‘Inside of A Drop of Water’ by Felicia Ryan

soft cartel may 2018

You are everything.

You are a complete biosphere

of microorganisms and life force.  You are

understanding and movement. You are lost and found.

Like the mysterious sock that emerges from the dryer without its mate.

There is light and dark. There is aging then death. It’s all the same. We are

here and they are there.  We encapsulate all these tiny moments on a long continuum.

Who do you choose to be in this moment? A caring daughter, parental caretaker, older sister, attentive friend, supportive spouse, present step-mother, or committed employee. You are an infinite number of decision trees that flow from one another.

You are deliciously simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and gourmet

 carrot ice cream. Your warrior soul comes from steadfast Capra genus

 and wild red hair from the salon. You are Three Stooges and Cinéma France.

You are great skin and bad backs.  You are an ex-smoker and a health and wellness coach. You are silly and serious. You use humor to cover the mistakes. You know when to blame the farts on the dog. You are different variables all happening at the same time in cascade. You are waves in the ocean. You change direction when you need to.

You lap up into and meet yourself.

You are perfect balance and stumbling grace.

You can retreat and pause any time you like and still end up

 where you are. Your sanctuary is a library; find safety on its warm leather

couches, pull your favorite book from its shelves and be lulled by the rhythm of raindrops on its window panes. This internal space lives in your present mind always open and accessible. Your stillness allows action and movement. Even butterflies and birds take time to glide on their chosen air currents. You have an infinite number of books, memories, and choices to draw from.  Past and future are all at once here.

Your life is an Escher drawing but not in a cruel or confusing way.

Let’s rethink that. Maybe your life is just an Etch-o-Sketch.  Shake the toy

and the scene resets. Nothing is written in sand that the ocean can’t wash away.

Their future is not yours. Your future hasn’t even been lived yet.

There are beautiful and elegant loops in your life.

Like light and water you bend and refract into yourself. Your beauty creates this beauty. Your pain creates this pain. The waves carry you forward.

Your life is all connectedness and all knowing.

You are a precious drop of water for a thirsty soul.

Felicia is driven by curiosity. She takes things apart and puts them back together: dryers, door handles and ideas. She values directness as well as kindness. In life or salsa class she will be moving in the opposite direction of the crowd (sometimes not on purpose). Her family is nice enough to leave all the drawers open for her to push in so she feels useful. She lives outside of Boston on the North Shore with a large man with a heart of gold, a tween who sings like an angel but can’t remember to wear her own coat home from school, and a greyhound named Arnie.

‘Side Effects’ by Felicia Ryan

soft cartel may 2018

I can feel the knot in my stomach tighten as I wriggle my foot back and forth trying to squeeze it into my sneaker. The mouth of the other sneaker is flopped open and its defeated tongue is hanging out just mocking me. My feet are swollen and my cankles spill over the edges. Such a lovely term, I first heard it used by another weight loss group support member Tina M. describing her Old Greek Yia Yia’s ankles. There was no delineation between the ankle and calf. It is common when you are overweight or a Greek Yia Yia to sport some hefty cankles. Then I remember how my back aches and that I feel soooo old. I yell in desperation at my sneaker “I am only thirty years old and fat.” I kick the stupid thing across the room.

This constant utter disgust of my body is more motivation to try a new medication that the annoying woman at the weight loss support group suggested. I go begrudgingly because I am trying to work through my food issues but I can’t stand the people in this group. Annie K. hides pizza in her sock drawer and whines about how guilty she feels about it. Peter R. dips circus peanuts in cool whip crouched on the toilet so no one sees. I like to eat full bags of Cool Ranch Doritos and fold the empty bag into a tiny square and hide it in the trash. Then I spend the next twenty-four hours stewing in a puddle of self-loathing and nausea on the couch. But unlike the other group members I politely keep my suffering to myself. Is any of our “secret eating” really a secret? No one scratches their heads about why we can’t fit into the subway seat next to them.

So when “sock drawer Pizza girl” mentions this new weight loss medication has both an X and a Z in the name, it must be good, right? Having studied Marketing in school I know that the drug companies put Xs and Zs in the names of medications so that they sound scientific. I have tried everything to lose weight. I have seen every dietician in the greater Boston area, had massages, gone to weight watchers, drank disgusting shakes, starved, binged and now here I am lost in a sea of my own sad stories and drowning in fat. I am usually not a sucker for those quick fixes but I am so desperate to lose weight I might forgo the conclusion that pizza is Annie’s only friend and consider trying this medication even though she suggested it.

I pop two pills out of a blister pack and put them on the table. I know I could avoid all this misery and drama if I just swallowed them now. I bet I wouldn’t hesitate to take them if they were dipped in chocolate or deep fried. Great, now I’m hungry.

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