robinmay robinmay

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Robin May Fleming  I think you're pretty great... WA • iPhone always • ohrobinmay@gmail.com

Got to spend a very rare couple of hours with my husband today. Fun fact: He works long days (that spill over into nights), grinding hard at a career for which he is blessed to be well-recognized and well-compensated.
He is strong and healthy. His talents and stamina are rivalled only by his work ethic.
He is my hero.
We have simple loves. We live small and have plans to live even smaller.
We don't have debt. We look great on paper.
And still the list of medical tests and physical therapists and specialists we can't afford grows longer every day....and the gap between me and an effective treatment plan—between me and getting back on my feet and staying on my feet—grows larger.
Being sick in Canada was bad. Being sick ANYWHERE is bad. But being sick in the United States will break your spirit and stomp on the pieces.
These are some flowers I saw today.

Joy finds a way.

I'm trapped in bed today, curtains pulled tight, life chugging along without me. I can barely move even within the small world of my bed, thanks to a silly misstep on Friday afternoon.
Just one little jolt and there I go. From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet. Nothing working as it should. And searing, don't-move-or-I'll-shoot! pain from one of those joints you don't even know you have until it stops working as it should.
I've been told a couple of times over the years that my joints are "hypermobile," but it took until quite recently for me to realize this was the puzzle piece for which I'd been searching my entire life.
I'd say to doctors: "I hurt ALL the time. If I trip just a little bit, it's catastrophic. It's like I've been hit by a bus."
(And I know what it feels like to be hit by a bus.)
I'd continue, their patience wearing thin: "If I spend 20 minutes doing something simple I love, like bending over a vegetable garden or exerting myself up a hill to catch a fantastic view, I'll pay for it for a week. Maybe more. I get fevers--one, two, three times a month. They break, drenching my bed in the middle of the night. I drag myself through the day. Food makes me sick, but I'm always hungry. I can't chat with a friend with my head turned or I'll be hit so hard with migraine, I'll have to disappear into the dark. Again. I feel faint in the shower. I can't stand still without feeling like I've run a marathon. This is just the tip of the iceberg, the tip of ME. There is something wrong..." And they'd prescribe me antidepressants.
They'd take my blood and tell me I'm "healthy on paper." They'd suggest I cut out gluten,
dairy,
animal protein,
legumes,
nightshades,
sugar,
caffeine,
insoluble fibre.
One told me to come back once I quit my job.
(I quit my job, but I never went back.)
They ALL panic at the size of my thyroid, send me off for tests, and then shrug: "Come back in a year. We'll test again."
(Repeat, repeat, repeat....since I was 7 years old.)
✨Continued in the comments.✨

She waits for me while I'm in the bathroom. She waits for me while I'm in bed. She waits for me while I'm in the kitchen. She waits for me while I'm in a store/restaurant/movie theater/doctor's office. She waits and she waits and she waits and she waits.

I was feeling a little ambivalent about our gardens this year. Physically, I'm not able to tend them like I'd like, transforming them over the years into a reminder of my frustrations with my health. But in the past few days I've been unable to resist their tangled green charms and new purple blooms. I feel, again, the abundance, and it nourishes rather than taunts. The backyard smells wet and fresh, and cut grass clings to paws and boots. The front is a welcome mat of blossoms, inviting me home.

When I imagine moving someday, and not taking this tree with us, my stomach clenches tighter than its beautiful little buds.
The first home I ever bought was a sweet little shoebox of a condo on a busy Toronto street. Spring, summer, winter, fall....every season looked the same from my floor-to-ceiling windows, with shades of urban grey stretching out in every direction. Sure, there were bits I loved, like the resonant clip-clop of police horses on the pavement far below. But I wished loud and often for a sign--any sign--of the passage of time. Something other than a new building popping up in the distance.
I did eventually find just that, in another Toronto neighborhood, just minutes but worlds away.
And here I find it again, in the lushness of a rural yard and one perfect kaleidoscope tree, shifting with the seasons, from brown to pink to green.

I used to post a lot of photos like this on Instagram--the ones I'd snap in a parking lot, on my way from A to B, struck for a moment by the quietly beautiful middle bits.

I thought I had to wait for the husband, the house, the 2 point something kids....for all of it, before I could have a dog. But meeting this girl in my solo years was a gift from heaven.
My tiny grey rock.
My fluffy little constant.
xx.

There is deep, gorgeous value in baking your own bread. It's easier to go to the store. It's probably in some cases even cheaper. But the slow rise, the evolving texture, the glorious glorious smell....it's the stuff that (and I'm not even sorry to drop this cliché on you) money just cannot buy.
I can still recall my first loaf. I sat in front of the oven door like a child. I was 34.
Honestly, I'm not even very good at it. It's just that my failures are still (mostly) delicious, so that stops me from being so hard on myself that I'm afraid to try again--a bad habit of mine, which has derailed more than a few new hobbies over the years.
Failure is an acquired taste, I suppose. One I'm working oh so hard to appreciate, one crackling, misshapen loaf at a time.

My identity formed around the framework of two adjectives:
Bossy.
Sensitive.
I was always--am still always--a little too much of both.
And my hips were too wide.
My hips are still too wide.
And my thighs....too big.
I was never told to be more.
I was always told to be less.
By them
and by myself.
Happy International Women's Day.

Yesterday, I sobbed my heart out while I poured my guts out to an Instagram friend.
It's been so long since I've shared some of the most frightened, cornered parts of myself. I don't even know what prompted this whoosh. But....whoosh I did, and oh the relief: to be witnessed gently, to be received in light and with love.
Since I joined Instagram, in the summer of 2011, I've received hundreds of notes of sadness, joy, worry, wonder, and thanks. I've listened, virtually, via email and DM, to stories from all around the world, responding as best I can, wishing always for the space that closing the distance would allow--the space to nod silently and to murmur mmmhmmm, to do away with words entirely and to just sit in someone's story, so they don't have to be alone.
But yesterday reminded me of the power of distance, how it can make us brave. And I'm encouraged again to be grateful for this app and the connections it's facilitated over the years. I wonder, honestly, how many lives it's saved.
xx.

It doesn't take much to fill my heart with joy.... Wait. Does that mean it's really small? 😳

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