Yes, I do agree that perhaps an unbiased professional would help me sort things out.
However, I think I’ll try a simpler option first, like new lingerie and concert tickets. Armed with both, I shall venture forth in a few weeks with my pal Jeany, find an unbiased professional bartender, dance like a madwoman (or as much as the knee will allow) and swoon over my fantasy boyfriend.
This isn’t a trip report. I told myself I wouldn’t do one until after my report cards are done on Friday.
Maybe I should do one sooner though. I can feel the high of being with friends who understand me slipping away. I’m happy. I’m smiling. I feel more myself than I have in years.
Today I found myself thinking, maybe too much, that if this life that I have doesn’t make me feel like myself, then what the hell am I doing living it? I know how it happened. Small daily compromises have been made, for comfort, for contentment. Trouble is, I have never much liked the words compromise or contentment; I always used to prefer the words joy and passion.
What to do, what to do. How to slow, stop and reverse this creep of dullification? I don’t think that’s a word, do you? You know what I mean though.
I already know that at least three of you are ready to comment that I am not dull, that I am pretty kick-ass. It’s all smoke and mirrors. And bullshit. I’m in a rut. I’m beginning to feel like the frumpy middle -aged teacher I look like. And that ain’t good.
The truth is, I’m going to bed at 9, 9:30 not because I like being well rested for work (which is good, don’t get me wrong), but because my dreams are better than my waking reality. I am so bored that I can’t even be bothered to masturbate. What’s the point? Lately it only serves to make me feel more sad and lonely than before. The gods must be greatly amused by this, that one who was so sexually active in her youth can now count the number of times she has actually had sex in the last five years on the fingers of one hand and still have fingers left over.
Bet you thought it was more. Well, it’s not. Let’s just say it has not been good for my self-esteem. Nor for any sort of mental calm – my thoughts have an unpleasant bittern edge that is starting to affect the way I interact with people. Truly, I didn’t realize it until yesterday when a student said she was happy that I had a good time where ever I’d gone, and that I’d found my smile there. So am I. Now what I’d like to know is, how the hell did my smile get all the way to Las Vegas without me? Although it was nice of it to wait for me to catch up to it. I had some excellent help finding it; my friends are wonderful to me in ways I don’t quite feel I deserve.
I talked to my brother, who said that it’s just my perception of reality, and that I need to change my perception. He’s getting all zen and reading Buddha’s teachings so he doesn’t lose his mind while his marriage is dissolving. Being zen is not a bad thing. Reading the Dalai Lama’s book, the Art of Happiness, worked once before. Meditating worked before. Exercise, learning new things, indulging in small pleasures, these all worked before. They centered me, helped me find balance.
But you know what? I don’t want to be calm and centered, or at least not all the time. I want to go out and dance until they turn the lights on and kick everyone out. I want to drink and act silly and flirt and maybe even kiss someone(s). I want to blend what I was with what I am.
Mid-life crisis? Maybe. Maybe just bored? Perhaps. Definitely very tired of saying I used to be fun, I used to be sexy, I used to be desired, I used to be active, I used to be fiercely passionate, I used to be somehow just more.
And this is where the commenters say, you dolt, you are sexy, you are fun, you are desired. What the fuck are you talking about?
So maybe my brother’s right. I just need a shift in my perception. Or a smack upside the head. Or a night out dancing until they turn on the lights and kick everyone out.
And to think that all I meant to write is, I’m busy with report cards and will do a trip report when I’m done.
2) Let it go.
It hit me that many things I say begin with the words I used to.
I used to be this, I used to do that.
It’s time to start saying I am. And let go of what I used to be.
*inspired by Bruce Mau’s Incomplete Manifesto for Growth that I have always admired.
** There is no Point 1. On purpose.
I did it! I’m a novelist, bitches!*
She set the last suitcase down by the door, and did one last walk through this house she had grown up in. The small post-war bungalow looked so much larger now that it was empty. It had seemed to expand once she replaced her parent’s heavy pieces with spare modern pieces; now it had grown again without anything for reference.
