a motley assortment

Photo by Chris

I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed.

A lot of it had to do with the fact that I had fallen asleep at around 3 PM-4 PM yesterday and woke up at 7 AM this morning, due to a cold that I’d been staving off (from Chris, who is still dealing with the cold after weeks of having one) while recovering from my cyst rupture and ER stays, and this cold somehow decided to take advantage of my compromised immune system sometime on Friday, when I was supposed to go to my uncle’s house for our Thanksgiving dinner. I woke up today feeling confused; my throat burned; I hadn’t eaten since 1:30 PM yesterday and had no appetite. I picked up my phone in bed and texted my supervisor at work. I checked my email, which was brimming both with people who were concerned by me and people whom I am concerned for, who are having serious life problems that I can pretty much do nothing about.

All of this before I got out of bed.

The fog is incredibly thick today. Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower are obliterated by white. My supervisor texted me back. Don’t worry about working from home today, she said. Just take the day off.

The day off. Replenish, regrow, recover.

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a motley assortment





I was being discharged from the emergency room on Monday after being in there for about four hours. I was chatting with the pharmacist, when suddenly I felt really hot. I was sweating and shaking and I thought I was going to vomit.

I think something’s wrong, I said, but it came out slurred, and I slumped over onto the counter.

The pharmacist and Chris somehow got me to sit in one of the chairs, where I could hear Chris say (at this point I was having trouble keeping my eyes open or my head up or really having trouble doing anything with my limbs at all), She’s really cold, she’s really clammy, and my head was lolling to the side.

Open your eyes, look at me, look at me, he said. I opened my eyes and closed them again, he grabbed my head and held it straight, he said, Hey, hey, stay awake, look at me.

Someone asked, Do we need to call a code? Do I need to call a code?

Whaaaaaaat’s haaaaaappppennnnninggggggg, I said.

I was on the floor.

Do you know where you are. Suddenly there were nurses and doctors everywhere. At least, this is what I’m told, because I had my eyes closed and my mouth was hanging open for some reason.

I said, I’m in… the hossssspitallllll.

After they got me on a stretcher by rolling me onto a blanket, I returned to Room 8, which is where I had been before. Chris kept telling every new doctor about everything that had happened. I didn’t say much. A nurse-in-training came in to put in a new IV. Blood squirted everywhere.

I mumbled, It’s good to practice on a semi-unconscious person.

Everyone laughed.

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What I Want

a motley assortment

I want everyone to like me, though I don’t like everyone, and am in fact not fond of most people. I want everyone I care about to be happy all of the time. I want the people I love to never be upset with me. I want to be thinner, and I want to not care about being thinner. I want to stop using the words “bad” and “good” and “should” and “can’t.” I want to spend less time feeling bad. I want to be able to sit with emotional discomfort. I want to be grateful. I want to let this be enough. I want absolution of sins to feel real. I want someone to be on call for me whenever I am upset, which is a lot of the time. I want to grow up. I want to feel less fragile. I want to write my second novel about marriage. I want to be a real girl.

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a conversation with a therapist

mental health & illness

October 3, 2003:
”Do you think I’m a bad person?”
”I can’t answer that, especially not as you’re leaving.”
”But I want to know – do you think I’m a bad person.”
”Because of the shoplifting?”
”I don’t answer questions like that, especially not as you’re leaving. I’d have to find out what you meant by that.”
”But we can’t just leave it here, I have to know or I’m going to cry.”
”I can’t.”
”But what will I do?”
”I guess you’ll cry. Good luck with your midterms.”

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compassion & care

Yesterday my brother asked me if I’d heard anything about my cat, Lena. I said no. She’s been gone for a month, he said. She hadn’t been greeting him at the garage door, not coming and meowing for food — he’d been caring for her in my parents’ absence — he said, I looked everywhere. She’s just gone.

Lena turned 13 this October.

During one of the worst depressions of my life, my mother suggested that I adopt a cat for companionship. This led to my mother, my brother, and I going to a cat rescue, where we saw two gorgeous kittens — six months old, each — waiting to go home with someone. This was in 1999.

My cat, the orange-and-white one, was Lena; the black-and-white one was my brother’s, and he named her Ally. Ally and Lena had distinctively different personalities; while Ally was impish and did things like climb inside my father’s massage chair, Lena kept to her favorite places, and loved to cuddle and purr.

I didn’t know at the time that I was horribly allergic to cats, but I discovered this fact pretty quickly. Lena and Ally went from being indoor cats to being indoor/outdoor cats. Ally died of liver failure when she was two years old. Lena, traumatized, peed all over the house for a while, and then she, like the rest of us, moved on.

Here are some things that I remember about Lena. She was never unkempt or ungroomed, even in her old age. Visitors to my parents’ house always remarked that she was one of the most beautiful cats they’d ever seen, and my mother insisted that she was the most beautiful cat she’d ever seen. Up until a few months ago, she’d still kill and bring squirrels, rats, mice, and lizards to the front door. Look at this, she seemed to be saying. Look at me.

She had ridiculously soft fur.

I don’t know where she is, but I hope she comes home.

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