Thank You For Making Things BETTER

Thank you friends and family for helping Shane​ and I over the past few months. Thank you for helping us eat, pay our rent and bills and turn Shane’s phone back on. Thank you for sending anonymous cards and non-anonymous cards filled with love and hope and survival. Thank you for writing emails and Facebook messages to ease our frustration and make us not feel crazy or alone. I’m so happy to share that Things Are BETTER!!!

My Mama, who was living with us for two months to get through a manic spell, which became a depressive spell, went to live with her brother closer to San Diego a few weeks ago. We would have been happy to continue taking care of her until her depression lifted, but her knee randomly swelled up to the size of a grapefruit. In October, before she was staying with us, she tripped on her recliner and fell, landing with one knee on the floor and one knee on a mattress on the floor. She tended to the more injured one and it healed up great. The other one got some attention when she came to our place a few weeks later and then it seemed fine. But now she can barely put weight on it. So my loving and kind Uncle Danny and Aunty Linda are taking care of her in a more knee-friendly house. And they helped her find a knee specialist. And they are learning about and helping with her depression. Thank you guys for being truly amazing. And making things BETTER!!!

TheWholeRuth KindnessBeauty Louis Card

Mama is doing better too. She and I were talking about how it’s important to define what “better” means with her right now. The swelling in her knee has gone done about 85% and she’s waiting for her MRI authorization to go through. But she still can’t walk down a step without pain. And depression wise, after another dosage change that happened three weeks ago, her energy level is still very low, but her brain can think more. So she can watch an hour of TV instead of no TV at all. And she can participate in a conversation with more ease and mind clarity. She even said, in response to a positive story about Shane, “Please tell him I share his joy.” Like angel cake frosting in my ears! Yet at the same time, she said she still wouldn’t eat if someone didn’t make her eat because she has no appetite or motivation. But… she is doing BETTER!!!

Before Mom stayed with us, one of my best friends needed a place to stay and lived with us for two months, which sounds like a sleepover! And it is always fun to be around a bestie, but when we were barely able to take care of ourselves, it was also scary to be needed. He is doing BETTER now too! And having the house to ourselves is letting us focus on making life BETTER!

And Shane’s studio job finally started!!! The job had been pushed back for two and a half months, in a way that seemed like it was going to start every two weeks so he couldn’t look for an in-between job. But now he has a job and he loves it, which is BETTER!!!

15.1.21 TheWholeRuth Sunshine Flower card

I am getting $400 a month from the government to live off of while my foot heals. Which sounds crazy. For multiple reasons… Because I don’t want to live off of the government, but I have to pay it back, so that makes it better! And the amount sounds too impossibly small to live on, but it helps with bills and food and gives me some freedom to focus on my foot, which makes things BETTER!

And now I also finally have health insurance that I can afford, because it’s free! And I have a regular physician and a regular physical therapist for the first time in seven years. My doctor said, “You have a team now that will help you.” I am supported and my healing is reflecting that. I had my first physical in eight years and I’m healthy! He said, “Your foot will heal and you are healthy.” BETTER!!!

I’m also very grateful to have learned that I’m codependent and I’m working on taking care of myself first. It’s a new mindset that is very foreign and freeing and I feel much more peace inside. It’s also helping my physical healing. Each day I feel better and… BETTER!

Also, here is some vague good news: Shane met with “some people” that appreciate his writing like his current studio does, for being the boundary-less, imaginative, playful writing that it is! And his studio was so giddily supportive of him meeting with “these people,” that it is such a gift for him to being surrounded by confident friends who are encouraging him to grow, giving him freedom to grow, and giving him the experience to grow. BETTER.

We chose a path to be artists. We had heard the phrase “starving artist,” but we didn’t truly understand what we were signing up for. We wouldn’t be able to be true to our hearts without your help. And if we weren’t allowed to be true to our hearts, I don’t know how we would live. Thank you for giving us life rafts to reach ourselves. Love you guys. I hope knowing that your spirits are helping ours brightens your day a bit and makes you feel BETTER…

14.12.7 TheWholeRuth ThankYou card

Math on the Beach

While our East coast friends are stuck in the cold, here in LA, the desert flowers are blooming. I went to the beach to do my physical therapy sand walking on a Tuesday at the end of February. And it was much more than therapy for my body. Rain had fallen the day before, which in LA is a rare and sky-changing thing.

