Friday, December 31, 2010


I'm lying in a hammock that's strung between 2 palm trees, coconuts ripening overhead, sunlight breaking through the heavy fronds. Waves are breaking onshore, the water varying shades of turquoise, cobalt, teal. The sky is dappled with marshmallow clouds. Peacocks, with their own range of brilliant blues and greens, are wandering so close by I could reach out and touch one (not that I ever would).

The sand is white. The shells are plentiful.

There's a sense of relative emptiness compared to the overcrowding we've found on other places.

After days of not getting into our groove today more than makes up for it.

I will go home warm with Mexican beaches and sun and the raw beauty of shells adorning trees mired in the surf.

I am happy.



Thursday, December 30, 2010


As Jack and I were heading back from the beach we had this pretty remarkable chat about expectations.

A little background: this was our 4th cruise day, 3rd trip off the ship, first completely sunny, blue-skied, white sanded, turquoise watered Caribbean day. Unlike our usual adventurous selves, needing to discover the unbeaten path wherever we are, we stayed close to the ship and headed to a beach just past the tourist shops. So, it seemed, did just about everyone else from the 2 shipped in port. At 10:30am there wasn't a beach chair to be found, with only minute patches of sand to claim as our own.

But, the water was delicious, the view of the mountains, clouds lightly dipping down, was delightful. A breeze occasionally blew through, cooling us off as we lazed in the sun.

Jack had been looking for more - more fun, more adventure, more options. And I told him that expectations get you into trouble every time. When you hope, wish, wait for something spectacular, or even better than what is, most likely you'll be disappointed. On the other hand, if you take time to appreciate where you are, it can often be better than you realize.

We walked back to the ship, along the sparkling water, magenta and orange flowers dotting the path, skin pink from the sun, heads drowsy from the heat. Me and my boy. Me relishing the beauty of the moment, him dreaming of ice cream.

It took me years to learn to live in a moment. I'm hoping he got a glimpse of that today.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Right before heading out to sea I had a super strange, turn-me-on-my-head experience. We were in Florida, out to dinner with relatives we hadn't seen in some time. I was shocked, truly shocked to find that not only do they read what I write, but that they're interested and empathetic. As if that wasn't enough, they think I'm a terrific writer.

I was speechless. Touched. Through my writing they've gotten to know me in a way that never seemed possible in the real world.

What's even more fascinating is that other people in my life have taken the same thing, my writing, and judged me as a loser, a time waster, a narcissist for thinking anyone might possibly have interest in what have to say.

Someone to admire. Someone to admonish. Someone to be proud of. Someone to look down on. Opposite ends of the spectrum points of view based on exactly the same thing.

The thing is, I'm being myself. As much as one can be in a sterile, faceless environment. I write my truth, or, more likely, I figure out my truth by writing. This has been my therapy, my solace, my place to explore and find comfort. And often, a way to vent when I need to be have no other place or time.

That people share this journey with me is gratifying. Strange. Different. I'm always a bit taken aback when someone knows details of my life I know we never discussed. But I'm also honored that they took the time.

The world and how we share is changing. I'm figuring it out as I go along. For those who need to judge, what can I say. For those who've changed how they think about me, wow. For those who share, thank you.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

what I can't live without

I was thinking this morning, as I wandered around my mom's house repacking all that we unpacked since last night plus the many things we accumulated at Target this morning, what were the things I couldn't live without. I thought this because the last minute shopping trip was to get a fuzzy pillow for one of my children who neglected to bring hers but can't sleep without one.

In the craziness, the stuffing, the organizing, I discovered what I can't live without.

My sunglasses were missing.


I took them off when I came into the house, put them on top of my bag and when I went back later to put them on, they were gone.



I can't handle sun. I often wear sunglasses in my apartment when it gets too bright. The thought of spending a week in the sun, in the carribean, on a boat, at the BEACH with no shaded?

I lost it. After frantically tearing apart every bag I'd just repacked, I burst into tears, shaking, and curled up in the corner of a bedroom, incapable of pulling myself together.

