Archives for category: healing

Perhaps youth is always hubris 

Although not always so baldly unhinged

I can still see

The mistaken room, ensuing melee

As though an intimate troupe of primate acrobats 

Had used their clever

Prehensile tails to

Tornado the borrowed room

Swing from the wooden dowel in the closet

Tear the beloved childhood

Memories apart, just words on pages

isolated pictures

can summon the ghosts

Of me and you and us

All gone now

Illusion I could

change you into angels


Sleep or

Administer the antidote

With words of

Your mispelled sins

All our


Promises rise

To life.


I tie bandanas on each

Think she should name them

At some point in time

We must all name them

The right and the left

Outstretched arms

He did not reply and Pilate was amazed

Looked into the crowd of angry…

Helpless, broken 

Justice, mercy

Sorrow, hope

Pairs of things

With ancient, original and sacred names on them

File into the ark

Mute and two by two

Flood or resurrection

boat or Cross

Immissa, patibulum

Someone must carry them outside the sanctuary
Up the hill 

To his end

And our beginning 

Freed to walk, or even fly

But tied to Him, forever 

first the don’ts:

Don’t wax

Don’t spray tan anything 

Don’t take it too seriously

Don’t expect to win

Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your grandchildren to see

Now the dos:


Accept your body

Embrace the humor

Ask why?

Honor the other participants

Give sound advice

Listen to their stories

Verify they are old enough for what is about to happen

Draw strength from the Cross

(Also, it helps if you can get some practice.  Things that helped me to prepare for my bikini contest were thankless jobs and other contests where I knew I would not win.)

To this day I marvel that I believe this guy–slicked-back hair, in the bereavement business.  He was hired by a funeral home owned by a lawyer who was embroiled in what could politely be described as a baby relocation scheme and less politely–felony kidnapping.

So the man with the slicked-back hair told us all that “they” had studied people who were grieving and found that those who repeated the story frequently healed better.

So many verbs, adjectives, adverbs, quantifiers.  Could you really know?  Could you actually assess the silent grievers?  What does it mean to heal or recover?

Nonetheless, I believed him.  Sometimes to extreme.  I have told, written, squeaked, howled, and shouted stories of autobiography and grief.

Has it helped?

I think so.

I think that the recitation of a story can help process and organize the meat of it all.

Emotion, chronology, whatever.

So I am going to try it.  Tell the story.  Same-ish story.  Over and over again. 

See if the lugubrious man in the funeral home was onto something.

I am short, chunky, very middle-aged with a buzz cut and old lady glasses.

Not your average bikini contestant.

When I say that I believe that God wanted me to join a bikini contest…well, you will add “crazy!”

And it was a little crazy.  I kinda obsessed over the whole thing.  I am not a fan of body image contests in general and was really not enthusiastic about displaying my own.

Once I secured entry into the contest, I thought–best diet ever?!?

But God pointed out that desperately altering my body image for a contest I was not sold on was defeating the purpose.

So, no diet.  He was aiming for a display of my inner beauty. Typical of Him.

I worried about my motif–my theme, if you will.  If you join a bikini contest to display inner beauty, what does that look like?

I started by realizing that the people I would have invited to a bikini contest would all be memorable for their personality–Harriet Tubman, Einstein, Father Brown, some ladies from my water aerobics class..skinny dude sporting a speedo on his SUP with his retriever…Leslie Jones…

Oldies, fatties, and oddballs would all be welcomed–because I am all three.

I had several themes I adopted to anchor me in all of this.  “My bikini contest” was a theme, and that was the chrysalis for a second theme–

Be memorable.

We spend so much of our lives worrying about the size of our asses.  What does the world look like when we worry instead about the shape of our immortal selves?

We don’t talk about our immortality that much. What if we did?  What if we obsessed about who we will be?

rather than

Compare myself 

To flat, glossy fictions

I turn instead

To naked truth 

wanton bits of “who we are”

Break the alabaster


Pour out

Water and salt on his feet

Find there is

Nothing left 

upon my head

To wipe away this bodily


No choice but to

become scientists–

Weigh the air 

Apply the immutable

Laws of evaporation

To “ever after”

The perfume will remain.

For the last 30 plus years a central part of my self-concept has come from my ability to bear children.

That is code for sex.  The possession of breast.  The gaze of men.

When I was young I was a little oblivious to how pervasive the whole sex thing was for men.  

When I got a little older it was just-the-way-things-are.  But not in a good way.  I am kinda tired of dealing with the comparison, the cgi pics, razor thin models, fake breasts.

Time for a change.

I thought about it (with some help from my kids)–when I was six I was oblivious to the gaze of others.  Mirrors were for imaginary friends and maybe checking your teeth for spinach.

They were not weapons of comparison.  When I was six I never worried my butt was too big.

So I have decided to go back.  I have decided to apply the rules of sixishness to my forty-something self.

Mirrors are for imaginary friends and teeth checks.

Go confidently into the world, unselfconsciously confident.

Try to see everyone else as six too–potential friends at the playscape.

Focus on the joy.  

Realize you are just a kid.

I will let you know how this works for me.

In the meantime–

C’mon, let’s go play!