Sunday, August 29, 2010

Someone's Gonna Be Offended Anyway

I hope I don’t offend anyone with this one, and it’s not that I’m talking about it because I know someone who’s died lately, but this phrase has always bothered me.

“He/She went to be with the Lord.”

It sounds so passive to me. Almost absent minded or belatedly. Like there’s no thought, no effort behind it.

I went to be with the Lord.

I went to heaven.

I went to be with my mom.

I went to Barstow, California.

I went to the grocery store.

I have no plans to die anytime soon, but if/when I do go, please don’t chronicle it that way. I’m gonna throw myself wholeheartedly into the act of passing, I am.

Amy skipped joyfully to meet her Father in heaven, where they’re currently knocking back tequila shots and laughing as the best parts of her life play up on a movie screen in heaven.

Hmmm, still sounds passive.

Amy launched herself at God, and He caught her.

God grabbed Amy’s outstretched hand and yanked her upstairs.

Amy shotputted full tilt into God’s arms and now they’re dancing to Kid Cudi’s “Up Up & Away” Yes, it’s a song about marijuana. It doesn’t matter, because it’s damn catchy. So Amy and God are dancing to it. Flowery meadows and angels with harps might be there too. MIGHT.

I like that one, heh.

This lyrically is sooooooooooooo NSFW (that’s Not Safe For Work, Mom. Meaning it has a few words you’re not gonna like AT ALL.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It’s Not As Dramatic As It Sounds.

Today I gave my boss two weeks notice. I’m walking away from a job that he wants me to stay at. Granted, it’s a job I’m TEMPING at. I wanted him to hire me. He says he hasn’t had enough time to make a reasoned decision. I’ve been there over eight months, how much more time does he need? I told him if I wasn’t hired by the end of the month, I would have to move on.

So I’m moving on.

There no dramaworks with this one, though one could reason I have every right to turn on the tears. For every sign I get that it’s a crummy job market out there, I get another sign that says the jobs are out there, if you have the right connections, the right skills, the right amount of luck. I can honestly say I have not had any luck this year. I’m not saying I’m not blessed, I absolutely am. But I’m enjoying blessings that were given to me last year, the year before, many years before. I’m again thinking God is the benevolent grandparent who shows up once a year to shower me with stuff and then leaves on, I dunno, an around-the-world cruise or something, but He hopped off in Thailand to help stop sex trafficking or something and isn’t gonna be back for a longer than thought while.

Ungrateful brat. Who says God has to bless you every year, huh? Shut up and stop being dramatic. You’ll probably land another temp assignment instantly.

Part of me semi perks up at the thought of going on a new adventure. Who knows what temp assignment I will land next! It could be awesome! It could be amazing!

And yet I’ve done this so many times before, and this year alone has been filled with so many potential opportunities, and none of them blossomed into anything, that there’s no energy to hope for anything. I feel like an anonymous worker bee. I’m here. I work. I write. Repeat ten thousand times.

Interestingly enough, Aarti’s blog from last year has been rattling around my head a lot.

Around this time last year, Aarti was at the end of her rope. A year later, she’s the winner of The Next Food Network Star. That’s a huge life change. Sure, she’ll still have problems and issues, because that’s the way the world works, but her life is officially totally different.

I can’t do what Aarti does, and she worked her ass off to get where she is. I don’t envy her winning, but I do envy how her life has totally changed.

I want a total life change. I leave this job, I go temp again, it will be the same circle again. I work my ass off on my writing. I try, try, try, but I can't seem to affect any kind of change. And there is no urge, no pull, nothing tugging me in one direction or another.

I need an f’ing break is what I need. Heh.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Get In Love

Is it weird if I say that I think my bikini waxer is one of the most interesting people to listen to? Let the wincing begin (in more ways than one!)

She’s a middle aged Russian lady with stylish coiffed blonde hair, working out of a suite of offices in Beverly Hills with very reasonable rates.

