05 March 2006

In the Moment

I'm so damn The current mood of augustdreams at www.imood.com

Pleae go back one for an entry dedicated to one of the nicest guys I never knew.

I'm really doing it. I'm working 40 hours a week. Today is my first day off after a six-day stretch. Next week will be the same, then my schedule goes to always having Monday and Tuesday off. I really enjoy my job at Applebee's and have a lot of fun with my co-workers. My first paycheck is coming up and I can finally pay off my bills and re-pay the friends who were kind enough to lend me money while I was struggling.

I know that working full time is mundane for most people. But to me, it's a triumph. There have been times in my life when I was so ill or in so much pain that I couldn't walk down the street. Living with chronic illness is like juggling flaming chainsaws. You have to focus so hard on keeping everything balanced or you'll find yourself torn up and burned.

I'm not worrying about whether or not I'll be able to maintain this pace. There a rather inelegant saying I once heard, about past regrets and worries for the future that makes up for in solid truth what it lacks in pretty sentiment: "If you've got one foot in the past and one foot in the future, you're pissing all over the present."

As the song goes, everybody hurts. I don't think I've come in for more pain and heartache than anyone else. We're all the walking wounded, scarred by the thorns that block our path through this life from time to time. But I have often been asked how I've remained the same.

I do fear coming across as ungrateful and/or fishing for sympathy. But I have faith that those here whose opinions mean something to me know that isn't the case. And to hell with anyone who thinks otherwise. One of the things in my life that I'm most proud of is having stayed who I am. I've survived four rapes. I've survived two life-threatening allergic reactions to drugs meant to help heal my body. And I recently survived saying goodbye to my Aphrodite and losing someone precious that I barely had the chance to know. I think I've earned the right to stand alongside the countless others who are survivors. And I still believe there are more good people in this world than bad. I'm still happy. I'm still silly. I'm still me. I think that's the best (and often the only) way to fight back against the tide of cruelty that seems to hold sway in our world. We live in a society where someone can break into a home and later sue the victims because he was injured while inside - and win. Where most women will never report a rape not only out of fear but because of the knowledge that they would be forced to face not only their attacker but a prosecutor doing his very best to keep his client out of prison without regard for the pain he's inflicted on another human being. You can either allow those things to make you burn with hatred for this world, or you can refuse to sink to their level. Our ability to remain kind, loving and gentle in the face of this world is our strongest, sharpest weapon.

Life is about moments. And I wouldn't trade a moment in the moonlight catching tiny toads in the backyard. A moment of feeling Foofer walking down my back and carefully unbraiding my hair with her bill while I work on my book. A moment of feeling the swell of souldeep, overwhelming love for my Miranda that comes each day when I wake and remember how incredibly blessed I am to have her in my life. I wouldn't trade those moments for all the money in the world, perfect health and the chance to undo my past.

I take the greatest pleasure from the smallest things. I walked the two miles home from work the other day. It's about an hour's walk, and I had the sunshine on my face and gentle breezes. I was lost inside my thoughts and daydreams. My body wasn't weak or hurting. I felt strong. And I can't imagine anything more tragic than taking that feeling for granted.

Every thorn along the way has been more than worth it, because they all led to this day. This moment. Here's to the present! Have a great weekend and thank you for reading.

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