Saturday, September 29, 2012

finding a place in the world

I spent yesterday at my first video shoot.

There were many take aways.

There are some fascinating professions I wish I knew about when I was younger.

From this side the grass not only looks greener, but it's glistening with early morning dew.

I miss being in the middle of creative endeavors.

I like being the talent, the expert, the person in the know.

But sometimes that's a lonely place. Especially for something as niche-y as menstruation. And for someone who's not a doctor or a scientist or a professor? Not many calls for my expertise.

Talking Flow though is a joy. Looking at the bigger picture. Starting, continuing, having the conversation. Yesterday though I was rusty. I used to talk this every day. It's been years at this point since it was daily conversation.

Today I'm wondering, as usual, what's next. I'm feeling, for the first time in a long time, that perhaps my Flow role isn't over. Yet. I just have to work harder at finding ways to stay involved.

Friday, September 28, 2012

an out of the ordinary day

I spent today on a video shoot.

Was fitted for wardrobe. Wired for sound. Hair slickly ironed. Circles under my eyes covered up.

When escorted through the set someone would loudly say "talent coming through" and they were talking about me.

I signed contracts. Ate a gourmet lunch. Met producers and sound engineers. APs and camera men. 

Someone held a water bottle for me. Someone else monitored whether my scarf and shirt looked ok on camera.

People in various locations watched me on a video feed.

The director asked questions and I talked.

And talked. 

And talked.

About menstruation. Vaginas. Body image. Fem care advertising. Blue liquid. Pad development. Wandering uteruses. Hysteria. Ritual cleansing.

How important it is be open. To have conversations. To feel comfortable with our bodies.

Sometimes I feel like I've never done anything that makes a difference.

And then there are times like today. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

back to square one

So my goal to write every day for 40 days lasted for 3 and then I blew it yesterday. Well, maybe I didn't blow it but I didn't write.

I don't know that I even thought about writing.

And that's what this is all about.

Making the writing so much a part of me again that I can't go to sleep knowing I haven't done it.

A part of my routine like brushing my teeth or scraping my tongue or checking my email. Things I do automatically, without debating or thinking or struggling or wondering.

And so, today I'm starting again.

Day one.

Fighting a slight cold. A bit nervous about my documentary shoot tomorrow. Re-knitting the sweater I'd already half done.

Frizzy hair.

Waiting for The Office to start.

Quietly basking in my family all doing their own things but close enough so I can feel them nearby.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

kidney reminiscing

Today I had my year post-transplant check up. 3 and a half months late.

But that was ok. As a donor it's more of a formality at this point. I'm not on a regular drug regimen. I don't need blood levels checked often. I'm just healing.


No, actually, still healing.

I still get a bit nervous heading uptown. Much emotion is tied to that mostly beige waiting room, the run down hallways, the overcrowded lab. I spent so much time there, had so many vials of blood drawn, heard such good and not so good news. But today was more of a dipping my toe back into the donation process than anything too overwhelming. 

I discovered:

the lab bathroom still doesn't have instructions on how to give a urine sample

I still could spend hours chatting with my surgeon

the people in the lab are, as always, delightful to talk to

I weigh less now than when I started the donation process (who knew my kidney was more than 5 pounds?!)

it's not crazy that I feel the effects of medication more strongly than I did before

Advil is not completely forbidden

it's time to have my done density checked

And I remembered how profoundly I changed someone's life. Even though I struggled so hard afterwards—my own emotions and anxiety knocking me flat for awhile—I am nothing but grateful that I was able to do something, to make a difference, to help change things for the better. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

a day in the life

Today started off like most back to school days. Up at 6:45, breakfasts for everyone, packed up lunches, made Rice Krispy Treats (that doesn't happen every day). Left at 7:30 to get Jack to school, then back home to walk the dogs. Met a dear friend for breakfast at 8:15 and then things took a turn for out of the ordinary.

Jack's doctor's office called to say they couldn't fill out the medical form I'd dropped off Friday until he had a physical. He needed the form for flag football practice today at three. Good news was they could see him at 11. So, I did alternate side parking unit 10:30 then ran back to school to pick him up, much to his surprise.

Zipped him to the doctor—he's now 5 feet tall, gained 5 pounds, got 2 vaccinations—and zipped him back to class in time for lunch.

Ran home to pull together options for my wardrobe fitting for the Kotex documentary project I'm thrilled to be a part of. Grabbed a garment bag full of shirts, pants, shoes and jewelry and headed to the film offices downtown where I spent 2 hours trying on a variety of sadly drab outfits. In the end we came up with a funky NYC writer ensemble that worked for the many people who needed to approve what I'll be wearing.

