Thursday, August 28, 2014

"I'm sure he'll be fine."

Pretty brilliant take on illness and death. And it's English, so shallowness, lies, awkwardness abound,

Sunday, August 17, 2014


A few days ago, I was on the back of a black and white pinto, trotting around an exercise arena. And because I'm me, my eyes welled up with tears as we shuffled across the ring together.

I rode when I was a kid, on and off, for about ten years. I was a complete horse girl. I read every book, watched every movie, and every Christmas and birthday I nourished a small hope that maybe this was the time I'd get my own horse. Like most kids with that same hope, I never did. But I kept up my lessons, through moves and falls. I was a timid rider, anxious even, but I think that spoke to how much I loved them, that I stood up to myself and my fears.

I've never stopped loving them, never stopped gasping when I encounter one unexpectedly.

So aboard this little paint, in an English saddle, I started to feel like perhaps there was a part of me that wasn't gone forever. I spoke to her with my body, the old words coming up with ease. Nothing fancy or advanced at all, but when the owner of the barn told me I was "a good little rider," I flushed with a pride that I rarely feel, smile impossible to hold back.

In those moments, my body was not broken, or fucked up, or wrong.

A few times I had thoughts of, "Should I be using my arms this way?" "Am I hurting myself?" but I quashed them. I didn't care. And though my muscles complained, sometimes bitterly, later, I stand by it.

Blinking back those tears in the arena, I had a distinct feeling of this is it. This is what I need. After all this time, this is what it is. A girl and a horse.

I realized, finally, completely, that the path back to myself is not one I will walk alone.

I'm not unique in this, I realized after obsessive googling. It's not easy to find a barn when you're in the city. Even if I can't make regular lessons happen right now, I'm going to do everything I can. Here are programs for the other horse girls out there, that I'll be looking into as well.

Big Sky Yoga Retreats
My Feet Take Wings -- Breast Cancer Support Program
Riding Beyond
Horse Power for Life

Happy riding, my lovelies.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Fault

Away again this week loves, so here's my recent post for ABC News, on The Fault in Our Stars. This is the longest I've gone without writing here! Also the longest I've gone without seeing a doctor. (Don't worry, there's still a whole mess of shit to talk about.)

Now I'm off to a darker place, to see the perseids.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hello from the Omega Institute

Just to say that I am away this week, up at a writing workshop in Rhinebeck (with Cheryl Strayed...ahhhh!). Will write when I'm back, loves. For now, here's a mushroom outside my cabin. Medicinal? Magic? Who knows.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A farewell to boobs

Yes, my shirt is falling down, and yes, those are drunk eyes (and yes my beautiful friend looks very amused by my silliness). It was my farewell to boobs party, two years ago tonight. After this I went and ate loads of french fries at Pomme Frites. I somehow tucked everything away and had a fucking fantastic time.

As evidenced by the drunk eyes and real (and spectacular) titties hanging out.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

And in short, I was afraid.

This week was the two year anniversary of my diagnosis, and to acknowledge the day, I planned to walk the circumference of Manhattan. I spent a lot of time thinking about what this act would mean or not mean. I thought about the way my dog circles me. I imagined walking a lasso around the island where I received my diagnosis and most of my treatment. But what does it mean? plagued me for while in the days leading up to the walk, until I settled on an answer: that it means whatever the fuck I say it means.

Satisfied with that, I thought about my route in the most basic of ways. That I would walk up the west side, along the Highline for its length, and let my feet guide the rest of the way. I would walk down the east side, maybe along 5th Avenue. I bought a backpack, and a fresh set of socks, and moleskins for my heels.

Morning of, I thought about how much water I should drink and how often. I thought about wearing my prosthetic, but left it out. It might get sweaty, and anyway maybe the day was about truth.

I thought about my hair, and braided it back as best I could, and wrapped an old chemo scarf around to hold it back. I thought about what those scarves were still doing in my drawer, a year and half after I stopped wearing them.

On the train into the city, I thought about the stares my body, one breasted, received. I wondered if it would be like that all day.

At the beginning of the walk, I thought about what a terrible, stupid idea this was. An hour in, progressing quickly, enjoying the rhythm and sweat, I changed my mind. I thought about finishing, tired and dirty, twelve hours later and taking the ferry home, sailing off into the sunset with the city at my back, while the credits rolled.

What I did not think about, was how I would feel if that didn't happen.

I did not think about how hot it was. I did not think about getting tired, and not knowing where to go. I did not think I could get lost on an uptown/downtown grid.

I did not think about the comforting pull of an icy subway car at the hottest part of the day. I did not think about the possibility of not finishing, because I am not a fucking quitter.

But late in the afternoon, just over halfway done, I'd somehow added something like 4 miles to my journey. It should have been about 17 at that point , but I was over 21. As I walked east in Inwood, I bought a coco helado that melted within seconds. I was heading east, but somehow I came to 10th Avenue and was confused. I continued and reached an oddly desolate Harlem River Drive. I got suddenly very hot, and sweat poured down, and I thought about what would happen if I fainted somewhere along that road in the middle of a weekday.

As I doubled back to the 1 train, and waited on the platform, I thought about what it meant to fail at this. That perhaps it meant, this (whatever it symbolizes) can't be accomplished in a day. That I can't do it alone. That the limits of the body are real. I rethought what I thought earlier in the day, in St. John the Divine, while considering the meaning of the Xu Bing phoenix sculptures installed in the nave.

At home, I stretched my muscles and felt hollow. I thought I would feel victorious. A friend texted and asked if anything surprised me during the walk. I wrote back that I did not expect to see blue herons and egrets splashing in Inwood Park. I thought they were catching fish, but it might have been garbage. It was impossible to tell which.