This is still bothering me: why wasn’t I able to do the Happy Photo Challenge? I tried to put together a group of Happy Photos, but every time I would like back at them, I would see something in the pictures that WASN’T happy. I mean, can a picture really be all happy? The only one I found that was really all happy was my daughter as a one year old, running naked toward the ocean. And who knows what might happen if I posted that on the Internet. Those weren’t happy thoughts at all. So, I abandoned the Happy Photo Challenge…and felt like a failure.
So, now I take on this writing challenge. I like to write poetry. This is not poetry. I am just writing, letting it all hang out verbally. I don’t do that – not on my blog, not in real life. How does it make me feel? Anxious. I like to censor myself, make sure my verbal spillage does not contain acid that will burn anyone except myself. But I am stepping out of the box for this challenge. I have to….because I failed at the Happy Photo Challenge.
I take things too personally. Sometimes I feel like my skin is on inside out. I don’t need a thicker skin; I need to have my skin turned around the right way…..so I have some kind of protection. Right now every little thing sears me like boiling water splashing out of a pot.
My doctor just moved to Wyoming. I live on the East Coast. Do you know how many years it took me to find a good doctor? And now I don’t have a doctor at all. That burns me. My football team keeps losing. Yes, I know it’s just a game, but I write about them for a website, and it is so depressing to keep writing weekly articles about them getting trounced. I had a photograph published – a nice photograph – and some website left a comment trashing it. Ouch. Burn. Burn. Burn.
Maybe other people get strong enough to shake off rejection letters and negative comments, but each one stops me from sending anything else out for at least a month. I’m just not cut out for this, someone with her skin on inside out. I am a good teacher, I think. I just don’t tell the 9-year-olds that they are capable of wounding me with their words…..because they will.
I sound pathetic. I should stick to censoring myself, I think. I can feel the burning drops of water on my skin now. Shame, maybe? This honesty, stream-of-consciousness writing is my penance for not being able to do the Happy Photo Challenge. You know, I think I could do it now, find those happy photos. It’s all in the way you look at things, I guess. And which way your skin is facing.
Solitary in Moab, by the Colorado River
I sat yesterday in your office,
the one on the top floor, at the corner.
You were talking in that calm voice;
did you notice I was watching the cars
running the light at the intersection below?
And I was tracing a line where sun drifted
through onto the table, and noticing
my shoe was almost untied. And then
your phone buzzed and she said that your next
patient was waiting, so I got up to grab my purse.
You stopped me at the door to ask if I was ok,
and I nodded, but the elevator door was already
opening so I didn’t catch your eye. But now I am
home, and I remember that I should have told you
some things. You see, I’ve been having double
vision again, and the right side of my face is numb.
Oh, and I fell down the stairs the other day. Twice.
And my hands shake now all the time, and I hear only
ringing in my right ear. I know I was supposed to tell
you all this yesterday, but I was looking at the cars,
and the sun, and my shoe. But I thought I’d write
you an email, anyway, so I don’t have to see
your face when you tell me what this means.
Remember when you said you couldn’t do
anything more for me if the tumor grew back?
I remember, Doctor, I remember. So, I thought
I’d enjoy the sunshine in your office yesterday,
and you can just print out this email for my records.
Horse and Lighthouse, northern coast of France