massage therapist | photographer

Posts Tagged ‘memoir’

The Words Will Just Not Come

In community, personal, Photography, writing on April 15, 2023 at 11:46 AM

‘i stood alone by the water and ached for you’
copyright tania palermo

I take a 24-hour respite from the news but continue to hear of more devastation, loss, grief, anger, confusion. The stories reach me in many ways and play over and over in the back of my mind as I meet a friend for coffee; do the grocery shopping; fold the laundry.

I’ve been trying to write all day and the words will just not come. Or, they will come, full of angst and wanting to start a fight. A friend sends a video of her walk outdoors and tells me the rivers and trees are calling out for me to come walk there too, with her. We’ve been talking a lot about community and connection lately. The one giant rock that looks more like a small boulder does grumble lowly as she walks past, and tells me – it is angsty too – which makes me trust it immediately.

Painting would help, but I cleaned the kitchen yesterday, (my makeshift studio), and need to let it have at least one day of rest before messing it up again. The table has lost its fight and is decorated with splotches of many colors but the floor still has hope it will survive the creativity without needing to be scraped and refinished.

sold to private collection
copyright tania palermo

It makes me feel small, the not knowing what to do. Or how to hold onto hope in the face of the suffering I see. Or wanting to make things change but feeling powerless to do so.

I scroll through old photos to distract myself and listen to music and keep breathing and know that I AM small and cannot do much for the far away friend who asks me to pray for her daughter, other than to witness her and acknowledge her worry and pray for her daughter and decide, again, that I will do just that, over and over. Not close my eyes. Witness and acknowledge and offer kindnesses and hold doors open and share the bread I make and sit at the doctors’ offices and watch the friends’ dog so they can escape and recharge, and maybe all these little things will matter. Maybe trickles of light will seep in, grow, and start to take up more space than the grief and despair and the feelings of rage at the injustices done. Maybe any action is better than no action and even though we feel small and powerless we can make a difference. And maybe to believe otherwise gives the ‘darkness’ power it does not deserve.

We are enough. As is.

In body positive, community, loving kindness, personal, self care, story on April 6, 2023 at 1:11 PM

Today. Cloudy & cool. My favorite to hike in. Years taking photographs, seeking saturated colors & interesting skies, living in the PNW, have converted me to favoring an overcast day. Conversation with a friend. She’s experimenting with her diet. No dairy, sugar, gluten, grains. A disordered part of me wants to join her. I’ve weighed myself recently & saw the highest numbers of my life. My body continues to change & get bigger despite feeding it vegetables, taking it on walks, joining fitness challenges. Another friend texts to say she loves IF. I told her about it & no longer practice. A strong impulsive desire to join her too. The tracking app is still on my phone.  A lifetime spent practicing disordered eating. Years in undiagnosed orthorexia. My mental health would suffer if I tried again. Another friend texts to say she hasn’t lost weight post a serious surgery & wants to use my fitness pal to track her food. I feel tired for her. We’ve spent too much time focusing on numbers. Cosmetic outcomes. Too little taking care of our bodies in weight neutral ways. Moving for the sheer pleasure of it. The afternoon is spent searching for the file with the spreadsheets from 8 years ago when I kept track of everything my body was doing. That year I moved towards a plant-based diet. I required myself to walk, jog or hike a minimum of 5 miles every morning. Just to earn the right to exist in my body. An entire year: no alcohol, caffeine, sugar, anything processed. I ran races, lifted weights, felt strong – but isolated, full of anxiety that one chocolate chip would throw me completely off track. Many compliments on my outer appearance, but rarely felt internal peace. I came across random photos while searching for the ‘body file’ & sent one to a friend because she looks glowy & happy. She replies “you are stunning.” I say “we were both beautiful & had NO IDEA.” She says “well, I knew you were, but you never believed me.” I feel tired again: for the stories we believe about ourselves, the missed moments, the constant chasing of ‘life will be better when,’ the not realizing we are lucky just to be alive. And the not believing that we are enough. Just as we are. Right now.

***Note – this was originally written for Instagram and therefore could only have 2200 total characters. I’ve left it that way for consistency, though I know it would benefit from paragraphs and better wording. I wrote it raw and left it that way. ♥***

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