so there i was: on a productive track. whizzing through the day, feeling on top of the world and in control of my life by ticking things off The List. then the mail came, bearing my copy of rhonda’s book.

opening that book – holding it in my hands – i could do nothing but stop, drop, and read the afternoon away.

i cried as i read – i cried big, i tell you – each tear filled with love, sorrow, admiration. i grieved things and people passed: rhonda, graduate school, friends, life. so much.

so much.

rhonda wrote honestly, openly, about her body dressed in multiple sclerosis. her words will tear you apart and put you back together in ways you can’t even begin to imagine. i am immediately thrown back to admonishments about the wickedness of a woman’s body . . . of my body. rhonda heard those same admonitions, heard them from the same (though different) sources, but when multiple sclerosis struck, she could no longer hide or deny her body. she learned to live large within the confines of her body, writing openly about her step quota, her falls, her bladder issues, her libido. as i read her candidness about how she learned to work around the “numbness of her crotch” to achieve orgasm, i thought Well, shoot. if she can write about that, surely I can share my southern-style efforts at haiku.

so here goes, red-face and all:

Cloud your thinking mind
Send it behind yonder tree
Then run away. Fast.

Laugh was her real name.
She married a man named Moore.
No sense of humor.

Pay tribute to them,
those society discards.
You will never be sorry.

Peer around the bin
The looney tunes await you.
You don’t have to stay.

The shadows open up
To let the light trickle in.
Boulders block the way.

Iron the wrinkles in.
It’s not the usual way.
It takes less time, though.

i’m not much of one to saddle the dead with responsibility for my life, but i swear i’m hard-pressed not to think about rhonda and ask myself what the hell am i waiting for . . .

[ ::: ]

“You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.” ~ Unknown

[ ::: ]

i bought each of my children a copy of her book, you know. not so they’ll go blind at the sight of their naked mother, but as a sticky note to remind them that to be vulnerable is its own kind of strength; to keep after what your heart just will not set aside, even if it takes you 16 times longer than it should because of things you cannot control; and to always, always, always open yourself up to something new . . . even if it looks like a squirrel.

[ :: ] [ :: ] [ :: ]

maybe you’re ready, too?