Opening A Shoe Box

"I didn't know you were that depressed," said my good friend the Doctor as he gently wrapped his arm around my neck, the international friend sign meaning "I got your back buddy."
"I'm really good at hiding my sadness" I said while we made our way up 6th avenue during a New York City Summer evening.

I'm the type of person that can go through rough patches in life and yet not fully abandon myself. I store the sadness in a shoe box to examine at a later date. Then one day, when Time has done it's magic as Time often does, I open that box and reexamine the choices I've made. This method although not the best and most inviting to friends and family, being that I disappear from the narrative of their lives, is what I do.

This past weekend I started retracing my steps to see when it was that I placed some sadness in a shoe box. Obviously, there are many "tragic" stories from my childhood that I still have in other shoe boxes stored deep in the back of my closet, but we're not opening those today. We simply don't have that kind of time ;-)

As far as I can tell it all started in April 2010 when I was diagnosed with two herniated discs in the thoracic spine. The constant pain was annoying at first. Then the idea of the pain never going away started playing tricks on my mind.

I started taking Tramadol in June 2010. This pain killer was to be non-addictive but it made me feel spacey as all hell. You know that feeling you get when you wake up after drinking yourself stupid the night before? You are not sure how you ended up naked in a stranger's bed and you can't seem to find your pants. On one hand you feel great for getting laid, on the other hand you're so spacey you wonder if you'll remember your way back home.

In October 2010 I stopped taking Tramadol. The idea of having to take a pain killer for the rest of my life to deal with the back pain simply didn't sit well at age 31. This brought back the pain and with it came the feeling things were simply not going to get better.

Around this time my 2 1/2 year romantic relationship started feeling a bit stagnant on my part. I blamed myself quite a bit. But I also knew that even though my boyfriend was by far the most wonderful boyfriend I've ever had there was something missing from our relationship. I felt we weren't truly "seeing" and "hearing" each other. I pulled back. Eventually our relationship came to an end.

To deal with the back pain and the heartache I made food my best friend. Me and food hung out so often that by early 2011 I had gained 20lbs. I'm not one to gain weight easily, like EVER, so this was truly a sign that the shoe box was getting heavier. The back pain kept me from working out, and the heartache kept me from dating so I ate, and ate, and started putting on the pounds.

Then in April 2011 a glimmer of hope. My friend told me of this wonderful place called The Macdowell Colony where artists and writers go to create new work. MacDowell provides you with all expense paid accommodations. I applied in hopes that I would get to finish writing my first book while there.

In June 2011 I received the rejection letter from The MacDowell Colony right around the time I had developed a rash on both arms and on my right ankle, a rash that baffled my doctor. At this time I also started experiencing vertigo so the doctor suggested a brain MRI.

The MRI came back pretty ok. Turns out it showed a cyst under my right cheek area. The Doc doesn't think it's anything to worry about. On the other hand my good friend the Doctor (whom I mentioned at the start of this blog), was able to give me a much more thorough diagnoses for the vertigo. Also, nothing to worry about, probably caused by stress.

"I feel bad that I didn't know" said my good friend the Doctor referring to my sadness as we passed what seemed to be a sculpture made of cardboard on the side of a construction site.

"I just don't like talking about that kind of stuff because there is usually nothing that anyone can do or say to make me feel better. Plus, once you tell someone "stuff" then it's all they'll think about when they see you," I said to him as I felt his arm gently tighten around my shoulder. "I just don't like when people worry about me," I said while touching his arm.

We reached Washington Square Park where a large number of people were gathered around a grand piano under the twilight sky.

The good Doctor and I relished in the beauty that comes with a New York City Summer evening. We continued to his place where we would open a bottle of wine and he would do the honors of opening one of his shoe boxes for me.


It's no secret that I love shoes but now you know what I do with the boxes in which they arrive.

It's easier to get me to talk about my shoes than it is about my shoe boxes. That's why if you want to know where I've been just take a look at my feet. Chances are if I'm wearing new shoes I've been places... or I'm getting ready to go somewhere. Either way, I'll probably end up with a shoe box full of stories which I might share with you someday as we stroll through the city during a beautiful Summer evening ;-)

ps - I love these shoes

They are BANANAS!


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