Sunday, July 29, 2012


This post is a celebration of one year since the night of Unsinkable. It should be read first. Thank you.

My apartment smells of bananas. I am not harboring monkeys, despite what the downstairs neighbors may have thought over the past two years, my children running and screaming and jumping all hours of the day and night. No, I am moving. The walls are lined with banana boxes, picked up in sets of 5 or 6 from the grocery store. Inside I pack the contents of my life; 25 boxes of books, 6 boxes of shoes, dishes, paints, blankets and other acquisitions with which I define my life. Packing, unlike cleaning, is comforting to me. Packing is organizing the past and preparing it for the future. Cleaning is hiding, hiding stains and dirt, removing them from existence and putting things away, lost behind cupboard doors and in drawers. As the stacks of boxes grow taller, the apartment grows tidier. The children and I glide around our towers of possessions, labeling their ownership with a purple magic marker, trying not to stub our toes.

I spray Windex on my bathroom mirror and scrub hard, but the writing merely fades. Apparently it is going to be harder to remove the words than I thought it would be when I wrote them two years ago: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step- Lao Tzu" printed in black Sharpie. Is moving to a house my 'step' or my 'thousand miles'? I wondered, smiling. Moments are letters that become words to the chapters of our lives. The ending of a chapter is not the end of the book. I scraped at 'thousand' with my nail and decided I would consider this the first in many thousands of miles.

Last time I printed these words it was on a chalkboard in rec room at the hospital. One year ago, I chose the quote of the day. I looked around at the addicts, the schizophrenic, the compulsively lying teenage girl who spent hours a day on the phone at the end of the hall, giggling with various men, telling each how she loved them. It seemed like a good quote, despite the fact that a year of having it on my bathroom mirror hadn't done me much good. I wrote it across the chalkboard in pink chalk and dedicated it to the skinny old biker who was recovering from a heroin addiction and suicide attempt. He had lent me a hair tie earlier in the day which the nurse had acquiesced to letting me use, despite my restrictions. He laughed and I egotistically told myself I was helping him. Chronically addicted to deflecting my own painful need to let go, I dedicated it to him with no idea that my step from the hospital on Monday would be my first step to my 'thousand miles'.

A couple days ago I was thinking to myself how well I am doing for a 33 year old. I am educated, have a good job, am purchasing my own home on four acres, I have two fantastic kids, one starting kindergarten next week and another starting middle school next month. I drive a nice car and I have some good friends. I have a loving and funny boyfriend. I'm 33, still young, not bad at all. One year ago all I could think is of how I had lost 13 years. And now I feel ahead of the game, or at least right on time.

Two years ago I printed the words at the top of my mirror. I was broken, split and determined to find myself. For a year I clung to identities and filled my every moment with self realizing activities, which kept me busy and deflected my pain. I took pottery classes and watched art films on the lonely nights that my children left. I volunteered at the soup kitchen and the community garden. I worked out. I kayaked and biked, I sweat and I bled. I tried to purge the guilt of failure, to "clean up" my identity through good karma and positive living. I scraped up my old life and hid it in cupboards and drawers until I became a hoarder of my past. And then, one year ago, I took my first step. I stopped trying to find myself and accepted who I was. I stopped searching and started living. Today I celebrate the anniversary of pulling away from the dock.

One year from now I might look back on what I thought I knew now and laugh. Realizing this makes me happy. No good journey ends at a thousand miles.


  1. Congratulations!! Keep on truckin' lol!!

  2. Grandma used to say bananas are a perfect fruit...They come with their own jacket.

  3. I follow you on Facebook, but had no idea that you have a blog, until someone shared your page and mentioned your blog. I clicked over to see if I could find who it was, but I don't see it.

    Whoa... very powerful. I read both stories and was so profoundly moved that I am having a difficult time coming up with words to express. Other than to say that I can identify with a lot of what you shared.

    I am so very glad and grateful that people share on Facebook... I am looking forward to reading your stories, as they unfold. Wishing you lots of peace and comfort!

  4. I read Unsinkable and hurt for you. I watched your boat leave the dock and felt hope. Reading Reflection and knowing of your wonderful new life in the tree house in the midst of the Enchanted Forest fills me with such joy!! Thank you for writing and please, please keep taking us along on your journey.