cauliflower seashells

On the coast, the fog crashes through like kaiju, disappearing trees and buildings with a single blow. The dense and guttural cries inspire my joints to take their place in the chorus, creaking and groaning, too. My body, my city, is a monster movie before the destruction, during the destruction, after the destruction. We call the after the rebuilding, and the before the good ol days. My body, my city, is the monster, is the rebuild, is the goodest of the oldest days.

The words I spelled wrong before the help of technology: coast, disappearing, guttural, chorus, creaking.

This is to say, the last few days have been the part of healing dance where one takes two steps back. I’m proud of myself because I’ve managed it better than usual, despite insurrection and disease and winter, and everything that else that battles down my bones just by existing in the world.

I ask my roommate what he thinks of using seashells to decorate outside our place, except the word figureskates out of my wintered mouth as cauliflower. I am insistent. He is confused.

And now I wonder how my brain linked those two at all. My prior experience with word switches have always had a sort of logic to the hiccup. Milestone and yardstick follow the same formula. Palm tree and pineapple have similar sounds. A loaf and a baby are things that must bake till they’re ready.

But what do cauliflower and seashells have in common enough that my brain thought one word might do for the other in a pinch?

That’s what this part of healing is.

A pinch.

The pinch under my eyes has officially become a wrinkle and I love my aging face, I love the direction it is headed. I know, I know, I’m supposed to like the good ol days, but these cheekbones were sharpened on prison bars. This jaw has been flattened and stretched by all the prayers it has uttered. This skin is pinched in healing, grieving, and loving, because it has been softened enough to fold.

I could do without the greys in my hair, but not because I don’t appreciate finally finally growing my own glitter, but because mine stand straight up in the air. I’m not sure what to do about that, and I really don’t know what the world is going to do about it, because it seems to me to be a sort of omen. Grey-haired Rara is about to be quite loud: even her hair stands up and shouts.

Right now, I am sitting down, quiet as I’ve been all day. All week. All these last quarantined months. There is bread in the oven, because I am a better baker when my brain is having an off day. I don’t remember what I’m doing enough to fuss, to peek into the oven, to poke the risen bread just to see. Instead, I can give it the gift of stillness and time.

Today, I give myself these gifts, too.

These things, and bread.

10 thoughts on “cauliflower seashells

  1. This is so beautifully written. You captured the sensation of stillness and slowness that can accompany the days that I’m mentally burned out. On those days, thoughts might come, but they don’t feel like they’re really mine. Maybe it’s my brain just clearing things out, washing the walls, and hoping I’ll get out of the way, haha.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that I love how you describe your wrinkles. I have a similar tenderness for mine. I love my grey hairs ( I call them my “fair stream of silver” because they look like glistening silver in my black hair.), and I love my wrinkles, although there aren’t many yet. I like to say that I earned them all. I’ve also learned that loving myself is really important, and that includes my body.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Fair stream of silver” — so poetic, I love it! I’ve always felt a deep… neutrality, I suppose … for my body, but as the age settles in, I remember the years together and the fondness is hard to ignore. 🙂

      I’m also curious what the brain is doing on these kinds of days. The experience is so similar between very different sorts of people that I think there must be some mechanical rhyme to the reason. Maybe science will catch up eventually but until then, I’ll just keep using these days to bake treats. 🙂❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m just seeing comment notificatiins from the past few years. I didn’t realize that I wasn’t getting these.

        This comment was such a good thing to see today. Winters are hard, and the depression feels so often compounded for me this time of year. Thank you for your thoughtful response. I hope you’re baking some treats you love today. I wish you joy and relief from any and all heaviness.

        Liked by 1 person


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