Monday, March 14, 2016


For my girl Beth Peck, who I'm waiving at from the other side of the mountain.
And for my girl Krista Nye Nicholas, who I can't begin to thank enough for her love.
And for my girl Sharleen Ernster, who is making it hot for women to own it, all of it. Love you.

Dr. Sullivan's PA eyed the opening on my chest, prodded it a bit, gave me a second glance and said "It looks like it's filling in, Fran. I think we shouldn't worry about it."

I'd come in to have a check up, down in New Orleans for a conference and worried about a wound from my surgery that hadn't healed properly. She looked at it again and told me that the wound would not close skin to skin, but would fill up, layer upon layer, until it had healed.

This was not news I was prepared to hear because it was a big wound, a startlingly large wound placed on my reconstructed breast in the most conspicuous place. But she went on to say that after the filling and the healing, that a revision would take place, that the scar tissue would be reworked to bring the appearance back to as normal of a condition as possible. "It will look good again, Fran. It will just take longer than we thought."

I've reflected on this experience a lot over the past few years, thinking about physical and emotional wounds and how they heal, how they are sometimes not just stitched up and become faint memories, but have to take the long road of layering time to bridge the gap and connect again. And then, if we are lucky, and if we are open, and if we desire (actually), someone may come along and help us revise that scar so that it's less noticeable to ourselves, be that through a change in attitude or insight.

One person's scar is another person's roadmap.

Yesterday I got fitted for the most beautiful swimsuits I've ever had, each with a plunging neckline, each summoning my inner warrior who owned the fact that the scars are there and visible and real and not a problem, that it is hot to own your history and all that comes with it. The metaphor of healing with time and love is not lost on me as I roll into this fifth year of living a second life. This is a hurdle, this is the clearing, this is the other side.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Developmental Tasks

The cats are curled up with one another on my grandmother's old chair. I'm wrapped in a blanket sitting on a foot rest against the wall, close to the radiator. The sun is streaming through the windows onto an orchid whose blooms are still intact despite the drafty window it sits in front of. There is laundry to be folded, tasks to be done. I'm ten days into my ritualistic taking away of everything delicious, my body clean and vibrant but limited by a small injury that keeps me from exercising for another week.

Renewal is coming early this year, after a clumsy end to a crappy 2015. I shuffle through the lists that I've made over the past few months when I was trying to jump start my life in this new place. These lists bring a smile, all contain the things that I have done in the past and do well when I am on track. But the smile is welcome instead of the beating up that I used to give myself, the thrumming of blame of what it is I need to do to be in my best space and kicking myself in the ass for careening off track. Instead, I recognize that I have had fabulous meals to eat and bourbon to drink late into the night with new friends, I have had people to discover and to crush on and then to put into a better place. I have had to straddle the space between my old place and my new place, my old work and my new work, my old friendships and new ones just budding. And then there was December and the beginning of January. And now I am here.

So I pull out these lists, I gingerly step around in the reflection of a year, I re-read the vision I wrote for myself in July, I reflect on the gift of developmental tasks at such a late stage. In all, I am patient with myself as I never have been before. I have the tools that I need to be ready to go, outward bound and sure.

[And here I will be, or was, as it may be, as I am posting this even later than expected. But to be sure, it's worth the time and the risk and the aftermath and the everything. Laying fallow and becoming again, anew, only to consider the pruning or growth (who knows) to follow. Trust ourselves, hold ourselves and others loosely so that they may grow too. So much goodness in awakening and knowing ourselves better, so much life to be seen, so much to share and reflect upon, so much to build. Let it be so, even though I missed church last Sunday. Amen.]

(started on a snowy day in February, written only in the last few lines on a balmy night in Sri Lanka, and so many beautiful spaces in between, my heart open wide, having just learned so so so much.)