Unarmored

I have been working with orthopedic massage for three years. My sister died in 2012 and my father 14 months later, in 2013. My father’s will was from 1979. My maternal family grieved via five years of lawsuits. I lost my sister, my father, and my maternal family. For good, as the song says.

I showed up for a massage in 2014. The ortho massage person said, “You are locked in an armor suit. Toes holding on to the floor, knees locked, head and shoulders forward, a fight or flight defensive posture.” I lift my toes up and say, “My toes aren’t clenched.” But they were.

For the next week I was to walk around, or attempt to walk around, with my toes off the floor. I practice: toes up, knees bent, lift foot, gently touch heel ahead, then shift weight forward, weight even on great and little metatarsal, toes are not to grab the floor, lift the trailing foot and repeat. I am furious that I have to relearn how to walk. HOW TO LET GO OF THE ARMOR SUIT?

I go once a month, now. I went weekly for a long time, then biweekly. Pieces of armor would drop off in the massage, but I would armor back up at work. Posture, posture, posture, breathe, don’t tighten those muscles up, check in with toes and with abdominal muscles…

Yesterday I go. We talk. It’s been a really weird month and I don’t know why. Letting go of all sorts of things and people and stuff. My pile of stuff to get rid of, clothes, books, mugs, art, is getting larger. And I was very grumpy the day before the massage. I thought, well, it’s been a dark February, I hate taking pills, maybe I need some sun, I mean, vitamin D.

But at the massage: a huge piece of armor, locked muscles in my lower back and hips, is gone. It feels weird. I didn’t know it was gone. Certain movements feel entirely unfamiliar, because I am used to moving the muscles as a locked group. My brain attempts to tell individual muscles to move and then there is a pause… as the brain and muscle negotiate unfamiliar territory. Medial gluteus medius… moving that feels so odd and unfamiliar.

Ortho massage says, “Usually when I ask you to move muscles, you are ON or OFF. FULL STRENGTH or no response. This is all new: modulation. Gentle.”

It feels so strange..

He knows how I feel. He says, “I felt so unbalanced as my armor dropped off. As if it dropped off bits at a time, a piece on the right side and suddenly I don’t know how to move because it’s all different. ”

Yes, that is what I am feeling. Unmoored. Light. There is less gravity. Gentle. Surprised. Less grumpy afterwards: I am so surprised, I had rather given up that I would EVER drop ANY of the armor suit. Pleased and a bit shyly proud. And deeply deeply grateful…. to my ortho massage person and to many others: friends, books, kind strangers, my patients, my colleagues (that is, the ones who have been kind. There are quite a few who were not. Let them go.) and the parts of my family that I keep… the ones whose actions DO mean they love me.

And my significant other says that I’ve seemed more peaceful this month. I check. I do feel more peaceful, which is so odd when I started the week feeling peculiar and unmoored and as if something was wrong. Something wasn’t wrong, I just had not even realized that I dropped a huge piece of invisible armor. The night before the massage I went to a dinner. Because of the deaths and lawsuits, I had very little social life for many years. A decade, really. After the dinner I thought, that was odd. I am not who I was ten years ago. I am not sure who I am in a social setting. I am surprised to be invited to a dinner. And I let the old me go: it’s ok. I will find out who I am after a decade as a hermit, a hermit due to circumstances, not by choice nor under my control. I let it all go: and I think that is the moment that piece of armor finally let go.

For Good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQJaZO2nfGg

Butterfly Girl Comes to Visit

For the Daily Prompt: carve. I think of skiing, bicycling. And I think of a piece of my heart. I wrote this in the early 2000s.

Butterfly Girl Comes to Visit

She is so beautiful with her wings
multicolored many splendored lights caught and multiplied
as she flutters

I freeze
I am an ogre
Huge and clumsy
I know from past past many times
Not to touch you
My rough fingers have brushed the tiny feathers from your wings
You cry in pain and your flight becomes erratic
My kiss is just as bad
Rough lips
If I move the wind of my passing blows you against a window
You fall stunned

I hold and crush
the box of feelings that can hurt you
Sorrow, anger, fear, dismay
Even fatigue turns my aura red
And scorches your wings

I hate to cause you pain

Fly butterfly girl
My baby needs me, my pager rings
My ogre husband stirs
The effort of holding still plain on his face
I can’t hold still much longer

Butterfly girl
Fly on home

stubborn

For the Daily Prompt: gingerly.

I took this in Poulsbo, during the World Wide Photowalk.

I like this because it sneaks up. Ok, stubborn photographer, trying to get the right shot…. oh, wait, crutches. The hike was not terribly long, luckily. Balancing on crutches with a camera, well, there were no falls.

 

neighbors

I took this during the Wooden Boat Festival this year. I am in the Sunrise Rotary. We sell hotdogs, beef and veggie and virtual (for your avatar) to raise money for all sorts of projects: incoming and outgoing exchange students, a shelter box or two to go to disasters, grant money for our local domestic violence and trauma shelter, dictionaries for every 3rd grader in the county, money to a project in Rwanda to support grandmothers taking in orphaned children that they are not even related to….

hot 2

Many thanks to everyone who helps. Some people don’t eat hotdogs, beef or veggie, but donate anyhow. Since it’s Wooden Boat, I dress as a very unrealistic pirate. I just like the hat and lace!

For the Daily Prompt: neighbors.