It just takes pooping your pants in a tiny Italian elevator, after much deliberation while walking a dog that enjoys crapping freely, on a blustery Sunday morning: do I hunker down behind a car, squat into the leaves? I mean no-one is out here, …I think. Mon dieu. Well, you know what I chose.
Memories of slipping out my chair in the third grade after a retched bout of the throw-ups, the kind of sick that leaves you shell shocked and ghostly when you sit with your family for the first time at the dinner table, you can’t feel your legs, remember? Like a greyed apparition. Can they see me? I pooped then too, into my third grade tan denim pants, likely bell bottoms. The horror.
It must be a family trait, my mother retold a college trauma, a case of green-apple-two-step, in a skirt, leaving her defenceless as she doubled-timed it up the stairs to her dorm room. Alas.
And certain further mortification having to retrieve chocolate star kisses after.
And another late May evening, warm and quiet when our battleship butterscotch station wagon ripped into the driveway, my mother barely parking, hurtled past me, sobbing, and laughing. “I pooped my pants, they had no bathrooms open at the junior high sports awards banquet!” (What?) Mesmerised at this unfolding tragedy, I stood on our low porch assessing the car from a safe distance, while pondering this woman who had birthed me to earth.
And a brother, who shall remain nameless, is notorious for being ‘activated” by his morning coffee, has had to McGiver various escape routes all while in rush hour traffic, it’s an art really.
Anyway, I’ve been sick. Very.
Yesterday I took my undernourished ghost for a walk along the Mergellina, to air out the exorcism ju-ju. The evening was alive and glowy, tinged with the smoke of mushroom madness. I looked into tiny shops, an eclectic juice bar with a lady attendant whose face I immediately wanted to photograph, places I’d walked past hundreds of times and had never seen them. Is this possible?
Yes. It is possible but I am too goddamn busy mooooooving all the time.
So I’ve been praying, a lot lately, “SHOW ME THE WAY, SHOW ME THE WAY,” doesn’t matter who to, but apparently it took me seriously. Picture that great beast from Animal Planet, hooved and nostrils aflame, barreling across the picture frame when a small dart, PPPHUFFF, volleys the clear blue chunk of sky and unseen snags the muscular back of the beast and within seconds, a turn of it’s meaty head to the camera, cross-eyed with rage, it wavers, stunned at the audacity, and contemplating briefly, collapses. That’s how it’s done. The universe found my number.
I’m not saying god is a bully, I am saying often what is needed is a slow motion moonwalk-dance, where everything is not only hushed to it’s essence but is played backwards. Here you are able to pick up fresh beats, observe minutiae, the quiver of a butterflies wings, the breath of a perfumed hyacinth, a half glow on all of humanity.
I’m not a needer, and I’m not an asker. I don’t need you. I don’t need a lot of people or things. I won’t ask for help, I can do everything myself and as my father used to say, “if you want something done right do it yourself.”
Now. Let us amend.
Part of that quote is true. Part of it refuses to rely on others and work in systems. And that’s the part of me in Italy that has come head-to-head with bureaucracy, with logic, trying to explain to Italians how their systems should work and getting very nearly kicked to the curb. In this system, I am powerless. I want things to ‘work’ in sensical ways, and yet I cannot change it to make it “right.” I have to wait, meh.
Also I have the disease of fixery, “I can fix this for you I can fix that for you”. I have been caught in traps recently trying to help others out of in their self-made circumstances rather than caring for mine.
'Our help is usually not very helpful. Our help is often toxic. And help is the sunny side of control. Stop helping so much. Don't get your help and goodness all over everybody. ' -Anne Lamott
And there is a price to be paid, the neglect of my ambition, my self-care and financial health. And it’s diversionary. If I can focus on what is bothering you, who the bad guy is, what next monster is coming down the pike, I can ignore my bothers, monsters and bad guys. And then am l bereft as I spent my holy life trying to “help” and be supportive, having left myself defenceless and exposed.
My take away is this: ask for help, when someone offers to bring you soup or medicine, say yes.
Have beautiful boundaries around what you will do for others, especially when it takes away from prospering and being your glorious self.
Slow the fuck down, seriously, slow down. Stop trying to solve everything alone, and in the same day.
Let others help in good measure, keep praying, and hold on to your dreams.
Life is a journey to be experienced not a problem to be solved. A.A.Milne
Get down on it!