last weekend, i went on a retreat in magical ojai called, “writing and the body.” i didn’t know what i was signing up for, really. it was a christmas gift to myself, booked back in 2015 and forgotten about.
i debated cancelling. some of it involved yoga. i can’t push or pull still, so i’m really good at child’s pose right now, and that’s about it. it also involved writing in front of this epic author, lidia yuknavitch (run, don’t walk, to get her memoir chronology of water) and i’m not a writer and yadda yadda other self-doubts.
but, i put on my big girl pants and went down to ojai.
i cried a lot. i learned that crying is a language. i slept in a yurt. i got some stories out of my throat. i held space for others as they worked through their traumas, their abuses, their broken relationships. and the mantra that they repeated to me all weekend was, “we got you.”
can you imagine sitting in a room with 40 women who are all looking at you, with love and compassion, and really feeling that truth? lidia said to me, to all of us, “we are the rest of you.”
i’ll share one of my unedited jottings from the weekend below, as i prepare to return to work after medical leave tomorrow. the blood is still pooling around my surgical site. and, unfortunately, my doctor realized there is a suture stuck in my breast cavity, poking through my pectoral muscle and into my skin. it’s hurting, and the only way to get it out will be in my next surgery. so, i’m sitting with the pain and discomfort and reminding myself that i’m still here, able to feel pain and discomfort.
beyond all of that, BAYS is launching our third book on wednesday. yes, really! agony and absurdity: adventures in cancerland. it is available on amazon, kindle and ibooks, and you can pre-order now. our launch party is wednesday, and my pops just flew in for it today. i’m so incredibly proud of this book, these 40 other authors, and helping give rise to their voices. and thankful for my co-editor sisters laurie and robin.
blood. it doesn’t dribble, drop-dropping like a slowed-down metronome. it floods, pools, screams to the trauma, working its blue crimson miracle through the networks of creeks, tributaries, and rivers, reaching the distressed place.
it brings its heat.
the trauma site is raw, a cracked open place, black, necrotic.
is it dead?
an alive body.
the blood mending, enveloping. its molecules like builders of a lattice frame, all connected, holding each other together, becoming a whole again.