Day 45 - This is Just Between Us
It’s day 45. I’m almost halfway done with the 93-day project. Two days ago I posted this picture on Facebook and someone wrote “you must have spiritual healing with that natural beauty” and I thought it was so funny because a minute after taking the photo, I was down in the bushes pooping.
It wasn’t one of those cool situations where the bushes just happen to be tall enough to offer privacy and by some miracle you'd just happened to pack toilet paper. It was not like that at all.
Minutes later, I was walking down West Cliff Drive with what felt like a nice streak of poop going up my back. How it got all the way up there, I don’t know, but at that point, anything seemed possible. Poop could have been in my hair and I wouldn’t have been all that surprised.
I was listening to Oprah Winfrey interview Anthony Ray Hinton, the man who wrote The Sun Does Shine after being on death row for 28 years for a crime he did not commit. In the face of his life, the fact that I pooped semi-publically didn’t seem all that critical. I imagined someone on death row might throw a party if he or she got to poop by the beach unshackled, out in the bright light, the ocean stretching out to the horizon, whispering, you are free, you are free.
I was fortunate because I’d had a sweatshirt on pre-poop, and now I got to use that sweet piece of lululemon to tie around the mess that was me. I figured if I walked fast enough, I could outrace the Anne cloud, and no one would know I was a walking pile of shit.
But I wasn’t feeling fortunate, even while listening to Anthony Ray Hinton, even with the diaper sweatshirt tied around my waist. I was feeling angry. I’d been eating clean for 43 days. I’d given up coffee. My turds should have been like well-trained dogs, but instead they were the same as they’d been before this no-coffee, no sugar, kale heavy nonsense started. Had I no control over my body? Was I destined for a life of Russian roulette every time I walked 100 yards from a toilet?
What was wrong with me?
And then Pam Cordano called, and she asked me if she could read me something she’d written about anger. Two minutes later, I had stopped walking so I could focus on laughing. I didn’t care about the dark Anne cloud. I was listening to someone read what felt like magic, what felt like her strongest writing yet. I had the feeling that in a year or so when Pam’s book was published, I was going to remember listening to this passage while I walked with the happy locals and tourists, that time when to the rest of the world I probably looked normal. No one knew I was a walking disaster. My friend had written something amazing and she chose to share it with me. Things don’t have to be perfect for me to be happy. Things don’t have to be clean or right or fragrant.
But I think they are supposed to be.
Do you remember being a kid and falling in the mud or getting caught in the rain or spilling a Slurpee all down your shirt and laughing, wiping, and moving on because there were better things to focus on than what wasn’t going right?
Being human is complicated. We live in a world of Dove soap commercials and TV shows called Friends and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and we have cars that cost more than many people’s houses. It’s so hard to know what is normal or good or even real. There is talk of sin and wrong and guilt and failure. It’s so easy to feel bad about yourself. It’s much, much easier, I’m finding, to feel bad than it is to feel good. What if the spirit in the sky came down one day and pulled the hook of shame out of your mouth and said, It’s not yours anymore. You are free. What do you want to do next?
There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with you. Ever.
Listen to Oprah’s interview of Anthony Hay Hinton. It’s in two parts. I’m guessing you’ll cry at least once (https://www.iheart.com/podcast/649-Oprahs-SuperSoul-Conversat-28374905/episode/anthony-ray-hinton-part-1-freedom-29435709/).
I had a kombucha to drink the day before I pooped in the shrubs. My guts do not like that stuff, and if I wasn’t sure, I’m sure now. As an adoptee who has come out of the fog, I have to treat my body like a Maserati. It is high maintenance, and it is worth it. If I put shit in it, shit’ll come out. I know to many people kombucha is a health food, but it isn’t for me. I was hoping I could sneak one in and have everything be normal, but that is crazy behavior. Being in this body is work. I am my own job. If I fall asleep at the wheel, I end up in the bushes.
I have freedom. It’s so easy to take that for granted. I can step outside just about any time I want. I can walk in the rain. I can hug the people I love. I can choose what I eat or drink. I can poop out in public and not get arrested.
Instead of focusing so much on poops, I’m working on focusing on how to dream. I am working on asking for what seems unreasonable. I am pushing boundaries because it’s easy to get smaller and smaller and smaller into habit, easier, and it is also a deathmarch.
I asked Frosty Hesson if he would teach me to surf. I figured asking a surf legend to teach an out-of-shape middle-age woman how to get up on a board was pushing limits. It was a way for me to practice dreaming. One day I was watching Chasing Mavericks on a Virgin America flight to Indianapolis, and weeks later I’m asking the guy portrayed in the movie to teach me to do something I have no bodily desire of doing. I don’t look at surfers and wish I could do what they do. I think, I am so glad I am on solid ground.
But I don’t want to live in a safe bubble. Just because something scares me doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. Maybe it means I should.
Anyway. I’ll let you know. Frosty said yes. First he said: Are you sure? It's really, really hard. I nodded. I figured that would be the perfect way to wrap up these 93 days: doing something that terrified me, something that had me (idealistically) at one with nature, something that had me in the flow. I had wanted to surprise myself when I started out 45 days ago. I wanted something to change. I wanted my life to change. For me to change. I just didn’t know how.
But I'm figuring it out.
See you tomorrow.