I spent last week up and down ladders, balancing in a stairwell on a ladder with a paintbrush in one hand, paint in the other, and a huge-expensive ventilation mask on my face. I carried furniture, moved stoves, balanced feet-up head-down in crevices in the kitchen plugging things in awkwardly.
Then I went to visit my family and my mother told me not to lift a beach bag because it was too heavy. I tested it and laughed because it wasn’t. Not to laugh at her, because probably she’s right, but because I haven’t been thinking of myself as fragile at all.
But I walk like I have glass feet — I could break them if I move too quickly. I move so slowly I laugh at myself. And this week I suddenly feel nauseous if I haven’t eaten, but when I eat I only want to fall asleep. I eat so slowly, Rosie and Steve finish and stare at me staring at my daunting plate full of food.
This morning I woke and darted right to the kitchen, my stomach warning me that if I didn’t eat then I would be darting to the bathroom. I scarfed down some oatmeal, showered, walked downtown to teach a homeless writing workshop, walked back and collapsed into my second breakfast of a boiled egg. I could barely make it up the hill on the way back, even worse than before — my lungs, my legs, all parts of me were begging to just stop right there halfway in the soft grass. I slept for three hours, and I couldn’t have not slept. If I were driving, I would have fallen asleep in the car. The curtain of exhaustion fell and only guilt could wake me. I went right to the studio and worked for three hours.
And now everything is too heavy. Our front door seems impossible to open. The door at the co-op requires that I fall into it with my whole body to push it open. I couldn’t open the triscuits bag tonight, nor could I lift the orange juice. I would not be able to lift that beach bag today for sure.