Day 28: Indulge


I dropped the ball for a stretch of months, and I guess I wrote a book in those months, so it wasn’t for nothing. But I need to flex my writing muscles again. Instead of avoiding my next book (which I have been doing by painting the dining room, painting a four-foot picture of a roaring bear holding the state of California, and distracting myself with social media) I am finally putting my butt in the chair and starting to write. Again. Round and round the mulberry bush we go…

Resuming the Ann Dee Ellis 8-Minute Memoir Writing Challenge. This is Day Twenty-Eight.

In one of my favorite astrology books by Suzanne White, there is a paragraph that has always made me laugh in it’s pinpoint specificity:

“However sweet [she] might be she does have one little fault: she flies into the most impressive rages you will ever see on the planet. For a long time, things will go along smoothly…and you think she is the most pleasant and intelligent and warmhearted soul alive. Then, suddenly, the moment arrives when [she] considers some arbitrary event the limit. What you think is a wounded moose bounding off your living room walls is just [Tracy] having one of [her] moments. Head for the kitchen. Open the fridge and start throwing food. Food is the only cure I know for [her] fury.”

David used to quote this to me, softly laughing as he gingerly handed me an open container of Cherry Garcia and a fork. (Ice cream should always be consumed with a fork, don’t you know?) Jon has learned to bring me cheese along with flowers on anniversaries and holidays.

We need bread and roses. Indulgence is simply part of the weft and weave of a life well-lived. My soul doesn’t thrive in asceticism. Even in my worst years of poverty, when I had food stamps in my wallet and charity provided my very kitchen, I found ways to nourish my soul. I planted sunflower seeds outside my front door, and gloried in the bombastic, heavy-headed bursts during the fall. I splurged on a ridiculous and impractical nail polish that made me smile every time the sun glinted off my golden fingertips. I sewed thrift-store trim and salvaged lace into the dresses I made for Abby. It’s the little things.

Today, my days are more stable than they have been my entire adult life. I find my appreciation for the simple things in life to be enhanced by the sooty fires I was forced to walk though. I don’t really want to wash the stains from my hands, the scars from my skin, because they have made me who I am. While I still absolutely want to win the cheese lottery, it’s also true that the play of green leaves dancing outside and the thready song of the late summer whippoorwill floating in through the open window bring me great joy. In every way possible, I have a room of my own, and that is so much more of an indulgence than I ever dared hope.

And it also means that less and less often is it necessary for someone to fling open the refrigerator and throw Ben & Jerry’s at me. But it still does happen…