This is a very small t shirt that fits me when I am also very small. People look at me funny when I complain about recent weight gain. At a petite 5 foot 4, and having lived life for long and recent periods at the most comfortable weight for a small person, as well as the most uncomfortable, and knowing I far prefer the former, going up a whole size or two in mere months really does make a huge difference in how I feel. On Day 15, in spite of fatigue, aches and depression, I forced myself to exercise, on behalf of the small strong me that is currently buried inside the less small, less strong me. Because New Yorkers are fighters, regardless of size.
Get used to it. Any artmaking challenge involving matters of the heart as inspiration is going to have more than one appearance by Henry the cat, here proving to be the ideal model by immediately working the perfect pose with the provided pipe cleaner heart prop.
Last week I became, and still am, addicted to the live feed of April the Giraffe, now well past 15 months pregnant and continuing to be due any minute. Mostly she walks around the edges of her pen, pauses, snacks, hangs her head, and looks forward to her human visitors who touch her and leave. Her mate, Oliver, is in the next pen, visible, but mostly out of reach. Her pain is obvious in her awkward gait and her ungainly body stretched to its limit with the burden she carries, but her kind, even in captivity, and relative safety, knows not to betray weakness lest she become vulnerable to attack. She doesn’t sleep much. On Day 17 I realized I am obsessed with April the Giraffe, because I am April the Giraffe. The only difference being that no one really expects her to have a life beyond this mindless routine, which has way more followers than mine ever will, and she, presumably, will one of these days unburden herself and have something beautiful to show for it, that people actually care about.
My mood didn’t improve much after that. Plus a headcold crashed the party of my usual gang of physical ills and together wrecked the joint. Whenever I find myself at a low point in present circumstances or conditions, I keep going back to moments when I unimaginably and unpredictably left similar low points behind, moments I exceeded my own expectations and defied those of everyone around me. It’s sad but helpful to remind myself both that “I’ve had worse” so many times and survived, and that “I’ve had better” soon after. I seem to be stuck in a series of worsts without the betters lately. But my first tattoo, the sword of the spiritual warrior, will celebrate its 18th anniversary this summer, and in all that time I have many times thought I’d never see another summer, only to see my entire life change, so it remains a constant reminder that I still have some fight left in me - and on me.
On Day 19 I visited the magical wonderland of shopping known as Target (pronounced Tar – ZHAY in the French manner for true enthusiasts). When I left NYC for Boston back in 2001, I pretty much created a household and a wardrobe from the offerings at this store. Life goes in cycles. I moved house last summer and I am still in the honeymoon phase of assembling and arranging just the right items to make this more than a living space, in fact, a true expression of who I am and how I want to be for the many years I hope to be living here. I spend so much time at home, it better be a reflection and extension and reinforcement of who I am. So, being in Vermont five years now, I don’t miss Boston, but turns out there’s a Target less than an hour’s drive away, and I do miss Target, to whom I am grateful for my new perfect throw pillows.
Part of my resumed home décor enthusiasm involved buying a beautiful batik wall hanging called Tree Lovers, of which this image is a closeup. The full panel features two tree beings intertwined, yet separately bearing fruit and flowers, connected but individual. The sun streams through it and creates a lovely colorful glow, as well as a haze of wishful thinking
This has been a week of circling around, circling back. Of reaching what seem to be intolerable limits and somehow finding the strength to keep going. As of this writing, April and I are still pacing and pausing, feeding and waiting. Henry is still striking perfect poses. I am further along on a journey, in a place where I can look back to other places and other versions of me, and sort out what remains and what falls away, like this poem I wrote 16 years ago in the space between my New York Life and my Boston Life, a space where I am who I always am and will be, wherever I go, whatever I do next. The poem still speaks for me, and to me, and true. A whole woman is a heavy burden.