essays by Shé


In Love on November 25, 2022 at 5:12 pm

My dentist looks like a Bollywood star. Again.

The first time this happened, I was living in Hermosa Beach, and Dr. Bhalla was her name. Not only beautiful, she was kind, sensitive, and listened well.

Dr. Ameer, on Kaua’i, is the same, though a different gender. They both have gentle senses of humor.

When I was a kid, my dentist imitated Donald Duck to make me laugh. He also handed out lollipops afterward. Job security?

Today I only need an old filling replaced, which takes less than thirty minutes. The drive to the appointment takes longer, and, on the way, a young girl dances near a waterfall.

There was a time that I watched Bollywood movies almost exclusively. I like that the men are emotional too, and everyone — young to old and back again — dances.

That is what I wish for all of us — a filling dance.

Shé circa 2011
Shé as a Love Fairy, circa 2011


In Love on November 18, 2022 at 8:24 am

The relatives continue to bash me, sending regular give-me-your-inheritance communiqués. But my reactions are changing: Pain and Sorrow are taking a back seat to Anger and Humor.

Anger says, Block the mo-fos! So I converse with Hope, point out that it’s been ceaseless for six months, mention previous egregious behavior, and she finally concedes.

Humor suggests I embrace my inner Cruella deVil, and asks, What would Maleficent do? They remind me that it’s useless to expect dialog with twisted thinkers, though Clíodhna knows I’ve tried.

One morning, after blocking their numbers and addresses, I wake up super happy: I never have to listen to them again! My time is my own! I feel light, a thousand pounds of agony sloughing away.

Once I attended a children’s play. The witch was so-so, and I thought, I could do so much better. I hadn’t performed in years, but the spark wasn’t dead.

I am bitch and beloved. I am the wolf at the door. I can protect myself.

Shé on-set, Manmade Road, circa 1980s
Shé on-set, Manmade Road, circa 1980s

Straight to the Ocean

In Love on November 11, 2022 at 9:58 am

I was conceived in the Bahamas, on my parents’ honeymoon. Nine months later, I emerged in Arizona, a desert fish. Despite my surroundings, I managed — always — to find water to splash in, swim in, and play in. Waterbaby, they called me.

My first ocean was the Pacific, off San Francisco. I was four, and according to my mother, I ran straight in. When a big wave knocked me down, I laughed, and got back up. I still do this when I’m tumbled. The ocean is hilarious.

But there was a time when I forgot this fundamental need. Rivers are great, as are lakes and ponds and streams, and even the Salish Sea. But the open ocean — she calls me. And for 20 years I ignored her, believing that a job was more important, relatives were more important, success was more important.

All lies. Ocean ocean ocean, she murmurs.

Finally I got sick enough to hear her. Dying, diagnosed with long-term mold toxicity (caused by stagnant water — hello!), I got my ass in the car and drove straight to the ocean, seventy-five miles away.

And stopped dying.

It wasn’t overnight, but it was a beginning, a commencement, a voyage back to my inner waterwoman. And healing.

Ocean Lover by Shé, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 6" x 6"
Ocean Lover by Shé, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 6″ x 6″
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