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new york city

Dear Life., Guest Posts

Dear Life: I Have No Idea What I Am Doing!

December 30, 2014

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Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being.

Jen Pastiloff is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Join her in Tuscany for her annual Manifestation Retreat. Click the Tuscan hills above. No yoga experience required. Only requirement: Just be a human being. Sep 17-24, 2016. Email info@jenniferpastiloff.com to book or with questions. 5 spots left as of Jan 27, 2016.

 

Welcome to Dear Life: An Unconventional Advice Column.

Your questions get sent to various authors from around the world to answer (and please keep sending because I have like 567 writers that want to answer your burning questions. Click here to submit a letter or email dearlife@jenniferpastiloff.com.) Different writers offer their input when it comes to navigating through life’s messiness. We are “making messy okay.” Today’s letter is answered by my friend the ultra-prolfic and talented Jordan Rosenfeld. Read and share and comment and get one of Jordan’s books and send us your questions because there loads of crazy authors waiting to answer ’em. Just kidding, they aren’t crazy.

Well okay, maybe a little. Aren’t we all? xo, Jen Pastiloff, Crazy Beauty Hunter.

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Dear Life,
Disclaimer:
My problems are minuscule in the grand scheme of things; my life is pretty awesome and I’ve got all of the tools that I need to be successful. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of major challenges and struggles, but I’ve come out of each and every one stronger, smarter, wiser, and older than my real age. My soul is old.
I moved to NYC after graduating from college in Oklahoma to pursue my dreams (what were they, again?) I completed the internship that I’d been dreaming of for a couple of years and felt like the world was mine…every other minute.
Eventually though, I was poor, cried almost every day because I was so stressed about money, fought thoughts of regret about moving away from home, and needed a job. I worked part time at kind of grueling jobs, and now I’m on the temp-track…working at amazing places around the city but unsatisfied and unsettled. Still eeking by to pay the rent every month and still wondering if this is the right place for me to be.

Yes, I love New York. And yes, I know that I am experiencing a kind of life that many people my age will never get to experience. I am lucky. Why am I complaining?
When do I stop trying this? When do I give up and move home? When do I throw in the towel?

I want to help others. I want people to see that kindness can change the world. I want to walk the earth and take people with me. I want to experience new cultures and share my experiences with those who cannot. But are these dreams so out of this world that I need to bring it down a notch? Am I out of my league, here? And I should just cool my jets and be patient?

One minute I’m loving life and the next I’m thinking “FUCK THIS SHIT!” as I walk to my apartment in the snow, groceries in hand and hood blowing back. One minute I’m proud of myself for making it here and the next I’m like…SHIT, IM ALMOST 24! WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!

So, I’m trying to manifest the job that I want but I don’t know what exactly that is. It’s taking a little too long and I don’t know when to give up. Because at some point…don’t I have to? Isn’t there a limit on trying? I know that people reading this will think “NO! GO FOR IT, GIRL! DON’T EVER GIVE UP!” But when my pockets are empty it isn’t that easy.

Thanks, Gurus.
Almost 24

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Converse-Station, Guest Posts, writing

The Converse-Station: Tim Tomlinson Interviews Stephen Policoff.

November 10, 2014

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Poet, Short Story Writer & New York Literary Lion Tim Tomlinson Interviews Novelist Stephen Policoff

Welcome to The Converse-Station: A dialogue between writers. With the site getting so much traffic (my Facebook page is reaching over 16 million people!) I can think of no better way to utilize that traffic than to introduce the readers to writers I love. The dialogues created within this series have stayed with me long after I’ve read them on the page. Confession: I am totally biased with this one. I love these two writers dearly. They both helped me find my voice as a writer so many years ago when I was a student at NYU. Tim was one of my teachers and Stephen ran the literary magazine and published my first poem when I was still a teenager (and we joked that we were related since both or names ended in “Off”.) It is my great honor to publish this. And, to call both of these men my friends. 

The other day I was emailing with Stephen about his daughter (you’ll read about her below) and I felt overwhelmed with sadness. “Why does the world have to be filled with such pain,” I wrote to him. He replied,  ‘I always knew we would come to this but I never thought I’d have to do it by myself.
So it goes. Or as Kenneth Patchen observes, “Christ Christ Christ that the world should be cold and dark for so many.’ “

I hope this interview leaves you feeling the opposite of cold and dark as it did for me. Love, Jen Pastiloff, founder of The Manifest-Station.

