Run to the Sea

She walks by and arches her back in hopes of attracting attention. 

The other lays down, coyly airs her towel, beach wrap still hugging her body and eventually places herself in the sand with ease, cautious of exposing her skin to the dozens around her. 

I lay on the beach chair, breasts protruding from a triangle bikini too small for me, but not small enough for my awkward tan lines. 

Who determined one of the three of us was wrong? Who decided we were too much or too little? 

Many would argue no one. No one determined what our worth compared to the next was.

Then again, many would argue the opposite. 

Whether I argue or not is not what gets under my skin. 

What makes me unsettled at 3pm on a 85 degree day on the cape is whether or not the idea of insecurity is valid or straight up bullshit. 

The idea one’s muscle gain or another’s weight loss is possible of triggering another woman? Or another man for that matter. 

I don’t think it will ever make sense to me. The way we look at women with adoration and appreciation because to be frank, the female body is capable of badass things outside of giving birth to children. It will forever amaze me. It should bewilder anyone. Particularly those without a birth canal. But, what amazes me even more is the constant fear I have of other women. I am asking, begging, and crying out for acceptance of my own female body when they themselves may not be able to show themselves that same love. I am in recovery from a disorder I should be over, but, cannot cross the threshold of acceptance because of an invisible boundary I do not know how to push pass.

When does it start and when does it end? 

When does resilience begin and acceptance declare itself? 

Call this what you want. A rant. A chance for me to air dirty laundry – though it could certainly get dirtier than this, nonsense thoughts strung together in a blog post. Or a case of the Sunday scaries. 

Either way, just take a second to think about it. 

Yesterday, I looked at my reflection in mirrors, glass windows, window shop reflections, and in the mirror of a whitecaps sea 64 times. 

64 times I sought validation. 

What is wrong with that? 

Is it you?

Is it me? 

Or, is it us?

Let Her Speak

The featured photo on this post is a photo of Martha and I – a photo of her and I together, inseparable.

Common decency? Not a thing in Martha’s book. Never has been, never will be. 

“Hey Meg, schedule a panic attack, binge and purge session, and three days of restriction to follow for next week. You fell behind last week with three cheat meals and two missed workouts. Okay?” Martha asked. 

Bitch wouldn’t even wait three seconds for me to answer. 

“You are killing it, Meg,” she followed up. 

And by it, she means me. 

I was killing me. 

What do you think about when you want to kill your worst enemy? 

Do you think about walking into their house and shooting them point-blank? Do you think about following their car down a dirt road and ramming into them harder than the head-on collision in the poorly recreated Footloose movie? Or, maybe you’ve got that creative mind that takes it back to the 1700s and you watch them drown, from afar tied to a wooden post in the middle of a lake. 

Which is it? 

How would you kill?

Martha chooses to drown her worst enemy. 

I’ll let her explain.

*

I wait for her eyes to seek me out, make me feel wanted. We lie looking at each other, my eyes analyzing her body, her eyes gazing up and down mine. I reach for her waist and let my hands fall to Meg’s hip bones. Traveling side to side, I let my hands glide up her waistline into the curvature of her collarbone. Meg arches her back inhaling and eventually sinking into the bed. Her exhale is slow, and breaths delayed. She looks at me, waiting for my hand to cross her body into a threshold of acceptance. 

I pause. 

I pull back. 

“Please,” she begs.

I retrace my steps, starting with her hip bone, following her waistline, and onto her collarbone. 

“No,” I whisper. 

“Please,” she is desperate. “Go slower this time.”

“Slower,” I whisper. “Okay.”

Once more, she turns me on while I pray to her needs.

“Okay.” I sing into her ear. 

The crease in her brow eases and her body releases tension better than any orgasm I have seen her experience in months. “Okay,” Meg repeats back to me. 

*

“Get dressed, Meg,” I tell her. 

She jumps out of bed, jubilant and jolly. Springing to the shower and leaping toward the walk-in closet. She bounces in front of me to Niall Horan’s Slow Hands, retracing the lines I drew on her minutes before.

“You love it when I trace you like that, don’t you?” I ask.

She doesn’t answer. 

Meg learned early on, no reply is the best reply. 

“Meg. Please, go get dressed,” I whisper. 

A song and a half later, she opens her closet door and steps out in an over-sized blue crewneck sweater and leggings. 

“No,” I whisper in her ear. “Do better.”

