Why I Love My Fireplace

I was putting up pictures to go with my people up on Ancestors.combenandamanda when I came across this picture of the recalcitrant brother and my cousin A. standing in front of my grandma’s fireplace.

Though our fireplace lacks the gold insert, everything else about it is the same–those bricks, the white surround, the mirror on top.

It broke my heart and made me happy to realize that’s the source of my deep and abiding love for my fireplace.  It reminds me of my grandma.

Let me tell you something that will tell you just about all you need to know about my grandma: A. is wearing my grandma’s wedding dress, to play in, because my grandma delighted in seeing us enjoy it, and she had no desire to see it just kept in a box, unused.

Forget a Husband, I’m Just Going to Marry Me

I wonder if marrying yourself is illegal under the anti-same-sex marriage statutes?  Hmm.

That’s neither here nor there.  What did I do today, you ask?  Oh, I got my oil changed, went to the grocery store, bought a hammer, bought a rubber mallet, and FINISHED UP MY COMPOST PILE!

That’s right.  I, myself, finished pounding in the posts and did not even injure myself once at all, even though there was metal and a hammer.  And I hooked the chicken fence to the posts and trimmed it to the right length and I threw the stuff I’d been saving in the freezer to it and the dead pepper plants and the thorny thing (though it did fight back) and the ashes from the fireplace.

I feel like strutting around my yard like a bantam rooster.

I Barely Believe It Myself

As you know, when I was in Charleston, I stayed on the top floor of the hotel, which, was not very tall, but for me, was way high up.  And the elevator had a glass back.  When you got into the elevator, you could see clear down into the courtyard below.

On the last day, when I rode the elevator for the last time, I watched out the back, as I decended five stories.  It was scary, but more thrilling than scary.

And then this–this week has been mildly terrible on almost every front.  I guess you could probably tell by the enthusiasm with which I plunged into learning about my dead relatives.  I needed a task I could enjoy and make progress on.  Anyway, yesterday, I was all like “I will leave this place and treat myself to sushi for lunch.”  And so I walked down the stairs and out the door.

It took me a while because my fucking ankle was all “Oh, it’s going to get cold.  It might rain.  I can’t work under these circumstances,” but the whole time I was walking down the steps, I was thinking about how stupid it was that my ankle, which is perfectly capable of bending, would choose now not to.

When I got to the bottom, I thought about how last year, when the elevator broke, I had to call the Professor to come and get me because I was too terrified to walk down the stairs.  Not just terrified, but you know, in a complete and full-blown anxiety attack where the body just was not going to do it.

I mention all this because there is no reason for the change, except that the giant cocktail of chemicals that is my body is getting massively reshuffled because we’re treating this PCOS shit.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not fearless or anything, suddenly.  It’s just that I’m afraid differently, where it seems to be in my head and not a complete, whole body meltdown.

It’s hard for me to explain, and so I don’t try as often as I should, how different I feel.

And yet, I feel like there’s something important in this experience that is necessary to impart.  Before, I did not feel abnormal.  There were some things going on with my body I didn’t like, but I figured that everyone has those things.  Being in my body, I didn’t usually think “Oh my god, this whole thing is just not normal!”

I just thought that I wasn’t trying hard enough, that I had, in fact, rejected trying hard enough in preference to not making myself miserable.

I mean, okay, here’s two examples.  1.  Planting the daffodils.  All in all, I probably spent four hours planting daffodils.  Previously, the minute I stopped moving–probably the first time I plopped down in the grass next to the dog to take a rest–it would have been very unpleasant.  I would have felt bad and then sore and I would have put off digging the rest of the bulbs.  If I had managed to plant them all, I would have come inside, sat on the couch, and fallen asleep.  Not “Oh, I’m going to take a nap” but dozed off without choice.  When I got to bed, I would have slept, but been very conscious of how much my muscles really, really hurt.

This time, I planted the daffodils, rolled around on the ground with the dog, planted more daffodils, watched some tv, went to bed, certainly felt like every muscle was kind of humming and resorting inself, but it wasn’t painful.  It wasn’t really unpleasant.

2.  Walking around Charleston.  The Wednesday I was in Charleston, I walked around all day.  I walked around the city.  I walked around the conference.  I walked around the hotel.  Walk walk walk.  Previously, if I’d done that, not only would my feet be killing me, but I would ache all over and be exhausted and wiped out for the rest of the day, if not also the next.

But now, all I noticed was that my feet hurt–probably because I need new sneakers.

And I’m not in better shape than I was before.  I haven’t walked the dog since this summer because I didn’t want to exaserbate her knee and now she’s not supposed to walk until the end of December.  And I certainly haven’t gone out walking at 5:30 in the morning without her.

But how my body works is clearly slowly changing.

In ways, this whole thing annoys me.  I am still annoyed that we didn’t catch it earlier.  I am still annoyed that my being fat was always, always seen as a problem that reflected poorly on me as a person and not a symptom of a pretty damn major problem with how my body was working.

And, I am a little scared, too, which I know is corny to admit, but realizing, for instance, that my great paralyzing fear of heights–not the fear itself, but my body’s over-the-top reaction to it–which had gotten noticeably and progressively worse might be tied into this and could be alleviated just by tweaking some chemicals in my body… well, it makes me wonder how much of what I think is fundimentally me is open to radical revision based on slight chemical changes?

Is there some core B. or is there not?

Sometimes I’m afraid that there’s not.  That this thing called B. is just what organizes around a collection of stimuli and chemically directed responses and that change can come not just through a change in stimuli but even though a change in my chemical make-up.

I know that’s true.

I’m just having a hard time, if that is true, reconciling it with my belief that there is something fundimentally and recognizeably B. That, if you knew me when I was 15 and met me again when I was 85, there’d still be something there that told you that was me.

But maybe there’s not.

I don’t know.

Maybe the revisions can include wholesale rewrites.

Three Things

1. I always see the most beautiful leaves on the ground this time of year and wish I had some way to take them home with me.  I am embarrassed to say that I never thought about taking a picture. And even if I did, I’m not sure it would turn out that well.

2.  Dr. J., if I understand your scholarly interested, I think today’s Poetry News Round-up was compiled especially for you!

3.  I don’t believe I have ever slept so deeply and so poorly as I did last night.  Terrible dreams I couldn’t wake from.  Blech.  I don’t know if that’s a sign of too much sleep or too little.