When my brain began brewing this project, the first name that came to mind was “Reclaiming My All”. I discussed the title with friends, and we agreed it was powerful and empowering. But a few days before publishing the first prompt, I changed my mind. I am still quite fond of the phrase. I mean, it is a line from a favorite poem by a sexy, intelligent and unbelievably modest writer I know well.
But… since what I wanted was a place where we could get better at loving and nurturing and understanding who we are now, I felt (and feel) that a title that might even imply that we’re trying to hold on to the past could be dangerous.
Flexibility is a great pal to have on speed dial. And for those of us with bodies and/or minds slightly mangled (by trauma, illness, vintage-ness…), flexibility should be a best friend who never goes away. Trying to reclaim what we once had (with the tools we have now) is a dream that can promptly turn nightmare.
I said this much, perhaps in much harsher words *cough, cough*, to a friend who told me, “I hate this f*cking body. All I want is a normal life.” My explosive friend and I live with similar digestive system conditions. And if you know anything about Crohn’s Disease and other IBD, then it’s very likely that you already understand that “normal” is something that happens to somebody else.
When life changes, we must change our living. In the past, I was as rigid about my routine as Minerva McGonagall is severe about her bun. But life has been teaching me that to even have a chance in this battle called living, I must turn to Severus Snape: battling chronic illnesses “is like fighting a many-headed monster, which, each time a neck is severed, sprouts a head even fiercer and cleverer than before. You are fighting that which is unfixed, mutating…” So, guess what, my Wicked Luvs? Our behaviors and approaches must mutate too.
I fight my own many-headed monster by never forgetting that my “normal” is strange, and my strange is forever changing its face. I welcome all the faces: when my Piano Man and I must cancel a date because my body decides to house a fever that day, we change our going-out date for a naked-stay-at-home-and-veg date (Yum!); when I’m in so much pain that I can barely open my eyes, I close them and plot tales about how energy is energy is energy… until I can turn the life-sucking energy of the pain into strength-giving ink; when the pain is so bad that even the eye-closing-and-plotting trick is too much, I call a soul I love and who loves me back, and say, “I’m about to start screaming, so tell me filthy jokes. Or, let’s plot completely unrealistic strategies to get Malfoy and the Orange Infection out of Hogwarts.” Unrealistic plotting is rather therapeutic.
So, there you have it. That is how I stay afloat in normality’s seemingly insane ocean. How do you do it, my Wicked Luvs? How do you hold on to your Self when life continues changing the rules of the game without warning?
Here is my poetic contribution for this week’s prompt:
Normal is a trap—
be weird, unstuck
your spirit, tWiSt and stretch…
until you can live and love
into deaf hands.
Of course, you can
break, I did
(and the self-stitching is never-ending…).
all my pieces—
faulty flesh, weary soul…
Normal is a breakable cage
…write your Self free…
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