I received an e-mail the other day, asking how I was doing. Usually my silences indicate that something is wrong, but in this case, it is exactly the opposite.
I have been working on my birthday list pretty fanatically. So far, I have seven items down with an eighth one to be completed this weekend. For my dance class, Harvey and I did indeed go pole dancing. It was awesome. It was in an all-girls dance studio in one of the industrial districts in town. Girls of all races, shapes and sizes were there, minimizing body judgments. We learned to walk with confidence, accentuating our favorite body parts, we learned to dance around the pole and we learned the basic swing down the pole. Best $15 I spent all summer. The class taught confidence and self love and the greatest lesson of all: no matter how you fall down, get up sexy.
For my art class, Katie, her sister and I went to a studio where you bring your own alcoholic beverage and follow the instructor paint stroke by paint stroke and leave with your very own acrylic canvas painting. There are variations of this concept all over the country. As a disclaimer, I am a terrible drawer, but I am good with use of color. It was thoroughly freeing to paint a canvas and it was satisfying to leave with my creation in hand. We had such a good time that we signed up three more times in the month of July.
I made my spaghetti sauce from scratch (thanks, Dawn) and it actually tasted like spaghetti sauce, so I am now inspired to do more real cooking at home. I am currently learning to tackle fresh vegetables.
I spent a weekend in Dallas, visiting my brother and his wife. It was hot, but I still think the South is worse. Texas doesn't have the humidity punch in the chest as you walk outside like home does. It does have flies though. I road down the street where JFK was shot and watched the cattle run down the street into the stockyards of historic Fort Worth. I think I might try Texas again when the State Fair comes in the fall.
I ended therapy. I missed an appointment because I simply forgot and my therapist told me she is delighted when a patient goes from being early every visit to not showing up because it is a sign of improvement. I told her I felt like I am okay and she said she had to let me come to that conclusion. She handed me a basket of stones and told me to pick one. I fingered through the basket and immediately snatched a smooth blood-red stone polished in the shape of a heart.
"Why did you choose that one?" she asked.
"Because it is shaped like a heart."
"Any other reason?"
I rubbed the stone. "It's red. I actually decided a couple of days ago that red is my power color. Red usually symbolizes love and romance (and communism, but I didn't say that out loud). These things indicate another person, a we. But I decided to take red back and make it a me.
"A friend of mine sent me breakup kit after Christopher. In the kit was a pair of red cuffs. She said her friend had them in black and wore only one cuff when she wanted to feel powerful. My friend didn't know this, but black is too dark for me. I don't like black. I love color, and I think red makes a greater impact than black." I looked at my therapist and decided that she may not have followed the story. "Anyway this was a couple of days ago," I trailed off.
She grabbed the stone from me and ran it through her fingers. "I think it's interesting that you were drawn to the heart stone. When you came to me a year ago, it was your heart that was broken. If you look here, there is a vein of white that cuts the stone in half, just like your heart. But the edges are smooth and the heart is whole. Now it just looks like a scar."
I liked that. My heart has a scar.
She continued, "Next to the vein of white, is a dark vein that follows it. When you came to me, you were in a really dark place, but once again the edges have been smoothed."
She handed the rock back to me. She told me to keep it in case I wanted to reflect back on it and my journey with her. She told me to view the rock as an accomplishment. And then she promptly told me she would be available if I ever needed her services in the future.
So that's how my summer has been going. This weekend, I am going zip-lining through the mountains with Katie and her sister. We are all slightly worried that we are not going to be strong enough, but then again, maybe I'll just wear red.