President Obama lifted the so-called gag rule today. On Bush’s first day in office, he reinstated the gag rule that Clinton had lifted after Reagan instated it. In essence the gag rule meant that no clinics getting any kind of international aid from the U.S. could even talk about abortion let alone perform any. It also prevented these agencies from distributing any birth control, including condoms.
That’s done with for now. That’s one for women’s rights, for freedom of speech, for science.
I woke up feeling like I was coming down with something. I sat on the couch and did some Kum Nye yoga, which includes about an hour of massage. I also called the acupuncturist. I had wanted to go for a while without any healthcare providers touching my body, looking at my body, or making judgments about my health and my body. But thems the breaks.
I made myself some oatmeal with banana for breakfast. I knew it wouldn’t sustain me. Everyone is different, but for me, I need some protein in the morning. I was a vegetarian for about ten years, and I just kept getting sicker and sicker. Once I started eating some wild fish and the occasional organic and humanely raised dead bird, I started feeling better. Plus once I began eating more protein, I didn’t have those huge highs and lows that come from eating a steady diet of carbos. I still don’t eat any red meat or dairy.
Anyway, I knew the oatmeal wouldn’t hold me, but I couldn’t eat eggs every morning. I tried getting the house into some kind of order after breakfast. I was still hoping I would find my mother’s ring. When Mom died last year, we each took one of her rings. I kept the one I have in my Church of the Old Mermaids (cigar) box, which I take with me when I go on retreat. It’s my traveling altar/sacred place. When I was showing the box and its contents to my sister in Santa Cruz, I realized the ring was not there. I was in a panic. Mario was sure we would find it when we got home.
I didn’t find it when we got home. And I kept losing other things. I lost my keys for a couple of days when we got home. Lost one of the telephone rechargers. But my mom’s ring: How could I lose that? I was determined not to beat up on myself about it though. It was just a thing. My mother was part of me. I had her DNA. It was not a tragedy to lose her ring.
Still, I wished I hadn’t lost it.
As I prepared to go to the acupuncturist, I felt scared and vulnerable. I hate going to doctors, naturopaths, and most any healthcare person. I usually don’t mind going to the acupuncturist, but today I was nervous. I haven’t always been afraid of doctors. One day I woke up and I was afraid. It probably didn’t happen that way, but it feels like it. Just like I used to love flying, and then one day I was petrified to fly. Although in that case, I can trace the fear to a flight I took coming back from Europe. Nearly every year, I worked hard (while going to college full-time) and I saved up enough money to travel over the Xmas break. I almost always went to Europe with my then-boyfriend. (I backpacked all over Europe when I was eighteen with a girlfriend. Later I went to Greece, England, Ireland, and Cypress with the boyfriend.)
I loved traveling. I loved flying. The first time I flew was for my high school trip. We went to London. It was great! My last trip back from Europe wasn’t so great. The plane took a dive, I thought we were all going to die, and the stewardess thought we were all going to die. We didn’t die. But apparently the trauma of the “almost” fried my nervous system and I’ve been terrified of flying ever since. I used to fly every year. Since 1980, I’ve flown three times. I was terrified out of my mind each time. I was told if I flew I would get over the fear. I flew; I didn’t get over it. My oldest sister is afraid of flying, too. She does it, but she hates it. She is terrified each and every time. She is braver than I am.
How did I start talking about this? I was getting ready for the acupuncturist and being fearful. Man. If I could change anything in my life with a snap of the fingers, I would change that part of myself: I would ask that my perpetual fear and anxiety be disappeared so that I could be a normal human being--with a normal amount of fear.
It’s a strange thing to admit your fears. I did it often on Furious Spinner because I don’t think mental illness is anything to be ashamed of. A mental disorder is an illness just like diabetes. But being afraid or having anxiety is not something many people admit. And no one ever understands someone else’s fears. Mario doesn’t like speaking in public, for instance. Most people I know get nervous speaking in front of a group of people. Not me. I could talk to a crowd of a million people. A billion people. I have always been good with crowds. But don’t put me on a plane or send me to the doctor.
I took a shower before the appointment. I gave myself a pep talk. I had to start being easier on myself. Quit trying so hard. In fact, quit trying. Just have a good time. Relax. Or don’t relax.
I got out of the shower and went into my room (next to the living room) and sat on the floor, in my b-day suit, and brushed my hair in front of an oval mirror that sits on the floor and leans against the wall. I’m not really sure why I did this, but I did.
I sat there as naked as the day I came out of my mother’s womb and brushed my hair. The oval mirror framed me perfectly. A friend of mine had etched the words “Thou art goddess” in the mirror. I thought, “Yep, I’m a little naked goddess. Wouldn’t it be great if we could just all accept ourselves for who we are?“ As I sat there, on my left, I noticed the Old Mermaids box on the little altar/table next to the mirror. I sighed and felt a twinge of guilt about my mother’s ring. My mother’s ring.
I looked to my right. Right at my line of sight because I was on the floor was a bunch of necklaces hanging from the closet door knob. Amongst the necklaces was also a blue and gold pouch I’d picked up in Santa Fe a few years ago. I reached out and felt the pouch, on the off-chance the ring I put the ring in there. I didn’t feel a ring. I felt a marble the faeries had left for me. (Long story, another time. Yes, even longer than this one.) I took the pouch off the doorknob anyway and I opened it up and poured the contents into my hand: one marble and one mother’s ring.
When I had gone to one of my workshops, I must have put the ring into the pouch so that I could take it with me as a talisman. And I had forgotten.
I hate when I do stuff like that.
But I was very happy I had found the ring. Ecstatic even. I thought about the sequence of events that led me to sit on the floor in the first place: I was in the world naked, accepting myself, framed by the words “thou art goddess” and then I found what I was looking for. In this case, it was my mother’s ring.
Acceptance. I had to remember that.
Remembering who I am. That would be good, too.
I went to the acupuncturist. Then drove home. On the way home, I heard President Obama had ordered air strikes in Pakistan. I never understand how the United States gets away with bombing other countries. What if some country came and bombed parts of our country because they thought our citizens were going to harm them? We’d go to war with them, wouldn’t we? But apparently Pakistan is still our ally. It is part of the war mentality I don’t understand. The news said sixteen people were killed. Sixteen people. Were they civilians? Children? They were somebody’s children. I wondered what it be like for Obama as he went to sleep tonight. Would he think of those sixteen people?
Mario and I had a dinner of rice, beans, veggies, and baked yam. We played Scrabble.
And then I fell to sleep on the couch watching Numb3rs on my computer.
I dreamed it was raining and I saw Pegasus flying up into the clouds. No one else saw it but me and I wondered if that meant there was something wrong with me.
Saturday, January 24, 2009