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September 2011

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slouching mom


what a moving post.

(responded to you over my way)

I think I've a bit of compassion fatigue. From getting older, from being such a quivering blob of empathy, year after year.

i'm feeling this too. trying to push past it. trying to write past it.

slouching mom

that bit should have been in quotes, being your words and all...


Seriously great post. Glad to be here.


I love this post. There is a woman in my town who is pretty much worshiped as a goddess, and who has stooped to mean-spirited gossip about one of my children. I used to feel so helpless with rage as I saw how the entire community loved her and didn't realize how mean she could be. Then one day I happened to encounter her while she was having a serious personal crisis and I had the same sort of epiphany you did.


Great post. I try to remember these same things every day. It really helps bring patience and calm to your own life when you give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

I've just discovered your site and I really love your writing. I'll be back for more!


Ozma, this was a beautiful post.


re: your comment/question on CPAP..

Both my mom and my husband would notice me actually stop breathing in the middle of the night for a second or two, and then start again. That is the classic sleep apnea.

Since I'm lucky and my insurance is good -- and since I just had the study last week, I don't know what the study cost. Since my main concern is my breast cancer, I've already hit my maximum annual out of pocket, so I didn't even ask.. sorry.

Your sister should at least talk with her physician about it, and if possible get a referral to see a lung doctor. My lung doctor took one look down my throat and what he saw indicated a high likelihood for sleep apnea -- thus he ordered the test. Insurance companies are much more likely to pay for stuff that is ordered by someone in network -- especially if they have a good reason and find something that can be fixed so easily...

good luck...


Also -- concerning your post... wow. I'm going to have to stop by more often.

I had a modified radical mastectomy in mid-June. I went to sleep with two breasts, woke with one and some tubes ---

I went from fairly normal to lop sided and odly bulgy... people gave me some strange looks and sympathy.

About three weeks ago, the tubes came out and I stuffed the one side of my bra to kind of look like the other... thus, no looks and sympathy. But -- my one fake boob gave me a new thought -- I don't know what anybody else looks like under their clothes. They may have a fake boob, massive bandages, horrible scars etc... and I should treat them as if that is a possibility... in other words, I should treat them with kindness and respect.


I've been thinking about this myself recently, how we really don't know what other people go through in their lives, what they struggle with just to hold it together. I try to remember that, and have a little more compassion for all of us.

Your last little paragraph seemed to pull all of this post together profoundly. I may have to quote you.


Grandma J.

Like you, I half-listened to Kay Ryan reading her poem about imaginary Eskimos on NPR last summer, only to discover, later on, that the poem was nowhere to be found online.

Was it imaginary, like the Eskimos? I didn't think so, but I forgot about it until just the other day, when on a whim I Googled "Kay Ryan + imaginary Eskimos" -- which led me to your blog.

I am probably still in a sort of dreamy post-Obama-victory glow, but it just seemed so perfect that there was, in fact, somebody else out there who'd thought about this poem more or less the way I did, and was disappointed, as I was, by not finding it.

So anyway, you very likely know this by now, but you can find the poem on Google Books (; it's in an old (1997) book of Kay Ryan's poems, "Elephant Rocks," and in Google Books it can't be cut and pasted, but the whole poem is there.

When I heard the poem on NPR, it seemed to me that it was about how easy it is to think of other people, other GROUPS of people, living their lives more authentically, somehow, than we do, and also more simply -- without all the layers of consciousness and self-consciousness about every act and every choice. And this is part of the way we make people "the other" -- we admire them but also make them (in our minds) a little less complex, less multilayered, than we are. Our "imaginary Eskimos" fill that role for us, whether or not it matches what "real Eskimos" might do or feel.

That was my reaction, anyway, and why I (like you) kept wanting to find the poem again. The wonders of the Internet, yes? I don't post comments, as a rule, but couldn't pass up this opportunity.

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