6.7.13 Imperfectly Fine

Gang 790 xxx
once upon a time
Forgive me, friends, for I have sinned. It's been longer than I care to think about since my last confession. You probably imagine me leading a carefree life of bucolic bliss: wandering through the woods foraging for pristine delicacies; plucking tender vegetables from my garden; traveling to exotic places; whipping up epic feasts...and there are certainly times when all this is true. But, oh, there are other times. And those I tend to keep to myself, tamped down in a dark and moldy spot.

Why would you want to know about my fears and foibles and failings? That all smacks of dirty laundry and this is meant to be a place of inspiration. But deep down I know that what we often find most uplifting has nothing to do with perfection and everything to do with the full spectrum of our shared humanity.

I know that everything has cycles. The moon, the sea, the seasons—and we do, too. Up and down we go, riding the waves, caught up in rhythms both of our own making and beyond our control. That photograph above? It captures a moment that I look back upon with great nostalgia. It was a golden time, when I shared a house with friends on Peconic Bay and life seemed to be a magical series of sun-kissed days and drunken evenings. But nothing is ever that simple and the next phase took me into some very dark places where I saw my sense of self crumble and someone I love die.

All this by way of telling you that things have been a bit of a struggle of late. I came down with what I thought was Lyme disease a few weeks ago and dutifully took the antibiotics. But after two tests came back negative for antibodies, I began to suspect maybe it was more like exhaustion. And then I had a gallbladder attack last week, a painful doubling-over that was quite scary. The body tells us when things are not right and together these two events became a wake-up call. I have been working too hard. Worrying too much. Losing my perspective.

Since childhood, I have struggled to prioritize my own needs. I have always been a caretaker of others and, though I generally do a pretty good job of looking after myself, sometimes I forget. The narrative thread that runs through my life is one of over-functioning followed by resentment. I was fascinated to hear my nutritionist tell me that the gallbladder is the seat of resentment—makes sense, since this is where all our bile is concentrated! Her main counsel to me—aside from not combining proteins (ie no meat with cheese) and eliminating nuts and red meat from my diet—was to do what makes me happy. How hard can that be? Ha.

I have also enlisted the help of a holistic health coach, a wise and loving woman who is going to support me in my quest to prioritize my fitness and my creative life. We had our first session yesterday, and I am excited at the prospect of doing more of what's really important to me and less of the "duties" I take on. 

I'm sharing this for several reasons. I want to be real with you and to show you the full texture of my life. I want you to believe that evolution is possible, regardless of your age. I want you to reach out for help when you need it. The tendency to isolate when we feel angry or ashamed is not a helfpul impulse. Asking for support from your community is one of the most healing things you can do for yourself. Maybe you can't afford a nutritionist or a health coach or a therapist, but we all need friends who see us as we really are and who are there for us in a time of crisis. 

I am feeling better now. Hopeful, energized, resolved. I am still working hard, but I am eyeballing that hammock in the corner of the screened-in porch and, if it ever stops raining, I'll be taking a nap there soon.



