Trinkets and Armor, 2: Normal Is a Self-Defeating Trap

 

If you are visiting from Poets United or Kerry’s 55-er, and wish to delight only in the poetry, just scroll down to the end of the post, to read “Be Weird”.

 

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:

“Be Weird”

Normal is a trap—
be weird, unstuck
your spirit, tWiSt and stretch…
until you can live and love
without screaming
into deaf hands.

Of course, you can
break, I did
(and the self-stitching is never-ending…).

I
just love
all my pieces—
faulty flesh, weary soul…
all.

Normal is a breakable cage

…write your Self free…

 

If you are participating in Trinkets and Armor, please add the direct link to your entry at the end of your comment. If you don’t have a blog, or don’t wish to write a post, add your contribution as a comment. If you can, take a minute to read other entries. Unrelated links will be deleted without explanation.

 

To Want Is Not Enough

To want is not enough…

to keep me,

you must love

your want.

the (not so) wee notes…
– I spent most of last night talking to a friend who is having a total gastrectomy as I write this note. She’s worried about the pain and discomfort that will come with recovery. She fears the pain-boredom combination “will drive [her] nuts” (a body can’t get very physical after stomach surgery). “How do you deal with it (pain)?” she asked me. “How do you keep your mind from wanting to escape your head?” I told her the truth: “I busy my skull with tales. Then, I challenge my brain to remember them until my hands have the time to birth them in ink.”

She sighed… and reminded me that not everyone has my memory. I explained that when one feels like pain is eating one’s gut from the inside, remembering epics is not an option. If you have been walking this blogging journey with me for a while, my Wicked Luvs, you might remember why I started dancing with poetry. I didn’t do it because I thought poetry was easier than fiction *eyeroll*. I welcomed poetry into my life because almost anyone can remember a line or three (pain be damned). The remembering is easy. The hard part is what keeps the brain-housing group busy: I distract myself from pain by embracing all the effort it takes to shape the remembered lines into poetry.

Take the micropoem above, as an example: I crafted the blackout part on a day I couldn’t get out of bed much. When sitting up became tiresome (and torture on my lower back), I put the old book aside, and started to play with the shape of the poem in my head. “To want is not enough” says quite a bit. But I wanted the poem to say more. Not enough for what? for instance. So, I added the 2nd and 3rd lines to answer that question. And lastly, the 4th line to reiterate what it is that the subject must love if she wants to keep the speaker.

Doing that used some time, but… my gut still wasn’t ready to let me get on my feet. So… of course, I worked it some more. I played with the structure, layered the lines so that they would say other things within the poem bit. To me (and to some of you, I hope), this poem doesn’t only say

To want is not enough…

to keep me,

you must love

your want.

It also says:

– To want is not enough to keep me
and…
– to keep me, you must love
and…
me, you must love
and…
must love your want
and…
…it probably says things that I haven’t seen (yet).

 

That’s the magic of micropoetry (and of all heart-kissed poetry), methinks. Just a bit can say everything… if we brain-love that bit enough.

– while we are on the subject of brain-loving poetry, if you have a minute or 13, visit Poets United, where Sherry is featuring my poem, “How Different We Are Not”, next to the poetic yumminess of Kerry O’Connor and Rajani.

– linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.