Some days I wake up and I feel like “Gratitude? Fuck gratitude.” But then I wait a minute for it to come, as I swiftly roll through my mental rolodex of things that are good. I’m not Sarah Palin, I don’t live in poverty, there are, like, 47 kinds of potato chips, for example. There are so many of things to be grateful for that I can’t even believe how I could have only moments ago said “Fuck gratitude.” (But, well, you know how I love to say the “f” word).
That’s the thing about gratitude. It’s like air, it’s all over the place. It can be hiding under your couch, or in your underwear drawer, or in the cabinet where you keep the soup pot that you thought was the perfect size, but actually turns out to be too big to use (you can’t even fit it into the sink to wash–what were you thinking).
Let’s say you were hanging off a ledge, in 90 degree heat, with a flirty grizzly salivating over your fingers. You might wonder what the hell you could be grateful for in THAT situation. But think about it, it could be raining. I mean, that’s how this practice works. There is, 100% of the time, something you can find that is a little gift, in virtually any situation. You just have to get into the head space. It’s a change in the way you live day to day. Instead of looking for the bad stuff, you seek out the good stuff. You gotta become a gratitude hunter, look for it in every place you go. Once you open up your own personal gratitude search engine, you’ll find that that living your life can become better, nicer, funner (you can even make up words if you want, too).
Heres a good article from Harvard Medical School, explaining how and why gratitude actually makes us healthier. There’s loads of impressive research on this practice, and good, solid reasons for you to sharpen your gratitude skills, like a set of Wusthof’s. I mean, if it can help me, it can help you. And if it can help me AND you, that’s all of us. Can a a little bit better of a world be far away?
Yesterday I walked in real shoes (well, they were Merrell’s). I drove, a real car (well, it was Peter’s, vehicle for wayward soccer clothes, empty Gatorade bottles and assorted and sundry Starbuck’s cups) and I saw the foliage. Isn’t it just so cool how nothing can deter the trees from putting on their fall fashion show, not an Ebola outbreak, a security breach in the White House secret service, ISIS. I never get tired of autumn’s cliche colors, red and orange leaves littering the streets, stately branches filled with Crayola color. You don’t have to do a thing to be part of this yearly show, except go outside and open your eyes. I will drive again today, and walk with a somewhat slow and wobbly gait (HALLELUJAH), and I will look at the trees, the spectacular trees and think how damn nice it is not to be in the house.
I know I’m in my 50’s. And Lena is just 30. I know that the show Girls is not meant for my AARP demographic. I know that her clothes are absurd and not something I would wear, (or that I think she should wear ). I know that she strips down to her, as she refers to them, “puffy nipples” more than The Real Housewives of Any town USA tell lies. But, damn, I’ve got a girl crush on Lena Dunham, because she is fucking brilliant.
I just finished Not That Kind of Girl, a bunch of essays and drawings by the fabulous Miss D., in which she comes clean about a neurotic Jewish childhood of artists in Manhattan, her misguided love affairs, her feelings about any number of things, including but not limited to sex, men, making art, fame, those who done her wrong, and those who done her right, growing up.
It is honest, brave, brazen, and boffo. But here’s what has me crushing on that girl. She’s not embarrassed to tell you anything. ANYTHING. And damn, I love that. She is honest about her OCD, her body image, the fact that she had few friends when she was young. She is the quirky girl who was meant to be born an adult. She’s not ashamed to tell you about her endless sex capades and curiosity, or the funny little way her mind works.
See, honesty will always set you free. Forget the social media profiles, in which you look perfect, but are actually dying inside. Enough with the high school “It” girl who is actually struggling, but because she has good clothes and looks, gives off the impression that she is happy. Lena says it like it is. Like she is. Her transparency is less Carrie in great clothes waiting for Mr. Big, and more Carrie in Homeland considering drowning her baby in the tub. She is real, our girl, Lena. And real is what we need a little bit more of in these days Instagram, Twitter, Vine, Snapchat, and Facebook.
So, Lena, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I just want to say, keep doing it. You’re a breath of real and life sustainingly unpolluted air. And you can write. I’m making I Love Lena bumper stickers. And I’m going to wear one on my head.
Could there be a better pillow? This morning, Riley cuddled up to me, and plopped himself down in the little hollow close to my chest. He’s pretty affectionate, but he isn’t always the one to initiate a cuddle, so I wanted to freeze the moment, because it felt like a perfect sliver of time, like when you’re holding a sleeping baby, or kissing the love of your life after a long absence, or slipping into a warm bed when you are shivering to the bone. You breathe in deeply, you stop the clock, because you know it will be gone in a number of minutes, so you try to memorize it, add it to the section of your brain that still has some room, so you can pull it out when you need it, when it’s freezing in the middle of winter, and you think you’ll have to wear your comforter to go grocery shopping. Mmmmm, it was that kind of moment. That kind of perfect moment.
