Of the Love We Get and Give…

I was reaching for my favorite mug when a combination of nerve pains shot through my right arm and made me lose control of my hand for an instant. I dropped my favorite mug. My favorite mug landed in the sink… So, it didn’t completely shatter. I was left with two large pieces and some bits of ceramic.

“Neuropathy is a sneaky bastard”, I said to my Piano Man, who had run to the kitchen to investigate the commotion.

“You know it’s the chemo”, he said, reaching for me, stroking my shoulders as we both watched my arm twitch. When I tried picking up the pieces, my Piano Man touched my hand. “You don’t want to nick your skin. I will take care of this.” I handed the trash bag I had been holding. “We’re not throwing it out”, he said, and the outrage in his voice made me smile. “You can turn it into a planter.” I loved him more in that moment for those perfect words. I love him for so many reasons. I love, love, love him because he gets me.

This morning, I found my favorite scarred mug next to my coffee maker. My Piano Man wholed all the pieces before leaving for work. With a face full of grins and a heart bursting with love for a man who loves and knows me well, I filled the cracks with sparkles… and turned the new planter into the home of a wee succulent that I rescued (or plant-napped *cough*) last summer.

 

Earlier today, a friend told me how terrible she feels whenever she needs my help these days… We both know how little time and energy cancer treatment allows me. I reminded her that there have been days when I would’ve stayed in bed if she hadn’t needed me. She helps me free myself from traps made of pillows and sheets and rather costly comfort. Helping her helps my brain and heart remember that a friend needs me. There is wild healing magic in circles made of love we get and give (and of friends who whole each other better).

This belief is what always inspires me to give all I can and celebrate all I get. And speaking of gifts and wonders, I have a handful to be extra thankful for:

I’m grateful for the gift of my Piano Man
and my new favorite planter

I’m grateful for GJ (short for Gina Jr.)
a dolly crafted with love and yarn (mostly with wild love, I am sure)

I’m grateful for Gina, for winged thoughts,
and for stories inked with me in mind

I’m grateful for Rommy
and for creepy Gorey books that make me grin like a lunatic

I’m grateful for Susie
and for red and black skully ornaments that cheer me to no end

I’m so grateful for all of you, who keep on feeding my ink with your reading presence… even when I can’t be as reciprocal as I’ve been in the past. You, my Wicked Luvs, rocketh very mucho and heal me even mostest. Thank you.

 

Badges of Defiance (and beauty)

I strolled into the pharmacy, removed my jacket, rolled it into a bundle, and tried to stick it in my shoulder bag… without success. “I might have to get a cart to haul my jacket around”, I said to the nurse who had accompanied me to pick up my meds.

“You don’t wear your coat indoors as much as you used to,” she said. “Are the hot flashes that bad?”

I opened my mouth to say yes, but frowned… and said, “No, not really. Not now. The chills and hot flashes get nasty at night, but I feel quite cool right now.” I peeled off my knitted cap, letting my sexy scalp and a bright grin reinforce my sense of coolness.

“Weird,” she said.

I nodded, agreeing with her ‘weird’ assessment. I mean, I’ve always hated to carry my jacket around… I’ve been known to keep the damn thing on even if I’m boiling in it.

But…

…some time later, while walking home from the hospital, jacket shoved in my bag (persistence or raw stubbornness pays off), I reexamined the exchange… and realized that my newly found determination not to wear my jacket (unless I must) is not weird at all: I enjoy showing off my one-breasted glory. I feel incredibly strong (and slightly superior *cough*) walking around with a symbol that roars: I am not only kicking breast cancer’s ass, but I am looking freaking amazing while doing it!

I just roared with pride-rich laughter, while typing the last sentence. Because to me, scars prove that when life kicked me in the (insert sensitive area here), I didn’t just kick back, but I kicked… and got up with learned lessons on my skin. And that, my Wicked Luvs, is wild magic that makes my beautiful (and modest) flesh stunning.

That understanding about my Self is what makes me appreciate the wisdom and love in Fleur Delacour’s reaction, after someone suggests that her fiancé’s new scars might make her reject him: “What do I care how ’e looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!”

That understanding about my own value is what makes me want to chant the last few lines of Rommy’s “Signature of a Scar” into the heart and skin of the world:

That understanding of how I wish, I wish, I wish… everyone could feel about their own Selves is what inspired this year’s Beautiful Freaks Fest’s theme: Scars, Scars, Scars… Such Terrible Beauty!

Show off your stunning terrible with me: Let’s create art (short tales, dolls, poems, sculptures, paintings, spells, jewelry… anything you can think of) that celebrates the magic of embracing the scars life has marked our skins and minds with and turn all that hurt into an artful armor of terrible beauty.

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