Tuesday, May 22, 2018


The Bird Photographer brought that tiny carved hummingbird back from Costa Rica recently and gave it to me, so I hung it above my bed. Honestly? My favorite thing to do is lie on my back on my bed and while away the minutes, do absolutely nothing but stare at the ceiling and watch the late afternoon light play across the walls, and now the hummingbird who drifts a bit, rotates round. That and reading.

I've been exercising these days. I've been going to a dance class called Kardio Krunk. Don't laugh. Or, rather, laugh all you want. The class is taught by this beautiful man who is also working with me one on one as a personal trainer once a week. I bought myself five sessions with all that money I got back from the POSPOTUS' tax reform. I had my first full blown anxiety attack when I went for my initial assessment. I'd love to regale you with the details, but suffice it to say that at one point I was curled into the fetal position on the floor of the beautiful man's studio with an ice pack under my chin. It wasn't the assessment that did it to me -- I swear I'm not that pathetic and out of shape. It was this weird feeling that literally overtook me. One moment I was lifting weights up over my head and the next my entire shitty life was passing through me, and I mean shitty. I had in a sort of simultaneous rush just about every superficial thought you can imagine -- from how fat and ugly and out of shape I was, how insurmountable the goal of losing weight and being fit to how unfair it was to be a caregiver of a child with disabilities for more than two decades and still not have shapely arms.  There was some divorce in there, too, and the state of my stomach, and seizures, of course, and just all of it. Cue: laughter. The Kardio Krunk guy was very patient and very calm as I went through this, and while I didn't voice anything but moans and I swear to god I've never had an anxiety attack before!, I actually cried, and he assured me that he'd seen it plenty of times before. I found this hard to believe, given that it's Los Angeles, but he was nice to say so. He believed my sudden swoon to be a surge of adrenaline and endorphins, coupled with an anxiety attack. Aside from the few moments on the floor when I didn't care if I died or not, given how bad I felt, I was more curious than embarrassed to be so betrayed by both my body and mind. They honestly worked together that afternoon in spectacular concert which is actually pretty cool if you think about it.

Since then, I've been back to see him a couple of times, and I'm doing better. I've taken two Kardio Krunk classes where I attempt to keep up with the class doing intricate dance moves, including twerking, as very very loud hip hop music plays, all while avoiding looking at myself in the giant mirror that runs the length of the studio. If I so much as glance up at myself, I lose my count or the step or the beat or the twerk and want to just lie down on the floor and give it all up to the lord.

When I get home, I lie on my back on my bed and stare at the ceiling, my mind drifting with the tiny wooden hummingbird floating above me. My face is red and my legs are quivery. I can hardly unbend my arms, but I don't feel miserable. I feel exhilarated, like I'm already fit and light, like my life is endless and there's still time.


  1. Oh, that last line. Stunning.

    Funny that we’re all suddenly exercising. It’s almost as if on some level we know we have to be ready for anything now.

  2. Today I got my hand weights out. Nothing like a wee accident to get you going. I bet you ate a badass dancer! I’m glad some anxiety came out.

  3. You have been holding so much trauma for so long. Post, current and ongoing traumatic stress. It's natural for it to be stirred up a bit when we move our bodies in a new way. Keep twerking, sister. <3

  4. Strangely, I am having a lot of anxiety this morning just thinking about my walk. I need to get out and do it RIGHT NOW because I have things I need to do and it's already getting hot and I don't know if it's my body or my mind telling me, no, no, no, but I feel like I might vomit, just from the thought of it. Why? Why did you have the first anxiety attack of your life?
    Oh, who knows? All of it and none of it and here we are and we just keep going and I love you. Boy, are you a great writer or what?!

  5. When I saw the hummingbird pic on Insty I thought it was real,hence my hashtag comment. Scott had one fly into the tin can yesterday. Your anxiety attack sounds horrific but it also sounds like a "release" of some kind, a good thing. Shaking shit up, moving it all out. Keep moving. XXOO

  6. Ok A) you’re not fat and ugly B) join Weight Watchers if ya wanna lose. I did and lost 18.8 lbs over 3 months while feeding a family of 5. Its soooo easy and everyone is eating healthier in this house, you will feel so much better about yourself!! Try it, if its not for you then its not for you

  7. By the way, you are the least ugly person i’ve ever met. You are gorgeous. I love the humming bird too - and the way you hung it so you can see it every morning.