Some people say she can come across a bit like a military commander, barking out orders, and if you’re not used to it, I could see how it would be a little off putting “Slide more to me!” “Turn over!” “You done!”

But all I do is ask her questions, just so I can listen to that gloriously thick Russian accent roll off her tongue. I’ve listened to her vent about how she hates clients who are late, how she has people who come up from Orange County who grab the early appointments on a Friday morning because they’re continuing on to Vegas and wanna be poolside ready, and how the Maui poster plastered to the ceiling was something her daughter sent her.

She had closed the office for a few weeks while she went on vacation so when I arrived for my appointment yesterday morning, I wanted to hear all about where she went.

Turns out she had taken one of those two week Viking river cruises that I know more than a few people have done. And she eagerly dug the cruise book out of the drawer and gave to me to page through while she worked.

She went to Paris, Italy, Germany and Prague, among other places, and she was all “Ech” about Paris. It’s not the same anymore as when she was there twenty years ago, I guess it’s too gentrified for her now. Though she didn’t say the word gentrified, she said, “Ech” which, coming from her, rolled up from the back of her throat and swirled around for at least five seconds.

But she loved Prague. LOVED Prague. “Everyone there speak English. English like you, not like me.” She showed me pictures on her Iphone of the architecture, of the flowers, of the farmer’s market, “Nothing frozen there. Everything fresh. Fresh meat, fresh vegetables.”

The wax is cooling on my inner thigh, but I don’t care because it’s a kick to hear her clucking about the churches and cathedrals. She’s trying to express how magnificent they are, how the pictures she took with her Iphone look exactly the same as in the guidebook I’m holding, and she ends up with, “Prague...I get in love.”

She’s trying to say, “I fell in love.” But that’s what came out.

“I get in love.”

I love the imagery that comes from that.

Sure everyone knows “I fell in love.” We all understand what that looks like, being taken off guard, unaware, hey, I was just walking here and I tripped over what I thought was a root in the ground and I fell in love. I wasn’t trying. It just happened.


I get in love.

Like a pool of water. I dipped a toe in. I tested it out. It was alright. Something I could handle. Maybe I thought the water would be too cold. Maybe it’s the hotub at Basil Diva Dog and Ginger Puppy’s house, and I think it’s gonna be too hot.

But it’s fine. So I get in.

I get in love.

I relax in it, I let it swirl around me, I let it lift my body up, I let it support me. I float weightlessness in it. I stare up at the sky and I close my eyes. And I’m transported, if only for a moment, maybe more, maybe less, to something bigger than me.

I’m beginning to think more and more that love is a choice. When you’re younger you’re powerless against the rush of emotions, of hormones, you’re swept away by feelings, you do irrational things in the rush of the moment.

But I don’t think that’s love. I think that’s lust. When you’re young, you don’t know the difference. When you first experience it, you have no idea what it is, but what culture, movies and the songs tell you is that it’s love, so that’s what you think love is.

Now that I’m (slightly) older, I value my time far too much to waste it. I recognize that rush of emotion, the yearning to be swept away and carried off to the land of irrationality can turn on you in an instant and cut you to the bone.

So I think love is a choice. Not tripping. Not falling. Not helpless against it.

You check it. You feel it out. You weigh your options (do I get in the hotub, or do I go watch a movie.) You make the choice to get in it. And then you let yourself be submerged and surrounded in it.

Does that sound too rational? Too guarded? Too coldly dispassionate? The least romantic thing in the world? I don’t know. I’ve never been in love, believe it or not. I’ve been swept away by lust I couldn’t control, and I’ve been cut to the bone. I know every jagged despairing edge of the Slow Fadeout, which is the Modern Man’s Cowardly Goodbye Of Choice.

But one day, it’s going to happen. I’m gonna get in love.


Monday, August 09, 2010

If You Fall, I Will Pick You Up

A few years ago, an elderly couple fell in front of my car. I was at the intersection of Wilshire and Fairfax, waiting for the light to change so I could continue east.

