Grumpy and Grateful

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Technically, it wasn’t even morning. It was closer to 11:30 AM, the moment at which I’d planned to be at Starbucks in Columbia Heights, drinking tea and working on my interview for Thursday. The reason I wasn’t is that I stayed up nearly half the night reading. I had to put down Ulysses for a while, because it is thick, hard reading and I am finding that it is so theologically heavy for me that I need to read it in short bursts. Last night I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and got about 25% (according to my Kindle) through The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read very, very fast, and I was engrossed in both books, although I must say that of the two books, I am enjoying Signature much more. Handmaid gave me the absolute heebie jeebies and I just wanted to prepare a bug out bag the whole time. Plus, I’ve read everything Elizabeth Gilbert has ever put to paper and she is just one of my favorite personalities on God’s green earth. I worship the ground she walks on, because I read Eat, Pray, Love and like every woman in the nation at that time, I developed a girl crush on her.

Because it wasn’t just the book. It was her. Every interview was just personality all over the place. Bright and bubbly that underneath goes as deep as I do. I would love to spend an afternoon with her drinking tea, just trying to get into her mind to see how it works. I want to know if she is in “show mode” or if her personality is integrated. I do not know, but I believe it to be true that she is actually an introvert, because all writers have that drive to be alone with their thoughts. And then there is another layer to her that just exudes the love of God. I don’t know that she would put it that way, but she is just namaste and weirdmaste all rolled into one. Honestly, I was disappointed that she did not play herself in the movie version of Eat, because I think she is even more cute and bubbly than Julia Roberts, but don’t tell Julia I said that.

But back to my morning. I was really grumpy and decided that a bath would take it out of me. I shaved with Dove and just luxuriated in it. I have other soap, but Dove is better than shaving cream, in my humble opinion. Incidentally, when I am not shaving, I use an African Black soap I found at Whole Foods. It is $3.50 a bar and worth every penny. I bought it because it had what looked like bark in it for exfoliation, and said non-comedogenic right on the package- important because as you know, the heat is making my face break out like a pizza. I just make sure to keep it dry so that it lasts a long time. It smells delicious, and you can use it all over, even as shampoo. Between my two soaps I feel like the richest woman in the world.

Except for this morning. When I got out of the bathtub, I smelled delicious, and went through the routine of waging war on my face. I use a cream cleanser in the shower if I’m not using the African Black soap, and then I use pads with witch hazel and rub a great amount of acne cream mixed with non-comedogenic lotion on my face. I’m trying to make it as dry as it used to be with Accutane, and I am brutal because I know it works. I don’t care how dry my face gets. Again, this is war. I do it again in the evening, because if I am not diligent, even for a night, I will wake up with another battle.

So after I put down my weapons, I’m grumpy again. Waging war on acne is not for the faint of heart, but I do it because when I was in college, I had systemic acne that was so bad I am glad there are no pictures of it. Accutane literally saved my skin, but my dermatologist told me that eventually I’d probably need to do it again. Now that I’m on Medicaid, this will be possible. If I get the job at CCC, it will come with benefits from the UCC, making it even easier for me to take care of myself.

It’s the reason I wake up grumpy. I have been ignoring myself for a long time, and now I ache in places unusual for someone as young as me. The only person I want to see in the world is Meagan, because I believe that she could unlock me from my back pain. Now that I live on the East Coast, I may try to hit her up, because a road trip to Ottawa might become possible. It’s about the same distance from DC to Ottawa that it is from Portland to Sacramento, a drive I’ve made many times. I just have to get a car first.

Or maybe there’s a train. Flying to Ottawa, even though it’s a short flight, is damned expensive because it’s international. It is infinitely cheaper to drive. I wonder how much Uber would charge? 😛 I guarantee that it would be less than flying.

So in my grumpiness the thought of letting Meag get her hands on me is comforting, which is exactly what she said when I sent her a picture of my back. I have a corkscrew scoliosis and my spine sticks out in the worst place possible- I have literally bruised my spine over and over from sitting in hard chairs. The only time I’ve ever had any relief from it was when I was working at ExxonMobil, and again when I was working at Alert Logic. At XOM, I had an Aeron chair, and at Alert Logic, I had a fabulous knockoff. In fact, I think I liked the knockoff better.

So this is what I am thinking in all my grumpiness when I go downstairs and see a package on the table from one of my best friends on this earth. It’s lumpy, and I think I know what’s in it, but there’s also a surprise- a large paperback called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. It’s only the second paperback I own because I am so Kindle-driven.

But the thing that I did know was in there made me cry because it was so beautiful. It’s a set of shams like the ones I saw at Jonathan Adler, the ones with punctuation marks on them. My favorite is the ampersand. I need to go to a fabric store to get the filler, but I assure you that I will sleep on that ampersand until it wears out, it is so me.

My grumpiness melted into gratefulness for the beauty of my pillow shams and the hands that made them. I don’t know who is The Doctor and who is the Companion in this equation, but our relationship is like that. Deeper than friendship, the kind of relationship I’ve wanted my whole life but have never had. It is the type of relationship that I tried to cultivate with Argo, but failed miserably when I realized my feelings had gone too deep.

I am out of that hole, and I sincerely hope that she will return to be my Doctor one day (hey, The Doctor needs to be a woman once in a while). But my relationship with my current companion is one that started long ago because we saw ourselves in each other’s mirrors and loved the reflection.

She is my straight girl, the one that lets me lose myself in dancing with her, the one that literally holds my hand when I feel things aren’t going that well. It doesn’t matter that she is 3,000 miles away. I feel her hand in mine regardless. It is the one relationship in my life that I can say we are truly equally yoked. Not in marriage, but in loyalty and passion for life and self-improvement. I’ve talked to her about the mess I’ve made in my life and she just listened. I talked to her about the breakdown with Diane that came over years and years and suddenly exploded with Dana and Argo’s words.

The one person in the world that I wanted to love me for all that I am I now encourage to run as far as she can, and my companion listened to that anger. I begged her to say out loud “I believe you.” She sent me a voice message that said clearly, “I believe you.” I still have it.

I listen to her stories and they are not mine to tell, but as I said, we are equally yoked. We each have those rough places in our lives that need attention, and we are finding them together, even when it gets scary. Because when it gets scary, we each have a hand to hold. I remember the best Christmas Eve sermon that Susan Leo ever preached by saying that on Christmas Eve, the membrane between heaven and earth gets so thin that we can touch it. I feel that way about my companion, that at night the time and space between us evaporates so clearly that our fingers touch. It is the first relationship I’ve ever had where I can truly say that she is worthy of me and I am worthy of her. We deserve this relationship. We deserve the space to explore life for all its worth.

When her heart is next to mine, I feel God working through us to make us better than we could have been on our own.

Grumpiness over.


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