I dig all the dirt and grime out from under my nails with the end of a needle. I notice it at the end of every day, the evidence of the work I have done.
I have energy for all that is work: building the house, making the art, digging the garden writing the journal. I tried fixing the car, and though I was successful, I was not satisfied.
These are my days of recognition, my days of dedication, where I do exactly as I want to do and I change my mind whenever it moves me in that direction. The direction of change, that is.
I enjoy this new freedom slowly, methodically. Without a proper job, I can apply my focus to what is in front of me, and I can choose whatever that is in any moment. This is the only healing I need. I haven't known this softness for quite some time. For most of my life, my days were "should" and "have to." It is not so much the ending of the relationship, but the lack of gainful employment that has freed me up as well. I have had a job of some sort since I was twelve. For the last few years, I have not.
I work, I just work much like Bert from Mary Poppins, I apply myself to whatever the weather and my attitude allows. Last week I painted houses for a few days. This week I'm house sitting. I am also working on some social media projects for an artist I know and helping a lawyer get all of her paperwork organized within processes of efficiency. In between my paid work, I build my tiny home, I paint, I make pottery, and I write.
I recognize this woman, who can do so many things well enough that she can help others as well as herself for as long as it is useful and profitable. This is the woman who wears what she must for the task at hand and is comforted by the feel of her useful clothing. I love this woman. She is a worker. Her boots give her calm as she walks through the world with a tromp and a little smile on her face. She won't bend to the will of anyone for a while, or maybe, ever.
I don't partake in tasks and events I do not have energy for. I tried. Once or twice. It hasn't ended well. I become annoyed too easily when I think someone is trying too hard or if I feel like I have to try at all. Dating just isn't something I have a desire for, and while part of me wonders why, there is this other part of me that knows, the taskmaster, who tells me to keep to myself. She will not have me paying any of my energy to outside sources. She doesn't care if I ever have sex again. She has kept me from shaving any part of my body. She has kept me hydrated, fed and rested. She is focusing me inward to jog my memory.
As I have moved through middle age, I have held the belief that I had to keep my body in a certain sort of shape so that I could have sex as often as possible, always worried that the sex might evaporate. I am amused now at the thought of this. I will never again race to have sex for its own sake. For within the race, I have missed the little things that make it a joy. Now I keep my body in shape to feel strong, because I know myself in that frame. I recognize the able-bodied woman, the one who feels no pain in her physicality and wants to focus on the pain within.
I have been working towards this recognition. I moved so that I might recognize myself again, before all the men, before all the heartbreak, before even the death of my parents. I want to remember all the joy I could carry in my little body as a child. I see her now, that girl, I feel her, and allowing her out has been a revelation. I know that my tears have been due to the loss of a great love, but some of them as of late have been tears of recovery. Recovering what I have been protecting for these many years. Recovering the heart of the woman I love.
I am recognizing the original me as I dig her up from beneath the ashes and rubble of my life. I am rebuilding her into who I always knew I could be, who I had the desire to embody. It is not that I have been lying, or being false, it is that I have been living under the burden of my own expectations and the expectations of those around me. I am letting those go. I am just going to wait and see what happens. These are the moments before the sunrise, before the child jumps out of bed and into the day. These are the moments of surrender, where I wait to see what I might do next.
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