Tag Archives: Illness

I Am Dawning

Today I got up before the sun

Breathless

My heart clanging high against my ribs in a rhythmic dance

Like the pots my parents would bang on my return after some great achievement

Fear lurked in each shadowy corner of my room

Stinking like milk left out on the counter

I didn’t know why

My heart clanged high and I didn’t know why it stretched me wide with wary fear

Up I stood

My naked feet padding against the rough nubs of my ancient carpet

Fear following close behind

Why, I asked him

Why are you here

He said nothing

Which only served to remind me that silence can be the scariest sound of all

I emerged into blackness

Turning on lights throughout every room

In hopes the glow would chase him away

The morning air blew frigid from my kitchen window

Trees outlined against the opaque sky like hulking demons

A practice in shadows

Bewitching me

As I floated in the hour between dusk and dawn

Feeling wrong, all wrong

And then at 5:54

The cock crowed

And Fear fled from its cry

As the indigo sky slowly flooded with light

Transforming the heavy canvas into a pale blue sea

And I realized as I sat there

Hot folds of steam wafting from my tea cup and painting my nose and cheeks with its warmth

That I

Trapped within the confines of my mangled body

Ravaged by illness

Have felt proverbially waiting in that witching hour

Frozen just before the dawn

Breathless

As my broken body shudders and transforms into something utterly new

And a smile perked my cheeks in tandem with the rising sun

Words so clear and long forgotten reverberating into the clean morning air

That it is always darkest

Just before the dawn

I took a sip of tea

The soothing liquid cascading down my throat

And I watched the sun rise

Bringing with it a new truth in my heart

I am not my Fear, lurking, obscure in untold shapes

Abstract and unknown

I am the rising sun

And I am

Dawning

What No One Tells You About Asking for Help

What No One Tells You About Asking for Help

What no one tells you about asking for help when you desperately need it is that most people? Actually REALLY want you to.

I know. Step back. You’re probably remembering your friend Shirley right now who scoffed in your face when you asked her something painfully mundane, like, to pass the salt, thinking, “Shirley definitely doesn’t want me to ask her for help!” Well surely there are Shirleys out there who are shameful charlatans when it comes to helping humankind. (Yes, I do enjoy dropping alliterations behind me like a trail of bread crumbs, thanks for noticing!) But Shirleys of the world aside, most people are good and caring at heart. (My most sincere apologies to any readers out there who are actually named Shirley. I’m sure you’re lovely.)

So if people are so willing to help, what is the real issue? Why do we all feel that lump of pride sheepherding our pleas of need back down our gullets before they get within two inches of the atmosphere?

I have news for you. It’s not them. It’s you. (Okay, sometimes it’s them. RE: Shirley.) But most of the time it’s because we don’t know how to ask.

This past week, I needed help. My husband Mandalf was leaving on a much needed respite, and I had no one to help take care of me. Ugh. I still retch in my mouth a bit at that thought. Needing someone to take care of me at thirty. But I digress.

So I swallowed my pride and reached out to an amazing group of women, plainly asking them to take time out of their busy lives and come stay with me. I had not one, but THREE “hell, yes!” responses, and a fourth couldn’t take off work, but generously loaned her car since ours would be hanging out at JFK airport.

Flash forward a week later to when they arrived, and I found out they had always wanted to help. They just didn’t know what I needed. Because I NEVER ASKED FOR IT.

Immediate interior monologue: “You mean all this time, all those years when I felt so isolated, so cut off from the world because of a disease that kept me housebound, it was all because I didn’t know how to plainly put out what I needed? Gah! Pesky pride! A pox on your house… wait. I am the house. Scratch that…. Be gone, ye scallywag! Pesky pride. <Snort.>” 

Asking for help is hard. When you’re chronically ill, you’re assailed with tsunami-force waves of guilt. Feeling like a burden. Feeling like you should be able to handle it on your own. Feeling angry at yourself that you can’t swallow this life-altering illness with complete ease and grace.

(Newsflash: You’re human. Not a droid. Although I suspect C-3PO wouldn’t be able to handle it either… super whiney, am I right? I, myself, am a die-hard R2D2 fan.)

So think about what you really need. And if you’re ready, try opening up. Be vulnerable. Let the world in. I promise, it won’t run shrieking like a kid from a haunted house. People really DO want to help. You just need to tell them how.

Until next time,

The Foda

On Purpose

“On Purpose”

Purpose found me on a dare
I was sitting there all unaware
Blissful
Wistful
Dreaming of dreams so easily attainable I forgot to
Leap
Just a pebble’s throw and off I’d go
Into the fray
The hopscotch of wishes
Throw a stone, see the potholes, and hope that it misses
Hope you land on two feet
Hope your turn isn’t lost
Then this illness reared up and I found out the cost
The cost of living and giving your future to fate
To always being a stone’s throw away from
Purpose
Or chance
And my gamble was strong
I fell through the cracks with nowhere to belong
And now as I hobble through one-two-three-STOP
I don’t cast a stone to determine my lot
It took years of illness to teach me this truth:
The chalk may be drawn
But the jump is all you.

“True Beauty Is”

“True Beauty Is” 

 She looked with trepidation at the clouded surface of her eye

Offset by purpled veins embossing sallow half moons below

Marking the sickness inside

As obvious as the red circle

Your english teacher draws around a misspelled word

Beauty is within, she murmured to herself

A daily litany

Used to combat the ruination of her feminine wiles

This illness had stolen from her

And so the years went on

Thinking herself less than she had been before

Because she could not prance or dance or stand up in pinched shoes and say

I am woman 

My body is an art form

That I will share with the world

And one day use to make another’s begin 

Until one day, she stood in the frigid night air

On a blustery December eve

Looking up at the inky sky

Spangled with stars, cloudless and fair

The light poured down into her still sallow eyes

Filling them with starlight and majesty

How beautiful, she thought

And it struck her then

Just how much we are moved by beauty

For true beauty will feed the soul

And her eyes opened wide

As she saw it

As plain and as poignant as silence after a storm

And her laughter spilled into the night air

For she’d been looking for beauty in all the wrong places

In faces, in inches, in health’s happy glow

But real beauty will not torment like Helen of Troy

Whose beauty sunk a thousand ships

True beauty doesn’t demand the ruination of another to support its worth

Like women who scan the room

To see whom among them is prettier than she

Her fingers tapped her forehead before raising them to the moon

A salute to the beauty that no one can tarnish

And she slowly continued on her way

Knowing that life can be beautiful

A feeding, inspiring, nourishing beautiful

So long as she steps outside the beauty that only lives through comparison

And simply steps outside

“Stories”

“Stories” 

Stories

Stories are how we connect

How we remember

The talisman of the human condition

They are what make us cry and feel and aspire

To be the fearless warrior

Or the artist untarnished by ill-begotten gains

Stories make us feel alive

Our hearts beating in tandem

With your story is like mine

And I am not alone

With don’t tell me I can’t

And never tell me the odds

She clutches her story with the strength of a thousand eagles’ talons

Whist she’d gladly wish it gone

Her story isn’t happy

Sometimes hopeless

Always hard

But through this illness

These years of fighting blind

 She knows the reason why

It is because

It isn’t yet over.