It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was embarrassing. Everyone in my family now knows, as I shouted it over and over, that the last time I lost a pair of glasses was sophomore year of college.

There wasn't time to stop anywhere and have a quick pair made. Iz offered me her faux Coach pair which make me look like a Real Housewives reject. A quick stop at Walgreens found me a clip on shade that doesn't quite fit but creates turquoise and blue verticle stripes wherever I look. A quick real time note: Jack just looked at me and smiled a pity smile at how ridiculous I look.

And so, I've confronted and dealt with what I can't live without. And found that I can survive. Not fashionably, but I can still function.

Trip photos won't be featuring me.

And I'm going to think first, before thinking.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

the end of year recap begins

At the close of most years I take time to ponder. To look back at what happened. How I grew. Or stayed stuck. What worked. What didn't. I'm generally amazed at how much has taken place but this year more than most. It doesn't seem possible that 2010 could possibly have been so much, in so many ways.

And so . . .

Biggest life changer: we found our puppy and she changed me in such great ways

Thing I thought might be a life changer but wasn't: speaking on national tv in front of millions of people

Most thrilling moment: watching Jack "get" column addition

Most challenging juggle: having my brother and sister in the hospital at the same time

Most unexpected decision: cutting my hair off

Biggest decision that was unexpectedly a no-brainer: going for kidney match testing

Thing I never imagined happening: taking Lexapro

Thing that I always imagined would happen but dreaded like hell: having a mini breakdown

Thing that threw me the most: falling off my bike and the crazy long recovery

Thing I'm most proud of: taking a month off from yoga to heal and handling it

Thing I'm most surprised about: that my body stayed just about the same

Biggest thing I gave up: sugar

Biggest thing I've taken on: PTA presidency

Thing I couldn't possibly imagine: that I'd be happy not being in the midst of a project

Most spur of the moment moment: getting my nose pierced

Best vacation ever: the end of August on the Jersey shore

Most grateful for: Jon, Iz, Jack and Gracie

Monday, December 20, 2010

a mini gratitude shout out

My kids are in bed, not sleeping, but not out here.

There was not a single argument between them or with me.

Jon's making a delicious dinner.

My puppy is sitting in my lap.

I finished knitting two gifts today.

The weather warmed up to not frigid.

My PTA work was super appreciated this morning.

My hand doesn't hurt anymore. My shoulder is so much better.

My anxiety's been controllable.

I didn't hear a single Christmas song anywhere today.

My apartment is toasty and pretty neat.

Not a drop of drama has crossed my path and I'm going to bed soon.

I'm content, appreciative, mellow and happy at the moment.

This is one to savor.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

yay life!

I had a couple of things I had been thinking about writing today:

fat me: peeking in on feeling fat when stress gets too intense and how that negativity's been creeping back in lately

being dumped is hard to do: thoughts about letting go when you're not the one who wanted out of something

But, this morning, as I was chatting in the elevator with a woman I'd never seen before and her dog (I wasn't talking to the dog, just admiring him), about the exuberance of puppyhood, she said puppies are all: yay life.

Yay life.

I love that. LOVE.

Puppies are so yay life - at least mine is. Gracie radiates enthusiasm. She sees me and her tail starts wagging, whether it's the energetic almost wiggling out of her skin when I come home or the sleeping under the chair, just waking up flutter back and forth. She loves nothing more than sitting on my lap, chewing furiously on a toy. In fact, she's here right now which makes typing on my laptop ultra challenging. But, I wouldn't change it for the world.

She's been with us for 5 months and I can barely remember life without her. She brings a sweetness to sitting still. A warmth to doing nothing because being together in that nothing is love and comfort and ease.

She melts me. And yet her presence is a powerful force, not just for me but for all of us.

For someone who never really wanted a dog I fell hard. Puppy love is a delicious thing.

Friday, December 17, 2010

the practice

So far this week I went to 3 yoga classes. 3 days in a row.