Tim Tomlinson is a co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. His fiction and poetry have appeared in venues from China and the Philippines to Toronto and New York. He is a Yoga Alliance certified (200 hr) instructor. He believes the easiest asanas are the hardest, and the hardest aren’t easy at all. He lives in Brooklyn, he teaches in NYU’s Global Liberal Studies program.

Stephen Policoff won the James Jones Award for his first novel, Beautiful Somewhere Else (Carroll & Graf 2004). His memoir, Sixteen Scenes from a Film I Never Wanted to See, was published by Monkey Puzzle Press in 2014. His second novel, Come Away, won the Mid-Career Author Award and will be published in November 2014 by Dzanc Books. Like Tim Tomlinson, he teaches in Global Liberal Studies at NYU, and edits their literary magazine The West 4th Street Review, where many years ago, he encountered Jen Pastiloff, then a poetic waif, and published her first poem. He lives in Manhattan with his two daughters.

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And So It Is, Grief, Guest Posts, healing, loss, love

Nothing Is Just One Thing. By Elizabeth Crane.

February 6, 2014

Nothing is just one thing.  By Elizabeth Crane.

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The last few days have involved a combination of gratitude and morbid reflection.  The inevitable losses that result from addiction somehow still never fail to shock me, though I have not had a drink in nearly twenty-two years and I’ve seen more than a few people die at this point.  It wasn’t until the news about Philip Seymour Hoffman that I thought about how many there have been – which turns out to be too many to count – I keep thinking of others.  Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes you don’t, and for me, most of the times, I just don’t want to.  I’ll make up reasons why this one or that one is an exception so that my friends will all live forever, or at least until after I go first.  The people I’ve met in recovery are some of the most phenomenal people I know; some have come back from homelessness and prostitution to build lives they could once barely imagine.  My own drinking story is less dramatic; think of your most self-pitying girlfriend and add in a bunch of booze (whatever was available/free) and poor decision-making and that’s about as interesting as it gets. When I quit, I had reached a point where I imagined going on like that for the rest of my life, maybe never even missing a day of work at the job I hated and for sure never having any more money than I did then (which was in fact, substantially negative), or a relationship that lasted longer than four months, and I saw a way to change that worked for me.

When I was newly sober, Phil was part of a crew of my closest friends.  He wasn’t my closest friend, I want to be clear about that.  We had many delightful conversations, but we weren’t I’ll call you when I get home kind of friends.  We were close with a lot of the same people (who I did call when I got home), and I often saw him on a daily basis.  That was two decades ago.  But it was a critical time in my life.  I cannot overstate how much each person in that group meant to me, then and now; we were part of a greater thing, and we all helped each other whether it was deliberate or not.

Over the years, many in that group moved away from NY, including myself.  In Chicago, I found a new group of people to break my daily bread with, and as we built our new lives, we all had less time to gather every day.  I have kept in touch with those who aren’t close by, and we’ve always found ways to keep tabs on each other, pre-social media and pre-email.  We used the phone.  We wrote letters!  Crazy.

I’m not getting to it here.

It’s been twenty-two years.  Countless individuals have helped me change my life, countless more help me keep it changed.  But there’s a special place in my heart for the people I met at the beginning.  And losing one of them feels different – shocking, frightening, heartbreaking, cause for a broad, unbidden life review.  The short version is that it’s good now, life.  I’m happy and well, I have meaningful work and healthy relationships with people.  I’m also married to a sober person, and yet it’s not until just now that I’ve stopped to really consider the flip side of that.  We continue to do what we need to to maintain our sobriety, but it is part of our makeup to want to drink or use.  Relapse happens.  There’s a lot of talk in the media right now that makes me want to scream, the idea that we can just suddenly decide to not drink or take drugs, and that it’s a moral failing somehow when we can’t.  We drink and take drugs because it’s what we’re wired to do.  I’ve said many, many times that I think it’s just incredibly hard to be awake and conscious in the world.  Shitty things happen kind of non-stop.  People die.  That’s just the deal.  Spectacular things happen too, which is the part of the deal that makes the other part of the deal worth shaking on.  But the feelings associated with the relentless input of life can often present themselves as unbearable, and plenty of people can have one beer or one hit off a joint and resist taking another.  Alcoholics and addicts don’t have that luxury, not in my view, but we’re really, really good at making up stories about it.  Maybe I should just speak for myself.  I’m really good at making up stories about it.  “Oh, I never crashed a car.  Oh, I never drank as much as so and so did.  Oh, it wasn’t really that bad.  Oh it’s been a long-ass time now, I’m older and wiser and sure it will be different.  Oh, I’ll just take one extra painkiller, just this once – it’s prescribed!”  And so you have one, but for an addict or an alcoholic, as they say, one is too many and a thousand isn’t enough.