Two minutes later, I watched my girl walk out in the Lululemon leggings that hold her ass just right and compress those boobs her mom passed onto her just enough. 

She searches for the same acceptance she sought earlier in the morning, looking for some sort of approval I was supposed to give. 

“Meg, why are you looking at me?” I asked. “I am a direct representation of you.”

Meg shook her head, apologizing profusely.

“I didn’t mean it that way,” she cried. “I’m sorry.”

Damnit, Meg. She pulls this shit, plays the victim, and looks at me with tears in her eyes. I know she talks about me with others. I see her carry that damn red journal around with the tack Jane Austen quote on its cover. Lately, she confides more in the journal and less in me. Bullshit. 

She looked up one more time, searching for forgiveness.

“I’m sorry,” she murmured. 

I won. 

You see, when Meg woke up earlier that morning, there was a moment where my hands paused somewhere below her bellybutton and between her hipbones. I felt the inconsistency. 

We both did. 

Typically, Meg lets her hands sit atop of mine on those early morning rendezvous, but that morning, she shied away. She faked it. It’s that therapy thing she is doing. She is letting them fill her head with lies. 

She was ashamed this morning.

She failed me.  We both knew it. 

She knew the punishment. 

When she went into the closet earlier that morning and threw on the oversized sweatshirt and leggings, it was not an act of defying her size, or that bullshit body acceptance her friends tried to preach to her. 

It was shame for gaining. 

It was shame for growing. 

Meg was failing me. 

Hold your Heart with Two Hands

We sat across from each other at the farm style dining table in her dining room. She sipped on her glass of chardonnay, I talked about upcoming plans for New York. I sipped on my glass of Bordeaux while she talked about working for the United Nations and parading around New York City.

The almost weekly ritual, talking about life while drinking wine became a staple the Summer of 2016.

Deep into the conversation she paused, raised her glance from her glass of wine toward my eyes.

She asked if she could change the subject.

“No Mimi, you can’t,” I laughed.

Who tells their grandmother they can’t change the subject?

“Of course you can,” I said.

Her blue eyes smiled, her blue eyes spoke for her most of the time. So, she paused, took a sip of wine, and started her weekly sermon I looked forward to.  

This week we would talk about love.

To be honest, most weeks we talked about love. It was a thing of ours.

She started in on Poppi. He passed away at 51 or 52, I can’t quite remember, from a heart attack, a common thing in the 80s when everyone started to realize three packs of cigarettes a day won’t do the body any good.

Mimi loved the man so much she never remarried, never dated again, never allowed anyone else to touch her heart.

Mimi’s love for Poppi paralyzed her.

She asked me to find a love capable of paralyzing me. She asked me to hold my heart with both hands and never let go. Love is precious and once you find it with the right person, you’re supposed to hold onto it for fucking life.

I nodded and assured her I would.

Mimi died suddenly six months later.

It paralyzed me.

Sent me into shock, turned my world upside down, sent me into an eating disorder that captured each ounce of my being from my toes to my heart.

She told me to hold my heart with both hands but, months after her death, sitting at the very same farm table she asked me to find a paralyzing love at, I had no idea what the hell she meant.

Jesus Christ.

What did she mean?

Sorry.

Pardon my french.

I started writing in my journal overwhelmed by grief. More or less the grief I neglected to care for in respect for outlining situations.

I  wrote, two glasses of wine in and emotions at a high.

I flipped back to last year when she told me to hold my heart with two hands.

Mimi, what does this mean?

How do you hold your heart with two hands?

How do you hold your heart, keep it from breaking, and go through day-to-day life without letting it fall through the palms of your hands?

Cue the tears, a Meg staple.

I walked up to her room, it still looked the exact same, down to the smell of her Lancome perfume and daily pills on her nightstand.

I searched her nightstand for traces of her.

I  held a note from her she had left me.

It held her heart all those years after Poppi’s death. How she kept her heart from breaking again. How she learned to stand on her own two feet after a loss.

I sat on her bed skimming through pages, pausing in-between to run my hands over the lines she wrote, hoping to feel her presence just a little bit more.

I held the letter with two hands, turning each page with care, reading through the days of grief, the days of hope, and the days of joy. I read through her questions to God, her demands for answers, her need eternal rest.

I held her heart in both hands and answered so many of the questions I had only an hour earlier.

Find a love capable of paralyzing you. Check

Hold your heart with both hands and take care of it. Check.

Find a way to move on and grow with your heart. Check.