Getting Real in a Perilous Time

I cut my hair. Well, I didn’t do it, a professional did. I asked for an “asymmetrical pixie” with a side and back undercut. She refused to do the side as a full shave so, stages, you know, getting used to things. This new identity, this alone version of me. Just try it out and see how it fits. I’m trying.

Almost every afternoon I go down in my basement and plug my phone into the TV. I play a yoga video and my body follows along. “Take a breath in. . .exhale. . .again. . .” I move and listen to what my body tells me. I try hard to hear and then I also shush it. No, you can’t cry yet, not now, no time. Breathe in, breathe out, let it go.

I walk the dog every day. One foot, the other foot, the dog just dogs and I am a body moving. I need to keep moving, keep going, don’t stop, I’ll be stuck. I can’t get stuck, not here, not like this, not today.

I make food. I eat it. The emotional eating that soothed me so well in December is getting old. It’s not regulating anymore but slipping into not eating is so dangerous for me. So I take care to eat. I eat with care. One mouthful after another, with love, like my video yoga instructor tells me to.

In the basement again in a ball on the floor, “Breathe lots of love in. . . Breathe lots of love out. . .” I do it. All the love, universal, it’s enough, it will be, maybe sometime.

I go get the tests, the mammograms, the bone densities, the colonoscopies. “Do you have any difficulty breathing after going up one flight of stairs?” “No” “Do you ever have breathing difficulties?” “Only when I feel my heart breaking.” I didn’t say that to the doctor. I thought about how well I am doing with this 50 year old body that is definitely not alone in the world. But. . .I am alone. . .shhhhhh. . .not yet. . .breathe in, breathe out, let it go.

This 50 year old body that has grace and balance, more than ever, deeper than ever. This 50 year old body that has wisdom, a well of wisdom so vast, so full of answers. . .but we know there are no answers to the questions I’m asking. Why the heart can’t have what the heart wants, not all the time, not most of the time, if we are being real here. I don’t have that answer. Even in breath as a mountain, still, there is only silence to that question.

I bought a body pillow, the kind you can entwine between your legs and arms like a lover. It prevents aches and pains of more than one type. It has no tears on it yet. I sleep well. Sometimes I drug myself to sleep but there is no shame there right? Breathe in, breathe out. Take an Ativan because sometimes s*&! is just too real for being in the moment.

Every day I walk on a knife edge of abandoning my body, of forgetting to feed it or leaving it lying flat in a fallow field, unmoving. Every day I think about the cost of this lack of tears and wonder where they will choose to emerge, or where I will choose to let them emerge. Every day I am grateful for all these choices and knife edges and hard questions and the beating of a strong, broken heart. My heart can climb at least 4 flights without even thinking about minding one bit. At 50, my grandmother was barely leaving her apartment, weighted with a broken heart and no tears to be seen, just silence.

So reader, I’m sorry to break this silence with my broken heart and my 50 year old body clinging to populist yoga in 25 minute increments. But it’s what I got and it’s where I am and I bet I’m not at all alone in this. “Breathe lots of love in. . .breathe lots of love out.” I got you.

A white woman in a pink top with a black cardigan posing jauntily for the camera with her curly hair falling in front of her face
This is my new cut. It’s pretty cute.

12 thoughts on “Getting Real in a Perilous Time

  1. I feel this post…… Hugs. And kudos on fighting to take care of yourself in all possible ways, every positive choice made in difficult times.

  2. Susan– thank you for writing this. It’s raw and beautiful and exactly what life looks like from your insides at awful times like these. I hope you can take in the love and light and hugs being sent to you from all of the blog readers today. We got you, too.

  3. I feel you and raise you 5 years. You explained ME to a ‘tee’. There is peace and sadness that I am not alone.

  4. Bravery is hard.
    Love is hard.
    Honesty is harder.
    Feeling such love for you as you search to support yourself through this brutal moment.
    Love you!

  5. Thank you for all your lovely words. I’m glad this touched some hearts and that people can see themselves reflected here. It’s rough being a person with a heart sometimes. Lots of times. You have bouyed me up :). Thank you.

  6. The power of words to make ‘real’ come to life is astounding. Thank you, Susan, for the potency of your words; for your authenticity and vulnerability! Kudos to you for so effectively loving yourself in the midst of the brokenness. Namaste!

  7. The pain of loss, the strength of survival, the beauty of hope. Breathing and being present right here with you. Take good care.

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