I’m still not getting to it.  Maybe I don’t even know what it is.

So Phil died, and our friends are crushed, and I’m in shock and yet I feel lucky and amazed that I’m here.  I don’t know how I got to be this age.  (My thirty-fifth high school reunion is this year.  Wha-huh?)  That’s shocking too, because not many people get to be this age without a lot of losses.  Both my parents are gone now.  I’ve been back in NY for a couple of years, where I grew up, where I drank and where I quit, fueling my bittersweet nostalgia for that time of early sobriety in particular, crossing Columbus Circle with eight or ten friends through rain and slush and sunshine to our favorite coffee shop; we had a big round table in the window that was almost always held for us.  I think of all those guys – and it was a guy-heavy group, though I had many sober women friends too – and how I had crushed on almost all of them for one five minutes or another even though I was in no position to be seriously involved with anyone at that time – and according to some greater plan, wouldn’t be for another ten years.  (It worked out right.)

Maybe there’s nothing to get to.  Oh yeah, gratitude and morbid reflection.  I think we exist in a culture where we still think in black and white so much of the time.  So and so should have not taken drugs, obvi.  This is right, that’s wrong.  You’re happy or you’re sad and if you’re sad you should get happy.  But that’s not my human experience. I exist in a place where I feel at once profoundly conscious of what I’ve been given in this life, and also how quickly that goes.  I feel grateful, giddy, on occasion, at the bounty that’s been given to me, but it’s not mutually exclusive of feeling impossibly sad.  They coexist, more or less constantly.  I’d much prefer an easier, softer way.  I haven’t found one yet, but I have found one that works for me.

***

Elizabeth Crane is the author of the story collections When the Messenger Is HotAll This Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter. Her work has been featured in McSweeney’s The Future Dictionary of America, The Best Underground Fiction, and elsewhere.

Bio

Jennifer Pastiloff is a writer based in Los Angeles. She is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Jen will be leading a Retreat in Costa Rica at the end of March and her annual retreat to Tuscany is in July 2014. All retreats are a combo of yoga/writing and for ALL levels. Read this post to understand what a Manifestation retreat is. Check out her site jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Jen and bestselling author Emily Rapp will be leading another writing retreat to Vermont in October. 

Guest Posts, healing

Getting Hit By a Bus & What It Taught Me. By Margaret Westley.

July 24, 2013

I met Margaret when she came to my workshop in April in New York City. I asked her to write this piece specifically for my site. I am deeply honored. 

Getting Hit By a Bus & What It Taught Me. Margaret Westley.

During my freshman year of college, I almost died. While walking back to our dorm room with one of my roommates, I innocently stepped off of a curb and got run over by a bus.

Thankfully, the driver stopped. If he hadn’t, I would have been killed. The bus struck my right shoulder and threw me to the ground, pinning my left foot underneath one of its front wheels. Within a moment, my life changed forever and it would never be the same again

Getting run over by a bus during Freshman year of college had not been part of my plan.

I came to New York City to attend a small liberal arts school to study Sociology with hopes of becoming a social worker. Second semester had gotten off to a good start. I was reacclimating myself to a full-time school schedule and had set some goals. I wasn’t going to party as much as I had during first semester. I gave myself a curfew and aimed for perfect attendance. I felt the need to reinvent myself and finally after years of being heavy, I was going to lose weight.

Over the course of the ten years since the accident, people say I am crazy when I tell them, “I kind of asked for it.” A look of disbelief is quickly followed by, “how could you say such a thing, Margaret?”

Because it’s true.

Three days before the accident, I was working out to an exercise tape with the same roommate who’d be there at the scene of the accident. Out of my other four roommates, she was the closest one to me. We shared a room. Both of us loved to laugh. We were bi-racial and our hair was a mix of straight and curly; hers more wavy than mine, but we still commiserated over how humidity was never our best friend. It turned our hair into what my roommate and I referred to as, puffs.

