When I retired in November – a pretty way of saying I got pissed off and decided I was never going to take any more grief from petty people so I quit – I had some interesting physical responses. The first week, the lower back pain went away. The second week, the leg pain disappeared. The third week I stopped needing sleeping pills. All this is wonderful and I’m grateful for every bit of it.
I had, still have and expect to have for the next several months, brain fracture and decompression. My brain doesn’t seem to be working as well as it could. I forget things I should have remembered. I find myself doing weird things – like dropping my wedding band on the bedroom rug and deciding I didn’t have time to pick it up. So far, the cats have refused to tell me where they hid my ring. I have started to understand just what kind of hell I had endured the past 16 years. I have started to understand what evil looks like. I have begun to see the enormity of the evil I had faced. I see collusion which I had refuse to even consider existed before I retired. I’m beginning to see the enormity of the collusion. These revelations are terrifying. How did I survive this ordeal? I know that one of the smartest things I’ve ever done was to stop trusting people. I may eventually rethink that decision. I don’t understand how or why a person would make a conscious decision to practice evil. I don’t know if I want to understand that.
This week, I have anxiety. I know this because I’m having the pains I get from anxiety. Pains in my chest. Pains in my abdomen. Pain in the last, lower right molar. I’ve been to doctors. I’ve been poked, prodded, tested, had an internal sonogram (that thing needs batteries) and had a fiber optic stuffed up me. There’s nothing physically wrong with me. My heart is healthy (thank you, God). My innards are pink and perfect (a miracle because there’s a family history of colon cancer). No dentist has been able to find a physical reason for the ache in my molar. The tooth is perfectly healthy. A technician couldn’t find my left ovary, but I think that was incompetence on the part of the technician because I always keep my left ovary on the left side of my abdomen. Maybe my left ovary would have appeared if the thing that needs batteries had batteries.
This puzzles me. Not the thing that needs batteries; the pains. I don’t have anything stressful going on in my life at the moment. Maybe it’s not stress. Maybe it’s release. My body is responding to what my brain is starting to understand. Decompression. Mentally and physically I’m relaxing. I’m realizing I no longer need to put a wall between me and everyone around me. My body has forgotten how to respond to this peace. My body has forgotten how peace feels. The decompression keeps me from seeing how huge the sadness of strange peace is. I survived. I survived 16 years of incomprehensible hell. I survived. That should feel wonderful. Maybe it will eventually. Right now, that survival isn’t what I’m seeing and feeling and I don’t know why that is.
This isn’t about missing the work I did. I’m an attorney and I’m still licensed. I can open my own practice any time I want. As much as I loved being in the courtroom, I find I’m content not to be there anymore. I now watch courtroom scenes on television and no longer see every mistake and every inaccuracy. I miss some of the support staff I worked with although I don’t miss any of the attorneys.
I have never seen retirement as an end to working. I’ve always seen it as the beginning of a new adventure. I like this adventure of being a full time artist and writer. I’m doing things I could only dream of doing when my life was overrun with being an attorney.
Eventually there will be a novel about this experience. I need to finish my first novel first. Maybe there will be art. Often, I don’t understand how I’m feeling until I can put my emotions into clay or fiber. At the moment, I have no idea how to translate what I feel into something visual as well as something verbal. I just know it needs to be done. Art, visual or verbal, is healing. Being a multi-media artist is healthy. Clay. Fiber. Fabric. Words. Maybe, this needs to be felt in all of those media. Maybe this is too big, too intense, too important to be just one version of art. Why do I write all this? Because you will eventually be sitting where I’m sitting. I want to leave behind signposts so you won’t feel as lost as I feel. Maybe that’s what tikun olam – repair of the world – is about. Or partly about. Signposts. Explanations. Maps.
I can almost see fuzzy images. The tiny beginnings of art. It’s a beginning. A good beginning. An exciting beginning.