The Comely Centipede

You know, I made the pledge to Brigid to tell the truth in my circle’s ritual on February 2, one moon ago. But the roots of that readiness came from a ritual at British Columbia Witch Camp last fall. This makes sense, though. Roots go down in fall. It’s why fall is the best time to plant a tree – or anything else. The strength of that earth-ing supports what grows when the light returns.

Last year before that ritual, those roots, that promise, I was not telling the truth. I was in so much pain and so, so  convinced that I had to put on a good face. I was a self-employed, head of household, single mom who was totally making it on my own. Man, I was faking it. I was faking it so much I practically became an arthropod. I practically grew an exoskeleton, which experience was much less pleasing than you would think if you are a big fan of centipedes, which I consider to be the most glorious and comely arthropods around. Look:

If you want to know, centipedes are the wolves of the forest floor. Top of the food chain, fearless, fast and totally in charge of keeping things good. I love and fear and respect and okay.. worship them a little. Power of death into life, people.

Speaking of decomposition, I picked up my friend from her colonoscopy today. I promise, that’s not the truth I’m going to get into, here. It’s just that, in the middle of last year, in my faking it, I was due for one too and I didn’t tell anyone, didn’t ask any of the friends nearby who love me to help out by driving me, even though I remember my friend Luckey gently saying to me “Ella, asking for help is a way of letting people in. It’s an invitation to intimacy. It’s generous.” Nope. I asked my mom to fly up from Arizona for a weekend so I could keep my exoskeleton intact with everyone else. 

Anyway, I picked up my friend from hers today. I went to the wrong building, and said the F word to the front desk, which at least made them laugh, and then hauled ass over to where she actually was. Whose idea was it to put two buildings called “First Hill Medical Center” within two blocks of each other?? I ask you. She was remarkably undaunted by the drugs coursing through her veins. I took her to get some coffee and then, instead of going home and crashing, she bought me breakfast. 

As we drove to the café, I realized that one of the things that is so surprising about having shed all that hardness, about starting to tell friends last fall and this winter what I’m really going through, is that I am in so much less pain, and so much less scared, and so much more strong inside because I am not pretending at al. I know this is what Oprah and Brené Brown say is going to happen, but it's sort of hard to believe it's really true, right? Until it is.

Then, on the way home, my car started smoking.

At my friend’s house, I popped the hood. Green coolant all around. Awesome. I called my mechanic and arranged to bring the car to them. I asked them if they had a loaner car. “Yes,” said the friendly lady. “But we only have one and it’s in use.”

I started thinking about the appointment for Forest tomorrow afternoon, and my three doc appointments in the next day and a half, and my full moon ritual tomorrow night…

The idea of sitting on the bus for all those back and forth hours and the subsequent back pain must have showed on my face. My friend had just arranged to borrow her dad’s car this weekend so that she could take hers in for some maintenance. She looked at me. “Want to drive down to Burien now? We could get my dad’s car and you can have mine.”



Trying to have an exoskeleton was SO not me.


Thank you to for that pic of the centipede. There are lots more there to enjoy.