a pink throw on a west elm yellow chesterfield sofa

Listen to me read this piece below:


Healing has been a theme in my life recently.

On my window: an index card — one of many from my metal box of cards — that says, CICATRIZE, (v) to heal via scar formation.

I taped it there because I thought it was a good launching point for some kind of writing about the process of healing, or the concept of healing, or the notion that we might even heal at all. Both “healing” and “acceptance” have been words that resurface. They show up in my emails and phone calls — appear in articles that I happen to be reading — come back to me in oracle cards that I draw in the mornings when the sun is barely cresting over the neighbor’s flat roof.

Healing by the process of forming scars.


Both healing and acceptance are ideas that I reject by instinct as they apply to chronic illness. (And, I’ll briefly note, trauma.) Healing, to me, implies cure, and I’ve already been told that there is no cure, only management, and I can manage — I do manage — and I do strive to flourish. I am flourishing.

I’ve chosen to believe that I have the choice to flourish in the face of adversity; I encourage you to do the same.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t wake up hyperventilating from nightmares; that I don’t have a calendar crammed with doctors’ appointments; that I don’t have what Chris and I call a “pill condominium” that’s filled with towers of assembled medications; that I don’t have a life that is filled with rotating and shifting systems so that I may continue to keep the notion of flourishing in mind.

It does mean those things. It also incorporates the email that I received last week inviting me to write for a prestigious publication with “New York” in the title, as well as the exhilaration and celebration that followed.

There are celebrations and bright moments.


The studio chalkboard has said for days, You live a different sort of life, & that’s okay.

I’ll erase that and put up something new when that concept feels less essential.

Acceptance is a difficult word because it feels in my mouth like “giving up,” and I will not give up.

Dr. L told me that it was unrealistic — sad, of course, but unrealistic — to believe that I would ever be at 95% or 100% again, implying that if I fought to not believe it, I would be failing at acceptance.

A scar is a wound that hasn’t healed completely. The wound then fills with fibrous connective tissue. The connection does the job of sealing off the wound, but leaves a mark — in my case, a raised and ropy mark — that makes the wound public.

And so my process of healing includes visible reminders of the wound. Some of those visible reminders are private to those who know me intimately and in my day-to-day life. Others I choose to make public through writing.

I choose to write about the struggle because I believe that I’m not the only one who doesn’t heal cleanly.

The important part is the healing. The scars are therefore secondary.

P.S. The Word of the Year giveaway is still happening — enter for your chance to win a lovely silver bracelet, engraved with your Word, at the entry below.