Summer is packing up. Summer always feels like a bad relationship where I am only in it for the produce and it’s only in it to give me skin cancer and the second it starts packing its bags I realize what a shit I’ve been badmouthing it while enjoying fresh tomatoes and crisp sweet cucumbers that I’d never have had if it weren’t for June, July, and August. And yet…I couldn’t be more excited to shut the door on the long days, the heat, and the unremitting LIGHT.
Meanwhile, the rest of the western hemisphere is begging the bad boyfriend to stay; who cares about the skin cancer he brought? Isn’t that what doctors are for? They’re crying in the corners with mascara running they’re so sad they might curl up in a codependent ball and die. They’re sad their kids are going back to school where the words “I’m bored” become a sad empty echo and they’re already missing the fat steaks on the grill and the bouts of volleyball with the Smiths who wear speedos and bikinis (because that’s how they “roll”) and worst of all they have no idea how they will fill the vast empty hours of fall.
Autumn feels the pain which is why the hours grow shorter.
I’ve missed you. (In case you didn’t know.)
I was going to bullet point the summer but in Kung Fu this week my Sifu was counseling me because I was feeling discouraged by the newest setback (a sprained ligament) and he was telling me to remember that Kung Fu is a long journey, a lifelong pursuit. It isn’t about today or yesterday or tomorrow. It’s about cumulative progress that shouldn’t be measured in weeks but in months. He told me to look at all I’ve already achieved this past year of taking Kung Fu. He told me not to look at this little injury nor allow myself to wallow in the many (constant) set-backs I experience because there’s something much better to see in the broader vista. He’s right. If you are like me and tend to get caught up in the gritty little details then pay attention:
Don’t measure the minutes, the ticking clock today, now. Look at the last few months and ask yourself what you’ve accomplished. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just look at your own barometer and see how far you’ve come.
I’ve come a long way up from the bottom of the lake since January 2010:
- I’ve lost 20 pounds of flesh from my bones and only have 74 left to go!
- I progressed from a yellow belt to an orange belt in Kung Fu.
- My back hasn’t gone out completely in over a year.
- I’ve increased my physical stamina 100%.
- I’ve become properly medicated for the first time in several years.
- I haven’t lost any more friendships.
- I shot New York City and survived the subway humidity.
- I may lose my house some time in the next year and I’m not freaking out.
- I’ve written 79175 words into the first novel I’m going to get published.
- The seventy nine thousand one hundred and seventy fifth word is: thoughts.
- I met the co-creator of The Daily Show and made a complete ass of myself.
- I grew 10 pounds of strawberries using no water and no effort.
- For the first time in my life I watched a brutal boot-camp style workout from the sidelines and wished my foot didn’t hurt so I could go out there on the matt and beat the shit out of a prostrate punching bag.
- I received my first fat person insult yelled at me on my bicycle from a stupid-ass teen passing me in a car.
- I shot my first 38 gauge six shooter.
- I shot my first twelve gauge shotgun.
- I discovered a person named Glen Beck who is the most asinine puerile simpleton. I didn’t know they still made them that dangerously stupid.
- I didn’t get the swine flu this year.
- I have kept 7,355,980,444 negative thoughts about my fellow man and myself bottled up until I could compost them safely in private.
- I’ve somehow managed to make my son believe I’m the best mom in the world and that I’m “calm” and “don’t yell” and caused said son to thank me (at nine years old) for not making him feel bad for who he is and for his peculiar quirks like some other people do.
- I’ve made my first batch of chutney.
- I managed to walk away from my self-made spotlight long enough to adjust my attitude, get in touch with myself, come clean (sort of) about my love for two Celine Dion songs, and to listen to the ominous quiet.
- And to remember that the reason I write is because for me the world is a clamorous resinous intensely charged place and there is no way to shut it out or off so the only other option is to write it out and channel its energy back out of my head as quickly as it enters.
- It’s also exactly the same as breathing.
- I don’t have life’s answers but this year has brought complete clarity about what I really want, what I’m really about, what really matters, and what race I’m actually running in.
- I’m very close to overcoming my fear of corkscrew curls.
- This year, for all the stumbling dark crawl through the pit of the devil’s stomach*, has proved (yet again) to be better than a bullet to the head.
That’s a lot of fucking progress. If I look at last week all I can see is that I canned some shit and my foot started hurting like I’d broken a small bone in it and I missed two Kung Fu classes and cried like a baby because something’s always wrong with me and it pisses me off. But when I look at my life’s progress in terms of months I see that this year has brought so much positive change, progress, and adventure that I won’t need to look back in January and wish I’d done anything differently. We can only ask each of ourselves to move forward valiantly, trusting in time, in the people who love us, and hit the matt like a champion even if it means next week we’re nursing hot water bottles like old ladies.
Right now I think the best thing that’s happened to me all year is to learn to fight with two sticks. Before this year I couldn’t even fight with one!
*It is important to remind the Glenn Becks out there that when I say “the devil” I don’t literally mean Satan, because Satan is a FICTIONAL figure in the bible which is a metaphorical account of the history of man and woman but not of dinosaurs or evolution or other necessary FACTS of earth.