Monday, May 02, 2011

In The Shower

Subtitled: Damp Dark Debilitating Thoughts Spilling Forth to Slow One Down, or Delicious Daring Doubtless Musings Sputtering Down to Push One Forth

I wait until the steam builds up, when my breathing slows and I am safely submerged, I wait until my mind reviews the price of being tethered and the luck of being smart.

I wait until I feel little crystal beads of longing start at my shoulder blades and drip down, one by one, over my breasts until they just disappear, like they never existed.

I wait until I do a speed read of my life so far, the sound of applause and the quiet thank you's and the way the sun turned east that morning on the hill, that morning when I finally understood I would be carrying the weight I never sought, never even understood, but somehow along the line I agreed to it, and really, every morning in the shower I remember that I freely chose it then and I freely choose it now. I watch that water spill onto me and I could just as well be Esther Williams practicing her synchronized swimming—practicing something alone for something that cannot be performed alone. That is me.

Then, when I have in no order at all finished my morning cleansing, when the steam is sufficiently thick and I have sufficiently calmed down, I see my day beyond all those jumpy judgments and cheerless chores and sad secrets, and for a moment so fleeting I never remember it, I pray I will be good enough.

Every morning just before I begin in earnest, just before I take my place and deliver my hopeful goods, I pause, place my right index finger on the shower door, and I make a peace sign. First I make the circle, then the up and down line that separates the parts and joins the whole, and then the slants, first left, then right.

Every day, every single day, that peace sign is my consistency, this personal act of hope and penance that pushes me forth, now scrubbed clean, open to fly and fall all over again.


  1. wow. this really stopped me in my tracks. i'm going back to read it again, it's that good.

    your use of language is so effortless, yet communicates something so profound kj. that is an incredibly difficult thing to achieve.

    tomorrow morning when i take a shower, i will remember your peace sign. and copy you.


  2. I just put earplugs in my ears so I can hear as well as feel the water falling on my head. Then I just close my eyes and it sounds/feels amazing. Showering is yet another opportunity to have fun (taught to me by my then 6 year old niece).

    But yes ... I do think, I do wonder if I will be up to the tasks of the day ... of life generally. These moments of doubt are natural enough. From them we pull strength in some odd way. I've never worked it out ... why that works.

    I like that you do something so consistently. A little sign to yourself. An affirmation I guess.

    We do fly and fall but there is grace in both. xx Jos

  3. beautiful and original story. your thoughts are profound. and love the peace sign. yes, peace. i try to keep that as my focus now too. do i want to be "right" or do I want peace for myself and others. and I believe we are always "good enough." That at any given moment each person is doing the best that they can with who they are at that moment.

  4. It's always good to at least begin the day with hope,

  5. This is so, so beautiful.

    Right now I am reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp... after reading about your morning ritual it is no surprise to me how wonderfully creative and talented you are.


  6. Wow.


    Where are you?


  7. Having a personal affirmation is like having one's special armour to help protect against what the "Fates" may throw your way!
    Love your "steamy" Peace sign!

    KJ - such a beautifully written post....I can see you are honing your writing skills for the Summer's work in P-Town!

    Love and kisses to Stella,

    ♥ Robin ♥

  8. Oh that is nice... very nice!!
    Thank you!

  9. My gosh kj! I read this last night but was too sleepy to write legibly. And I too wanted to read it a few times through to give it the credit it deserves.

    Does it feel just wonderful when you put together words in such an extraordinary way? Where they seem to flow with no effort from you (but I know there was)? I imagine it does.

    This is what makes a good writer I think. How you make a thing look so effortless, yet so beautiful. And what a subtitle!


  10. amanda, i read your comment first thing this morning and i couldn't stop smiling. thank you so much. and i will like it if you copy my ritual. it's a good thing. xo

    jos, hello dear girl. i know you know what i know. xoxo

    suki, i know my intentions are right, most of the time. i don't give much weight to being 'right' these days. i'd rather be happy xo

    ah mark ♥

    kristin, likewise and ditto xoxo

  11. lo, ♥, i'm right here and the time is now :^)

    wrobin, what a sweet comment. thank you. ♥


    yes, lori, it does feel wonderful when i can write like this. it's less frequent than i wish it were, so i am always grateful and happy when i do. i know you understand. it doesn't matter what the medim is. when you hit the tennis ball just right, it feels great. ♥

  12. I understand that perfectly! Well written (and hope you scrubbed behind oyur ears!!) :-)

  13. I have been doing so much of this particular contemplation...the price of being thethered. I don't consider myself smart, but there is the luck of being loved. Therein lies the consideration...with love, comes a tether and so how to remain self within boundaries. Having a real tough time with it in the midst of a full blown mid life crises :) A weight I never understood, but agreed to, freely chose, and daily do. Ahhh Ms. synchronized legs could be as beautiful as this shower to me. And that last to fly and fall...a nice reminder of what it is to be human.

  14. Beautiful prose poetry, kj, and the title really grabbed me: half full or half empty?
    Now, carrying through those musings in the shower to the evening's meditation: choose a related essential oil and place it in a diffuser. Breathe in the healing... I try it in the bath (but it has to be diffused with oil first). You determine the feeling/emotion and match it to the listing in one of two books: Vibrational Healing by Deborah Eidson or Releasing Emotional Patterns with Essential Oils by Carolyn Mein (she matches it also to the acupressure point). I'm not 100% sure it works, but the warm water always works! ♥

  15. What a great ritual. Right after my driveways are poured, I took a nail and carved a peace sign into the drying cement at the top of each driveway, to make my way on leaving and returning home.

  16. I loved this! I don't have a shower door but try and make my showers peaceful and they always are rejuvenating, no matter how I feel getting out of bed, a shower ALWAYS helps...