Artful Bitching and How To Realize When Your Body Is Telling You Something
Internet, I’ve been away, and I apologize. Typing has been extremely painful these last few days, so I have been resting my hands. I have a finger injury. Okay, it’s more like a fingernail injury. I can’t actually tell what it is because (if you’re squeamish, now would be a good time to just skip to paragraph two) every time I try to trim back the cuticle around the middle finger of my right hand, blood and pus come oozing out, blocking my view of the wound site. CLH thought it might be a splinter, but I argued that a splinter should not make your finger ooze, nor should it make it numb. Plus, I should be able to see a splinter. And all I can see at this point is layer upon layer of ragged skin around my nail where I have been tearing away with my manicurist’s tools for the past few days. That, and some dried blood. This is now the third or so mystery injury that I’ve sustained on the right side of my body. And if you think I take these kinds of things lightly, well then you have me mistaken for someone who is not ultra sensitive to every little thing and not just a little bit woo-woo.
The past few days have been odd and great.
I made an appointment to see a cranio-sacral therapist to help out with my ear stuff. CLH has been hounding me about making an appointment with this therapist for probably more than a year now, but I have been resisting. I didn’t want anymore turtle-shell rattle-waving in my general direction from another “alternative therapist” before I went to a western MD and had my head x-ray’d for this ear issue. You’d think I would be a little more open to the turtle-shell rattle folks, being practically married to someone who does alternative healing for a living. But, I can’t help but have a bad taste in my mouth. After my original cranio sacral therapist all but kicked me to the curb two years ago, giving me the excuse that she just didn’t think we should work together anymore… and after the naturopath I saw dismissed me after five minutes of consultation, I didn’t want anything but a big, deadly machine to tell me what was wrong with my ears. Unfortunately, the stress of trying to rent this house has really exacerbated this ear thing lately, so, I decided to give in and see this illustrious Dr. Pat CLH has been raving about.
And, man alive, am I glad I did. She is everything CLH said she would be.
A little background: cranio sacral therapy is a healing modality in which the therapist, by subtly manipulating the plates of the skull, allows for the movement of cerebrospinal fluid within the head and spine. The general effect is that the patient feels relaxed, relieved, and maybe a little lightheaded. That’s my scientific understanding of it, anyway. I’m sure a quick Google search will reveal that lots of people think it’s pure quackery. To me, though, all medicine is just Dumbo’s magic feather in a labcoat. And I say, whatever modality gets you feeling like you’re at your optimum, go for it. I do things like accupuncture and craniosacral because I can physically feel the results, and the results are generally awesome. I am fully willing to admit that it might just be me convincing myself that it’s working, but who cares? I’m of the belief that a little bit of positive thinking never hurt a healing process. Anywho, I could actually FEEL the effects of Dr. Pat’s work. Not only could I feel the intended movement in my head, which left me feeling slightly nauseous but happy that SOMEthing was unsticking itself up there, I had some intense visualizations that were deeply moving.
Now, as if giving a woman $70 to gently rock my head back and forth doesn’t sound desperate-for-relief and turtle shell rattle-y enough, my visualizations were pretty damned outta-this-world, too. My visualizations during my therapy sessions are always revealing in this profound sort of way, and what I saw while I was laying on Dr. Pat’s table was nothing short of THE GREATEST METAPHOR IN MY LIFE EVER. I saw with my mind’s eye that the inside of the left side of my head was all pink and plump and juicy- it looked kind of like what a healthy intestinal tract might look like, or maybe a healthy brain- all squiggly and bunched together, teeming with blood vessels and shiny with some deep-inside-the-body lubricant. The right side (the side where my throbbing, aching ear lives) looked like something out of a Hollywood set. It was a old tin box, irregularly shaped, and lining its insides was fuzzy grey mold. I had the sensation of old age, and neglect, and a little bit of Boo Radley’s house. Then I had the feeling that Dr. Pat was reaching in there- I could see hands gently scooping out that mold. And I was grateful- grateful that someone wasn’t grossed out by the state of my head, and grateful that she was brave enough to get in there and clean some of the crap out.
And that was all at 10 am that day.
