blaming and more good… I also wish wee wishes… tiny bits just for me: stronger flesh and bones and eyeballs, an unremarkable gut, fewer pains, years and years and years for storytelling and living… long summer days under a mango tree.

today, Gaia wails
a Witch spells healing wishes—
hope and magic live

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Long(ish) Process Note: I was not supposed to write poetry today. In fact, I sat down to craft an entry in which I shared my blogging schedule with you (Sun – expanding Wee Bits; Tue – poem or tale, depending on the “Wee Bits” voting results; Thu – posts about Writing and Witchy Living; Sat – rereading my Pratchett).

As you can see, I had a simple, clear-cut plan… But we all know that plans (and life) are never clear or simple or all that easy to stick to (particularly when it comes to blogging and moi *cough*). So when Corey, over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, asked us “to reflect on the right now and here” and to use that to write a poem about our “heart’s desire”, I didn’t even try to resist.

Love, by MagicLoveCrow“Love”, by MagicLoveCrow

She Blessed Us with Her Last Spoon

My dear friends, Esther and D, the Little Princess and I went to see my Piano Man at Radio City Music Hall. My flesh and bones and I were having one of our great days—in fact, we’ve been having a fantastic week when it comes to pain—but D (who has lived with Lupus since she was in her teens, and has gathered an intricate bouquet of complications as the years go by) was discretely strolling through pain hell.

The Little Princess and I arrived a wee bit late. We found my Piano Man, Esther and D already waiting for us in front of Radio City. We greeted each other with hugs, laughter (and the Little Princess and I received much teasing over our tardiness).

After my Piano Man left us, to join the orchestra, I examined D’s face. She looked radiant, ready to enjoy the evening… Anyone who doesn’t exactly know her well, or who doesn’t know what severe pain looks like, would have probably thought that all was well. I almost asked D about it when I saw the first long blink, but chose to let her be. Sometimes, all it takes to worsen the pain is for someone to remind us that we are in agony.

We loved the show.  My Piano Man was extremely hot and the Rockettes were sparkly.
Radio City 2015 (1)

The Little Princess kept us laughing—she danced in her seat, sang, explained the plot loudly, and when Santa told the audience, “What do you say when Santa tells you Merry Christmas?” she shouted, “I say, hooray!” at the top of her lungs. Esther, D and I roared. Between bursts of laughter, I watched D take a few deep breaths and squeeze the back of the chair in front of her until her hands began to shake. I still said nothing.

My Piano Man met us after the show, took our picture, and we said some quick goodbyes—he had a second show. Esther lives on the other side of the city. So she, too, kissed us goodnight.
Radio City 2015 (2)

As the Little Princess, D and I walked towards the subway, I said to D, “Thanks so much for spending this time with us.”

“Oh, no,” she told me, “thank you! I had the best time.”

“We did, too,” I said, watching as the Little Princess twirled around and giggled at the imaginary camel she walked on a New York City sidewalk… tied at the end of red and gold streamers. “But I know you’re hurting.” I rubbed one of D’s shoulders, ever so slightly and she winced. We laughed, and stopped in front of a closed shop, so that D could change out of her dress shoes.

When D stepped out of her shoes, I grabbed them and put them in her bag. “Thank you”, she said, and those words conveyed the thousand little stories everyone who lives with chronic pain knows.

“No,” I said, “thank you a million times for loving us so much that you are willing to give us one of your precious spoons.”

Then we laughed, delighting in the merry way in which the Little Princess continued to skip and twirl, as she scolded her imaginary camel for “pooping on the sidewalk” and not on stage, where it would have been “so hilarious!”

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In the past, I was sure that it would be impossible to explain to healthy people what living with a chronic illness was like. But in her response to “I Shall Not Cry over Dead Flowers”, my dear Emma, mistress of Little Gothic Horrors, introduced me to “The Spoon Theory”.

If you live with a disability or chronic illness that affects almost every aspect of your life, you probably want to read “The Spoon Theory”, by Christine Miserandino. If you are friends with (or a relative of) someone differently-abled or chronically ill (and you wish to know what his or her days might be like), then you should read Miserandino’s article.

“The Spoon Theory” uses, um… spoons *cough* to measure how much a person living with health issues might be able to safely accomplish during a specific day. It stresses the importance of prioritizing, it reminds people in pain to say “No” *even to themselves* when necessary… And in the clearest of ways, it tells those who get to spend time with someone living with pain just how lucky they are.

I feel blessed whenever D hands me her last spoon. Not just because I love her and enjoy our time together… But because I take her company for what it is: a miracle the universe shines into my heart, while chanting into my mind, Look, dear witchy woman, and see!
Sun through Red Tree

I’m Selfish to the Bone… and Rather Proud of My Superpower

On Friday, I said that “In a world that seems completely rotten with meanness, ridiculous bickering and all sorts of pain-causing nonsense, there will always be a person (or 13) who takes the time to give (love, things, time, an ear…) to others.” Then I shared a picture, and said, “I have grinning down to a science… a shining nearly-blinding witchy science.”

So… yesterday, someone sent me a message that started like this: “I am older than you and have lived more than you. I feel duty-bound to tell you…” The rest goes on to point out my “selfishness”, how I’m too young “and childless” to understand why my “smirking face insults people who know better.” The whole thing annoyed me. So much so that I almost replied to the person in question with a piece of my mind that would truly show what an insult looks like.

But I didn’t. Instead, I thought about a good friend of mine who lives with depression. When she is having one of her terrible days, she says the meanest things. Her uncanny coping mechanism has never pushed me away… I never take it personally… I know a lot of the meanness comes from her need to justify the horrid feelings that plague her days and nights. Most of the time, my friend and I diffuse the situation by discussing her feelings of severe sadness and my eternal elation in the most pragmatic of ways… Then we remind each other how good it was to be able to have those talks. And it truly is, my Wicked Luvs.

The idea of feeling sad and hopeless all the time is something I can barely understand. Just like my friend can hardly comprehend how I can continue smiling when I’m in pain every second of each day. Every now and again, my friend will say things like, “I don’t know why you don’t walk away. I push everyone away.” And I tell her, only half-jokingly, “I’m too full of myself to allow any kind of meanness to touch me. My nearly nauseating sense of self-love, narcissism, and my armor of happily bared teeth helps me deal with anything this world can send my way.”

When things get really tough, some people brood and call other people names… I grin at myself in the mirror while blowing kisses at me. We all have our virtues and faults, right? Except me—I’m perfect *cough, cough, cough*. So… to ye, who called me selfish, you are quite right. If selfishness is defined as the art of loving me, myself and I more than I love anyone else alive, then I am selfish to the bone… and proud of my superpower.

If being miserable is your way of showing the world that you care, then by all means, be as miserable as your soul needs you to be. But don’t you dare expect others to act just like you (and yes, by “others” I mean “me”). Expecting everyone to dance life’s music with your steps would be pretty damn selfish of you. Live and let live, I say—cliché, but that doesn’t mean it’s untrue.

One more thing, I would never know how to love another person, or how to care about other people, if I didn’t adore myself the way I do. And because my selfishness comes sprinkled with a bit of wicked yum (okay, with a whole lot of wicked yum) here is me, myself, and I, “In the Mirror”:

In the Mirror, by Magaly Guerrerofirst published on Instagram