Today is the day I'm allowed to find my footing. I can start walking. Short distances at first. Longer over time. The last day I walked without crutches or a cane was February 24th when I walked into the hospital for my biopsy.
I've never been one to embrace vulnerability. (Being able to cry at an audition? Nu-uh. Only once I'm back in my car.) But since I've been using crutches or a cane, I haven't been as guarded. My cane is like a talking stick for strangers. They'll strike up conversation anywhere: at a coffee shop, on the airport shuttle. And it isn't just because they have morbid curiosity about what's wrong with me. They want to share. They've had shitty surgeries too and so have their friends. There is a communal experience in being laid up on your ass.
While giving me a sponge bath, one of my nurses shared that she had a bone marrow transplant when she was 14 years old. I wrote some girlfriends from my hospital bed:
It's almost like the bandage on my leg is a conduit for people to open up to me and for me to listen. i've been taking lots of notes from the universe.
One girlfriend wrote back:
What you wrote about the universe made me think of this Rilke
quotation (which I know is probably not literal but I think it works
in so may ways) "keep your gaze on your bandaged place, that's where the light enters you". Some people on the internet think its Rumi, but I think it's Rilke. Pretty sure.
Thinking of you and all your parts.
I had never heard that quote. It's spot on. There is more light in my life.
Over these past months, my life has been less about stressing out and more about: looking forward to washing my hair in a Michigan lake, my stinky dog who can't sleep unless someone spoons with him, my husband shirtless over the stove in his grey sweatshorts, the texts from girlfriends when they watch Bravo, the bittersweet goodbye hugs, the Trader Joe's rice pudding that reminds me of when my besties and I lived over a rice pudding shop in Northampton, MA.
I was afraid Spring 2011 would be a bust. No walking, no driving, no auditioning. I might as well hide under my covers and hibernate. But, because I felt I had nothing to lose, I've done more with the time than I might have if I had been well.
Here's what I've checked off my list since February 24th....
I've had Goode Company BBQ before and after surgery. I drank margaritas with my in-laws in Palm Springs. I flew alone to Chicago and even managed to catch the shuttle bus. I doubled the movies I've seen, I planned a fifty guest one hundredth birthday party for my Great Aunt, I've started writing three novels (none of which have made it past page 35) , I performed in three shows with my improv team (in front of an actual paying audience!), I crutched up to the stage to do Stand Up on an open mic night (the experience was way funnier than my set), and this week, my writing partner and I have completed the first draft of our screenplay. (P.S. if you want to feel a surge of girl power, write a 96 page script about two girlfriends with your girlfriend, and complete it with your friendship still intact.)
I've been looking forward to today as the moment when I could hit: RESET. And now that I'm here, that's the last thing I want to do. I want to continue this journey.