  8. You are a wonder! I hope that one day that bird photographer and you can swoop off to Costa Rica together and lie in an airy cottage beneath a thatched roof and a ceiling fan, talking and laughing and holding hands and listening to the birds for as long as you want to. And I agree with Michelle - there is something about moving your body in a different way that gives rise to all of those feelings that have been resting in your bones and muscles. Damn them for overwhelming you! It's honestly why I walk my dogs so much, because there's something about moving that helps me to release anger and despair (thus, my latest blog post). Love you! Your courage slays me.

  9. Thank you for this, Elizabeth. And it all started with your story of the gift of a hummingbird! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naj6zZakgEg

    Reading what you wrote reminded me of the releases that came when I began to practice yoga, when I re-entered my body after living in exile from it. I watched a Kardio Krunk video (and felt a release!) on YouTube and was reminded of Wyoma and African Healing Dance:


    You've inspired me to get out my African Healing Dance DVD. Because of negative childhood experiences, I have a difficult time dancing or singing when anyone is watching or listening. So far, yoga is the closest I get to dancing and yoga chants are the closest I get to singing (-:

    Wyoma quotes an African proverb: "If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing" is an African proverb. Twerking is part of African Healing Dance.

    This, especially, spoke to me:

    "Aside from the few moments on the floor when I didn't care if I died or not, given how bad I felt, I was more curious than embarrassed to be so betrayed by both my body and mind. They honestly worked together that afternoon in spectacular concert which is actually pretty cool if you think about it."

    Thank you again!

  10. I meant: Wyoma quotes an African proverb: "If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing."

    It is a release to notice how I react when I make a mistake! (-:

  11. Well, let's hear it for Kardio Krunk! When I first saw that bird I thought it was real and wondered how the heck it got in your house. It DOES sound like your anxiety attack might have come from some chemicals coursing through your body as a result of all the exertion. I used to get very emotional when I ran. It always seemed silly afterwards, but it seemed very deep and real when I was in the act of running!

  12. Allowing your body and mind to have that intense release was probably a good thing even tho' it was a difficult thing at the time. Caregivers hold a lot in and perform so much by rote and with as little emotional release as we can muster, so I think your Kardio Krunk might have allowed all of that to be set free and experienced. There is still time for self Care and I'm so glad you're pursuing it and working towards the body that won't make you feel any neg emotions.

  13. Not enough has been made that you hadn't experienced a panic attack before now. Love the writing. Love the hummingbird. Love that you're doing fancy workouts. I once cried after a yoga class, and I am not a cryer. The body stores the memories and pain, and every now and then they break lose.

  14. This is exactly where I was a few years ago. But without the beautiful man or the ice pack. xoxo

  15. As you know I had my anxiety attack/meltdown last Thursday night and thank you for being there and being so kind.

    It's never ending, that's what gets me. I think, there, we've got that sorted out and then everything falls apart. FUCK!

    Katie goes to see the surgeon tomorrow, so we'll see what she has to say.

    I had a stressful weekend, horrible emails from my ex-husband and the owner of the agency that cares for Katie. Apparently when you stand up for yourself or your child, it's an attack on them. And then I start to question myself. I'm better now but omg this is hard.

    And yes, all of it does tend to get rolled into one big, ugly ball that is overwhelming.

    Sending hugs woman.

  16. You are a beautiful human being, inside and out. You are gorgeous, and so is your writing that touches me so deeply, every time! I, too, have felt the release that others here have mentioned, after moving my body in new ways. Sending love and light to all who need it.

  17. I only look at my hair in the mirror, not my body. It works better that way...


  18. That hummingbird is so delicate, gracefull and realistic; no wonder you love staring at it. Such a thoughtful gift. And that anxiety attack sounds perfectly reasonable given the circumstances. My body opted for a heart attack. Either way, the stress overload has an unavoidable affect on us. Glad to hear you are doing better now and enjoying the exercising.



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