The couple was elderly and tentative. I remember thinking that they must not be from around here, since the traffic was scaring them. Who knows what landmark they were trying to get to (The Petersen Auto Museum?), they were cautiously edging their way south on Fairfax, arm in arm, leaning into each other. They weren’t familiar with the timed signals, so by the time the flashing hand stopped flashing and was a red solid GET YOUR ASS ACROSS THE STREET NOW hand, they had only made it halfway across.

They were scared and tried to move faster, though at this point nobody was going to run them over, even when the light turned. But they didn’t know that, their feet shuffled, and whether she tripped on something on the road, or whether she tripped on him, I don’t know.

But the woman went down. In a very dramatic fashion. Turning as she fell to reach back for her husband. It was pretty awful to watch, I can still see the whole thing happening clearly – her arms reaching out to him, him being unable to grab back, unable to stop her, the worst near miss ever.

Amazingly enough, she didn’t hurt herself too badly. Didn’t land straight back, or on her head or anything. Her husband somehow got her up and they trotted the rest of the way to the other side of the street.

The whole thing took five seconds. So fast that I was frozen at the wheel, not able to move. The guy in the car in the right lane beside me got out of his car, but didn’t move further, since the elderly husband already had his wife up and going. There was nothing else for anyone to do, except move forward, because now the light had changed.

So off we all went, and I couldn’t see the elderly couple in my rearview mirror, didn’t know if they stopped at the bus bench to take stock of any injuries, didn’t know if they made it to their destination, though I knew they had made it across. I tried to take comfort in that fact, as opposed to the awful image of her arms reaching out, and him not being able to catch her, and me frozen behind the wheel, not being able to do anything at all.


Yesterday was the fourth blood drive I hosted at my church. It’s so standard procedure at this point that I didn’t bother taking any pictures. Once again, people thanked me for hosting it, but it’s not something that requires thanks. The Red Cross does all the work, provides all the materials. All I do is browbeat my church into letting us hold it once a year. I don’t even have to browbeat people anymore into signing up, they’re all doing it willingly. For every person that was a no show, there was a walk in.

I finally managed to wiggle in to donate myself in the 2pm hour, and soundly beat the Red Hemoglobin Machine O’ Death with a personal best of 14.7 (12.5 is passing.) The nurse had no problem at all finding a vein, and had no problem getting the needle in the vein, which the staff at Children’s Hospital could take a few tips from, since I’ve been bounced three times there in the past two months when I’ve tried to donate platelets.

I chatted with the nurse while I filled up the bag, and we both sang along to Lady Antelbellum’s “Need You Now” because that’s fun to do while you’re lying on your back with a needle in your arm.

And my iron count is gangbusters. A pint of my blood is now helping other people in the Southern California area, and we collected 28 other usable pints for our fourth blood drive for a total of 29 units.

But that’s not why I think that blood drive happened yesterday.


I had decided that my reward for a successful blood drive and giving a pint of my own blood would be that I would grab a late lunch at Birds on Franklin Boulevard. I like their Mexican Caesar Shrimp Wraps, and I hadn’t been there in forever. I had sent the Bloodmobile on its merry way at 3:40pm, and I’d have enough time to do a leisurely lunch and be home in time to watch Friend O The Blog Aarti kick some more ass on The Next Food Network Star at 6pm (I get the east coast feed for some reason.)

So I’m walking back up the sidewalk on Wilcox to my car in the parking lot, pretty happy with myself for a successful blood drive, and looking forward to the Mexican Caesar Shrimp Wrap, and I hope parking isn’t a hassle, it should be kinda low key right about now—

And then I hear something. A whump? A thud? A muted cry? I turn around, and about fifty yards away is a woman on her back, her legs and arms flailing in the air, looking to the world like an overstuffed human turtle.

She’s fallen.

I think there were people farther down the street, but they were walking away from her, and after casting a look behind them to see her, kept on going.

But I can’t.

