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Location: California

I love paper. Books printed on acid-free paper and bound in cloth turn me on. I'm crazy about bookmarks, and I buy too many stickers. I could spend hours in the build-your-own-greeting card section of my neighborhood craft store. My favorite thing to eat is bread, and my second favorite is fruit. (Mm, pineapple.) I read too much and too fast, and I watch too many food shows (two ways of looking at gluttony). Gloomy, rainy weather calms me and so I can't wait to move out of California, which will happen, sadly, too many years from now to count. I'm vegan, though I haven't managed to eliminate honey from my diet yet. I practice yoga; it's the only way I can keep fit. I have a better life than I ever imagined I would (or deserve to) have, but I do my best to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. That's my daily struggle -- and also to be thoughtful and observant and honest with myself.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Grateful Friday

This week a friend spoke to me with malice -- misinterpreted something I had done; demanded explanations I didn't owe. I listened, astonished, and braced myself for my body to react in its usual way: my face to flush, my chest to cave in, my hands to turn cold, my stomach to start churning its own acids. I waited for the familiar feelings of despondency and helplessness to smother me like wet wool blankets.

But none of this happened. My heart thumped in my chest. My breath quickened. The impulse that rose in me at that moment was not to cower but to stand up for myself. To speak my mind. To argue that the accusations weren't truthful. This startled me and excited me. And it also, strangely, calmed me. I acknowledged that I might have made a mistake in dealing with this person. But I was also able to see the ways in which I had acted rightly.

This is completely new for me. And it is what I'm grateful for this week: calm and confidence, even if they were fleeting, in the middle of a crisis. I didn't suspect myself capable of that.

All these years that I have lived count for something, after all! I've learned a little bit as I've grown older. When I was a chubby, friendless, bookish girl, I always fantasized about being thirty-five years old. For me that was the ideal age. Your face shows, then, the signs of your having lived. Your mind does too, if you're lucky. And that's what I wanted more than anything: experience. Even now it's what I want the most. I don't think I've culled as much wisdom as I could have from my life experience so far. Still, a little bit counts. It has to.


Blogger Jonathan K. Cohen said...

I'm sorry.

March 18, 2006  

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