Search

Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer

Month

April 2013

All You Need is Love

130421_0001
At Home on Air

We are all creatures of habit. People. Cats. Even dogs.

“Will you be sad? Lonely?” my friend Jill asked me as she blew up the air mattress in my empty bedroom. Everything in the apartment was gone. Packed up in boxes and moved to my mother’s. I’d even sold the bed. Truth is, I hadn’t expected to sell it so quickly. I still had a few more nights in the apartment — hence the air mattress.

“I don’t think so,” I said. But as I looked around at the bare walls, I wasn’t so sure. I watched her make the little mattress with my queen-sized sheets. At least the thing was high enough off the floor. I could make an easy transfer to and from the wheelchair instead of wondering how I’d get off the floor.

Later that night, I came from the bathroom, feeling exactly as Jill had anticipated. Sad and lonely. I tucked my toothbrush back in an overnight bag, a guest in my own apartment. Then I looked at the air mattress and smiled.

Frankie was sprawled out by the foot. Bella had taken over the top half, including my pillow. They both looked sound asleep and quite comfortable. I wondered how on earth there’d be room for all three of us. Frankie barely moved over when I launched myself onto the bed. Bella looked a good deal more concerned as the bed wiggled and wobbled about like a waterbed. She crept over the unstable surface, crouching low, eyes wide, ready to flee at the first sign of danger. She slowly repositioned herself, looking doubtful of the whole affair, yet not relinquishing her customary spot. I tried to make as little movement as possible, an impossible feat for me on a regular, much bigger bed. I marveled that we all stayed put. It felt like we’d roll over and topple off at any moment.

As I laid in the dark and listened to Bella’s purr and Frankie’s snore, I felt anything but lonely.

Advertisements

Books Books Books

dreamstimecomp_17856177World Book Day is celebrated in the United States on April 23rd. In honor of the occasion, I’m re-running an earlier post, “All About the Books.” I’ve also decided that since I call myself a writer, I might actually want to read one.

Many of you may recall it was a New Year’s resolution of mine to read a book a season. Now that I’ve missed winter and practically spring, this resolution has occured to me. I started The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe as recommended by a friend. Yes, someone is dying. But it has lots of great titles and plot synopsises that book lovers will be interested in. It’s a bit hypocritical of me since I’m reading the e-book this time, but my bookshelves are quite full and I wholeheartedly agree with this book’s defense of the printed word:

One of the many things I love about bound books is their sheer physicality. Electronic books live out of sight and out of mind. But printed books have body, presence. …they’ll confront you, and you’ll literally stumble… I often seek electronic books, but they never come after me. They may make me feel, but I can’t feel them. They are all soul with no flesh, no texture, and no weight. They can get in your head but can’t whack you upside it.” 

Original Post:

12660084418V21FlWant to know my dirty little secret? In college, I didn’t actually read the books. Well, that’s an exaggeration. I didn’t read all the books. I mean, c’mon! I was an English major. How was I supposed to read all those books and write the papers on them? Seriously, it was like a book a week or some crazy thing. I had a social life too, you know. There were football games to attend and keg parties to go to. And to me, those things were just as important as my education. (Hey, I was nineteen!)

I always felt bad about that. Everyone assumes that an English major is well-read. And the first piece of advice you ever hear about writing is that to write well, you need to read a lot of books.

So, I set about making up for lost time. I read a lot throughout my twenties and thirties. I consulted old reading lists. I read Oprah’s picks. I even bought into that Classic Book of the Month club until it proved too costly and I dropped out. I still have two books from then, leather-bound, edges leafed in gold: Moby Dick and Great Expectations. I started Great Expectations for the first time this weekend, spurred on by my own blog. The point is, it’s never too late.

It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.  ~Oscar Wilde

Though I strayed in college, I’d been a pretty voracious reader as a child and adolescent. I loved and collected all of the Nancy Drew series. I was shocked to learn they sell those in antique stores now. (Great.) As a child, my grandparents gave me The Boxcar Children about four orphans who run away and set up house in an old boxcar. The children wash and keep milk cold in a nearby stream. They find old dishes to use in a dump. It was one of my favorites — independent even then.

