This isn’t great for me because I’m really susceptible to sleep deprivation. Like, remember that time I tried to sell my newborn on the internet?
But I digress (probably another function of sleep deprivation).
I was saying to a friend that grief has changed my biological responses to things. Like sleep. And eating. I wake with this perpetually queasy and anxious tummy. My head hurts. Food tastes different, like it’s wrong or spoiled. It turns my stomach.
Even my heartbeat feels erratic, rushed, wild.
I’m not particularly worried about this. I know I’ll sleep eventually, and I have 30 extra pounds I could stand to lose, so it’s not like I’m going to damage my health.
I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But until I get to it, it’s pretty freaking uncomfortable, messy, and frustrating.
I’m a person who likes order and control, afterall. So to be throwing myself head first into the ugly business of death is different and difficult, to say the least.
It reminds me of a perpetual hangover, although I’ve consumed no alcohol. And do you know what that reminds me of? Morning sickness.
When I was pregnant with both of my babies, I had vicious morning sickness for the entire first trimester, more so with my daughter than with my son.
It was like my body staged a revolution and revolted against the way it had always been.
But I had faith, even on the worst days when I could barely stand up, that it would eventually go away and something beautiful and miraculous would happen as a result of that hardship.
I went to E.’s grave this week on a really bad day. I’d been crying all day for a variety of reasons, mainly because I had news and I wanted to share with E., and I couldn’t pick up the phone and call her.
I knelt at her grave and fell forward sobbing with my head in the grass. I wept until I could barely breathe, curled in a ball at the head of her plot, where I’d placed a purple, potted mum.
When I finally came up for air, a dragonfly alighted on one of the flowers.
I gasped and startled it away, but all of a sudden there was peace in my heart, a sense of my heartbeat slowing and returning to a normal rate.
E. wore a dragonfly pin on her wedding day, and was buried in her wedding dress with the pin in place.
How could it not be her, tenderly reaching out to set my heart at ease, a shred of order and connection amongst the maelstrom of pain and loss?
Some of you might be rolling your eyes and saying, “There she goes writing about grief again.”
I get it. I’m starting to bore even myself.
But that’s how I process. I’m going to obsess and cry and mourn and wail until it feels right to stop and return to my regularly scheduled program.
I’m going to continue loving, and looking among the wreckage for those little signs, with every beat of my broken heart.
Posted as part of the WordPress daily prompt challenge.
Chaos | The Daily Post
Lately I’ve been subjected to a glut of posts on social media about the social convention of shaving for women, and why it is holding us back as feminists.
If you haven’t seen these posts, Google it. It is a thing.
There seems to be a general consensus that if you are a woman AND you shave, then you are allowing “the Man” to hold you hostage to misogynistic standards of beauty to which we have been systematically and habitually brain washed since childhood.
Apparently, because there are not any more important things going on in the world, like whether or not a flaming narcissist with a general disregard for human rights takes the throne of the free world, a conversation about the bodily hair of women has been started. Feminists have been called to arms over the fact that the beauty industry has duped us lady folk into believing it is more esthetically pleasing to have shiny, hair free flesh.
My Hairy Feminist Sisters, I salute you, but. . .
Here’s the thing:
People need to shut the eff up about the fact that women shave their arm pits, legs, and/or lady bits. I respect your right to be hairy, but my preference for a sleek physique does not make me less of a woman, feminist, or a crunchy-tree-hugging-hippie.
I get that people are just trying to stick up for women’s rights, and I am seriously not mocking anyone who choses not to shave. I also understand that there are biological reasons we have fur, yadda, yadda, yadda. But as with everything else directed at us women (probably including this post), this advocacy for pubic hair comes across as judgmental, at least to me.
I espouse this rant as someone who has done both- been hairy and clean shaven. At one point in my life I chose not to shave, not because of any political agenda, but because I was curious about how it would feel and what it would look like. It was cool.
Actually it wasn’t cool, it was warm, cuz you know, extra hair. But you get what I’m saying.
My body hair at one point prompted my brother to tell me he could lose his car keys in my leg fur. Others made jokes about having Jerry Garcia in a headlock. One guy I dated at the time told me he loved it and found my arm pit hair incredibly arousing because it resembled two additional vaginas. (??? Men. AmIright?)
I took all of this feedback with a grain of proverbial salt because I was content with myself, in my own bushy skin.
Over the years, I’ve just realized I prefer to be clean shaven. I don’t spend a great deal of time shaving, and don’t spend a lot of money on shaving products. My hair is light and fair and does not need frequent pruning to begin with, not that I should even feel compelled to justify any of this to anyone.