During our workout, sweat had caused my hair to turn into one of these puffs. I needed a hair tie. I wanted to take a break. Pressing pause on the VCR, I turned to my roommate and sighed, “you know what? I feel unfulfilled with my life. It’s like I want something big to happen to me.”

Three days later I got hit.

The bus driver was speeding, turning left (I had the right of way), and not looking. Thankfully, my roommate grabbed enough of my coat just in time for me to miss being hit in the face. Later, she confessed she felt guilty for not being able to pull me all the way back, but I told her that was silly, there was nothing she or I could have done.

“Don’t, ” my roommate ordered me when I, in shock, tried to get up after being hit. She gently pressed my shoulder to encourage me to stay down. I wanted to know why I couldn’t get up and why I was in so much pain.

“You right ankle looks broken.”

“But what about my left leg?

My roommate paused, “that looks broken too. I’ve got to call 911.” Soon after she was back at my side letting me squeeze her hand and pull her hair because I told her it helped with the pain. In seeing her gesture, the bus driver who’d been screaming and running frantically up and down the length of the asphalt above my head stopped. He too knelt down by my side, dipped his head toward my face and offered up what little hair he had on top of his head.

Sirens called from a distance.

“Can you hear them, Margaret? They are coming.” An ambulance arrived shortly. My roommate and the bus driver were taken away. Strangers now surrounded me and reassured me everything was going to be fine. One of the EMT workers knelt by my side, “stay with us sweetheart you have the entire city of New York behind you.”

My clothes were cut off and I shivered feeling the cold February air on my skin. Members of the EMT team draped a sheet over me before lifting my body onto a stretcher and then into the back of an ambulance. When I started to black out they covered my mouth with an oxygen machine, “stay with us, Margaret. You gotta stay with us.”

Thankfully, Bellevue Hospital, one of the best medical centers to treat trauma was not that far away. Once in the Emergency Room, I was placed on a metal table to be examined. People were everywhere. I overheard someone say, “we need to get emergency contact information,” and this is when I yelled my mother’s name and home telephone number. After the examination, the lead doctor told me my right ankle was indeed broken and my left foot was severely damaged.

“We will have to take x-rays.” I knew this was going to hurt and I bit my lip when my body was transferred upstairs and then back downstairs where the doctors examined the x-ray slides

” A portion of your foot has been damaged, Margaret and we will have to amputate. We just don’t know how much yet.”

No medicine had been administered. I was tired and in pain and all I wanted to do was sleep, “that’s Ok. I’ll just get a new foot. I turned to Sarah, the ER nurse who’d been by my side since arriving into the ER, “Sarah, I just want to sleep. Can I have some medicine now please?”

“Of course you can.” Sarah squeezed my hand gently while I was given medicine and put under. In the darkness, sleep came.

My parents’ faces were the first images I saw after waking up from the initial surgery. Their hands covered mine as if, in that moment, we made a silent pact to get through this together.

I spent six weeks in Bellevue and had multiple surgeries.

Two screws were inserted into my right ankle to stabilize the bone. The doctors attempted to salvage the damaged part of my left leg, but after three weeks its condition had not gotten any better. Signs of infection were showing. They were worried it would spread. The idea of having my leg amputated didn’t frighten me. I was ready. Earlier in the week, during an examination, I caught a glimpse of my limb which was covered in wounds. I knew the amputation would help me return to the life I’d left behind sooner than later. And, that’s all I wanted to do.

Rehabilitation was no joke. I had to learn how to do everything all over again at the age of 19. Hard and painful are an understatement. And, I was exhausted. Naps were a must after an afternoon’s worth of physical and occupational therapy, but with time, I got stronger. March was coming to a close and my physical therapist put a test before me. She wanted me to crutch from my hospital room on the sixth floor all the way to the entrance of the hospital. Even though it was early Spring and it was still cool out, by the time I reached the main entrance I was sweating and wiped. But, I made it, and that’s all that mattered.

I was discharged in April. As planned, I hopped through the sliding glass doors of the hospital and once I was on the other side, I looked through the glass at my parents and some of the medical team that had come to say goodbye, and smiled

Rehabilitation alone taught me re-adapting to life with limb loss was not going to be easy, and I knew it was going to be even harder in the real world.

My doctors, nurses and members of the medical staff who I relied on so heavily during my hospitalization were not going to be coming home with me. Naturally, my parents worried and wanted to be around me as much as they possibly could but they and I knew that would not be healthy. I had to learn how to stand once again on my own.

