Buongiorno!

Friends!

What a long absence I’ve had from you.  I have thought about you from time to time, and now I return with an update.

These last few months have been busy, busy with submitting rejected chapbook submissions (Three in all!  So many pages of forgettable poetry!  I’ll regale you with a poem at the end of this post if you’re good!) and wedding planning.  I’ll let you guess which of those activities was more fun…ok, here’s a hint: planning the wedding also entails planning the honeymoon, which is three weeks in Italy.

Bam!

Italy!

K and I have been having a great time booking places to stay (some time in Rome, some in Florence, some in Cinque Terre) and, with the help of Duolingo, practicing a little Italian in hopes of currying favor with the locals.

So, if you want to tell someone the man eats an apple, give him this: l’uomo mangia un mela and my love!

But don’t let all these exclamation marks fool you, it’s not been all fun and games.  Life is hard and depressing if you look at it that way, and over these cold and dark months it’s been easier to look at it like that than any other way.

My birthday passed through these parts last week, coupled with an injury that has kept me out of the gym for two months (well, an injury that has kept me from running, but my apathy kept me completely out of the gym) and I’m feeling pretty bad about myself.  Today I went back to the gym for the first time since, oh, October? And of course I’m not back to square one, but I’m pretty sad about my state.  So I called myself all kinds of names on the way home, remembering to be shitty about not going to the gym, and about being a weird trans thing, about being a traitor to my writing practice, yeah, I really let all the old jabs out of the bag.  Once home, during the shower I just wanted to lay down in the tub and take a nap.

Instead I dried off and laid on the couch and looked out the window and sighed for a little while.

Then I started to think about the difference between acceptance and giving up.  The last few months, while I was out of the gym, I tried to convince myself what I was doing was a good thing, that accepting my body for how it was, for eating more sweets and skipping yoga was mentally healthy.  But of course it’s not: I was giving up.  And now I find myself in this body, not a bad one, but not one I like.

So I figured that acceptance is going to the gym two or three times a week, every week, instead of going 5 times, making it 3 times, and giving up because I didn’t go 7.  Acceptance is about always trying, but not berating myself if I don’t succeed every time.

I’ve spent so much of my life trying, trying to be a better writer, a fitter person, but there are limitations to every body.  So I am currently trying to enjoy the things about myself that I am happy about (I am actually a pretty good writer, and actually have a pretty nice body) without giving up on a writing practice (even if my practice only happens once a week, and sometimes it’s in the form of reading rather than writing) or a health regime (even if that regime means going to the gym 3 times a week, and having a couple cookies at lunch).

So that’s that.  But I am curious, friends, do you have some insight in to how you balance between reaching your goals and accepting yourself?

Oh, I am past due on an anniversary on T video update, but it’s coming soon.

But, for now I leave you with:

Jupiter

Grandpa’s rough hand turns the ignition to break the quiet darkness of early morning.
Up on a chair I squint into the dark frame of the kitchen window but can’t see him
Shift in the stiff driver’s seat.  The sound of a door snapping shut,
The quick spark of his lighter, the car in reverse at 4 am
Tell me things about his life I won’t understand until after his death.
Only years later did I learn of the mallet he kept under his bed
In case his son came at him in his sleep.
He feared waking to the sensation of fingers gripped
Around his neck, his own hands but younger and out of control,
Acting on crazed impulse or auditory hallucination.
In that house, our lives depended on the distance we kept from them.
Every night ended with ice cubes clinked against an otherwise empty tumbler:
A depleted god’s thunder clap.
The screen door opening after a night at the V.F.W., another clap.
Count the seconds between flash and boom.

Be nice to yourselves,
Your Pal Eli

6 thoughts on “Buongiorno!

  1. When I was around 20 I went to a plastic surgeon with a GIANT folder. I explained I wanted a tiny straight nose like Eric Szmanda; Fuller lips; Higher cheekbones, like Johnny Depp; A more prominent jawline, like Superman- the list went on forever. There was nothing about me that I didn’t want to change. He let me go on and on. Then he said “You can do all that, but no matter what you change, you’re still going to be you.”
    It was like a bucket of cold water. He continued, “I rarely tell patients that they shouldn’t change what they want to change, but I think the way you see yourself is warped.”
    I went home very confused, angry. I was going to have to be me.
    Just want you to consider that when you’re berating yourself 😉

    • Ed,

      I’m with you: there will always be something to change on the inside until I change the thing on the inside. I thought of you in Spain as we were making our plans for Italy. Have you spent any time in Rome? Any suggestions for us?

      • Donna and I have been to Italy twice (and are planning a trip back this May – fingers crossed). First trip was my first trip out of North America, and we went to Rome, Venice, Sienna and around Tuscany and Umbria a bit. Second trip was to Sicily (lots of Greek ruins and Roman mosaics). This trip will hopefully be to Ravenna and then down the Adriatic to the tip and across the boot and up to Naples (Pompei and Herculaneum). I’m an archeology buff and Donna is a painter.

        My favorite town was Assisi. We had a very swishy monk lead our tour of the Basilica and we were the only ones who laughed at his jokes. Next favorite part (not specific to any town) was shopping for picnics in the market (an “etto” is 100g or about 1/4 lb.) and then eating lunch al fresco. Venice was very touristy but fascinating and a great place to get lost in.

        The only thing I’d warn about is that the Italian men dress in bright colors and with style, and as a American you will probably feel somewhat drab and uh- American. It is just the way it is, but it is fascinating to see straight guys preen like peacocks. Have fun.

      • “Preen like peacocks” is wonderful. And oh, am I glad to see you reiterate what I’ve read. I’ve already bought some new digs for the trip. 🙂

        -E

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