essays by shé

Essay #9 #9 #9: heart palpitations

Last week, after performing for several hours at Olympia’s ArtsWalk, my heart got stuck in overdrive. It was bumping and racing and thrumming in my throat. I drove home, showered, and got into bed. For hours I lay and meditated and listened to my wildly beating pulse. I wondered whether to call 911. I didn’t. I am doctor- and hospital-averse. Rather than add more fear to the mix, I tried to calm down as best I could.

I finally fell asleep, and when I awoke, around three-thirty in the morning, my heartbeat was calmer, slower, and rhythmical. It’s been that way ever since.

The fall-out, though, was big: I was beyond exhausted, and my lungs decided to get into the act by cleaning house. (I could spackle the bathroom with what I’ve been hocking up.) Day 10 after the event and I’m still weak. So I decided to visit an acupuncturist.

The last time I had acupuncture was with Emmett. (Gotta love Olympia — where else would you find someone proficient at treating canines and humans, together?) She attended to Emmett first, then he lay under the table while she treated me. Picture it: a big-ass Wolf dog and a curly-haired Caucasian letting a slight, tobacco-addicted doctor of Chinese medicine poke us with sharp objects.

Good grief.

Literally. I wept during today’s treatment: for Emmett, for my family, for myself. I let it all out. Every sadness that I thought I should be “over.” Grief just poured out of me. And it was a relief to let it go, to stop telling myself what I should feel when.

Last year, before visiting my mother in New Orleans, I gave myself permission to say anything, to anyone, anytime, anywhere. I am adding to this basic permission, to wit: I am allowed to feel anything, anytime, anywhere — without apologizing to anyone.

I now have – finally! – permission to be my complete human self, the full catastrophe (to paraphrase Zorba the Greek).

Nothing is missing: I am perfectly flawed.

And that’s exactly as it should be.




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