“Are you okay?” I shout to her, as I run back down the sidewalk to her. She’s now sitting up, very shaky. It appears she’s tripped on the uneven sidewalk. She thinks she’s busted her leg. “Do you want me to call 911?” She says no. She’s all shaky from the shock of it all, I guess. One of the arms on her eyeglasses have snapped, and there’s a scratch on the corner of her eye, and her palm is scraped. I tell her I have some tissues in the car, hang on, I’ll run get them.

So I run to the car to grab the emergency tissues for allergies, and come back to her. She’s sitting on the sidewalk, and people are ignoring her completely as they walk around her. She looks as though she COULD be mentally ill, but she’s not, she’s just one of those sorta downtrodden types, with the grey dried out long hair, puffy body, not great complexion, and a green fanny pack strapped around her waist bulging with a bunch of stuff.

So I sit on the sidewalk with her. “I’m Amy.” “I don’t usually meet people like this.” Is her shaky reply. She doesn’t tell me her name. She doesn’t think anything’s broken anymore. We clean up the scraped parts.

“Where were you headed?” I ask. She was going to take the bus to see her husband, who’s holed up at Kindred Hospital, on Slauson. I vaguely know where Slauson is (south of the 10), and it’s in the opposite direction of where my Mexican Caesar Shrimp Wrap is by a good thirty minutes. One way.

But I’m not annoyed, or put upon. As weird as it is, it feels like God is saying you have time to help this person out. And I respond not by saying whhhhhhyyyyyyyyy. But okay. Sure. No problem. Which is not my usual reaction. Whining is my usual reaction.

“Do you need a ride?” I say, “My car’s parked right over there.” She gingerly says okay, and I help her up, and lead her to my car.

Her name, she tells me finally, is Barbara. Her husband’s name is Ben, and a lot of people know them as “The Bs.” They go to a church over in Granada Hills, but ironically, they’ve visited my church on occasion. They really liked one of the pastors, but they haven’t attended as much since he left, and then her husband has had his health woes. He’s been at this hospital for three weeks, has another three weeks to go, and then will be transferred to a physical therapy place for a few more weeks before coming home.

She was gonna take the bus to get to the hospital. The bus takes an hour, and sometimes she has to wait for it for another hour, so by the time she makes it to the hospital, she has enough time to say hi and bye, before taking the bus back home. She visits him five days a week.

Eventually, we turn onto Slauson, and she points out the Kindred Hospital, and I pull up to the entrance. She says thanks, gets out of the car, and goes on her way. I honestly think she may have been more embarrassed about the whole thing than anything else.

I turn the car around and head back up La Cienega. I don’t know that I’ll have time for Birds now. It’s 4:40pm, I don’t have Tivo, and I really don’t wanna miss Aarti, it’s the Iron Chef America challenge for the episode today, really high stakes.

But I’m talking to God, saying Now what? Are we off on another grand adventure? Is this the start of some really weird stuff? Was this whole encounter really as simple as You telling me to get this woman off the sidewalk and give her a ride to her husband’s hospital? That’s all You want? Because, here I am, already in Obedient Mode. I hosted a blood drive. I gave blood. I picked a woman who fell up off the sidewalk and dropped her off at her husband’s hospital. Anything else?

Maybe I’ll have time to stop by Arby’s. I could get cheesesticks. Not quite the same thing as a Mexican Caesar Shrimp Wrap, but still a bit of a reward.

Hey, a reward. Now I start to wonder do I get a reward for being obedient!? Was this a test!? And now that I’ve passed it, something amazing will happen? Like how in the fairy tales, you help someone, they turn out to be a magic fish who grants you three wishes? Or Baucis and Philemon, entertaining strangers who turned out to be Zeus and Hermes, who then saved them in a Greek myth that bears more than a faint resemblance to Noah and the Ark?

