Day 70 - Risky Business, Lack of Pants & First Nights Alone.
Today I feel kind of blank. There are so many thoughts swirling in my head that I feel somewhat stymied to write today. I woke up at 5:30 in a panic that I had missed my writing time and had to hurry up and get to work. Then I remembered it was Saturday and went back to sleep until 6:15.
Now I sit here, cat and computer on lap, coffee in my right hand, nestled into my warm, cozy bed and feel a level of contentment that I had never known before. This morning writing time has become a conversation with myself that I share with all of you. Kind of like my own written Ted Talk...my subjects are clearly just as varied.
I am struck with how much my life has changed over the last five years. All that I walked through and endured to get to this moment where all is quiet, still and peaceful.
I was texting with my girlfriend who just recently separated from her husband. Last night was her first night in her new place. God, I remember that night. I walked around with no pants on just because I could. I ate ice cream in bed. Watched inappropriate movies that no one else would have liked, read, sat in the hot tub alone and naked (again because I could), thought about going skinny dipping in my pool but then realized it was way too cold for that. I thought about my life, I was afraid, I was excited. I felt like I was spending the evening with someone that I once knew well but hadn’t seen in years. I felt awkward with myself.
That first night alone was kind of like a Tom Cruise in Risky Business minus the hookers and getting loaded. I was so excited to be alone in my home, I danced. I sang. I probably appeared intoxicated to the dogs and cats who were wholly unaccustomed to my bursts of spontaneity.
I felt as though I was on vacation from my life. I felt like my husband and children would return at any minute, ending my weird good time. I felt like I was doing a lot of things I was not supposed to be. And I was. I was not doing laundry or cleaning anything. I wasn’t cooking for anyone since Ben and Jerry’s required no preparation, hell not even a bowl. Just a spoon and I could eat it in the hot tub.
I played music loudly in the kitchen. I danced. I talked to girlfriends on the phone until I was too tired to talk anymore. I didn’t worry about anyone overhearing my conversation and worry that I would decimate their world with the conversation topic. I felt like I could release and let go.
I walked around all the rooms of my house and sat down and looked at it from my new perspective. This was no longer our house, it was now mine. I looked at all the things I had purchased and put together to make it look the way it did. I was amazed at what I created. I identified things that I wanted to do differently.
In the Kitchen I felt chained. Like this room was my master and I its servant. This is where I spent most of my time: cooking, cleaning, shopping, homework overlording, folding laundry. This room, more than any other, felt like where I got lost in the shuffle of life. The tasks at had became my being. The kitchen where much was created was really the place where I became undone.
In my office, I was overcome with an awareness that by insisting that I have a place to work, I had created a space for new work to come my way. When we bought this house, I had a little side business, nothing that really required an office. It was a battle. That night, sitting in my desk chair I was incredibly grateful to have won that skirmish. Some part of me knew that I would need a place to work in the not so distant future.
I walked out of the office and into the living room. The Restoration Hardware living room that looked like something out of their catalog. I was so proud of this room. How hard I worked and saved to purchase the contents and make it feel like home. Sitting there in the dark, I realized just how much it really did feel like a showroom. That thought oddly, poetic since that is how I kind of felt about our family. That we had been only for show for a long time. Cutouts of people from magazines more than real people. Our family life designed to fit into the pages of a catalog to create a desire in others to duplicate our life. How sad that felt to me then.
I walked into the TV room and sat on the giant, down filled couch. I could hear the children laughing at some show they liked to watch. I could feel them cuddled against me under soft blankets. I realized that this room felt more like family...
I walked pantless into the master bedroom that used to house my marriage. I thought of all the times we didn’t have sex there. The giant master bathtub that we never bothered to share. The shower that was large enough for shower sex but sadly was never used for that. I looked at the bed that contained the stalemate between us for years. I sat on that bed and cried. I resented the TV across the room for its lordship over our evenings. All the time that was devoted to it instead of time spent connecting, sharing or loving. This room felt most vacant to me now. A hollowed out place where love had died.
I went into each of my children’s rooms and sat on their floors. I cried while holding their pillows to my face. I missed them but was so grateful for the reprieve of being their everything. I was sad but hopeful that I could be more to them now. I was terrified that I would let them down. I would fail them as a single parent. Then I realized just how much I failed them in a couple. I sat in the dark letting the tears flow and was overcome with the enormity of my task. How to raise myself and them at the same time? Would I rise to the task or would I check out? Could I really be what they needed? Could I handle the task of mothering, working full time while not losing my mind and becoming resentful and hard? I didn’t know.
Finally I walked into my mediation room. I sat on my cushion and assumed lotus. I do not know how long I sat there. Candles and incense burning in the dark like tiny beacons lighting my path back home. I sat with the terror, bewilderment, and fear. I felt this tiny budding thing inside my chest. It was hard to identify. It was foreign to me. It was new yet familiar. Later, I would come to identify this feeling as returning to self after a long absence. As I sat on my cushion in the dark, cold night, I inhabited my body again for the first time in a very long time. I was returned to me. After what seemed like hours, I bowed to the shrine. Tears still streaming down my face. I walked through the house a ghost revisiting the past. I left that room renewed, reinstated in my life as its primary occupant.
I walked downstairs and crawled into my bed, reclaiming it as my own. I turned off the light, gave the TV the middle finger and I slept the first sleep in my new body, mind and life. Today, I am absolutely sure that as I sit in this bed and write that it was all worth it. Every tear and fear the price of admission to this new place.