confessions of blood, birthdays, and art

confession: mosquitoes love me. i used to consume massive amounts of garlic pills in an attempt to become less alluring to mosquitoes. i can’t remember if they worked to prevent mosquito bites, but they tasted gross (even in capsule form) and i quit taking them. now i get bit. i scratch the bites until they bleed. then i pick the scabs because i’m gross. then i bleed on the sheets. that’s why i buy dark blue or wine colored sheets. problem solved.

confession: tonglen practice is fucking hard. if you’ve tried this form of daily meditation practice that asks one to hold the suffering with fierce compassion, you know you’re volunteering to do the thing we otherwise use sugar, sex, netflix, social media, books, video games, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling, sports, and neuroses to avoid feeling. sitting with the suffering, compassionately creating space for the suffering, allowing the suffering to be touched with attentive openness…fuck…yeah, that’s hard. is it worth it? is feeling the most vulnerable, painful part of humanity worth increasing one’s capacity for compassion? yes. i am training for kindness.

confession: i’ve known her for nearly two decades and every year i text her on june 19th to ask her, “is your birthday the 20th or 22nd?” every year she patiently reminds me that her birthday is june 20th and i wish her happy birthday eve and goodnight until the next day when i wish her happy birthday. today is her 40th birthday. today she is a married homeowning mother. when we met during our youthful ignorance we both would have guessed her present reality would more likely be my future than hers. life is tricky and tragic and perfectly surprising. i’m grateful she is the mother, wife, and homeowner. i’m grateful i am not. i’m grateful i will spend the weekend in her home with her wife and child to celebrate her 40th birthday, to celebrate her life that neither of us would have predicted, to honor our unified path as we traverse this mysterious process that is this long life.

confession: when i returned home after ten days’ traveling in brooklyn, maine, and connecticut, two letters from her were waiting for me. one of them included the most beautiful artwork i’ve seen this year. she drew it for me. she colored it for me. she made it specifically for me because she knew i would love it. she knows my taste. she gives me excellent gifts all year long and each offering opens my heart. i’m not sure she knows her talent for art. her humility bumps up against understatement of her gifts. the things that come naturally to us are the things we take most easily for granted. what comes naturally to you? please value your gifts. thank you for sharing your gifts. i value the goodness, generosity, and beauty you add to this world by being, doing, giving yourself.


About angel joy

love is an action verb. i live love in action.
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