MEASURING TAPE

Just before the 5th year of my brain cancer survival, I received a card from a friend. I said, "You are the bravest person I know." "Mom, Mom, Mom, I am calling you Help me! I am scared. I am not brave. I am in a glass globe. I can't get out. I think I am going to break. I had a 4th seizure, that makes 8 in 4 months. My circumference is full of rocks. "How many, Mom?"

I am running out of measuring tools. I ask my sister, Bobbie what I was like as a child. "I remember I was chasing you. I gave up. I couldn't catch you." I tell her, "I am glad you stopped chasing me." I want to stop chasing myself. I want to stop measuring myself. It is hard to compare my movements to others. I am destroying my length, distance, volume and area." I want to leave myself alone to grow to any length I want. Rulers. Yards. Sticks. Clocks, Scales. They are killing the essence of my being. I had a dream last week about my mother's measuring tape with a piece of leather attached to the end, the beginning, the one. It was shaped like dental film, but larger, 4 inches wide, 2 inches tall. It was caught in my mouth forcing me to smile. My cheeks stuck out. Swollen. Misshapen. Pain. The tape was 60 inches?ound around my neck, 3 times, >through my right ear, right nostril, left nostril, and out my left ear. Hanging. Craving. Hurrying.

Damn it! I am going to do it. I will stop the process of finding out how many me' s or measuring units there are. I do uji breathing when I start to compare myself to some idealized person on a pedestal. I will pop the balloon inflated with fictionalized facts. Assumptions. Beliefs. Bubbles. They have been attached for a lifetime to thin skin. I bleed numbers and units. A number by itself, me, is not a measurement. Would I pass if I pointed and said, "My carton has a length of 160?" No one would know whether the carton was 160 inches, 160 feet, or 160 meters. No one knows that I have wanted brains, a 160 IQ for as long as I can remember. Benjamin Franklin was my ideal founding father. Inventions. Lightnings. Rods. Bifocals. Wit. Wisdom. "Poor Richard's Almanac. $100 dollar bills.

The world believed that Ben was Mr. Nice Guy. People think I am nice. We are acts, Ben and I. Actually we are both bland. I idealized IQ. Franklin was brilliant---a classic over-achiever. I am not brilliant. I work. I measure. I criticize. I crave a carton filled with substantial me. I used to think there was one kind of intelligence which is measured by IQ tests. Today, I tell my critique to my computer. I write my journal, my journeys. I'm less bland now according to the tape measure. It is out of my mouth. My mouth doesn't hurt.

My mother sent me a message this morning. She didn't teach it to me as a little girl. "Judi, There are lots of kinds of intelligence---social intelligence, political intelligence financial intelligence. Take a rest. Forget telling stories or jokes. Tell your truth. The message stopped. In a whisper, I talk back. " I have social intelligence. I listen and tell >my truth. I don't need help." I am enough without political and financial intelligence. I'll forget about telling jokes or stories. Relief. Rest. Lesson. Mother. Memory.