While it’s human nature to wish for and hope that I be rewarded for doing good, the truth of the matter, of my life, and what being a Christian is about, is obedience without expecting a reward, or blessings or whatever. Life will simply go on the same way it would have had I not stopped to help. The only thing different is that there’s no huge guilt trip for NOT stopping to help. I didn’t help the elderly couple all those years ago. I helped a woman today. Maybe I’ve erased a cosmic debt I didn’t even know I had.

This life is about obeying and continuing. Obeying and continuing. If it sounds dreary, that is my cynicism creeping in. It’s not been a great year so far.

Another way to look at it is that I treated someone the way I would want to be treated. If I fall down in front of you, you’d BETTER stop and help me. You’d BETTER offer me a ride, because you’re just a dick if you don’t.

When I was telling my co-worker the story today, she stopped me, “You didn’t really let her in your car, did you?” “Of course I did, why wouldn’t I?” “I dunno, the way I was raised, it was never to let a strange person in your car.”

I wanted to say back, “I dunno, the way I was raised, I help someone if they need it.” But that would be snarky and then I see that elderly couple falling on Wilshire and Fairfax, and me frozen behind the wheel and I dunno. Maybe I'll carry that cosmic debt forever. I dunno.

I do manage to make it to Birds after all. And if I only eat half of the Mexican Caesar Shrimp wrap, hassle the waiter to bring me the check in a hurry and take the rest home, I can make it home in time to watch Aarti win her challenge. Hilariously, the secret ingredient she has to work with is shrimp.


So no, we didn’t have that blood drive so we could collect blood. We didn’t have it so I could beat the hemoglobin machine. And we didn’t have it so I could sing Lady Antebellum with the nurse.

All of that effort was so I could be in the right place at the right time so I could be there when a woman fell, so I could pick her up and drive her to visit her husband in a hospital thirty minutes away.

God can be really weird sometimes.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

In Which Amy Struggles To Understand ANOTHER Famous Bible Verse!

I TOLD you I’d bring it back around to religion eventually!

July sucked on a number of levels, none of which I shall talk about here because My Mother The Phone Harpy Whom I Love Very Very Much is a faithful reader of the blog, and she doesn’t need to know those particular details. Not when I can curl her hair with stories of things that happened YEARS AGO! YAHOOOOOOOOO! HOLD ON MOM! THIS ONE’S GONNA SUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

While MMTPHWILVVM and Dad, The Great Stoic Wonder were in the dark about July, my faithful friends were not, because I asked them all to pray a bunch. And a bunch more. And a BUNCH more. And things still went south. (“FOR NOW. IT WILL GET BETTER” my faithful friends, who are way more optimistic than I am, remind me.)

To which my friend Nellie sent me the good old standby verse of Romans 8: verses 26 – 27.

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

I love Nellie. ADORE Nellie. But that verse pissed me off. Because I simply don’t believe it. Heresy, I know.

But if we believe that we have the Holy Spirit inside us, to me that means the Holy Spirit is the voice in my head that tells me right from wrong – don’t rob that bank, don’t hit that person, don’t drink that beer. I know what that feels like.

When I am in the midst of my sorrow, of my pain, of my frustration and bitter tears, I am alone in that emotion. Which makes me feel much much worse. I don’t feel the presence of ANYONE there. Where are you then, Holy Spirit, huh?

So I think that Paul, writer of Romans, was employing a bit of poetic license that has simply gotten out of hand through the thousand of years, and offers cold comfort to cranky bitches like me now.

Yesterday was a visit to Stella and Wella. Wella, one of my two honorary big brothers, was doing some check up work on Ethel the car, and Stella is the one who escorted me through the real explanation of Matthew 6:27-29 two weeks ago. Since she was so insightful about that one, surely she could offer some illumination on Romans 8: v: 26 – 27, right? Right?

