You are a part of me, a part of my being that I know I’ve taken for granted. You keep me balanced and whole and make going through the daily motions of life simple, easy, bearable. You hold me firmly rooted to the ground, you make putting one foot in front of the other (which is the original title of your song for me, oh by the way) an unconscious decision. You are my left leg.
But here’s the thing – I can live without my left leg. You aren’t my heart, or my lungs, so please don’t flatter yourself and think that you are. Yes, the separation was excruciating, hard to deal with and messy. I’ve had to adjust to life without you. And I’ve done a decent job of it, I think. I’ve tried the wheelchair but having people have to push me through each day is hard on me and unfair to them. I’ve tried the crutch but it just made me weaker and almost unable to stand at all. I’m trying out prosthetic after prosthetic and here’s the thing – they almost fit. Almost but not quite. There are still those moments where I’m very aware of the fact that they aren’t you. Something feels off, my feet can’t touch the ground, there’s an ache that I can’t deny anymore. And there is no replacement that can change the fact that you are my left leg.
I’ve made adjustments and I suppose you have too. I can’t expect things to be rehabilitated overnight and I can’t expect instant gratification. But here’s what I’ve learned. Life without my left leg is doable. It’s not pleasant, but it’s doable. I just liked my life a lot better with my left leg in it and I would like it back. And this thing that you’re doing? Trying to stand alone as someone else’s foundation? It’s not going to work for long. After all, you are my left leg.
There is no earthly being that I love as much as I love my dog. I am not joking.
When we picked out a little yellow lab puppy nearly 10 years ago, I knew that the one sitting in the shade and only selectively giving out face kisses had to be ours. I even picked his name – Walker. Now, however, he goes by things such as Pupsy, Woof, Snuffy, Walker Doodle, Strudel Doodle, Smelly, Big Butt, Mr. Baby, Booty – and that is just to name a few (didn’t even add in the truly weird ones, like Widdie and Squiggs. Also, don’t ask. The more you love something, the weirder your nicknames are for it. Fact).
Whenever I’m at my parents’ house, the first thing I do every morning is tiptoe down to the basement to retrieve Walker from his bedroom.
And I’m sure every morning he looks at me thinking “Ugh, can she just leave?” as I wake him up with a rousing chorus of “Good morning to YOU! Good morning to YOU, Walkie! Good morning, buddy! Get your baby, let’s go upstairs!”
I’ve seen this tweet multiple times on those parody accounts: “‘At least you really love me, I whisper to my dog, holding him to my chest as he tries to run away.” That is my dog. We used to take him to the breeder where we got him whenever we’d go on long holidays – a week or two. And he would get to play with his biological family and other dogs, running wild and having a great time. When we’d pick him up, he would hate us for interrupting his fun. Every time, I’d make him homemade dog treats as an effort to bribe him to come near me.
I’m sitting here watching my dog sleep in a pile of his Lambies – Lamby is his favourite toy – a squeaky plush Lambchop in various sizes and colours. And I can’t believe my little baby man turns 10 on Thursday.
I am a big believer in wishing on stars, in chatting to whatever higher beings create chance (or chonce as I like to pronounce it when being a dick) and in receiving messages of assurance from the universe. For example, I’m about to undertake the whole applying to grad school applying for a visa burden once again and every time I am doing something random that has nothing to do with London, London will pop up on the telly or a British person I don’t know will randomly pop into my life (like my massage therapist Lulu).
Anyway. Right now I’m dealing with a situation I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have to deal with again and while my new empath friend (and my reiki master) have assured me that it will resolve itself the way I want it to, I have to detach from it in order for it to do so. Which is hard for me – detaching is like removing yarn from barbed wire without snagging the yarn. And when things are out of my control, I turn to the universe and ask it for signs – signs that things will be okay.
Today as I was driving home from work, I couldn’t help thinking about the situation and wanting to know if I should hold out for the outcome I want or just walk away. As I was thinking this, a car drove by me, the license plate reading “MOR2COM.”
When I was a baby, my father didn’t know any lullabies so he would croon “Hey Jude” to me at night in a (usually fruitless) effort to get me to sleep. By the time I was two years old, my favourite part was the “Ju-judy, Judy, Judy, Judy, Judy -OW!” My bathtub songs cassette tape had “Octopus’s Garden” and “Yellow Submarine” on it. When my sister and I were two and five respectively, my father would put on “Lady Madonna” for us, which my sister thought was “Lady Banana.” At the line “See how they run!” he would shout “RUN!” as we would tear through the downstairs of our house, shrieking as he chased us.
So it just makes sense that, as a member of a generation who prides themselves on loving the old more than the new, I grew up to be a Beatles fan. A huge Beatles fan. My brain is full of random Beatles trivia (Bob Dylan introduced the group to marijuana after thinking the lyric “I can’t hide” was “I get high”; John Lennon was the first Beatle to be married with a child but had to keep it a secret so that they wouldn’t upset fans). Every year for Christmas, I receive the special edition Beatles cover of Rolling Stone magazine – usually if it’s John Lennon. When I saw Across the Universe at sixteen, I was amazed – I hadn’t listened to the Beatles for years, but somehow these words were flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.
And of course, I had a favourite member of the band. John Lennon’s crusade for peace spoke to my inner hippie. His sweet, albeit nasal in a fantastic way, Liverpudlian croon was the first voice I could identify on a record. The songs he wrote became my favourites; his whimsical sketching charmed me and the flavour of Ben & Jerry’s inspired by him, “Imagine Whirled Peace” was instantly the best ice cream flavour in the world. It had chocolate chunks shaped like peace signs. How great is that?
So today, I’m keeping this short and sweet – it would have been this revolutionary thinker’s 75th birthday. 75 years old. And we are living the exact opposite life that he called us to dream of in his hit song post-breakup, Imagine. I spend more time imagining a world where tea came out of the tap than I do imagining no possessions. As I am about to embark on a 3 hour drive, I’m going to take this time to play his greatest hits and think about exactly what I can to do make a piece of my world the world that John Lennon Imagined.
Because at the end of the day, we all shine on – like the moon, and the stars, and the sun. I think John would be proud to see how much of his legacy has actually lasted.