I'm sore. Aching in some spots. But, it's been the first time in the 3 months since I fell off my bike that my body is getting close to what it used to be able to do. My knee is still wonky - child's pose is still more uncomfortable than relaxing. My handle can only handle so many planks and then I'm done. And my shoulder still is unhappy twisting in certain ways. Having said that, I can move. Pain isn't present all the time. I'm having moments of getting lost in the moment. Moving. Grooving. Flowing.

And so, I've been thinking about what yoga means to me. It's been almost 6 years since I found my studio and quit the gym the next day, after years of countless reps and miles logged on the stairmaster. I didn't know that I was looking. I had no expectations of what yoga would do for me, how it would shape me, change me.

I wasn't looking for a path.

Or maybe I was.

This week, in every class, teachers talked about coming to the mat. Coming to the mat is a commitment. To me. To my body. To my mind. It's a place to make space. To put everything else aside, as much as is possible, and be present. To twist, to balance, to be challenged. To move, to be still, to laugh which I do in every class.

Some days I can let go. Most of the time I can't. At least that'd what I think when I'm there but the truth is I'm letting go by letting myself be there.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

medicated me

It's been 7 plus months since I started taking Lexapro. I actually had to wait to complete that sentence so I could check my calendar - I wasn't quite sure. Yesterday, after writing about being frozen and stuck, complacent and ambivalent, I realized it could be the meds.

When I first started in them a friend, a successful writer, said she'd known plenty of creative types who lost their creativity to meds.

I'm thinking I could be one.

Which leads me to this:

anxiety = productivity

+ chemicals = stability - creativity

Anxiety has always been my fuel, my drive, my gasoline. Even while frozen by anorexia for all those years I knew, as just about the deepest truth there is, that should I be able to channel all that energy into something constructive, I could accomplish great things. It took years to thaw but, that thought came true. I have accomplished some truly great things.

But it got to be too much.

My soul needed a time out. Maybe, and here's a thought, this particular respite is the first chance in I can't think of how long for me to get to know me. Not driven me, frenetic me, accomplishing me, busy me. The me that's underneath all that.

Now I have to figure out if I want to leave here and plunge back into freneticism. I could stop taking meds and see what happens. It all could be fine - I'm taking a very low dose. But, the teeth-gritting, soul-haunting, reality-shifting anxiety could flood back and that terrifies me.

I just answered my own question.

I'm not ready.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

frozen, stuck and scared. oh my.


Maybe not creating, not being smack in the middle of an all-encompassing project, not juggling far too much isn't really that I'm ok with it.

Maybe I'm scared.

Maybe, after FLOW, after putting myself more out there than I ever have, of hitting heights I'd never dreamed of, of being profoundly proud, thrilled, anxious, disappointed, hurt, overwhelmed, even lost at times, I'm afraid of jumping back in.

Or even getting my feet wet at this point.

Maybe I'm afraid I can't do it again.

Maybe I'm feeling that no one will say yes this time.

I had a remarkable run. But nothing I did caught on fire. Even when I believed deep in my heart they would. It would. FLOW would.

In the end, it's heartbreaking, when I let myself think about it. What a conversation I got to start. What a message I put into the world. What important, relevant topics I had people talking about.

But not enough. And I got to the point where I couldn't swim upstream anymore.

It was so fucking hard for so long.

I'm trying to be ok with where I am. But deep inside, hidden so far down at this point I can pretend it's not there, I'm missing it. I miss meetings, phone calls, due dates. Learning, researching, exploring. Searching for art. Making sense of the mess it all starts out as. The anticipation. Excitement.

The crafting of something from a vague idea into a tangible reality.

Having an end result. A book on my shelf.

Something to talk about.

But missing it isn't enough to make me start again.

I've never been in this place before—complacent. Ambivalent. Unable to get myself going.

It's usually been the opposite. I couldn't stop.

Now I can't start.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Knitting is the new nothing

She who must not be named (the family member who recently cut me out of her life) was actually right.

