this medicine

sticker graffiti of a pill bottleThe prompt was an orange pill bottle — take 10 minutes with the idea of that today, if you like, or with the image over to the left — what does it bring up for you?

Here was my write:

This is my aftermath, this writing. These are my pills — daily tea of nettle or dandelion, skullcap, tulsi, anise and cardamom; oatmeal with yogurt and fruit and nuts; daily pages; dog walks; daily squares of dark chocolate; tears; phone messages to a best friend across the country; a view of the water, blue-to-steel-grey ocean waves; time with a book; saying hello and goodmorning to deer or fox or scrubjays —

These are the medicine, my own self-prescriptions: 1/2 -1hr of tv (more than that is over-medicating); dog chasing & puppy rubs; hot showers. This is a lot of medicine. This is finally being able to care for self, more often than not, after twenty years.  This is a prejudice against psychiatric drugs turned inside out.

This is medicine — house music played loud on the car stereo and dancing in the driver’s seat; laughing too hard at puppy antics; practicing focusing on my breath even though I can only manage that presence for about three and a half seconds at a time. This is where healing or something more unlanguageble can bring you, has brought me.

Yes, there’s been therapy that’s medicine, yes, there’ve been shots, too much to drink — but here’s medicine that stays: the notebook, the pen, the words. This is what stays, the possibility of new life erupting out from blank white in to blue or green or purple ink, the possibility — any possibility.

Medicine is supposed to ease hurts, soothe spasms, turn the knots inside out, is supposed to quiet the voices, let focus or a little joy or just peace return, is supposed to settle the stomach or senses or skin, is supposed to make something better. This is why writing is medicine — is this too simplistic? Writing does all these things, accomplishes each possibility, is almost homeopathic: brings one into the hurts, the pain, the misunderstanding, the trauma, the loss, the owie and turns them around for me to see. There is an inoculation, a lancing and letting off of infection, a suturing back together (or maybe for the first time), there is deep medicine in this — there is a releasing the pressure, bringing the fear up and then back down, and then there is this offering left in the aftermath, a transcription of procedure, a tracing the lines the outline of a fragile, fractured, healing psyche body, there is this artifact of the work, the way writing shows all the stages, what was, what fire we went through, how we shadowboxed and strove deep through to the other side.

(Thank you for the ways you let yourself find medicine in everything that works — thank you for your creative and powerful self-care. Thank you for your words!)

4 responses to “this medicine

  1. Thank you for this today, Jen. It’s one of those days here when it feels like healing will never happen, when the writing wants to happen and can’t all at the same time. One of those days when I should just swallow the yucky tasting medicine of writing and don’t want to–even as I know it is the medicine I need.

  2. Thank you so much, Mary! :)

  3. What a great way to start my day…I love this piece!

  4. You just revealed that maybe you should drive more often. :n) — In the meantime, thanks for the reminder of the healing properties of writing!