That Summer I returned home to DC to work and save up money for the Fall when I would be returning to New York to complete my Freshman year. I was excited about starting outpatient rehabilitation at a local hospital and finally meeting a prosthetist who would fit me for my very first temporary artificial limb.

However, that never happened.

One morning while getting ready for work I noticed a wound on my residual limb and immediately called for a taxi to take me to the closest hospital. The ER doctor referred me to an orthopedic doctor who wanted to keep an eye on my limb and administer antibiotics. After a few weeks, the medicine failed to work and the surgeon said what I was frightened to hear, “we will have to operate.” The doctor needed to see what was happening underneath my skin.

“Promise me you won’t cut off anymore bone until I know you have to.” She promised. Unfortunately, the wound turned out to be an infection and it had traveled to my bone. In keeping her promise, the doctor waited until the day after the surgery to tell me the news and also get my consent to perform another surgery.

A couple more inches would have to be cut off.

I have this image of myself after this particular surgery. I am standing in the hallway outside of my hospital room. I wanted to get out of bed and move. I had made so much progress and I refused to let another amputation set me back. I tightened my grip around one of the banisters that lined the hospital walls. Once standing, I paused to catch my breath and balance. I was still drugged and knew I had to be careful. Blood rushed to the end of my residual limb and the pain overwhelmed my body as it had when I first stood a few months before at Bellevue. My mother, who was standing in the doorway of my hospital room reminded me to take my time. All I wanted to do was crutch down the length of the hallway, but after a few hops I felt the ace bandage which was covering my residual limb begin to unravel and when I looked down the bottom half of the bandage was covered in blood.

The limb healed, but it was after the last surgery my optimism waned. On the outside I put on a happy face and smiled because I didn’t want anyone to worry. Inside however, a shift occurred. I started to believe I wasn’t trying enough–wasn’t good enough–and I sought out a way I could stay in control of the situation. I started with my weight.

I ate little. Counted calories too closely. I’d been heavy my entire life, but after dropping sixty pounds in the hospital I was finally thin-skinny even–and loving it. In the mornings before work, I counted my ribs and measured the space in between my thighs. Delighted over the fact I was getting thinner everyday, I went on the Slim Fast plan and gobbled down their weight loss bars as meal replacements

For the first time in my life I fit into the skinny jeans that were sold in the popular sections at the store and wore tank tops without shame. I had yet been fit for a prosthetic leg and relied on crutches to get around. My arms had never been so defined.

I didn’t yet know eating disorders were a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) I didn’t even know what PTSD was.

Nor did I know why I’d started shaking while trying to cross certain street intersections or why I was anxious and uncomfortable around people, even the ones I loved

That Fall, I stuck to my original place and returned to New York. Everyone was glad to see me. Many people noted my weight loss and said at first glance they hadn’t even recognized me. I hugged those who said I looked great more closely than those who gave me a worried look which was all I needed to see before telling myself I had not lost enough weight. One of the first things I did after moving into the dorms was join a gym.

The gym became one of my hideouts when I realized I couldn’t juggle a full-time school schedule with the several medical appointments I attended over the course of the week. When I did attend class, I fell asleep during the lectures and only woke up when another student shook me awake, “the teacher just asked you a question.” I didn’t know the answer because I hadn’t heard the question. So I mumbled, a quick “sorry” and looked down at the small pool of drool that had collected while I was sleeping.

If I’d dared to go to school but wanted to skip class, I hid out in the bathroom where the stalls were my cocoon of safety. Eventually, I started skipping class altogether and spent more time at the gym, going three or four times a day. If I wasn’t at the gym, I was crutching around town so I could burn calories and when I wasn’t burning calories I was trying not to consume them by sticking to a low-fat and coffee diet. The coffee was what kept me awake so I could concentrate on the class assignments I rarely completed. Coffee didn’t help my trembling and at times the cup I was drinking out of never touched my lips.

Having control over what I ate wasn’t enough. I had to control other things too. Like doing my laundry over and over again and when they were clean enough I folded the clothes only to unfold them and fold them again. When the fold was deemed perfect I put them away, only to re-open the drawer to count every article of clothing and obey whatever it was that existed inside of me that told me to do it again.

And, then I crashed. My bed was a close second to gym as my favorite place to be. No one told me how good I looked anymore. Mostly, people commented on how I was too thin. Looking back now, I can see how everyone was just concerned and didn’t know how to help me because I wasn’t listening. I couldn’t take school. I couldn’t take the worry. I couldn’t take the touch of somebody else encircling my emaciated wrists with their fingers to prove I wasn’t eating enough. There were too many questions and I didn’t have the answers. I felt like a failure in my attempt to be in control over everything.

I decided to drop out. During a meeting with my college advisor, I sat on my hands because they were trembling. He encouraged me to stay but I told him it was in my best interest to leave. Immediately, I went down town to see my mentor who consoled me while I cried. When I told him what I’d done, he called a friend who owned a bar near Union Square that had a boarding house on top it, and this is where I could live after leaving the dorms.

My room in the boarding house was the size of a walk in closet. Having the space all to myself was both comforting and frightening. I liked the quiet but I was also forced to sit with myself. I was provided with an opportunity to listen to what it was my body needed.

At times, it felt like my world was crumbling, but I knew I would not have made it this far had I not had hope. I decided to find a therapist and after a Google search came across a woman who specialized in PTSD and eating disorders. I loved her right away because she listened to me without asking too many questions, but then I hated her when she told me flat-out I was not consuming enough calories. I stayed because deep down inside I knew she had my best interest in mind. Eventually, I trusted her enough for us to go deeper into the effects being hit by a bus had on my mind, body and spirit. She was the first person I remember telling me, “it’s OK not to be OK.” I wasn’t crazy. I just needed to take the time to heal. *

Yoga became a life saver.

I stumbled across a studio’s schedule one day when I was working late and feeling miserable. Instinctively, my fingers went to my computer’s keyboard, and typed “yoga.” There was a class in 30 minutes. I immediately shut down my computer, and hurried to the closest subway. I was a few minutes away from being late to class and there was little time to discuss details with the instructor about how I had a prosthetic leg and had never practiced yoga with it on before.

Interesting how I wasn’t nervous during class. It was as if my body knew being on the yoga mat was exactly where I should be. Using my prosthetic leg throughout the entire class, I did the best I could and smiled at the teacher when he asked if I were Ok. I was. After the deep relaxation, when we were all sitting cross-legged, I hummed a long as the other students and teacher chanted. When he ended the class with, “Namaste,” I burst into tears. I didn’t understand why I was crying, but I reminded myself of what my therapist had been telling me since the beginning, “it’s OK not to be OK.” And, I let myself cry. *

People are often curious about my healing process. I prefer the word process to overcoming because I don’t believe I have overcome anything.

My amputated leg isn’t going to grow back and to be quite honest I wouldn’t want it to.

The accident and recovery are teaching me invaluable lessons about myself, life, and how important it is to take the time to be. I call it showing up.

Life still has its challenges. My residual limb swells on a hot day and shrinks when it’s cold outside which makes walking difficult a lot of the time. Phantom limb sensation feels like there are hundreds of little ants crawling all over my residual limb and spasms suck. Although I am still considered young, my disability has aged me in the sense I burn 60% more energy now then I did before losing my leg. Bed time is rarely past 9:30 pm. I do worry about the future. Though I’ve been in relationships since the accident, I wonder if the person I eventually settle down with will be able to handle the challenges I face living with limb loss. I question having children and about being a capable mom.

Sadness hits from time to time, but it’s not the type of depression I experienced directly following the accident. Eating can still be a struggle but I am no longer starving myself or working out for hours on end. I enjoy quiet time but have traded in the bathroom stalls with a meditation practice or by taking walks. Laundry is a nuisance. I no longer see the need to fold anything perfectly. I no longer feel perfect exists. When I made the decision I no longer wanted to be sick anymore, shifts occurred. I opened up to the importance of being vulnerable and sought out people who became my support system

At times I can’t believe the accident was ten years ago-as if it happened just yesterday. Other times, ten years feels like twenty. I’m OK with both. No matter what day it is I take the time to connect with myself. I pause. I breathe. I cry. A lot of the time I smile. Always, I am grateful to be alive.

Click photo to connect with the ever inspiring Margaret. Leave comments below and she will also respond.

Click photo to connect with the ever inspiring Margaret. Leave comments below and she will also respond.

My next workshop in NYC Oct 12, 2013, is almost sold out already due to my being featured in New York Magazine. Please sign up by clicking here.

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