I realized last night, as I watch An Education, that I will eventually be able to get to that place where everything is mine again. Where I won’t have to compromise, where I can sleep-in, without someone commenting on it. I can garden. Once. I can have a space that’s mine, alone, with my art and stacks of books to the ceiling, a few big library ottomans and chairs, chaises, even.
I can have a cherry blossom tree, like the one I passed each day walking to classes at Barnard. I’m an extraordinary woman, who was once fuller, rich, complete, and smart. Well read and traveled. There was a pulse of promise and excitement there in her walk, in her exhale.
I could spend a day walking, with myPod in a museum, listening to Coldplay, taking in Degas dancers. Live the life I used to live, when I thought it was so lonesome. When I wasn’t at peace, when I would have traded it all in for a chance to mess it up, to combine, to make an ours. Damn green grass.
I want an uncluttered, lemon-scented space, with worn books, floor to ceiling. Lived-in sofas, soft, clean. I want to be able to not watch TV, to only have books, music, and one another (including the beet blossoms) to entertain us. Classical music, acoustic. Wine, storytelling. Laughter. Tears.
There will be a day when I’ll get my life back. And it breaks my heart to write that because it’s up to me, and only me, to make choices and changes to that end. I have some kind of romantic "someday syndrome," but the stark reality of it is that I need to take more ownership of my life. I cannot look to Phil to do the heavy lifting, to have the confrontations I’m too chicken-shit to handle myself, to foster the relationships, to take care of all the finances, all the talks. And at the same time expect him to step back and give me the space, the rest, I need, to have the silence, to pay attention to my internal compass, to see where my intuition brings me.
* What I need to do is to write my morning pages again. I need to have at least twenty minutes of exercise a day, on the elliptical or otherwise. I need to enrich my world with reading, with art, and with music. I need to dip into all these pockets and not spend so much time online or watching TV. I need to get back to the girl who kept lists of her favorite words.
It’s so ironic. We spend our childhood trying to figure out who/what we’ll be when we grow up, then we try on a few unflattering life outfits, some comely ones too. And then we, I, found the part that fits best: being a writer. [I do love it. So much. I love writing exercises, writing classes, and workshops, learning, reading, learning from what I read, thinking, trying to do it in a new and different way. I like writing challenges, collaborating. Working toward something. I feel energized; my body is happy.] And then we take this full, whole someone we’ve created, we’ve grown into, and we ask her to change! We ask this whole, full, person (we’ve struggled to even find within ourselves), to make concessions, to care about someone else’s happiness more than her own. Does that sound fcuked up to anyone else?
Oh, I know, people say that you should feel even more joy when you put someone else first, but I’m selfish when it comes to my own happiness. Unapologetically. Because it took me a long fcuking time to find this chick, the one who knows what she was put on this earth to do, and by becoming an "us," I don’t become even more of her. I lose part of that someone I’d created in me. This isn’t a point of view or perspective. This is my truth.
If it’s a good partnership, that someone in me would simply grow into more. Learn more, experience more, become even more of that someone, your best, most evolved you. But I don’t feel that way.
I feel bossed around, bullied. Demeaned. And I still see compromise as something I’ll hopefully eventually not have to do anymore. I’m realizing that I’m right now seeing "Being alone" as a goal… where everything can just be mine, and I can breathe again. Damn green grass. Because I also know that’s not what I want at all.
Becoming an "us" made me give up the someone I’d worked all this time on becoming, but the good news is that it’s not too late. I can fix this. I’m aware. I now know that what I need to do for me, for my family, is to honor the woman who walked past that cherry blossom tree at Barnard. Honor the woman who looked in the mirror, saw her childhood self, and asked her what to do about the new, unplanned direction of her life. "The mouth," the woman with courage, ambition, and drive–and the woman I’ve fought all this time against becoming: my mother.
It’s as if I’m saying that the me I was before all this is the girl I should be listening to, that she’s the real me. Except that core of a girl never had children of her own. She didn’t know what to do about balancing it all. She wasn’t more in tune with what the "right" path was. And that’s what makes me more evolved now. Now I know that it’s not that simple, that the way it was, as good as it feels looking back at her freedom, never felt free in the living. It felt heavy and restless. The life I’ve built, the person I’ve struggled to create, has been taking a breather, taking notice, taking her time, and she’s someone important, not lazy, not scared. My mother in me, the nurturer, the one who puts others before herself, she’s part of me, too. And I’ve got to stop fighting her. There’s room.
I have sense enough to know that I already have all the answers. I just need to take the time, take the quiet, for those answers to rise up, to find the balance in a "balance is bullshit" world, because it’s there, the answer on when to give and when to take is there, and no one else can slip me the answers. Not Phil, not a therapist, not my father, my friends, or my blog.