Sometimes the one-sidedness of the blog bothers me; I feel like I'm not being entirely true. Good show in telling it like it is, however hard it is to give it top billing over more stylish things (although, I think you are always good at keeping the balance in your writing). I hope you get in that hammock soon!
Julia on June 7, 2013 at 8:48 am —
Thanks, honey.
laura on June 7, 2013 at 11:13 am —
just perfect in all your imperfection, xo
stephanie on June 7, 2013 at 8:57 am —
Bless you. xo
laura on June 7, 2013 at 11:14 am —
Laura, How beautifully you share your emotions! i truly believe that emotional strength and health is nurtured by the loving family and friends that surround each of us......may yours continue to make you feel well. My best to you, Adah Nicklin
adah nicklin on June 7, 2013 at 9:55 am —
I feel lucky to be surrounded by so much love. xo
laura on June 7, 2013 at 11:14 am —
Oh -- love. Thanks for this, so needed it today. Going through a dark patch myself -- really realizing it's time to change some things -- before my own body starts talking to me (and It's being very patient with my indiscretions)... Knowing circumstances need to change -- and then literally not knowing in which direction to move...well, that's my quandry...and at this point in my life, realizing it is also my karma. One step at a time, forward (as opposed to my usual circles), I guess. But thanks for reminding me we're all in this together. Hope the rain stops...cause there's nothing better than a hammock mid-afternoon! Much love.
Vennie on June 7, 2013 at 10:57 am —
Just keep reaching for your happiness and the support of others. xo
laura on June 7, 2013 at 11:15 am —
Sweetheart, here is something from my youth, it's called a Maritime Blessing: Here's to tall ships. Here's to small ships. Here's to all the ships on the sea. But the best ships are friendships. Here's to you and me. Nurture that gallbladder, I have a fussy one, too! Remember, all will be well.
Susan on June 7, 2013 at 11:44 am —
Aw, Susan - you always know just what to say! xo
laura on June 7, 2013 at 11:58 am —
darling person, The first thing I thought of was a Silvermanisim: The Gall of It! Once known, you are never far from our way of thinking. not just our thoughts. A Laura vocabulary and stream of attention runs through us. Hope the love of all of us (and you for you) bathes your parts back into glowing wholeness.
Anne on June 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm —
Chuckling! And that helps, too. xo
laura on June 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm —
Well, now, this is interesting timing. Here is an excerpt from an astrologer I know regarding this week's new moon that seems apropos: "...Deep things, hidden things, even secrets things can come to the surface. Plus you might have to make more “adjustments” - in your rhythm, plans, or relationships. That’s ok – you could learn something by doing so. Honesty is very helpful during this time – especially with ourselves..." Ahh, the dark side of the moon is enlightening! Glad you are feeling better. Thanks for sharing. xo
jan on June 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm —
Aha, what synergy! It's all written in the stars...xo
laura on June 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm —
Laura, what a lovely post. I'm with you in wanting to keep things upbeat for the most part, but followers & friends are interested in all of you and I appreciated your putting your recent funk out there. Seeing someone handle tough times with intention and grace is just as inspirational as someone living a great life.
Justine on June 8, 2013 at 6:57 am —
Thank you for the acknowledgment and your support! xo
laura on June 8, 2013 at 7:37 am —
my favorite poem for such times... THE GUEST HOUSE This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in. Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. -- Jelaluddin Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks
Bill on June 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm —
I know it well, and love it!
laura on June 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm —
Laura, thinking of you and wishing you health and happiness...Robert
Robert on June 8, 2013 at 10:11 pm —
Thank you, Robert! xo
laura on June 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm —
This entry helps me feel less isolated, which is my consistent struggle. My nutritionist often advises me to reach out and ask for help. This time it simply landed in my lap via your entry. I hope you are feeling better and that your hammock has provided ample hugs. Barbara
Barbara Brown on June 9, 2013 at 11:02 am —
No hammock yet, but maybe today is the day!!
laura on June 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm —
yesssssss. xo j
janet on June 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm —
deep and thoughtful post Laura. Thanks.
judy on June 10, 2013 at 9:38 am —
so happy you are feeling better and re-setting your perspective. it's easy to forget to take care of ourselves but glad you are making the effort--you are so worth it! and yes, your blog inspires me all the time. i may not take action but it definitely inspires! xxoo
nikki on June 10, 2013 at 9:53 am —
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Nikki! xo
laura on June 11, 2013 at 11:04 am —
Beautiful post Laura! Sending you love and hope you're feeling better. Ps was that you in this week's Modern Love?
Valentina on June 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm —
Thanks, Valentina! I'm feeling much better now. And, no, that wasn't me in the Times - I was in India that year, but on my honeymoon! Love the redesign of the Many Kitchens site, btw!
laura on June 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm —