Following is an excerpt from a hand-written letter that dcsistah sent to Flannista in a 60th birthday package that included two birthday cards ["You're hard to buy cards for, so I'm sending two."]. The cover of one of the cards is pictured below. I've known dcsistah for more than 30 years, and only a long-time friend would have the insight and compassion to write the following:
I'm thinking this morning that you and I are crips. As in Cripples. [Name of partner] and I are here [at the beach] with a friend who is slowly dying of cancer, and she's a disability rights attorney. In large part because her little brother was born with cerebral palsy. She's been pointing out how [this particular beach] is pretty wheelchair-friendly -- suitable for a "crip trip." I love that.
We're emotionally a bit damaged. So we grow along and become useful citizens. And periodically our damaged parts yell for attention & fill our minds & bodies with demands for attention. Have you read Hyperbole and a Half? She writes so cleverly & bravely about her depression & self-loathing. All you & I can do is minimize the damage we inflict on ourselves & others until the intensity of our wounded self-absorption passes. And then, our productivity goes up and our friends sigh with relief.
Until the next time.
Does that sound about right? Where are you in this cycle?
Yes, that does indeed sound about right, dcsistah, and thank you for both acknowledging the cycle and describing it with such tender accuracy.
Where am I in this cycle? What dcsistah doesn't know is that on May 10th, PEACEsista emailed me a link to a Hyperbole and a Half post on depression [Click here or above in dc's excerpt to access the link to that post.] PEACE asked, "Wondering . . . if I appear like the yoga lady in this essay/cartoon in your life." At the time, I was deep in the cycle, and PEACE did indeed appear like the yoga lady in Hyperbole's essay/cartoon. I wanted to smack her.
Exacerbating the cycle this time was turning 60 when Matissta herself was experiencing her own merciless cycle [profoundly different than mine, of course; death of mother, loss of job, etc.], and was unable to pull me out of my cycle as she has in the past. We both seemed stuck in The Shit Storm [TSS]. TSS seems to have waned a bit, now that my 60th birth date has passed, but I still often feel like I am wearing damp, fetid clothes, slogging through The Hours.
The real point of this post is this: when you reach 60, you've lived long enough to have friends who have observed you for three or four decades; friends who recognize behavior and relationship patterns; friends who call you on your b.s; friends who take the time to send hand-written letters, cards and postcards; friends who have the courage to hobble along with you, even from afar.
Thank you, dcsistah. We're crips for life. xoxo