Amy Souza and Cristal Brawley

Amy Souza

Listed Sh*t
By Cristal Brawley

Inspiration piece

A few months ago, I wrote down all the things that are wrong with me.

The notion came after a particularly hideous hot flash at 2 a.m., generally the time for such things as of late. This time, I’d awakened in a panic that I had a tooth ache, and I would soon
need seek dental help (with all the needles and drilling).

Cue hot flash cycle:

1. Overwhelming feeling of dread (20 seconds)
2. Rapid heartbeat (duration)
3. Fast-spreading waves of heat (2 minutes)
4. Sweat pools on head, neck, torso, and back of knees (2-5 minutes, depending on access
to folding bamboo hand fan)
5. Wondering when I would die (final stage, 1-5 minutes, depending on fatigue level)

For the final stage, I rolled over, turned on my phone, and opened the notes app to start the list, titled, “Shit that’s wrong with me.”

  • Hot flashes/panic attacks (3x per night, 10x per daylight hours)
  • Glaucoma
  • Psoriasis
  • Hearing loss
  • Raynaud’s Syndrome (right index finer)
  • Left hand, tendon pain
  • Knee pain
  • Wart on right hand
  • Hair loss, top of head
  • Dental issue

The list was overwhelming and scary. Surely, I would die soon. Cue second hot flash (2:15 a.m.). That same morning, three hot flashes later, I made an appointment with a dentist, and within 2
weeks, I had a shiny new permanent crown. As I write this, I notice that more than half of these things are fixed or no longer an issue. The others, I’ve been consistently managing with things like eye drops, exercise, and meditation. I’m 60 now. Shit happens. Take care of it.

Years ago, an old friend told me: The idea of things is usually worse than the reality of things. I keep that list as a reminder of that.

Here’s today’s list, titled, “Shit that’s awesome”:

  • I’m married to my best friend.
  • My family is curious and close.
  • Each day is a gift. Even the bad ones.
  • My body still works well.
  • Easy friendships are my most meaningful.
  • Music gives me goosebumps.
  • I work with some of the most genuine, loving, compassionate people I’ve ever met.
  • I truly love who I’ve become and where I’m headed.

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