TheWholeRuth Rain AlmostLooksLikeSnow

The sky always changes as it rains, but here, it’s the sky the day after the rain that makes the whole town look different. There is usually a black dust in the air from pollution and it’s on the cars, on the porches, even on the window sills- on the inside of the house. The rain gives the city and its sky a bath. (The inside of the house is up to you.) The next day is clear and blue… And puffy, plump white clouds stretch their arms, sometimes with puffy, plump deep gray clouds rumbling punches behind them, ready to rain again. It’s beautiful. I like to imagine that the day after rain is how it must have looked in the 1920’s when Charlie Chaplin lived here. It’s a time machine day where we get to see it as he did.

15.2.24 TheWholeRuth Beach Physical Therapy Chaplin

The beach was therapy for my soul and my foot. It was wildly windy, in a way I’ve never seen it. As I lay on the blanket I brought, the wind would whip around the sand so much that whatever part of the blanket I wasn’t covering, would just look like sand. At some points, I had to cover my head with my towel so I wouldn’t drown in air-sand. Even though that doesn’t sound peaceful, the sun was hot, the breeze was cool, and there was something animalistic and freeing about letting the sand do what it wanted around me like I was lying in the middle of a tribe of sand grains who were chanting and dancing, mad with joy. I felt honored that they let me be there.

And when I stood and walked around, the blowing sand stayed low and I could breathe the brisk salt air and enjoy feeling my foot roll through and my leg extend further back behind me than it has in years, knowing the next step would come and this would continue on in a rhythm that makes me feel like a Lion Queen.

I was even smitten with the sun light in the bathrooms.

15.2.24 TheWholeRuth beach bathrooms

I’ve been going to the beach about twice a week for physical therapy for a few weeks now. Sometimes it’s in the day and I get to go in the water up to my waist. A friend asked later if the water was cold, and since the Pacific is usually like ice, it was the first time I remembered that it probably was cold. But it hadn’t dawned on me. When I’m there alone, I’m not worried about someone else being uncomfortable in the water with me and I can get lost in the gratefulness to be walking, in the ocean, in the middle of the day, on a weekday, in February. I remembered that when I’m there, I first set my toes in with the intention to ice them, since I have to do that three times a day anyway. And it’s so exciting to be leg wrestling with the waves that all of a sudden, I’m in up to my thighs and it doesn’t feel cold at all. Sometimes I go at night and there are bonfires. Once, a woman in a bikini top and a flowing skirt was juggling flaming rings. Sometimes I go for fifteen minutes in my jeans, just to take off my shoes and let my feet move through the sand.

When I walk there, I can roll through my foot with no pain. I can only walk in five-minute increments, rest, and repeat, but it feels so wonderful to be able to do that. And it’s adding up.

15.2.24 TheWholeRuth Palm Trees Snow Mountains

Thank You for Keeping Ruth Outta Jail

I want to thank all these people below. They gave me hand-me-down clothes at one point in the last 12 years and I’m still wearing them.

Thank You Cards TheWholeRuth 5.10.13
It’s not that I don’t have the Thank You cards…

I’ve been thinking about how when someone gives you new clothes, you think to write a Thank You card. And if you are an asshole, like me, that is as far as you get. Other people follow the thought with the action.

It’s hard enough for me to write a Thank You card when I know I’m supposed to, but when people give used clothes, I think there is a national understanding that donating is kind and quick, maybe you’ll get a hug or a tax write-off, but never a Thank You card. Maybe because if you drop-off at the Good Will, you never know who is going to receive it, and the receiver doesn’t have an address with which to send a card, and the good deed goes by in a woosh. But even when you give clothes to a friend, there is joy, and gratitude, feelings of Yay! But never a Thank You card.

I might be wrong about that. I haven’t asked enough hand-me-downees about their card giving rates…

Anyway, you guys, my dear friends who have given me clothes, I don’t know if you know that I think of you all of the time when I get dressed (dirty) and that when you casually and generously gave me an item of clothing, it really helped me out!

(Also, you may not know you gave me clothing because you may have given it to a friend who gave it to me, or you may have put it in a bin on the sidewalk for homeless people and while needing the bin, I discovered the clothes and kept them as well… But that second scenario person knows I have her clothes because she is my neighbor and I told her about it. Because I knew that inevitably one day she would see me wearing a full outfit made entirely of her wardrobe and it’d be weird for both of us. If I didn’t prep her beforehand… “So don’t be weirded out,” I texted, “…or DO be weirded out, but don’t be surprised.” She’s cool with it.)

Today I felt like you should know the impact you’ve made so I’m writing you this virtual Thank You card and yelling a loud belly “THANK YOU” to you.

Continue reading “Thank You for Keeping Ruth Outta Jail”