I do nothing.

Yup, right now I do nothing.

Well, not quite nothing. I raise 2 kids, run a PTA, take care of a puppy. I make dinner, make beds, do laundry and multiplication tables. I go to physical therapy and yoga. Doctor's appointments for the potential kidney thing. Alternate side parking.

I shop for holiday gifts, for the right kind of pasta, for flowers for my mom's birthday/hospital visit. I plan school dances, weekend play dates, middle school merchandise lines.

But I don't have a "job" job and there are no money making related ventures in my future.

I've been here before. Many times. The last office job I had was in 1995. As a freelancer there are times I'm overwhelmed with work and times when I can barely pay my bills.

This is one of the latter.

To add to the mix, I'm not out there trying to sell anything and that's new too. It's not that I don't have viable ideas I believe in - I do - but at least for right now, doing nothing seems to what I'm supposed to be doing.

Last night I had a long talk with a dear old friend whose life is literally shape shifting in real time. It must be terrifying to live but it's beautiful to watch. This person, in a very short span of time, is discovering who he is, not just being who he thinks he's supposed to be.


Perhaps this relative emptiness in my life right now is so that I can do the same. Maybe letting go of (although I did not choose to) all the busyness is making space for me to grow into what's next.

I have NO idea what that could be. Hopefully something fabulous. Hoping even more it's helping my kidney get to a new home.

But in the meantime, many I know are getting lovely hand knit gifts.

Knitting is the new nothing until I find my new something.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I'm still holding tight to my 40 day commitment.

Only today I'm not writing here—I'm working on a Huffington Post piece about bullying, about how impossible it's going to be to change things when kids so often learn unacceptable behavior at home.

At the moment though, I'm stuck. I have no solutions, no ideas, not even an inkling of what can be done.

And so, perhaps, knitting will clear my head for a bit.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lock down

It's been a week. The kidney tests. The family drama. The winter chill outside. Scrambling to pull together a Hanukkah that didn't suck.

And then yesterday, on her birthday, someone I love dearly ended up in the hospital. All will be fine but it was more than I could handle.

And so I didn't.

I didn't process it think about it deal with it.

I made it through the day, and then had a night filled with nightmares of knitting projects I screwed up, of dinner parties I was hosting that I hadn't prepared dinner for, of my period not ending long after it should have.

Today I woke up, but not really. I dragged myself through a yoga class, came home and fell asleep. I think this is one day thay will be over without my ever really being fully in it.

Sleep seems to be my new coping strategy. And I'm ok with that for now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Yesterday, while having coffee with one of my dearest friends, I finally got to talk about all that's been going on lately. She observed that compartmentalizing is a powerful coping strategy for me.

Yes it is.

I don't know how I'd survive the many situations and emotions pulling me in such diverse directions if I couldn't lock things behind doors and not be constantly overwhelmed.

It's been like this for as long as I can remember.

My brother has been ill since a tumor was discovered in his 9 month old kidney. I was just over two—that's too young to remember but I've been told of out of state treatments, of my mother staying in the hospital with him for days on end, of having her parents keep me up late at night so we could spend time together when she finally got a break. In the ensuing years we never talked about what he'd had, all that had and was going on, but there was always an undercurrent of something tragic and huge below the surface.

There was my sister's stroke, when I was a freshman in college. 3 months maybe after my father left. He'd told me the previous December, two weeks before he told my mom. And then he moved out the day after my high school graduation. I think my mom might have gone into the hospital for surgery that day too. Memories get fuzzy sometimes. From that point on, he's disappeared from my life for significant stretches. Years would go with no contact. His wife? Let's just last week and they both told me never to contact them again.

This latest blow out as my brother and I face major surgery. He's living with a catheter in his chest for dialysis, at best a short term solution until something better comes along. We're all hoping my kidney is his good news. But, should we be matches, and I pass all the testing, they won't know until he's on the operating table and open whether his scarred body can fit a new organ.