Her footsteps rang hollowly on the bare hardwood floors and echoed in the harsh space left behind now that the chesterfield, curtains and carpets had been removed. The light streamed in through the uncovered windows, illuminating the dust motes that swirled in her wake.
She caught herself thinking how Hayden would love this empty space with its unfiltered light and stark angles. He could see potential in any blank canvas.
She sighed. When would she stop thinking about him? She hoped it would be sooner rather than later, but suspected he had become a permanent resident in her mind.
She trailer her fingers along the edge of the fireplace, remembering the stockings that had hung there ever since she was a child; three for Mother, Father and her, and then two and then finally just one. Even when it was just her at Christmas she had still hung the stocking on the middle nail and secretly hoped that someone would mysteriously fill it with small treasures.
She moved out of the living room, and was walking through the dining room when she noticed what looked like cracks in the plaster at the bottom of the wall that had had the enormous sideboard pushed up against it for as long as she could remember. She had no idea how the moving men had got it outside. She had wanted to get rid of it when she sold all her father’s furniture but it had proved to be too heavy. One day she had even gotten to the point of getting a crowbar and a hammer from the shed in a furious desire to remove it from her sight, but in the end she just couldn’t do it. It had been her father’s mother’s and she found herself unable to scar this physical manifestation of her history. She had stared at it for hours wondering how to make it work and in the end had made do with painting it a glossy white enamel.
But now it was gone, leaving an unpainted void in the wall where it used to stand. Jane went to look at the cracks, wondering if this was something she needed to tell the new owners about. As she bent down, she could see that it wasn’t cracks that ran along the plaster above the baseboard, but several wavering lines of tiny handwriting, too fine to read. She frowned at it for a bit, then went back to the front door to get her reading glasses out of her bag and came back to sit on the floor in front of the wall.
She lay on her stomach on the floor, chin in her hands, close to the wall, and the writing came into focus.
Jane, the writing began, you will read this when you are ready to journey. Remember me and the lessons I taught you. Or not. Although it`s probably better if you do. Remember them I mean. Eventually. I doubt you even remember my name right now; adults are so dim. So here it is. My name I mean. Take care of yourself, and I hope to see you again some day. Love, Roy
She read the lines again, hoping that this time they would make sense. They didn’t. Who was Roy? And how did he write behind the sideboard that was too heavy to be moved? She read it a third time. How did Roy-whoever-he-was know she was going to be travelling? And why he sound a bit like a teenage girl?
She sighed and mentally shrugged putting the questions in the increasingly fat file folder in her head entitled “weird things I might will think about later”. Before she stood up, she pulled her phone out of her back pocket and took a picture of the writing on the wall. Just in case, she thought.
She brushed herself off and went to the kitchen to wash her hands. The movements were so automatic, reaching for the soap to the left of the sink and then the hand towel hanging on the oven handle. They weren’t there in the places they had been the last 28 years. It was jarring, a reminder that everything had changed now, and the habits of a lifetime were about to be replaced. She stood in the middle of the kitchen, hands dripping, turning around her now former kitchen, trying to think if she had left behind even a half roll of paper towels. No, she had packed it all, she knew it. She grimaced as she dried her hands on the back of her pants and opened the back door. She walked through her garden, and started pulling weeds from among the beans and tomatoes out of habit. She pinched off a bit of dill and holding it under her nose imagined the dill pickles she’d be able to make come fall. She looked at her garden and began to calculate how many Ball jars she was going to need for her canning this year and trying to recall how many she had in the basement.
Oh, she said with a small voice, remembering what the empty house meant. I won’t be here.
*I mean novelist in only the most general of terms. At best, my output over the last 30 days can be called a shitty first vomit draft. Now on to significantly less fun task of editing. Yippee skippee.