Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, July 22, 2005


My skin feels tight, stretched to its limits, especially on my hands and feet. I'm bloated, holding water, holding on, holding in. I know this happens to people when it's ungodly hot, which it currently is, but aside from my pregnancies, it doesn't happen to me. DIdn't happen to me. Now, it happens to me, it seems. I'm worried, scared, somehow angry with myself for whatever I'm not doing that I ought to be doing that would allow my body to let go.

My throat feels tight with stress, anxiety, anger, sadness.

My chest feels tight, too. That's panic. Hello, panic, my old friend.

I walked this morning, even though it was in the 80s by 8:30, when I left. Walking has become an addiction. People glance at me worriedly as I pant my way up the hills at least a few times a week, no matter the weather. We live in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, and there is no getting around some pretty steep ascents on the way home if I want to actually go somewhere on my walks, which I do. So, yeah, I often pant, and redden, and look a little shaky on my now-swollen legs. I'm not surprised they look at me that way.

This morning, as I strode my way to Starbucks and my "you can make it back up the hill" grande decaf light vanilla-mocha frappuccino, I was listening to Anne Lamott's "Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith," which I got from my Audible.com subscription. As I listened to her speak about struggles and faith and parenting and letting go, I felt a slow loosening.

Here is what I heard: I'm imperfect. I make mistakes. I am, nonetheless, deserving of love. And I am not alone. I don't have to hate myself for my shortcomings. I can, I should, try to work on them, but I do not have to hate myself for them. They are part of my package, part of me, and I'm not the only one who was packaged this way. I am not unworthy. As my therapist would say, I'm good enough.

Yes, I know I sound like Stuart Smalley. But it's true. I am good enough, I am smart enough and, goshdarnit, people like me. Not everyone, and not always. But they do. I need to, too. I need to let go. I need to lighten up, to loosen up. I don't want to be tight any more. I want to be able to bend and stretch and move easily within my skin and my mind, and even my soul, whatever that means.

And so, on the way back from Starbucks, as the both the heat and I climbed back up the hill and my face grew redder and redder, wetter and wetter, I drank my frappuccino, stretched my arms above my head, shook out my wrists, took deep breaths, turned off the iPod, and let my mind wander unfettered.

I'm home again, and tight again--a phone call from N's teacher about his potty issues, a work-related issue, an unhappy silence--but I had those moments of looseness and freedom and of being OK about being me, and that will get me through the rest of the day.

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