Yet another box I have to manage.

I write here often (and I've been called out for incessant whining) about the many struggles I face. Most are things many of us deal with: aging, body, parents, kids, school, work, relationships—it's a long list. There are some that are more specific to me: anxiety, fear of breaking down, living a creative life and the inherent ups and downs that go with it. The precarious balance of being a mother who works, at other things, at home.

What to make for dinner.

How to read the knitting pattern I'm struggling with.


Holiday gifts.

Multiplication tables.


And so, for me, if I didn't have all my boxes, my closets, the ability to shut out, close off, turn the volume down on the above, I'd never make it through the day. A day. Any day.

Perhaps assimilating it all, processing, dealing, talking, working through would be healthier.

But the thought of that terrifies me.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

double duty

Today I had wanted to write about family. About volunteering to have myself cut open to help my brother while, at the same time, people in my family have cut me out of their lives, forever so they say.

The disparity is almost too overwhelming to comprehend.

Stress and fear can bring people together. Or tear them apart.

I'm smack in the middle of both situations. And all I can do at the moment is shut down. Not completely - I'm knitting my very first dog sweater and it's taking serious concentration to figure out this pattern. But I can't process any of the rest of it.

And so, I'm sharing my kidney post here.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be back to working my way through.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

something old, something new

Yesterday, I started a new blog (yes, she-who-must-not-be-named, another blog).

This one will chronicle my journey as a potential kidney donor.

I've never done anything like this before. It's a road of nothing but unknowns.

There's far more involved than I would have thought. But, should all the many puzzle pieces fit together, my brother could end up in a far better place than he is now.

I hope you'll follow me here:

adventures of my kidney

Monday, December 6, 2010

Being me again

For the past week or so I've been waking up earlier than I need to. The sun hasn't come up yet. Aside from the garbage truck outside the streets are remarkably quiet. I could still be in bed, wrapped up in fuzzy blankets, my hot water bottle holding on to its last bit or warmth keeping my toes from freezing.

At 7 it'll get crazy. Kids need to get to school. Lunches has to be made. The dog needs to be walked. Things will be missing. People will be cranky, especially on a Monday morning. This calm will disappear like a balloon floating silently away against the blue sky until it'll be hard to remember if it was real or I imagined it.

Back to my point . . .

I'm waking up early to write. I don't plan this. No alarms are set. I'd really rather be in my cozy bed. But it's time. I've been shut down for so long. Too long. I've been grappling with life changing issues and situations. I shut myself in a box and for all this time that was ok.

I've learned that I can survive without being lost I'm a project. How to be me instead of what I'm working on. That I can handle extraordinary stress and still be relatively ok.

That I can take care of myself and that often means with compassion and kindness. I've never been very good at giving myself a break. Guilt and berating were the two usual standbys.

I'm learning. I'm growing.

And I'm writing again. Before the sun comes up. Before thoughts are fully formed. Before the day gets away from me and excuses take over.

And now I have 20 more minutes to hop back in bed before the insanity starts.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

mothers who don't work

I was accused the other day of not working. It was intended as a scathing insult. The accuser? Let's just leave it as she-who-must-not-be-named, the family member who's now officially cut me out of her life completely.

This particular missive spent much time comparing us, with, of course, her being far more favorably represented. We're both mothers, she said, but an intrinsic difference is that she's
always worked while I stay at home doing nothing.

In my book though, being a full time stay-at-home mom is just about the most challenging job that exists on this planet. You're on call 24/7. At any moment the nurse could call, an argument breaks out, someone throws up and boom - you have to drop whatever you might have been doing on move yourself to the bottom of the priority list. You soothe after nightmares. You mediate fights, you spend hours cutting 1/2 inch cubes out of styrofoam for an igloo project.

You listen. You nurture. You discipline. You are the CEO of an company that doesn't give sick days. You can't roll over vacation time. There is no vacation time.

