Flashback: the snap

See what had happened was I never really warmed up that day. Lifted weights that morning and walked a few blocks to get there. But no calf stretches or squats or I-ran- 9-miles-in-Vegas-last-week movement. Just changed into ballet slippers and started twirling around. Never mind I was still feeling stiff and sore. This is the Nutcracker and I’m in it, damnit!
A dad and his daughter approached me. He extended his hand because he wanted me to lead another line of dancers around the auditorium. I took a step and then rose up on my toes for another two.
Snap! I heard and felt a distinct “pop” in my left calf. My foot gave out so I dragged myself and the other dancers as my leg burned and my head spun. Could it be bone? But I could still move, even if it hurt like a mother.
I danced the entire show, favoring the good foot.

Never said I listen to my pain at all times.


At group last night, I was bubbling over with joy. I told my colleagues about Blues, about how happy I am that we communicate, about how grateful I am to be with someone who treats me the way I deserve.
Today, I feel ill, defeated, lost again. I want to close my eyes.

Upcoming Anniversaries

My Play Brother came to me in a dream two weeks ago. I had been angry because Soldier had been in my dream and it made me miss him again, despite my excitement over new prospects. So I wished for my Play Brother and he returned. He is watching over me.

It is that time of year again. When my world changed forever. When my mind began to come undone. So much loss to death and mental illness.
Yet so much foundation for change, growth, evolution.

On my favorite TV show,Degrassi, a favorite character battles cancer. I cannot cry. I have a date this evening and I don’t want to be sad like I was that night in my college town, when a date I had so eagerly anticipated went awry. So I look for Beatles lyrics and remember.

2300 miles away, the man who vanished drinks, laughs, breathes. Does he think of me?

And across the universe, an angel sends forth all the love this world deserves. All for me.

Ooh my head!

Migraine is a neurological disease, [1] of which the most common symptom is an intense and disabling episodic headache. Migraine headaches are usually characterized by severe pain on one or both sides of the head. Absent serious head injuries, stroke, and tumors, the recurring severity of the pain indicates a vascular headache rather than a tension headache. Migraines are often accompanied by photophobia (hypersensitivity to light), phonophobia (hypersensitivity to sound) and nausea. (Wikipedia)

I have had migraines for a long time. I vaguely remember having them on rare occasions in my teens and in college. But I distinctly remember having them during my early years of teaching, in my mid 20s while at the other high school. They got so bad my second year of teaching that I would go home during the last period of the day. One week I went home early daily. My triggers are stress, neck problems, or certain qualities of light(s).

My migraines follow a specific pattern. It begins with an aura, various floaters in one or both eyes followed by tunnel vision, blurred vision and light sensitivity. I then become nauseous and tired, sometimes dizzy. My head feels very heavy. Then the pain begins. Sometimes it feels like someone drove a stake through the top of my head, like Jael did to the general in the story of Deborah from the Book of Judges. Usually, I feel a dull throbbing on one side of my head. I can’t cough or sneeze without the pain radiating throughout my entire skull. I can’t concentrate. My mood usually becomes irritable and/or lackadaisical.

Because of my allergy to every medication in the aspirin family (this includes ibuprofen, unfortunately), I can only take Tylenol. I take two extra-strength but in the last two days, I’ve taken three caplets. I also take a nap with a lavender aromatherapy eye pillow, if I’m at home. When at work, I’ll don my sunglasses and try to keep my office quiet.

I have had three migraines since Saturday morning. I woke up Saturday morning, eager to do a 5-mile training run with my half-marathon teammates. As always, I rose at dawn and decided to mop the kitchen floor before they arrived. By the time, my first teammate arrived, the aura was in both eyes. Our run ended up being only two miles and I slept for two hours in an effort to alleviate the pain. While in Long Beach at a teaching conference, I was dutifully reading PowerPoint slides during a UCLA professor’s lecture on leadership when the aura began in both (!) eyes. Because I had already checked out of my hotel room, I took Tylenol and took a quick stroll outdoors in my sunglasses before returning to the conference. This morning, I returned to work. It wasn’t long before another migraine, this one with minimal aura, began as I stared at my computer screen.

My neck is stiff and sore so I know I haven’t been sleeping on it well. Ironically, I am finally getting sufficient sleep. My depression and anxiety symptoms have subsided. I can only hope my migraines do, too.

The scourging at the pillar

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him…”The Gospel of John

After Jesus is betrayed, he is judged and condemned to death. Before he is crucified, Pilate hands him over to the Roman soldiers to be scourged. While the Gospels tell us little about what might have occurred during his scourging, both history and imagination fill in the blanks. Scourging was a form of punishment in both the Hebrew and Roman communities during the time of Christ and it was no mere whipping. Scourging involved a flagellum, a whip consisting of several leather strands knotted with sheep bone or iron balls, so the injuries to skin, muscle, and bone were severe. In the emotional sense, scourging, I would imagine, would be demoralizing and debilitating. The intense physical pain, coupled with the public humiliation, would weaken the victim’s body and mind.

For me, the image of the scourging is one of deep rejection. Jesus has been reduced from being the beloved prophet entering Jerusalem on a pathway of strewn cloaks and palms to being a mass of flesh and blood. The great healer is unable, perhaps unwilling, to save himself from the indignity of torture. Though he did not deserve his punishment, perhaps he felt he did. Every lash probably struck his heart. Why me? How has my journey been worthwhile? Why do they hate me?

In this mystery, I also ponder my own moments of rejection, humiliation, and defeat. There have been many times when I have poured my heart into people and situations, out of love, only to be cast aside and even attacked. I have been fortunate to experience very few physical blows against me but, like most humans, have been subjected to insults and judgments. Labels and comments have the capacity to bruise and tear. It is natural to feel anger and the need for retaliation. But I think back to this moment and stand strong.

The agony in the garden

“And his sweat was like drops of blood…”

Jesus’ difficult time in Gethsemane has always been an intriguing image/theme/story to me. Before he is betrayed by his closest friends, before he is stripped of his dignity, before he is beaten and killed, Jesus struggles through various emotions. He feels anxiety, panic, abandonment, grief, insecurity. But he also feels strength, resolve, peace. He faces his biggest fears with all the love in his being.

I will never forget this Holy Week. I know I am melodramatic, that the writer in me is given to hyperbole. I know that in my weakened emotional state, I am irrational, desperate, even slightly mad at times. But I know these days will remain with me as lessons.

Last night, I came close to calling 911. Just like that terrible Tuesday a few weeks ago, I cried, screamed, sobbed, and prayed as I wandered the house looking for something to break. I wandered into the kitchen but came back to my bedroom. I tore up a letter and I scratched my own arm. And then my sister(because my sister in law is now my sister) called me. Unlike the disciples, she didn’t fall asleep. She sensed my anguish and she stayed with me. Last night, for the first time in several days, I slept the whole night.

I have made a commitment to carry my cross. And so I pray in the garden.

The cavalry is coming

My best friend, the DJ, flies into the Bay Area tonight. Thank goodness. While I’ll admit I shed tears over a jerk’s ill treatment of me Monday night, I haven’t really had a good cry in weeks. But now, I could burst into sobs any second.

Soldier’s disappeared. So many thoughts running through my mind. Me dices que tenga fe en ti, que crees en mi, que tengo tu apoyo. Pero a veces, tengo mucho miedo. I’ve given him so much power over my heart. How easily he could crumble it into sand and ashes. In 15 days, I’ll brave the hours, the heat, and my own anxiety to walk onto his turf, to take a huge risk.

And now the tears.