what nie has done for me.

when on that fateful day i clicked the "create blog" button i had no idea what i was getting myself into.

my parents were so opposed to the whole thing. 

so i dragged my feet. occasionally posting (posting, what is posting?) a quote or an old picture, but nothing more. 

i was testing the line. the line between what other's told me was right or acceptable  and what i thought i might just enjoy. 

and then there was this article. in the new york times (go figure). and it was about this woman. a mother. a wife. a blogger. who had been in a plane crash. who's sister had taken up her cause. and around which the entire blogging community (community, what?) was rallying.

and i thought. my God. i want to be a part of that. 

i remember reading somewhere--probably a cup of jo (yeah, yeah, go figure) about what blogging does for a person a year in. and let's put all our cards on the table--blogging is not for everyone. a lot of people love reading them, hate making them. and i get it. i do. but i happen to love it. 

and i'm nearing that first year mark (about two months out, really) and what comes to mind is...

well, so i visited a life coach the spring break of my second year, when it became abundantly clear that things were not going so well. and i remember her asking me to make a love list (something that oprah has now made famous as only oprah can). the idea being that you list things you think are important in a mate. and from there you can break them down into categories: deal breakers, icing on the cake, and so on. and by giving a name to these things, by recognizing them, you begin to attract them into your life. 

so i made the list. 

will stay up all night and play video games with me (this was once done and let me just say, the guy won mad points for it).

can keep up with me when we ski. or maybe even, dare is say it, go faster? ha, not likely.

plays a mean game of foosball. or air hockey. 


likes to travel.

willing to make a fool of himself on the dance floor.

many of the qualities i sought were things that would balance me out. i needed him to be more socially adept to make up for my lack of prowess in mingling situations, louder to balance out my until-you-really-get-to-know-me soft spoken tone.

but what i realized was that in listing the qualities i hoped to find in my partner, i was giving a name to those things i loved about myself. my God, i loved something about myself?


yeah, i love that i want adventure. and that i can play a mean game of pick-up baseball. i love that with enough encouragement i'll dance at a wedding like no one is watching. and yes, i can ski. well. quite well (got my mom's genes on that one). i love that i laugh loudly and openly and get giddy and even that i cry at the most inopportune times. 

and so the thing is...that's in many ways what this blog is. it is my list. it is me giving a name to those things about myself, about my life which (and oh how taboo i once thought this was) i love. 

and that list, this blog is bringing me back from the edge. it's revealing me to myself. slowly, each day. 

i was so humbled by nie's recent post

Mother came with me instead. We talked about angels, family, children's names, hope, and other things Mom's and daughters talk about including how I hurt when I wake up in the morning. Cindy (my mum) asked me when I was going to post a picture of me on the blog.

things Mom's and daughters talk about...(my mum) asked me when I was going to post a picture of me on the blog.

i read that. and it was so simple. and i'm quite sure my mom asked me the same question about a week ago. though she said something along the lines of, so when are you going to stop hiding behind goofy faces and cropped shots and post an actual picture of yourself on the blog?

and there it was. 

now let me be as clear as words will allow...i cannot even begin to understand what stephanie is going through and i am only equating my situation with her's on the most primal of levels. the level of a love between a mother and daughter and also what it feels like to not feel at home in your body.  what i mean to say is...here is this woman that i have never met, who lives across the country, and comes from a world so different than my own, who has suffered something that goes beyond trauma, something that i cannot (and God help me, never will be able to) imagine. and  some eensy-teensy, infinitesimal part of me understands what she might feel when she looks in the mirror. because in the wide spectrum of human experience there is a set gammut of human emotion. our emotions, though felt to different degrees and in different ways, connect us. and isn't there comfort to be found in that? and comfort to be found in the fact that moms and daughters talk about the same things?

i have looked in the mirror and failed to see myself. i have literally been shocked by the image. and yet i know it is me. i have mourned for life. i have mourned for a part of myself usurped by something that while i can try to give a name to it, will always be so much bigger than anything language can give breath to. chekhov got it right when he had masha say, I am in mourning for my life. but chekhov was a comedian. and i daresay he believed in life. and the little things (which really are the big things, aren't they?) that blogs tend to celebrate.

I had a simple glimpse of me coming back. I get to create a new "me" whatever that entails. It hasn't been easy having to reinvent myself. I have (and still do) mourn for Stephanie. Where did she go? Now I look in the mirror and see someone else, but it's still me. It's...well...weird. I have to learn to be me again. I have to accept and hope. And I should stop saying "should" and replace that with "get". I GET to have a second chance at life. I get to enjoy my children even if my fingers don't work. I get to change the way I look at life and how I can somehow help someone else in need.

i'm coming back too. i didn't even know i was gone. but i'm coming back. and i look at myself in the mirror. i look at this body that i've loathed for so long, this body that has felt alien, this body that i thought was suffocating me, and i'm learning to love it. to love me. ned was the enemy, but my body... well, my body never was. and the thing was, i thought it was the other way round. i put ned on the pedestal--built him a shrine, and berated my body, every chance i got. but my body never failed me. my body took it. and insulated me. and loved me. and waited patiently for the day when i would come back. 

nie posted a picture of her eyes. 

the courage. 

it bewilders me. 

leaves me without words. 

i thought, okay, me too...what can i do that will display a fraction of the courage she conveyed in that so-not-simple action of revealing her eyes? and i thought, i'll post a full length shot...no problem. 

but i can't. i'm not ready. not quite. but i will be nie, soon. i will learn to, as you say, accept and hope. and love. and give thanks. to this body. to an infinite, all-knowing power. to my mum for asking the simple questions. and to you. you for your unimaginable courage and example. you who already helped someone in need. you, who i have a sneaking suspicion has helped countless just like me.

so thank you. truly, that's all i know to say...thank you.