Sometimes, when motherhood particularly overwhelms me, I fantasize about getting a conventional job. Just the thought of sitting on the bus and commuting sounds like heaven. Being in a meeting and not being able to take a call? Heaven. Arriving home with dinner and homework and baths and walking te dog and cleaning up a thing of the past? Bliss.

While I know my fantasy isn't quite true - it's more a grass is greener outlook I would never slam mothers who have a job outside the home. I can't imagine the juggle and stress that must go along with that particular double duty.

If I'm not wearig those shoes, I don't judge. Which makes the denigration of stay at home moms all the more infuriating. I chose this life. I am grateful I can be here. It's the most demanding job I've ever had. And yet to many, motherhood doesn't count as work.

To raise compassionate, thoughtful, motivated, well-rounded, grounded kids is just about the most valuable job I can think of. They are our future. They will make an impact in the world. They could save the planet. Cure cancer. Invent new synthetic gemstones or develop gaming systems that will revolutionize the way we play (the current aspirations of my two).

More importantly, if I do my job well, they will be there for each other, no matter what. They will treat others with repect and kindness. They will find their individual roads and move through their lives with hopefully not overwhelming stress or pain.

At this point in my life I am many things. I am a public school PTA president. A graphic designer. A writer. A hoster of every family holiday. A class parent. A potential kidney donor. A partner. A daughter. A sister. A friend.

A stay at home mother.

That's not an insult. It's a gift.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

letting go of toxic

We all have things in our lives that aren't good for us: habits, relationships, situations. And they can be close to impossible to let go of.

Right now, in my life, it's time to let go. This week, in particular, the conversation keeps appearing—with friends, in yoga, in what I'm reading, talking, thinking about.

There are small things, like relying on chocolate in moments of frustration or spending money at etsy for things I really don't need. I've actually been doing far too much shopping lately. It's an old old habit that resurfaces when life gets to be a bit much. At this point my goal is to get rid of more than I take in, yet I've got enough yarn for at least 5 more projects and did I really need to order two more of the exact same umbrella?

That's not toxic though.

Toxic is when these things make you doubt yourself, make you hate yourself, make you feel so badly you're not sure exactly who you are anymore.

That's what I'm trying to let go of.

This week I went back to yoga. In spite of the pain and the healing that's still going on. I had to let go of being angry at myself—angry at what I can't do. Frustration at needing to take it easy. Embarrassment and discomfort at people watching me not participate. Most likely they barely notice but I feel (felt) like a loser for standing instead of moving. It was almost impossible to be there and be ok. Every class though is getting easier. I can do what I do and I'm learning to accept and be grateful for that. It's more than I could do 2 months ago, or even last week.

I'm letting go.

This week I also let go of relationships that caused pain and disappointment for years. By the end of a day or increasingly insulting and hurtful emails in which I was called, along with many other things, a has-been-want-to-be-who-never-was crazy bitch (those are actually from 2 different emails but I'm using creative license here), I finally was able to open my eyes and see the truth. Not what I hoped would happen. Not what used to be. What is.

The what is, the truth, is so often hard to accept. It's not what you want. It's not what you deserve. It's not what you'd wish for your worst enemy. But, sitting with reality and coming to terms with it is far healthier than holding on to illusions that are just that. Yearning for the past or the different or somewhare else than wherever you are.

And in those moments of clarity, sometimes there's acceptance. And letting go is far easier than you think it would be.

I feel freer right now. Lighter. Less burdened. Reality may not be what I wanted, but it's better than living where I was.

Friday, December 3, 2010

why do I write

Yesterday, in the midst of an increasingly heated email exchange, someone asked me why I write. Here. Actually, it was more an accusation that I crave attention, that I'm having an emotional crisis, that I'm insecure and need people to pay attention to me but why would anyone be interested in the problems of a want-to-be-who-never-was. It ended with the suggestion that I double my medication or figure out what dire things are truly wrong with me.

But that's another story.