 I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. 

~Anna Quindlen

I realized at a young age, the comfort a book can provide. I remember spending part of a summer at my aunt’s, desperately homesick. The only thing that consoled me was a book from my mom – The Wind in the Willows. This still applied 20 years later in Europe, alone in my tent, snuggled up to a copy of A Woman’s World: Traveler’s Tales. 

Reading – the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay.

~William Styron

And what teenage girl of my generation didn’t read Judy Blume’s Forever, Wifey or Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret? So, do yourself a favor. Grab a book and settle in. It’s the perfect activity for chilly nights when the days are shorter. Or instill reading in your children. It’s a habit they’ll come back to, even when it seems all they care about is parties and football. I guarantee it.

Cardboard Chaos

dreamstimecomp_22291750“Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.”

~Steve Martin

Let me tell you, becoming disabled is one big lesson in giving up control. I haven’t quite gotten it, but I’m getting better.

Silly me, I envisioned my pictures frames in the box of picture frames and the nightlight together with my lamp and stereo in a box marked “electronics.” (This is the freaky part of being a control freak.)

But when you don’t pack or unpack the boxes, and can’t even write the word electronics, you’re at the mercy of someone else’s organizational skills. And seriously, why should I care? I’m trying hard not to.

So while last week was about embracing my rolls, this week I’m embracing the chaos. Let the silverware get thrown in with my old albums from college. I’m throwing caution to the wind. It will all get there anyway. And really, I’m lucky to have friends offering to help. I’m taking a deep breath and trying to let go. C’mon June.

Jelly Belly

dreamstimecomp_5025899Did you know that fifteen jelly beans are just four Weight Watchers points? This past week, I consumed 60 points in jelly beans alone — in one day. That’s right. An entire bag. And that doesn’t take into account the chocolate bunny, marshmallow Peeps and Cadbury eggs eaten throughout the week. The only thing I seemed able to control myself on were the actual Easter eggs.  I still have bright purple, blue and pink eggs behind the plastic butter door of my refrigerator.

I know I shouldn’t keep candy in the house. Pacing myself on sweets is a foreign concept. I may have confessed this before (I tell so many embarrassing stories on myself, I lose track) but I used to force portion control by throwing baggies of treats across the room. It was too much trouble to get from the couch back into the wheelchair to hunt them down. That worked for a while. Not anymore. A few weeks ago, I actually came out of the wheelchair to crawl on the kitchen floor to retrieve a bag of M&M’s I had thrown out of reach into a corner cabinet. Pathetic. In a 12-step program, that’d be called my rock bottom. A girlfriend and I decided that the one binge-proof place would be in a high cabinet. She would come over to place the goodies out of my reach. I can see the headline now. Disabled Woman Dies Trying to Reach Cookies.

Perhaps you all think you know what comes next —  some lesson on moderation, diet motivation or tips for weight loss. Wrong! I give up. I’m officially throwing in the towel. I’ve been trying to lose 10 or 15 pounds for one or two years now. And all I have to show for the deprivation when I’m good and guilt when I’m bad is a steady and maintaining 155. (See? I’m publishing my actual weight on the Internet. I have no shame.)

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m still a proponent for healthy living. I don’t plan on gaining. I’ve just decided to give myself a break. I hate to use the wheelchair excuse again, but it does apply here. I mean, not only is cardio exercise harder for me to get but why curb my enjoyment of life even more than the hemorrhage already has?

So, this post is about self-acceptance. I’m still counting points and know what my daily limit should be. I’m just not fretting over the occasional dessert out. Or half-pound bag of jelly beans as the case may be. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never again have the body I had at 27. And that’s okay. Really. It was a whole lot of work, anyway.

So ditch the guilt! And not just about your body. A friend of mine always beats herself up over the clutter in her home. She collects a lot of stray objects to reuse as art projects. But you know what? That clutter makes her happy. And in the end, she has some beautiful handmade objects to show for it. So I say, embrace your mess! And your rolls.

dreamstimecomp_13261140In the words of my favorite card this Easter, “All I need to know I learned from the Easter bunny: the best things in life are still sweet and gooey and some body parts should be floppy.”

WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: