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Found and Feral

Rosebud (photo: Jonas Driscoll)

Mercury retrograde being the wily mistress that she is, this photo capsized my computer today as an uninvited screensaver. It’s me at 15, getting my hair done so I could play the wackadoo Essie in a high school production of You Can’t Take It With You. Part of me wonders if the wily boy who played my husband in that show engineered this mischief. Stephen was a kind-eyed bad boy who died far too young.

My mother sewed the rosebuds on that leotard; I loved it so much. But what I notice most–and maybe the real reason for this oddbot magic—is how otherwise-unadorned I seem. Even at that age, I was always “on” in the presence of other people-—big grin, big lipstick, big shtick. Yet there I am, no makeup, no “camera-ready” face, just quietly submitting to an older girl’s ministrations. Even my hair is its natural color. In the eye of an eclipse season that’s blowing up the facades in our relationships, this picture makes me weepy. I’ve always been a feral sort of girl, but there I am, lapping up the mommy love. We’re never too old for mommy love.

Schmucks of the Universe (Parenthetically Speaking)

Exhibit A: Gonzo spacecrone neckgear

So I’ve been having one of Those Weeks (years, but who’s counting?). Lots of luck but not all of it good. To wit, this week I am in Hudson (good) staying with Grace and Daisy the Dog (good) but still have this cruddy summer cold (bad).

Today I went out for sick-lady supplies and stopped at Salvation Army because the one up here is le bomb (good). In there for two dollars I find this absolutely gonzo gorgeous necklace–like, it looks like decorative weaponry for a space crone superheroine (good). I walk out on cloud 9 but as soon as I turn on my car the CHECK ENGINE light starts flashing and Minerva the Wonder Hyundai starts shaking (bad). God’ll get you for that, Walter, I thought, subbing in “vanity” for “Walter” (Maude reference) and nodding at the Legend (who loved that phrase). I run into the tire store down the road to ask where I should bring my car and instead one of the young fellas working there plugs a diagnostic tool into my car and announces (I shit you not), “Not all your cylinders are firing.” (All hail this metaphor called 2019 Lisa.)

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Best Little Girl in the World

I’ve been doing a lot of visual research for my book and today found two pics from my 20s that really freak me out. I wrote last week about my struggles with anorexia nervosa, but the photographic evidence was still tough to see. Back then I thought I looked so fly but in the one at left I am covered with a pelt of fur and at right I am literally concave. Please note: There’s nothing inherently wrong with body hair but it’s disturbing that the thick dark hair covering my limbs and abdomen fell out when I started eating regularly.

I may be flattering myself but I think in my zaftig 40s I actually look younger. Certainly it’s unclear if I’d be heading round the bend to 50 had I not found a way through my anorexia. At 25, I had auto-immune issues, joint problems, a jaundiced complexion, digestive disease, and frequently fractured bones. Yet no doctor connected these problems to the fact that I was severely underweight. It is a betrayal of the social contract to ever comment on another’s weight, yet I received so much approbation for walking around obviously ill that I was drafted as a model. (Not a humblebrag, modeling is fecked.) To be fair, it may have been hard to tell I was eating-disordered since I have my mother’s strong and sizable bones. Still. My head loomed like–well, my head loomed like fucking Barbie.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy