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Me Eve, You Adam

Recently a male friend read Paradise Lost, as part of a book group that was predominately women. How I would have loved to be a fly on that wall.

I told him what I always say to people reading Milton for the first time: He was an incredible poet, but a horrible man who who portrayed the mother of all humanity as a bimbo, perpetuating an offensive stereotype as some sort of religious reality. Oh, don't get me started on this guy. I become incoherent talking about him.

After the book club meeting, my friend texted me: You were right about Milton's Eve!

I laughed for a long time at that. Then I got to thinking. What if Eve had been created first, Adam had sinned first, and Milton had been a woman?
Reverse Paradise Lost Note: Since I could not hope to parody Milton's splendid poetry, I have written this in play form. Please imagine that what follows is an excerpt of an entire work. Book II. Eve: I have completed my monumental task of naming all the animals, and I have greatly e…
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How to Waste Time When You Could Be Watching a Zombie Movie

Today I read one of those horrible articles that the internet seems to have been designed for, consisting of 40 tips for becoming as successful as the author: "How to Live a Full Life (and Leave Nothing on the Table) by 30." Yes, that's really the title. Normally I wouldn't publish a blog post in response, but because I managed to Come Down with a Chronic Illness (and Achieve Basically Nothing Else) by 30 and Am Currently Feeling the Aftereffects of One of the Treatments I Periodically Take, Which Causes Me to Feel High and Lose My Inhibitions, I'm just going to go for it. (Author's point #33: "Seriously, You Can Do Whatever You Want." Why thank you, young man, I think I will!)

The author's name is Ryan Holiday, and he has published several books. It sounds like he is also very wealthy, because note point #15, "Sooner Is Not Better," where he says he had a weird goal of becoming a millionaire by 25, but it didn't happen until after

Waking Up Is Hard to Do

Ever since I was six or so, I have battled alarm clocks. They've jolted me awake. I've turned them off. I've hit snooze. I've gone back to sleep. I've tried to awaken myself gently with the classical music station or Aaron Copland CDs. No matter what, I can't get out of bed when the alarm says I should.

When I was a child, my father and I would race after the school bus. As an adult, I was chronically late for work. I'm not a morning person. I don't sleep well and rarely feel rested. Lymies don't feel well in the mornings anyway, and it didn't help that I'm easily startled and was being shocked awake each day with the equivalent of those paddles they use on heart attack victims. All morning I'd feel groggy and queasy and antsy, with adrenaline pumping through me.

A couple years ago I got sick and had to stay home from work for a few days. When I was ready to get back to the office, I took it easy for a few alarm-clock-free mornings while…

Lyme Is Not the Problem

I was recently telling someone about what it's like to live in a dry climate after an entire life spent on the humid East Coast. A few weeks ago I visited the San Joaquin River Gorge, and as I lay on my back on a bluff above the river, feeling the sparkly air and looking up through leaves that are a slightly more yellowish shade of green than anything I remember seeing in the East, my body felt perfectly comfortable. I couldn't believe that I had never felt this way, and I realized that having spent my entire life in one climate, I had no idea what I was missing or that I was perhaps naturally suited to a different locale. I had adapted to humidity. I felt comfortable in it and was even worried that I would shrivel up in the dry West. (Seriously!) Instead, I discovered that in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, things feel a bit like heaven.

The person I was talking to somehow took this story to mean that I was finally starting to feel healthy again. Since this is undoubtedly…

Lyme Recovery, Seven Years In

When I first got my Lyme diagnosis, I went to the library and borrowed all the books on Lyme disease I could find (there were only three, if I recall correctly). One book was the personal account of a woman whose undiagnosed Lyme crossed her placenta and infected her unborn son, who later died in childhood after horrific symptoms. That book and a second featured images of magnified ticks, and I would peek through the pages taking care not to accidentally touch the photographs. I realized I might never have children. I returned the books to the library.

The third book was Biography of a Germ by Arno Karlen, a scientific essay on the Lyme spirochete. I didn't finish it because I took it back to the library as part of my stop-scaring-myself-silly dragnet. But I remembered it fondly. The author methodically explored the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burdorferi, as an organism in its own right, a marvel of evolutionary survival that relies on a complex chain of ticks, small ani…

Wings on My Back

On Friday I got a tattoo. Today (my birthday), a phone conversation left me shaking, drinking a glass of white wine to calm down. I let myself get suckered into an old pattern, one that makes me feel used and patronized and firmly put in my place. Before I know it, my heart is pounding, warning me too late that I can't stop the revictimization that is about to happen. I keep talking, saying the things the other person wants to hear, but the real me has no voice. Afterward I felt paralyzed, words trapped inside me, emotions making my muscles ache. I couldn't see a way out. But there is, there is. I'm changing, and so is my life. The butterfly was engraved on me in an act of hope, memorializing the fact that once you've changed, you don't ever have to go back.

Wonderland

Today I went to church. I go about once a month now. This is partly due to my health; each weekend I choose one or two main activities and all the rest have to go, including church. But it's partly due to the fact that I want to silence the voices in my head that tell me if I don't go to church, I'm not a good Christian. The voices say this: "Of course you're still saved, but..." Some weekends I actually dare myself not to go to church, risk God's wrath, just to erase those words. Funny thing, God never seems angry at me at all.

Today I walked out the front door into spring. After a mild winter, spring came suddenly and forcefully. The bulbs burst into bloom at one time, then the trees all blossomed at once, and the early spring days were so hot we almost put the air conditioning on. Halfway through March it got cold and terribly windy. I wondered if spring was done for good. Instead, this is a spring with more life in it than I've ever seen before. T…