Stay Winning

I see you with your wine and bubble bath weekends
Your manicure/outdoorsy/weekend vibes
Let me share
Here is my self care:
A full time job of skin, nails, hair
Eyes, bones, joints, intestines, kidneys, heart, lungs.
Brain, ears, ligaments, muscles, mental acuity.
A full-time job I’m trying to turn to a part-time job so that I can get another part-time job

It’s ok to be old people
Who do puzzles and take pills and get daily walks
Because eventually all roads arrive at nursing home
Or hospice
Every person lands on aches and pains
Every person dons loss and grief
Every person down a family member or two
Down a mental faculty or two
Down a physical ability or two
And there’s an adjustment we all make
When the things we’ve built into our faces
The bites we’ve taken from the apple of life
Workaholic, mother, athlete, busy, quick-witted, high alcohol tolerance, son
Turn sour in stomachs with their leaving

But you and me, love
We’re ahead of the curve
We’ve got a leg up on them all
We cut our losses from the start
Old pros at the part-time to full-time maintenance of the shell for our souls Recognizing honestly the soul in our shells
No time wasted on finding ourselves
No time to get to know who we are
Not for us was the wide-eyed, oyster-world start
Not for us was the pain-free establishment of Self
We knew what we were from the start

We’re not missing out
We may have skipped some steps
Passed over the part where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts
But we’re leading the pack now
Pressing our advantage
Shouldering our packs and tightening boots we put on long, long ago
We’re old hands at the grin-and-bear-it
We had our warpaint tattooed
Over scars from battles old by the time we reached double digits
While castles in the sky crash down for our peers
We watch the pieces drift past the windows of bunkers dug to dodge the screaming of our already-ancient wars
The screaming of our bodies
The screaming of our minds
The screaming of our parents
And we are ready
Already

When the mortars fall and those who have been young throw up their shelters in a frenzy
We’re already here, dug in, cozy
Pour me a beer, love, and hand me my gun
We’ve been ready for this since day one

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Successful life with chronic illness in poetry and prose.

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Amanda Malone

Amanda Malone

Successful life with chronic illness in poetry and prose.

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