Show & Tell

I’d tell you how Ghost attacked one of my guppies (the guy at the pet shop was apparently wrong when he told me they’d get along fine) so now I have a guppy tank with three guppies in it and a little catfish to keep it clean. Ghost lives in his own tank now where he can’t hurt anyone. He actually seems happier living alone. He comes out from behind his plants more often than he did in the bigger tank where he could usually be found hiding behind the filter.

I’d tell you how a friend came to visit me and we dug these raccoon bones from the pond in our backyard, cleaned them and now they live in my artist studio in this glass box. There was an entire skeleton but she took the rest of the bones, I only wanted these few – too many would be too morbid for me.

I’d tell you that this is me on the day I began ballet classes. I went to two different classes at two different studios that first day. I danced for 2 hours and 45 minutes total and could hardly walk the next morning. I decided that was too much for someone just starting out and I didn’t want to be that sore again so during the next weeks I went to one class twice a week at one studio – 3 hours of in-class dancing a week. I surprised myself by enjoying the larger class that is mostly children more than the smaller one with people my own age. The 4th graders & one 18-year-old I am learning ballet with are fun. I am already picking up on the french ballet terms for different movements and noticing more muscle tone in my body after just a few weeks. Ballet is a good workout and a FUN one – which is the most important part for me. I am rather lazy by nature so exercise, if it is going to become a part of my life, has to be fun like acroyoga or ballet are to me.

I’d tell you how I’ve gotten into vermiculture (composting with worms) just because it seemed like something fun to do (and it is). I save up food scraps and coffee grounds in a tupperware container until the worms and bin arrive in the mail. I watch so many YouTube videos about it, for some reason it just fascinates me. Yes, I could have made my own bin but I find one that charms me online so I order it. I now joke with Edward that we have 1,007 pets. The thousand worms are very dehydrated, hungry & tired when they arrive in the post, but they quickly perk back up and regain approximately 70% of their body mass once properly fed, hydrated & rested again. I take the trays of the bin apart carefully, sometimes several times a day, to check on my sweet, hungry little friends and I love their wriggly little slimy selves.

I would tell you that this is Lena & I recharging after a draining few days. I want to tell you how, not while taking this photo but sometimes, when my anxiety becomes strong I think about the fact that if things go according to plan she will live another 10 or 12 years and I don’t know how I am going to survive that eventual loss – some beings are just entirely irreplacable. I want you to know how this little dog has been with me through the beginnings of my mental health issues, how she has lived all of the good and bad and great and devastating times with me since December of 2013 when I adopted her on impulse from a local shelter event in St Louis, Missouri. She was with me when I was homeless in WA state, how I missed her more than anything else when I was in the hospital after my suicide attempt, how I cried at how happy she was to see me (excited whimpering & licking my hands & face) when I was released & how she used to come to all of my therapy and psychiatry appointments with me. I’d tell you how the first time she met Edward she was afraid of him because he was so tall (she was so afraid of everything when I first adopted her) and about how he laid on the floor on his back and let her walk around on top of him until she realized he was a friend instead of a threat, how she was there when Edward & I got married in our old apartment and is in some of the photos from that day, how she has traveled to more states here in the US than a lot of people have, how she sleeps curled up behind my knees under the blankets every night. I want to tell you how now, when my social anxiety is running high or I am feeling mildly agoraphobic, I take her out into the world with me and she helps me face the places that aren’t home.

I have been struggling with questions about ending or taking a break from one of my closest friendships because this friend is selfishly hurting other people and putting them in danger and it makes me really angry and reminds me of my addict younger brother. I needed a break from these thoughts one weekend so Edward and I went to explore a mall here in our new city of Montgomery (can I still call it “our new city” when we have been here for slightly more than a  month?) because we could walk around and get out of the house but also have air conditioning at the same time. I’d tell you how we bought the agate slabs in the above photograph & how they now hang in my studio. I’d tell you how we spent most of our time at the mall actually sitting down because there was a blood drive going on and we opted to donate. I’d tell you how much more slowly my blood left my body than Edward’s left his and how I almost couldn’t donate because my blood pressure is rather low and my pulse rate quite high, but I just barely made the cut off to be able to donate and that made me happy.

I’d tell you I am going to get an insulin pump and CGM to help manage my type 1 diabetes and how excited but also anxious I am about it – specifically being kind of “marked” by it as an ill person. For some reason I am much more comfortable talking about my mental health struggles than my struggles with a chronic physical illness. I’d tell you that after I put the tester infusion set in my leg in the nurse’s office, I didn’t feel how I expected to feel. It felt like coming home somehow. I wore an insulin pump from ages 11-19, so it’s something that, though it can be frustrating & painful, made me feel more like myself again somehow.

I’d tell you about Beatrice, she’s the most recent addition to our family. We adopted her from a shelter a few weeks ago. She’s beautiful and her and Sam get along. Lena gets jealous when I pet Beatrice. She likes to nap on the counter. She’s a very affectionate cat, which I greatly appreciate. She’s also a bit of a goofball, like Edward, Sam, Lena & I, so she fits right in in our house.

I’d tell you how marriage is pure magic sometimes and really difficult other times but is usually somewhere in the middle. I’d tell you I have no urge to flee from my own life anymore though, like I used to experience often. I just want to make my life even better than it already is. I want to make myself better too. I just want to love & be loved & make my home as cozy and beautifully nested as it can be & make art & write & grow things & read a lot & dance & sing & live as wonderful/interesting (in the good ways, pray to whoever & knock on wood) a life as I can while I am here.

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