Why isn’t this working? Hello? Is this thing on? Hello? This thing called my body — what is happening, or rather, why is nothing happening?
I am doing all the right things: working out, running, eating less, drinking lesser – and yet still, at a certain age, my age, it really doesn’t matter how hard you work, how hungry you are, the body refuses to budge.
Yet still you do it. Every day.
Cuz it’s good for the insides: the bones, the blood, the brain, the butt, all this eating healthy and all this sweat and walking in nature.
But damnit, I need proof to show the world I am healthy. I need the receipt, the Brownie Badge: proof of the work done right, with intention and consistency. Like reaching a different level of a video game. I assume, but really don’t know because I don’t play and know nothing about virtual reality. I only know my reality.
And the fact is, the jeans still don’t fit, despite the hills hiked and splats earned.
Fucking menopause. Or rather, non-fucking menopause.
Ditto with the emotional turmoil upending my life like menopause upended my skin and sleep and mood and middle.
Doing all the right things.
I am doing all the right things: I swear I am.
I am walking and talking and seeing friends and writing.
I am working out, and yoga-ing and breathing and working, and yet, and yet, I don’t feel any better. Not at all. Despite all the tomato growing and not-so-great pumpkin patch and closet cleaning. Despite the music playing and fasting of CNN and Facebook, and volunteering and working harder than ever before, initiating ideas and following protocol for a part-time gig I give full-time attention. Despite checking in on others who are sick with real diseases eating holes in their body and not invisible ones tearing my heart into little pieces.
Sourdough started it.
My heartache is like the sourdough starters growing in kitchen cabinets all over the country during this COVID-era of comfort foods. Maybe that’s how the delta variant is spreading? Perhaps all those little Ziploc bags of enzymes or bacteria growing and splitting and traveling from kitchen to kitchen. Maybe just maybe we should encourage vaccines AND perhaps tossing the petri dish of comfort food that families pride themselves for keeping alive, then eating, then sharing with another unsuspecting bread lover, not knowing what grows beneath.
Stuck on the Hutchinson River Parkway
I am stuck on the Hutchinson River Parkway, after going under the river then over the river then under the river then over the river, back and forth with my broken man-boy, bone protruding from his shoulder from a lacrosse check gone wrong, not life-threatening but makes his mom’s butthole shrink and cringe to see her broken boy, doesn’t matter how tall he is, how old, too old to need his mom, but willing to take the ride, and the insurance card, from school to the Hospital for Special Surgery then back to school and I wave good-bye, and head home to Connecticut, alone, the broken boy in his apartment, and I drive away and wait for the super-smart doctor to send pre-op directions and I begin the trek again.
The yoga and walking and breathing and therapy and writing are not working, despite my diligence, and stuck in traffic, the tears hit my lap like giant dollops of rain that paintball the pavement when a storm threatens ominously, then changes its mind and moves on to a neighboring town, and you are left with a drought of nothingness. No wind. No rain. No nothing.
Maybe nothing is the success of the incessant caring for my soul. The not feeling.
But it doesn’t last long because ignoring Waze I am now paying the price when the waves of sadness hit me like a tractor-trailer stuck in the overpass. Nowhere to go. You were warned, Waze is pissed off at me too, out of options for exits and detours, and is now silent, sulking at my obstinance not to take the exit when warned the first time, the second, the tenth, of hazards ahead.
Peri-menopause of the soul
Is this menopause for the soul? All this work to do what’s right, walking and breathing and music and get outside you’ll feel better and are you taking care of yourself people ask and how do I answer because for fuck’s sake, it’s all I do, but there is no proof. No visible change evident and I need proof, some sign of progress. Any sign. The jeans don’t fit. The nightmares don’t end.
And now I sit, stuck in traffic, and I turn the radio off, the music too sad or too happy and 880 all news all the time, too matter-of-fact, and the fact of the matter is, I’m going home alone and tomorrow, the doctor will put my grown boy back together, and it’s wrong, so very wrong, but I can’t help but be jealous. There is no doctor or nature or breathing to help me get out of this mess I drove myself into.
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Prompt Oct 2021: NYWC Tasha: How to care for your soul; poem by Linda Fisher