The athletes talk about being lost in the air. They call it the twisties. Inside my head, thoughts continue to twist.
We are political activists. The Zen master wanted us to clear our heads and bodies. Our heads have images of milk running down faces to wash away tear gas, long scars on wrists and arms carved to let out pain, prison doors closing behind women who tried to protect themselves.
We hold Zooms, write petitions, try to shake legislators into consciousness. Our heads and bodies reel.
The Zen Master says to be quiet, allow ourselves to think. Move away from the pain we absorb. Push it out so that we can work. The Tai Ji she teaches says move forward. We can’t work with clutter in our heads.
The athletes talk about being lost in the air. They call it the twisties. They don’t know where they are positioned. Inside my head, thoughts continue to twist, I don’t always know where I am in the air, or on the ground.
All along, I have been attempting to make room, in my head, in my house, in my heart.
Spacious Head, #1
The doctor thought I needed the psych ward. He thought the psych ward and his concoctions will clear my head. My head was not spacious, words were nonsense, noises were a cacophony, I could not recognize people.
Inside the psych ward space was gummy, the inside of a dirty aquarium. Outside lives were going on, laughing, going in and out the locked door, edges of people not distinct from the air. Something needed to change. Space needed to be erased or added or to vanish. If you ran and jumped through the window space would break open. Your head would be free.
The doctor’s concoctions do not help. He is slow and pale and not fully washed; I cannot fathom the inside of his head. He said my problems are a lack of meds. He prescribed more. The lithium made me shake, I could not tie my shoes or hold a fork. The staff said to get slip-on shoes and eat with a spoon.
I thought perhaps their heads are so spacious they have been completely cleared out.
Spacious Head, #2
I saw a functional medicine doctor. Her office was spacious and white and uncluttered. White carpet, white couches, white cabinets. A glass table held a single yellow cornflower in crystal.
She was thin and white and flowy. White flowy hair, white tunic, white blouson pants, white sandals. Her white chair was in front of white drapes, the sun glinted from the chair and hair.
If I followed her orders, I too could be as gracious and spacious as she. Able to work out with kettlebells at 6 AM and have endless and frequent sex, despite being 55, according to her website. She was vacuous, I suspected the sex was a mirage.
I was certain she had thin flowy genetics and somehow overlooked that I had short chubby genes and was far too tired for kettlebells and whatever kind of sex she was having.
She prescribed many expensive vitamins, and a clear, spacious house. The description of my house, covered with books and papers, thrift store finds and random people, horrified her. Her body shook at my description. People are available to help, she said, they don’t charge much, maybe $100-$200. I had completed a 20-page intake, she overlooked the part about six kids and working for a nonprofit.
The $450 check would clear my depression and buy her some new kettlebells and sex.
Clutter of six children, four grandchildren, twenty-two years. We have everything. My wife collects tools and kitchen implements, an antique awl, a scythe, a circular saw, a hand beater, a potato masher, and Cochran’s Law Dictionary Police Edition, 1888, from a stint working in a prison. I can’t bear to clear away any papers or books. Early Joan Nestle, The Persistence of Desire, 70s feminist sci-fi, Woman on the Edge of Time, also, how to conjugate French verbs and Music Theory 101.
It is a loved debris diary of our lives.
We are on a continuum between Marie Kondo and The Hoarders. We can find anything. We have found a boat motor, an extra sump pump, an ax, a handgun — one shouldn’t lose those. I don’t think there are lost children, at least not for an extended time.
My wife and I keep them all. Extra cousins, exes of the children, children of the exes. We don’t believe in tossing family away. We have lost track of who is related to who. I do know I didn’t give birth to any of them, that none of them share my genes, and have a general sense of who is an adolescent and who is an adult. Sometimes the grown children steal the meds, or they don’t get out of bed, or expect that those who are dying will provide care. They take a lot of space, on couches, chairs, in kitchens, they gradually eat the gentle spaces of our hearts.
Spacious Head #3
I watch the Zen Master and a meditation video. They are very quiet, I believe this is meant to clear clutter, allow room for productive rest.
I fall asleep. I wake up and realize I have missed two whole episodes of The Good Fight. The Good Fight is riveting. My head is full of political humor. It may be more restful.
Spaciousness in the air
The athletes talk about being lost in the air. They call it the twisties. They don’t know where they are positioned. Inside my head, thoughts continue to twist, I don’t always know where I am in the air, on the ground, where spaciousness heals or where the meds and house and children have simply cleaned it out.
The Zen Master is likely a poor companion for Marie Kondo or The Hoarders. But if I join hands with all of them, I may know where I am in the air.