My friend took me to lunch yesterday and I had a big glass of wine and then shopped. And quite by surprise, found an amazing pair of sunglasses that did not make me look like my nose was attached to them, so I bought them. Take that, you silly boot! (And my foot isn’t swollen today, even though it was the most walking I have done, since surgery–yippee!)
If I ever decide to go under the knife (and it’s not on my foot), I’d use this guy. Jeesh!
I am anxious to see Gone Girl, but equally anxious about it not being as good as the book. Dilemna.
Why can’t republicans be like the Prez on Scandal, concerning gun control? Why, why, why?
I keep trying to forget that a friend of mine died almost two weeks ago. I keep trying to push it out of my mind, move it over, find a big field to put it, where it isn’t so IN MY FACE. Because when I think about her, when I think about her being gone, I get an overwhelming bunch of feelings that seem like they could just take over the ship.
It’s funny how you can have a genuine connection with someone that you don’t see that much. But Katie was so electrifyingly dynamic that her impact on me was Empire State Building huge. I keep thinking of that smile, dentists everywhere would envy, and that passionate conviction she toted around like an extra limb, and that they are no longer in play, and how damn sad that is. For those who knew her, and those who didn’t.
I know you’ve been just sleepless wondering how my bunion journey is going. So, here, I’ll be like an Ambien, and tonight you’ll rest easy.
Today is day 21, yup, three weeks, since we broke the foot, added the screw and said buh bye to that nasty bump that was the size of my head. I am still lugging around the attractive and stylish boot, but now I can sleep without it, which is a big, fat sunny day. And speaking of big and fat, I have been on a diet of potato chips since I was de-bunionized. Half the time, I am walking around with potato chip dust on my shirt. This has got to stop. And soon.
My foot looks pretty good, considering. I mean, the bunion is really gone, which is actually hard for me to believe. This thing, that became even bigger in my head, and caused the kind of fear that nuclear disaster incurs in most sane folks, is really gone, and with it all the worrying I did about it. I was really convinced for many years that if I had this surgery, I really might never be able to walk again. I’d gone to many doctors and none of them were encouraging about how this thing could go down. The horror stories on the internet all seemed to be penned by Stephen King. I worked myself into a panicked frenzy about this surgery, all the while having less and less function in my foot. There seemed to me no good way out. And it caused me a huge amount of internal stress, and fear about my being able to be active for the rest of my life. So, actual surgery aside, just the fact that I was able to make the choice to have this surgery, and take this chance, has freed up a significant area of my brain. It’s sort of amazing, really. I might be able to learn some new stuff with all that space.
And here’s the thing that’s even more amazing. I am terrible at trying to stay in the moment. It’s something that I have been working on for like 20 years. I am a horrible meditator, because I am wondering if I can jam 20 minutes into 15, and I have a difficult time with all the stuff that keeps parading through my mind while I’m trying to shut it off. But this surgery, this surgery has FORCED me to stay in the moment, which I’ve been doing pretty successfully. I have been taking it a week at a time, measuring the small successes and changes and doing something that I never do, NOT THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE. I mean, I am to some extent, but really, I’m letting it play out daily, grasping each day’s changes, and trying to stay right there in it. See, the thing here is that yes, the bunion is gone, yes I am doing well, no infection, getting more and more mobility, but I have yet to walk on my real foot, sans that sad looking boot. That will be when I will really know if this thing has worked. This was not a surgery so I could wear cute shoes (but GOD KNOWS, it’s a nice side effect and I am perusing shoes online every single day), but a surgery for function, a surgery that will make my foot work again, the way it hasn’t been able to for a good long time now. But this lesson I’ve learned about the present, from my wonky foot, is an incredible side effect, and not one the doctor told me about!
As far as the physical health of my foot, so far, so good. My ankle is now loose and freely moving around. The discoloration and black and blue’s are almost gone. My swelling is minimal, but so is my walking. I have chosen to be a right wing conservative with this thing. I am not overdoing it, not pushing it, but instead allowing it to heal properly. I didn’t go through this to mess it up now, just because I am tired of not being able to do much walking (not that I am not BORED OUT OF MY EVER LOVING MIND, OR DYING TO COOK A DESCENT MEAL WITH A VEGETABLE OTHER THAN POTATO CHIPS IN IT). But let’s face it, what’s a few months, when it comes to something that’s practically gobbled up your soul for the last 10 years.
Next week, the boot is history, and physical therapy begins. This is when I’ll find out if I’m going to be a couch potato for the rest of my life, or an active member of society. I’m hoping it’s the latter, but we’ll see. Either way, I had the surgery, I was able to make a choice and able to learn a thing or two about being present, and not projecting. Who would have thought that miserable bump had anything to teach me?