Saturday, October 28, 2006

"I Love Life" v.2 (written when 1 seemed totally lost)

Someone from work gave me a box of "Power Thought Cards" by Louise L. Hay. It's "a deck of 64 affirmation cards to help you find your inner strength." According to Hay, "Affirmations are like planting seeds in the ground. It takes some time to go from a seed to a full-grown plant. And so it is with affirmations--it takes some time from the first declaration to the final demonstration. So be patient." (All of this language from the back of the box that I just read for the first time, so as to be able to describe these cards more fully. They're rounded squares and painted with--you guessed it!--flowers and whatever other symbol might go with the affirmation--"The past is over" includes a sundial on a pedestal with a vine wrapping its way around the base.)

Even without Hay's direction I've been patient.

In fact, after opening the box when I got my care package, I read a few cards and thought, "yeah, it's really that simple and trite" and then I put them away and didn't look at them again for months.

But about two months ago and eight months after I declared to the school that "I had a miscarriage with complications and was going to be on disability and then still would take the leave of absence I had planned for this year," I opened the box again.

Now, five of them are displayed around the apartment, to remind of life's possibilities.

The one I see first thing every morning is on the medicine cabinet mirror. It has a picture of a little girl with brown pig-tails watering a potted flower and on the gentle green background is the red-lettered affirmation, "I love life."

It's like a short mood test.

Today I looked at it and thought, "Yeah. I do."

A miracle!

And by the way, I'm giving the end away first because last time Justin came to therapy with me she gave us the Cliff's Notes version of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. They like to get to the point of the story right away, whereas women like to hear the whole story. They like to "go into the cave" (which is what I've come to call the office) when they come home from work and have time to themselves "to decompress"--usually by taking their shoes off, having a beer, and playing video games or perhaps going through the mail, whereas women like to chat--"How was your day?" with a real answer, not just "fine." So now Justin gets cave time, and then we talk during the making and/or eating of dinner.

But I digress. (My students would love that if this were a two-hour block schedule of class and we were discussing Anna Karenina or Crime and Punishment or Taming of the Shrew, any of which I could find a way to relate to this story.)

Where was I? (move cursor up) Oh, OK. Hit "play" button on my brain.

So, every morning I see, "I love life," and then, as if I were having a mental conversation with the flower watering girl, I think, "Eh, not so much." Or, "Well, I don't know about love, but it will do." Or, "Not really, but I won't kill myself today." Or, "Hmmm... well, it's OK, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone."

So you can see actually agreeing with the cheerful little bitch came as a bit of a surprise this morning, though my responses have been on a bit of an upswing lately. More toward the "Yeah, it's OK" variety.

So why this emotional turn? Maybe because yesterday I got to see my friend and former colleague and the woman who is advising the newspaper now (playing foster mom to my kids, I used to say), and she treated me to dinner and a David Sedaris reading.

And I laughed!

First of all, she and I both have this rather dry sense of humor and often we say the same thing the other person was about to say. Like, "How sick is it that we just got this unidentified photocopy of an article about education in our mailboxes and based on the font and the style of the infographic we can tell that it's from USA Today?"

So of course the drive to Copley Hall and dinnertime was a cross between a hoot and a shared outrage at this Administration and the mental healthcare offered to our military, among other stories of life in the high school and/or depression trenches.

And then of course there was Sedaris. In true reporter/amnesiac style I took notes so I could tell Justin some of the jokes later. My notes read:

--"Baby Killer!" shouted by the man across the street
--fairy v. preschool teacher
--the downstairs [no idea what this relates to]
--no water
--1996=1950
--my brother telling my mother he was "just storing the [small] bottle of vodka in his freezer for a friend of his"
--Is There No Place on Earth For Me? a book about schizophrenia by Susan Sheehan that he recommended
--watching TV without sound and making up our own dialogue (Mia and I both thought that was a pretty good idea)
--lumpectomy story
--"gay" @ DOD
--"A lit cigarette is held at the level of a child's eye" (with illustration)
--Word War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide--Brandon and Justin might like these books
--This American Life is going to be on TV, but Ira never thought of radio as a jumping off point, in radio a story is discovered as it is told
--Children Playing by a Statue of Hercules

OK. So the list turns out to be a combination of stories he "reminded" me to tell and quotations from his presentation. You guess which is which; I'm too tired to sort it out for you.

I should go check out this day I said I loved, before it gets so far past me that I feel like I missed it, and change my mind.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Need you remind me of Tolstoy? I was so happy to be done with that bastard... Taming of the Shrew is fine, I think that's the only essay I got an A on in your class, with the exception of Existentialism project and the Beliefs project.... That was your class right? Eh, it's late and the freaking common cold spreads on college campus like the plague so blame it on the sudaffed... Is it weird that I'm proof-reading this because you're kind of a grammar nazi... Have I mentioned that I hate grammar and punctuation?
Smiles,
Carina

Anonymous said...

Need you remind me of Tolstoy? I was so happy to be done with that bastard... Taming of the Shrew is fine, I think that's the only essay I got an A on in your class, with the exception of Existentialism project and the Beliefs project.... That was your class right? Eh, it's late and the freaking common cold spreads on college campus like the plague so blame it on the sudaffed... Is it weird that I'm proof-reading this because you're kind of a grammar nazi... Have I mentioned that I hate grammar and punctuation?
Smiles,
Carina

Olaina.PhotosandArt said...

Confession time: Tolstoy would be a lot more interesting to you in a few years; Anna Karenina was just an obsession of people who created the district curriculum before I was born. And I'm not a grammar-geek the way some teachers are--I can recognize a good sentence and string a few words together to make a fun sentence/poem, but I'm of the age where I learned to do that because I READ a lot, not because anyone ever taught me to parse a sentence. All I ever needed to know about grammar definitions I learned in Spanish. All I ever needed to know about writing and speaking I learned by reading, which is why I can say, "write like you talk," and think that it will turn out well. Besides, when does anyone ever parse sentences in real life? I'm 31 and it hasn't come up as useful outside of professionally just yet. Writing well on the other hand, even my rocket scientist brother and medical student husband have to do that, so I suppose if you're not a big reader learning the rules would help.
Unfortunately, most of my students talk like, really, totally bad, and so like I just like didn't really get their essays, dude--it totally sucked. (badLY--I can't stand it!) ;)