Aw HELL YEAH, she did. A master class in Romans 8, it took an hour and a half, and every bit of it was fascinating. We went over Romans 1 – 7 - this is the context, this is who Paul is talking to, this is why what he was saying was controversial, he’s a lawyer, this is why he’s talking this way, when he uses this word, it means this for his audience, this is the Greek translation of the word groaning (Stenazo!, which I think you should say as a superhero word, like Shazam!), and where else it occurs in the Bible (when Jesus heals the deaf guy) and what type of groaning it means (the unique pain of childbirth, of literally being squeezed by the birth canal) and how we extrapolate it to their real world circumstance (for a semi misogynist, Paul is using an example of childbirth, which is ironic) and thus our real world circumstance (when we’re so much in pain, we can’t see our way out of it, but other people and Holy Spirit can.)

Stella then went on to relate a hilarious story about a friend of hers giving birth sixteen years ago, how refusing an epidural is a really bad idea, and the punchline to everything was “THERE’S NO BWOKING IN THIS ROOM!”

It really is a funny story, and if you know Stella, you should get her to tell it to you sometime. You should also convince her to start teaching How To Understand This Bible Verse classes, because she did all of the above while sick and looking like death. Because she is my very patient patient friend. (I should also mention that in explaining the verse to me, she stumbled over a profound truth to relate to her life, so it wasn’t like I was the only one who got something out of it.)

However, this is my blog, and it would seem silly if I told stories secondhand.

We all know that I don’t have kids, and there are zero plans for them in the future. I was not in the delivery room with Sister Agatha when Bug was born, though I do remember her describing the pain (Stenazo!) as “Nothing like you’ve ever felt in your life.” Sister Agatha did get the epidural, though, four or five hours after arriving at the hospital. But in talking to her today, she clarifies to say the pain (Stenazo!) wasn’t unbearable “Because I’m still here.”

Hey! We’re sisters! We take things SO LITERALLY!

So trying to relate to the pain of childbirth, which is what Stenazo! Is and the key to understanding Romans 8 V26 - 27 begs a bigger question: What is the most awful physical pain I’ve ever been in?

Huh. Hmmmm. Well, there’s a bunch of answers I could give if we were talking emotional pain. Emotional pain haunted me every single day of July. Wheeeeeee!

But in pursuing the Physical Pain option, I realized that ummm, uhhhhh, wow. I’ve not been in physical pain much at all in my life. Even the whole Flinch episode, where I could feel the needle rooting around in my arm, wasn’t too bad, because I knew the end would come as soon as Idiot Nurse got the needle out of my arm. Any pain I feel at the gym is more of the Chasing The Burn variety, not the same thing.

You know what this means, of course. Realizing I’ve not been in physical pain much in my life means the Fateful Car Wreck I’ve Always Suspected Will Take Me Out must be JUST around the corner! I’d better hurry up and tell this story!

SO! Some years ago, I underwent a LEEP procedure. I had a militant gynecologist who found some potentially pre-cancerous cells: on a scale of 1 to 5, it was a 2. She was super scary about the prognosis, and spooked me enough to agree to the procedure, even though I probably could’ve just taken folate pills for ten months and it would’ve solved itself. I know that NOW. Ugh.

The day of the procedure was quite possibly the second worst day of my life (the first was hitting the dog. )

One friend drove me to the outpatient clinic, but couldn’t stay during the procedure or take me home because she had to work. I called another friend from the clinic for a ride, but he was too afraid of his boss to say the very simple sentence of “I have to go drive my friend home from the hospital.”

My boyfriend at the time refused to stay with me, flying off to a film festival in Alabama where nobody asked him questions at the Q&A of his movie afterwards, and told me that if I had really wanted him there, I would’ve rescheduled the procedure for a day that he could be available.

I wasn’t allowed to take a cab home, so two of the nurses took pity on me and drove me home on their way to happy hour at Tom Bergin’s.

Ever wonder where my trust issues come from? THIS FUCKING DAY.

So the only thing I had to keep me company through the thick of things on the second most awful day of my life was this gal. Recognize her? She’s the beanie baby version of the dragon that Maleficient turned into in Sleeping Beauty. I was so scared, so frightened, and so worried that my militant gynecologist could be making a lot of fuss over nothing, and as the hours ticked by, that one thought NONE OF THIS IS NECESSARY AND YOU ARE BEING STUPID got louder and louder, with no friends around to talk to, only Maleficient Beanie Baby staring back at me, as I dug my nails over and over again into her stomach.