From there I ran home to let Iz in—she'd been locked out for 45 minutes.

Back up to pick Jack up from tryouts.

Quick pit stop at A Salt and Battery for fries.

Back home to walk the dogs.

It's been a day—a mix of ordinary and extraordinary, regular scheduled programming and experiences I've never had before. Relaxing with kids and puppies and chatting up creatives and account people.

I love days where my different worlds lap at each other's edges.

Now it's writing, baths, dinner, laundry, design work and bed.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

last minute musings

Days are getting away from me—easing into my writing practice with some sort of regularity hasn't clicked yet.

But it will.

Ideas are starting to swirl.

Faintly. Quietly.

I'm feeling more grounded in myself than I have in a really long time.

Just committing to take time to write, even if just for a few minutes is a soul tonic.

Oh. That's a great name for something.

Writer's Soul Tonic. Could be a cool pen and notebook pack.


Love random ideas that fit into a space I didn't know was there.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

working through the rust

This getting back in the writing saddle isn’t easy. It’s creaky. It’s strange. It’s uncomfortable when writing used to flow like breathing.

I’m rusty.



Having said that, I’m relatively sure it’s all in there, waiting to be given space again.

My writing voice, which my kids say is remarkably like my talking voice and that’s what makes it so good (this unsolicited observation is one of endless reasons I’m eternally grateful to be their mother) was on hiatus for a long time. I’m not used to accessing this part of me.

I’ve been feeling so badly about myself lately—actually for a long time—about how little I’ve accomplished since my last book came out 3 years ago. But yesterday this mini refrigerator light bulb went off. All the things I thought were filler, were time fillers, were not significant enough to give credit to were actually all necessary to get me to here, a place where I’m ready to tackle something big on my own.

With FLOW I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. To be heard and respected. To value my own opinion and worthiness. I let myself be treated like a light weight, a fluff ball, an intellectual subordinate. I gave myself no credit for who I was in the process and allowed the denigration of all I brought to the project to take over.

That destroyed my creative soul for awhile.

And I couldn’t put myself out there again.

Turns out I was putting myself out there in different ways. Building confidence, composure, conviction in who I am and what I do.

Donating a kidney was all about bravery and selflessness. Looking at a bigger picture and putting someone else first. Staring into the unknown and not running away.

Running a PTA was all about leadership and vision. Communication and organization. Creating systems and forging new paths. 

Being a more present mother was all about attention and focus. Living in the moment. Love. Empathy. Understanding. Instead of being so wrapped up in the side projects I always had going on I was able to be a better part of my family.

I’m feeling a little flow. Not much. This isn’t effortless like it used to be. I’m editing and revising as I type instead of letting it pour out with ease.

But that’s ok.

It’s still here.

Now it’s time to nurture it a bit.

Friday, September 21, 2012

day 2: ideas flowing

Menopause. Kidneys. Crazy inventions.

I'm finally in a place where I can imagine delving, diving back into a project. There were so many things to write flowing through me today but I never got to put words to keyboard.

That though, isn't my 40 day goal.

Tomorrow I start the day writing.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

put one foot in front of the other

I stopped writing. Abruptly screeched to a halt something that had become meaningful and personal and enriching and sustaining.

I only started writing on a regular basis about a month or so before Flow, my last book was published. More than once I'd been asked what my writing practice was and I was ashamed to admit I didn't have one.

I felt like a phony. In spite of this big book, my dream project, about to hit shelves everywhere, I didn't consider myself a writer.

So I started writing. I set myself up with a 40 day challenge and it was hard. I'd grapple with ideas, struggle with sentences, debate whether or not I should it the publish button on this blog.

Was anything I had to say worth it? Would anyone care? Would people realize I was faking this author thing and call me out on it?

But I kept writing.

I wrote the experience of sending a dream project out into the world. The thrill, the excitement, the despair, the crushed hopes, the frustration of it not doing well, the yearning it would do better.

As that came to a close I was lost about what next. But I kept writing, often about just that.

Then I donated a kidney and my subject matter and reason for being melded again. I had purpose and substance and meaning.

I wrote that journey from even before I knew it was starting through the months and months of anxiety and joy and endless unknowns.

After that I froze. I was healing. My brother was doing great. But I couldn't write anymore.

I couldn't feel.

I couldn't create.

I couldn't breathe.

I was petrified at the most basic of levels and didn't know how to get out.

But I'm feeling that perhaps in all that time writing had become a lifeline and I'd been denying myself a vital outlet. That expression is necessary. That even when no else one is listening, it's important to hear yourself.

So I'm starting at the very beginning. One step at a time. 40 days of putting words down, of thinking, of feeling, of crying, of creating. And then who knows.