I know what you’re thinking. “Caira, you and Missy Elliot already have so much in common besides Grave’s Disease. I was surprised when I learned she had it last week, but given your likeness, I am now less so.”
That’s not what you thought at all.
I’ve been waiting for Missy Elliot to come back. The
first second thing I did the day I got my diagnosis was Google “Celebrities with Grave’s Disease.” A semi-informative read from 2011 stated Missy had the disease and had been out of the spotlight for several years because of it. Save for her best-of compilation released in 2006, the last time she had a new album on the charts was 2005. “She’ll be back,” I thought. I need her to come back and talk about this – because no one knows what this is and she’ll give voice to it.
And then all of a sudden, there she was – Katy Perry’s sharks be damned.
In the days following, the Internet produced myriad reactions to Missy’s reemergence – her inextricable ties to the context of today’s female rappers, vapid musings on her weight loss, .GIF-ication of the the word “chocha.”
But I only have two words for Missy Elliot.
One morning in early December I awoke feeling strange. I imagine it’s what you’d feel if someone left a heating pad plugged in, but in the inside of your head. How did this rock get inside my head, I wondered? What’s this dark center doing in the middle of my cranium? I rolled over, too quickly. I saw the room through strips and when I blinked they didn’t move. Well, this is a problem. Walking to the bathroom I lost control of the muscles in my legs and was on the floor, cheek against the tile. When I moved it was blurry.
It turned out that after months of excessive racing, my heart beat had taken a warm dip in the other direction. My first suggestion was coffee – I’ll take 24 caffeinated cups to go, please – but the doctor felt a boring day at the hospital hooked up to a monitor was a more reasonable course of action. After several groggy hours, the final test was administered.
The technician, she smiled at me and pointed to the ultra sound. “You get to see your heart today,” she said in accented inflection. I was Dorothy. The reason for all the fuss appeared on the screen. A pulsing blob, beating soft, low, alive. Innocent. “That’s your heart, she said. “Take good care of it.”
“I will,” I said.
I watched it beat until they peeled the patches off my chest, leaving gummy rings behind. “Thank you,” I said, as someone appeared to wheel me away.
It’s what I said when my friend arrived that morning to my apartment, to help me from my couch to the hospital – both of us having made the inexplainable choice to wear neon shoes.
It’s what I said on the first day of 2015, when I realized it’s never straightforward and always better because of it.
And it’s what I said again as Missy returned to the stage in all her slick, racing-suited glory – moving, rapping, having a ball. Thank you.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.