October… it’s always been my favorite month, favorite color, favorite flavor. The profile of transition, freshly fallen leaves dissolving under new snow, the scent of the woods as it falls asleep for the winter- scent still accessible because -20F hasn’t yet arrived.
This month, however, has been a beast of a different kind. Rain, buckets of rain, sleet, graupel, heavy, wet snow, ice… and a broken hand, resulting from a hard fall.
Last night, the second monitor stove in two weeks gave up and quit working. A cursory look at the fuel filter tells me that it was installed on the wrong side of the tank and therefore isn’t even working.
House is cold, again. Heating it with an electric heater is breaking my tiny budget so badly that I don’t even have words for it. Landlords are working on it (again), but it’s just been one damn thing after another for a month (or year, or decade, depending on how you count it).
My typing is slow, awkward, precise and deliberate: I have to move my fingers, have to keep using the hand. The bones want to fuse, lack of mobility is always a threat, and I refuse to let it own me.
I do my physical therapy exercises every two hours, relentlessly. Determined to participate in the healing, the recovery, the necessary circulation and movement, I create my morning workouts and stubbornly keep showing up. Doing what I can. Today, it was rowing for 15 minutes and 3,280 meters while my team did the prescribed workout. I strap my hand to the handle with a lifting strap and focus on keeping the wrist flat, fingers relaxed, using my legs to power the movement and following through with my arms. Absolute focus, complete concentration, total mindfulness- one silly wrong move and I’ll undo all the work and set myself back.
I haven’t missed a day of work, not even the day I broke my hand. I can’t afford to. Leave time is worth money, and I’ll end up cashing every single day out in order to pay medical bills and cover expenses. It still won’t be enough.
The day before my birthday, my daughter’s biological father (the one who was going to help cover the costs of moving into this new house) lost his job and then lost another job prospect. So, that happened.
I fight back tears, then laugh at myself for fighting them. Let ‘em go. Let it all go. Waves of body-wracking sobs take me to my knees. Exhaustion, fear, pain, unending struggle at every damn turn. It takes a brutal toll. A friend gave me a hug on October 16th. That’s the last time I had a hug. Or any human touch.
Somehow, I have to keep moving forward. Keep getting up each day and finding the Good. Choosing to acknowledge the sacred, the strength, the courage, the spark that lives in me. Somehow, I’ll structure and commit to a workout and then begin another day of casework. Somehow, I’ll haul our cooking/drinking water. Somehow, I’ll stretch the budget until the next paycheck. Somehow, I’ll make the choice to honor the deep richness of family and warmth and love of my two amazing dogs. Somehow, I’ll accept that this is where I’m at. Right now. Today. With all the bad, difficult, good, improbable, ridiculous… perfectly imperfect.
I looked down at my espresso mug this morning, and the coffee had separated from the crema and created a perfect little heart all by itself. I couldn’t help but smile.
Espresso your love, dammit. Especially when you feel like you have nothing left to give. Choose to sit with things as they are. Respect the emptiness, the void, the haunting “Hello” of Adele’s voice as the soundtrack to your mending heart.
Laugh. Cry. Open your heart. Live out loud. Now is all that there is… this day.
Make it count.