In that fragile, painful, charged moment I wasn't sure. Why did I write here? Was she right? Was it all because I'm needy, need to bring other people down to build myself up, am a loser who does nothing so I need to share my angst with the world? So, I mentioned the slam on twitter last night and got this response:

because you touch my heart, teach me new things, & allow me to see the world differently

And I realized I knew the answer all along. I write because I'm a writer.

I am a writer.

And how can one write without baring their souls, even a bit?

To have a creative soul isn't easy. The ups and downs are dramatic, at times exhilarating, others terrifying. It can be lonely. It can be scary. Sometimes you (I) can teeter on the edge wondering if what you do/who you are is worthy, worthwhile, sane. But to write is to frame things, to explore, to express.

Do I share too much? Sometimes. Do I regret things I've written? Occasionally. But where would I be if I bottled this up and locked my soul in a box. I know people like that. People who are so shut down, closed off, tightly wound that everything needs to remain a deeply hidden secret. I lived that life for too long. It almost killed me.

But—and this took years and years—I found my voice.

And I will never, ever let it get shut down again.

Should someone not want to share my journey, no worries. Should others want to judge me, ok. I can take it. Should anyone need to bring me down to make themselves feel better, it's your life and you have to live with yourself. I will never know the suffering inside you that makes you inflict pain.

I can only be myself, live my life, and share the way that works for me.

I am a writer.

I write.

And I am grateful, beyond grateful, for that.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The potential adventures of my kidney

Neither of my kidneys actually has a story. Yet. But one of them might embark on a life changing journey which we're at the very beginning of.

Monday, I go for blood tests to see if my kidney could be a potential match for my brother. If blood and tissue types are compatible, we move to the next step.

Now that I'm writing I realize this isn't really the beginning of the story. I've known for my whole life I might be in this place. And I've always graciously offered up an organ should it be needed, in a light-hearted, breaking difficult conversation sort of way. There was never any real thought behind the bequest.

Now it's really on the table. And still, there's not any thought behind the decision. It's not a decision. If my brother can use my kidney, it's his. End of story.

And beginning of story.

The transplant coordinator told me yesterday that should things move forward I'll have the most thorough physical of my life. That's both cool and scary. I'm sure this 46 year old body has all sorts of issues I don't know about that might not ever garner attention. But, I could soon be minutely scrutinized.

I'll have to deal with my subway anxiety, as the hospital is way uptown. My surgery fears. I'm not a fan of losing control and the thought of being knocked out fills me with dread. The reality of living with one kidney instead of two.

But, and this feels crazy and right at the same time - I'm excited. That maybe this will help. That all the years of eating well and exercising has kept my body in good shape to handle this. Maybe, on some level, it was even for this. To know there's something I might be able to do, instead of merely observing, is a gift.

And my gift when it's done? A tattoo of Japanese cherry blossoms around my left ankle. A true symbol for me of life and beauty and rebirth (sorry mom - I know the nose piercing was hard - hope you can handle this).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I started 4 or 5 posts today. Here. On my phone. In my head.

One was about being stuck.

Another was the death of my hot pink and orange umbrella—a long time fave—in a huge wind gust on the way to yoga.

There's the initial blood tests on Monday for possible kidney donation that I set up this morning.

Life after perfect hair.

The fallback of what do I want to be when I grow up.

A variation of colors and moods based on my class today.

But I can't stick with any of them. In fact, I can't stick with any one thing at the moment. I'm floating aimlessly, or being thrown around in rough seas, without something to moor me. Not that I don't have wonderful stability in my life. I do. But at the moment I've lost the stability, the drive, the centering in me.

That's been ok for the past few months. I've learned to live without being lost in a project. How to be just me instead of what I do (that's another topic that glimmered for a moment or two). I am smack in the middle of so many other people's struggles, my own just aren't very important and that's ok.

But, writing every day will help focus me. It's good to have a goal. Annoying too. There's something freeing in having lowered expectations of myself.

But I'm more than this. And it will come back. I just have to stand up and fight instead of lie on the couch and play word games on my phone.

Day 2 is shifting.