Sunday, May 22, 2005

On being the fattest runner in the room

I have the urge to post things on my butt, to piss people off...mainly because I have no breath left to yell insults.

Things like:

"No this is not my real ass, I run with butt weights."
"Think I run slow? Try a 5K with that co-ed riding your back."
"Ha-Ha, I'm getting a better workout than you are."

I'm almost the only one of me - a fat girl runner - that I've ever seen, an it gives me a bad attitude. Not that anyone has ever, ever said anything to me, or that they would even. But I feel the need to be proactively angry nonetheless.

I wish on some level, that when I ran I looked strong, capable and unflapable. The honest truth is that I don't - I look hot, red, pained, and desperate. Well, that's how I feel - Alexis says I do look strong, but it's probably just sweaty anger reading as strength.

Oh well, if it were easy and natural, it wouldn't be part of the hero's journey, right? It's the hard stuff, the hottest peppers, that pave the roughest road - dare I believe that path more worthwhile?

I think that I will finally name him, my hero. Of course, he's Bean...the name I use for every avatar, just so I can see words like: "Bean has slain the keeper of the fire bridge. Bean recieves 250 experience and 400 gold."

I need running shirts that say Bean, my hero name. Perhaps for Shanukah...

Friday, May 20, 2005

A mistake I made

It occurs to me, dark at midnight, naked and scrubbing the bathtub by candlelight.

It occurs to me, hunched over the rug, leaning deep into this melted laptop.

It occurs to me, as the minutes tick by and I know that no matter how late I stay up, I won’t sleep a bit past seven thirty.

It occurs to me, listening to track four of the Amelie soundtrack on repeat, which John says he would like as the soundtrack to his life, but I secretly feel should be the soundtrack to my death - to a slow below-surface descent or a crystal-snapped moment of flight. (Death being the only real surety, and therefore life’s most consistent representative and proof.)

It occurs to me as the seafloor shifts, and a bathwater tsunami cleans the floor behind the toilet for the first time in months.

It occurs to me that the two pots of tea I brewed for this evening, that I promised Val would not keep her up - it occurs to me that the Puehr might have been caffeinated after all.

And God bless it, for nothing feels like this. Would I could capture this glorious, loud solitude, and tuck it behind my left ear for times of deep need. Keep it for those times I can’t hear my own voice and the thudding of blood and sizzle of synapse makes me isolate and despair. Oh how I long for the blurring of my edges, for the precious, rare moments when my borders thin, disappear, and there is nothing solidly me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


I've been taking inexplicably hot baths.

At least two per day, and sometimes more...filled with epsom salts I've scented with Lavendar and Bergamot.

I run only the hot water, turning it off as soon as the hot runs out and the temperature drops slightly, and then I pour in a bonus teapot, recently boiled.

The water is so hot when I get in that the skin of my feet feels as if it's separated from my body - floating around each toe like a tissue-paper aura. The water is so hot that I can't get in all at once, but hover, crouched over the surface as my heart slows and the steam makes me cough. The water is so hot that it is preternaturally quiet and still, and I slip in as if to some congealed thing - not water at all, but agar. Yet it is not quite hot enough. Tonight I'll turn up the water heater.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Looking for the Sweet One

One of my favorite fables - but I don't tell it much because I'm not totally sure what it means. Actually, I am sure what it means - but that meaning is elastic and mutable, and depends mostly on the state of my heart.

My one true successful retelling was to an Indian Psychiatrist, from whom I was attempting to elicit an obscenely large prescription of anti-depressants. I told him the story, and he gave me a smile and then a true laugh, all rounded at the edges. He was still chuckling as he signed his name.


A man (okay, a hu-man -- Do you think this is short for "Hubris Man"...never fear, HUBRIS MAN is here, and all that?) sought wisdom from a master who was known throughout the land as a keeper of the secrets of life. This truth-seeking pilgrim had traveled many dangerous months to visit the master - over deserts of distraction, oceans of meaninglessness, mountains of heartbreak - and now he stood in a vast stone hall, seeking audience.

At the far end of the hall, the master sat on a simple cushion, behind a huge pile of bright, hot peppers, stuffing them one-by-one into his mouth, and sobbing. The pilgrim could hear the hiss and hitch of the master's pain, yet he approached and kneeled before him, touching his forehead to the cold stone floor.

"Master," he began, "master, these peppers are causing you such pain. Why do you continue to eat them?"

The master paused, pepper in his right hand, with his left he gestured toward the pilgrim, to bless or to quiet. The master was red from crying and from heat; tears and snot covered his face, soaked his collar, dripped down his chest.

"My child, I am looking for the sweet one."


So...Here are the meanings I come up with:

Life is pain. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
Yet, it is our role, our human role to keep going despite it. Despite the heat, despite the pain, despite the humiliation. Pain overwhelms at times, rolls over you like an insistent wave, disoriented and curled on yourself, you only see the path to breathe after you've hit your head on the sand. And, people see you at your worst - stupid, desperate, and with snot rolling down your face - and yet you meet them again at work, over a counter, across a pillow. It is the hero's journey to keep going nonetheless.


The master is telling us not to believe in the fantasy we create.
Why, in god's name, would we continue to believe that there is some possibility that the next pepper could be sweet? In the same way that the next toy will finally make us happy, that the next relationship will heal our chapped, oozing soul, that the hour on the treadmill will make us more desirable to others, to ourselves. Is it this desperate lie that keeps us from giving up? Does this ability to create make us human or divine?

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Happily enough, I am running up to 5K again. It takes me a while, but I never professed to be fast, just diligent.

The North Campus gym is generally stocked in the afternoons with older men wearing blaze orange, and ponytailed sorority girls with "Pom Pom" written on their butts (no joke, she was there today). The smell in the room makes my stomach do a funny lurchy thing - half fear and half nausea and half exhileration. I slip unobtrusively to the back, weaving among the rowing machines, and start it up.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Winter won't let go

She keeps calling to see if we can still be friends.

And yet it is the blissful moment on campus between one in the libraries, on the diag, and there are parking spaces for all. Under the heavy wonderment of clouds with the trees still pushing and blooming a varied green, the town lays sleepy after a weekend-long ravishing. The horrible children in their horrible Land Rovers and BMWs, maize tassels bouncing and kicking as they go off into the sunset. And me, once again left covered in coleslaw, with corned beef in my hair and palms held open for grace, helping the wheels of industry go round and round, round and round, round and round.

For what, you ask? For hand-collected, naturally-occuring, "wildflowers" of Brittany Coast salt, silly! I can't afford it anymore, and my former employer carries the best of it.