But lately in the shower, when I reach for my pink lady razor, I’ve been feeling a twinge of discomfort, like I’m doing something wrong or embarrassing to womenkind.
Well, no more shall I feel less than for shaving.
Look, I’m still a granola and animal-right’s loving hippie peace freak. I still do all sorts of crunchy things. I wash my face with organic jojoba oil. I practice meditation and take daily walks to “ground myself.” I try to be mindful. I voted for Bernie in the primary. I purchase cruelty free beauty supplies. I breastfed my daughter until she was four years old.
I am also a feminist who stands staunchly for women’s right to choice, freedom, and equality.
And yeah, I shave. I buy pink razors and shaving cream that smells like raspberries. I do.
I don’t do it for my husband or society (although 20 years ago when I graduated from college and dutifully read “What Color is Your Parachute” it was the general recommendation to shave up before an interview and so far this advice has worked pretty well for me).
I shave because I find it pleasing to my own esthetic, and because it is my right and my choice to do so, just as it is someone else’s right to grow their armpit hair and dye it rainbow colors (I kid you not. Google it. It’s a thing.)
Again, I have no problem whatsoever with women who feel more comfortable al natural. What I take issue with is the judgement that comes along with these posts that if we do shave we are not as good at being women and feminists.
Don’t we face enough judgement and vitriol for our every move as women and mother’s? I know, as a working mom, I never feel like I am doing anything right, let alone living up to the grand and splendid tenet of feminism that Yes! We can have it ALL.
Please. I beg of you. Let me shave in peace.
I’d like to leave you with some lyrics from my OG feminist troubadour, Ani Difranco’s song “Little Plastic Castle”:
People talk about my image like I come in two dimensions
Like lipstick is a sign of my declining mind,
Like what I happen to be wearing the day that someone takes a picture
Is my new statement for all of womankind.
I wish they cold see us now, in rubber bras and leather shorts
Like some ridiculous new team uniform
For some ridiculous new sport
Quick someone call the girl police
And file a report.
I dunno if Ms. Difranco shaves, or not. But she got that one right on the nose.
Momaste to all of you women and moms out there who are working hard at whatever it is you do. Take a minute to accept, appreciate and love yourself just the way you are. You’re fabulous and I’m so happy you’re here. The mom and woman in me bows to the mom and woman in you.
Last week found me writing a lot about Patty, who died in her sleep.
It felt okay.
That is, the writing felt okay. It certainly did not feel okay that my friend died.
Writing felt like the right way to honor and feel my grief, and to mourn the loss of someone I knew and loved for many years.
I want to sincerely thank all of you for listening, for bearing witness with me during this time of great sadness and regret. Your comments and virtual support have meant so much to me.
Life carries on.
I’m already getting swept up in the currents and tides of it as it carries me forward. . .
The greatest sorrow of losing Patty was the missed opportunity I had to reconnect with her during her life. A very dear friend has suggested I might still communicate with her and that she might even answer me in some way shape or form.
Like the fluttering of a butterfly.
But it is hard and sad to know I’ll never hear Patty’s voice again, that I had the chance up until about two weeks ago to hear her voice.
Let it go, Darlin’, she would say. It’s okay.
So, I’m feeling ready for life to go on. I’m feeling ready for the memories of Patty to bind me to her evermore, as opposed to the stranglehold of grief.
I know it is what she would want.
I also know she would be happy to know I’ve reconnected with a couple of old friends who were mutual friends with her and that I’d also lost touch with over the past years of working motherhood.
I’ve been more cognizant of the urges I have to connect with people, and if it feels right, I shoot them a text or dial their number. I don’t wait. We never have as much time as we think we do.
Maybe that is Patty’s gift to me– the awareness that we need to connect here and now while we have the chance.
Or maybe that is just something I am telling myself to be okay with the loss.
Either way, I am feeling peaceful about it.
In the vein of life moving on, it also seems like the appropriate time to share with you that we got a new dog.
For the sake of my blog, I will call her Muffin. She’s a mutt. We’ve had her for about three weeks. She came into our lives a month to the day after we lost Doggy, and Muffin has brought us joy, love, and healing. In this instance, a replacement pet was exactly what we needed. And she is perfect for us.
I’d hesitated to say anything earlier, because of the trauma with Doggy, I wanted to make sure that this Muffin was the real deal.
And she is.
I’ll sign off of this post with lyrics from a Peter Gabriel song, “I Grieve.” It is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers, and it has brought me so much comfort so many times in my life:
Life carries on
in the people I meet
in everyone on the street.
In all the dogs and the cats
in the flies and the rats
in the rot and the rust
in the ashes and the dust.
Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on.
It’s just the car that we ride in
a home we reside in,
the face that we hide in
The way we are tied in.
And life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on.