Dangerous Compassions

overdue mammogram, apple picking, medicine for wounded elephants

Today I feel tired in my entire being.  My back hurts–my mind feels totally used up.  I worked really hard writing, planning, thinking, meeting, negotiating.  I felt a ton of feelings.  I cried on Ming.  I ate cookies.

I sat in a waiting room while Friends was playing on the tv, suffering as I waited for my overdue mammogram.  Friends was hurting me.  Some sad jokes about weddings, being a bridesmaid in an ugly pink dress, kissing, gender cliches–what men want, what women want.  Oh God.  Is this what the world has to offer me?

My head feels weird like too heavy or it doesn’t fit on my neck.  My breasts are living things that really shouldn’t be smashed like that.  I felt I was being punished for being fat.  The worker was pushing and prodding my right breast to go a certain way, and I sort of laughed.

“Does that tickle or hurt?” she asked.

“Both,” I said, not liking the combination. 

Standing there for a long time, the way the vest I had to wear hurt my shoulders with its too tightness, the ordeal of it, closing my eyes, not there, kind of.  The way the small vest is a joke.  Let’s pretend you’re not half-naked.

Yesterday morning we went to Gilcrease with our friend and his family.  We had the special apple cider donuts with cinnamon frosting.  They kids played in the hay bale maze for a little while.  We looked at the chickens, the tortoise.

When we were looking for apples to pick, I hit my limit.  I was walking walking walking, being left behind, as I couldn’t keep up.  I wondered if I’d have the energy to make it back.  I imagined lying in the grass, someone asking me if I was ok.

“Ming!” I yelled.  Two kids, the toddler, the friend, the friend’s wife, and Ming stopped and looked at me.  “I’m going rogue!” I said.  I took off toward another part of the orchard.

“I wanna go rogue too!” the kids said.  I was laughing as I trudged away, hearing the parents’ objections get quieter as I got further away.

I found some solitude, looked at apple trees, looked for apples.  Finally I found three small apples on a low branch.  They were green, but the largest apple had a blush of pink.  I picked it and took a bite.  It was a little too dense but had a nice flavor.  I ate it as I slowly walked by myself back toward the entrance.  I took a picture and txted it to Ming.

I saw the limb of an apple tree, reached my hand to touch a bare part, held onto the wood and prayed.  Imagined the tree roots going down deep, the tree one of many, pulling water from the soil, nutrients, rocks.  The miracle of life, real and changing so slowly, solid, vibrant, so much potential in the sunshine.  A living being.

When I was sitting on a bench, an unknown little kid was staring at me.  The kid came near me and reached out and touched my shirt on my tummy.  I laughed, and the mom saw and chastised the kid.  “Don’t be touching people!” she said.  I was wearing my pastel rainbow tiedyed teeshirt, so maybe the kid liked the colors.

That sounds pretty good.  But life feels way too hard, today.  I can’t believe how mean people can be–I can’t believe what I’m expected to do.  Putting my breasts one by one into the flattening machine, grimacing as the tech tightens and tightens it.  Tv shows so stupid, how could that ever be the thing I was supposed to want. 

I feel like giving up–going rogue from the family of life.  I feel like a wounded elephant, looking for medicine alone.  Today had more hours than energy.  I’ll try sleeping and see how tomorrow is.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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