Later on that same day, I had a great talk with my friend Tracy about writing. She’s an aspiring writer, and she works part time for a non-profit that I do the books for. She’s such an inspiration to me. She just up and decided one day that she’d had enough of her own excuse making, so she applied to a graduate program for creative writing, and now, two years and a degree later, she’s got a mostly finished manuscript for a play she’s written that’s ready for production. She’s been trying to talk me into signing up for this same program for some time now. Always curious about her process, and excited about her nearing graduation, I asked her to tell me the greatest lesson she’s learned about her writing. And she told me that, prior to her program, she never made time for her writing. Even when she finally learned to schedule time to do it daily, she would double and triple book herself with appointments so she could avoid the computer. Now that she’s gone through the program, she’s learned that she needs to treat writing like the daily exercise/job it is. I cannot thank her enough for sharing that little nugget of wisdom. While she was talking, I thought about how much I needed to learn about making regular time for my writing. I shared the image of the musty tin box on my right side with her… and suddenly my brain made a synaptic jump. The right side of my body… the side that scientists say is the impetuous, artsy, feeling side… is starting to mold from disuse. The left side, the one that does math and science, the one that balances my checkbook, and the checkbooks of my clients, is alive and well. The mysterious bug bite that has taken a chunk out of my right leg… the fingernail injury… the ear…. all on my right side. All right side, right brain, art brain functionality experiencing a major breakdown. It was like my right side was just screaming at me to DO SOMETHING already. I’m a FREAKING BOX OF MOLD, FOR GOD’S SAKE. It was saying that I needed to replace that box with something vibrant, something pulsating with life and creativity! Something worthy of the right side of my brain, the side that writes and dreams and drifts off into plot lines all day long.
Well, damn. That little revelation was well worth $70.
That night, feeling still slightly queasy from my session with Dr. Pat, I decided to take a nap before heading out to see Lindsay perform her burlesque routine (which was AWESOME!). I couldn’t sleep, though, because aside from the general grunting and laughing noise that was coming from the backyard full of CLH’s friends through the windows, it sounded like someone was hammering on the pipes DIRECTLY underneath my bedroom floor. You see, we’ve found someone to live in and pay rent for the basement. It’s a small step to getting this place full of money paying renters. She’s been moving in for the past few weeks and it has suddenly been made very clear to me that there is NO NOISE BARRIER between the basement and the two rooms in the house I spend the most time in. I can hear EVERYthing from below. So, in a rage at not being able to get one moment’s peace in my own home, I took off for the show early. And I drove to the coffeehouse that sells my favorite coffee and I hunkered down with a book and an americano for an hour before the show.
Of course, it never fails. Whenever I am by myself in public, I attract all sorts. An older man sat down next to my table and asked me what time the place closed. Now, I’ve heard ALL kinds of come-on lines… everything from “I like your hair” to “Do you know of a good place to dance around this city? ‘Cause I was thinking you could show me some time…” This guy, though, wasn’t trying to guess my sign. He was actually interested in the time. And when I told him, he followed up by asking if this coffee shop had always been a coffee shop. I closed my book, turned to him and the dog eared stack of papers he was holding in his lap and settled in a for a long conversation with another member of the I-Am-Weird-So-I-Will-Talk-To-YOU-Pretty-Accommodating-Lady club.
Thing is, though, he wasn’t weird. On the contrary. He was one of the most interesting strangers I have ever met. He was a screenplay writer. That rumpled stack of paper in his lap that looked like it was covered in Klingon was actually a work in progress. Some of his screenplays had been turned into movies that were being shown at Seattle’s International Film Festival! And he seemed genuinely interested in my writing when I said I was experimenting with this blog. He wanted to know what my message was. What it was I saying in my blog. And because “contemplative musings about mostly nothing” or “artful bitching” seemed a little too vague, I said I wasn’t quite sure yet. That I was still trying to figure it out. Mostly my writing is exactly what a blog was designed for: diary entries about my chronic ear and intestinal blockages and also a place to moan about how much it sucks to shop at the health food store. And since that sounded incredibly self indulgent and not just a little lame as hell, I decided I would spend more time thinking about it over the next few days.
I haven’t quite reached any decisions yet about anything. I am just so grateful for this new awareness in my life. so I am going to sit with it for a few days while my finger heals.
So, Thank you, Tracy, for teaching me that it’s okay to hang a sock on the door when I’m busy writing. Thank you, Lindsay, for showing me that you still need to practice your craft even when you don’t think it’s perfect. Thank you, strange dude at coffee shop, for forcing me to dig down deep for my message. And thank you, Dr. Pat, for revealing to me the rusty insides of my creative machinery… and for the hand in clearing out all that space to make room for more writing.