They let me hang on to Maleficient Beanie Baby as I was wheeled into the operating room (I thought it was gonna be a stirrup contraption like back in my militant gynecologist’s offices, but no, I’m being wheeled in, everyone’s wearing surgical masks, there’s an anesthesiologist with an indecipherable accent putting electrodes on me, this is way more serious than I ever had imagined.) And when I wake up later, all pre-cancerous cells scraped out of my cervix, the first thing I see is Maleficient Beanie Baby, sitting on top of the heart monitor, looking at me.

But let’s talk about the physical pain (Stenazo!) Oh my God, it’s awful. So so awful, because it’s internal, I can’t reach it, an itch I can’t scratch. It’s reverberating around my insides, thud thud thud. I rock back and forth, my knees pulled up to my chest, they give me a Percocet, it’s so not working. If I stay still, the thuds take over my whole body, and it feels like anyone looking at me could see me vibrating with the pain. Thud Thud Thud.

The nurses drive me home in a Jaguar, and my thoughts are: 1. How does a nurse afford a Jaguar and 2. I can’t puke in a Jaguar. So if I’m gonna puke, I’ll have to wait until I get home.

There was no puking, thank God. There is no sleeping, because the pain is so bad. A friend stops by briefly to drop off dinner, then is gone again. No one is staying with me through the pain. It’s me, the pain, and the Maleficient Beanie Baby.

Stella’s delivery room story and the explanation of Romans 8 v.26 - 27 was ultimately about how the Holy Spirit is there to nod understandingly while you scream and shout illogical things because you don’t think there’s an end to this pain (Stenazo!)

But the difference is, Stella’s friend had a roomful of people who nodded and understood her screaming illogical things. I had a Maleficient Beanie Baby. The Maleficient Beanie Baby didn’t stretch her Beanie Baby Arms around me and massage my lower back through the pain, or stroke my hair, or hold me through the long painful night. Maleficient Beanie Baby sat and watched me. I experienced horrific pain on my own, and I got through it on my own. Yes, friends stopped by, yes I spoke to Mommy Phone Harpy and Great Stoic Wonder Dad on the phone, but for the majority of the time, and during the worst parts of it, I was physically alone.

I was in church today, trying so hard to connect with God. There are further questions and issues that I’m laying before Him I’m thinking about doing this. What do you think? Yay? Nay?

My eyes are closed, I’m listening to the hymn as people are singing it, I’m focusing on connecting, please, please, this hurts, I hurt be there for me? It’s not the same kind of hurt that Stenazo! Is, but man, it blows anyway. Please give me a sign that You are there, that You’re not some distant remote God that shows up once or twice a year, that You honestly do care about what’s happening to me and that You have an opinion, if not a plan.

And I feel a quick squeeze of my shoulders. Wha-huh? Who? Huh? My eyes rocket open. It’s Flora. Flora, the most sunny dispositioned friend I know, who possesses the most beautiful bald head from the chemotherapy that is almost almost over, and we will all celebrate her victory soon soon.

Flora knows pain, pain like none of us has ever known. She has an amazing support network, she’s not been alone in any stage of her fight. And her happy nature has never dimmed one second. When she smiles, it’s like the fucking sun is breaking over you, it’s unreal.

And this happy happy Flora is smiling at me, because all she’s trying to do is get back into her seat, because it’s Communion Sunday, and I’m blocking the aisle.

Some people get a roomful of people that will nod understandingly when you’re screaming in pain because you’re only dilated three centimeters and you refused the epidural.

Some people get a support network of friends and family flying in from Texas for every new round of chemotherapy.

I got a Maleficient Beanie Baby, and then I graduated to a split second of a shoulder squeeze.




I will learn to be happy with that.