Ever since I read Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott I wanted to be her when I grew up. I don’t mean that I wanted to do all the things she has done or have all the experiences she has had. That’s her story. I wanted to tell my story in the raw and honest way she tells hers. I haven’t been doing it, at least until recently. I didn’t think my story was as interesting as hers or that I could tell it as well as she does, but I finally figured out, it doesn’t matter. What’s more, it’s not about you the reader and what you think or get out of what I write. It’s about me and my need to express myself. Even if no one likes the story. Even if no one reads it.
Anne Lamott also says “writing, telling, singing, dancing your stories will give you YOU back.” As soon as I read that I thought “That’s what I want. I want me back.” I never intended to lose me, but somewhere along the line I did. Not completely, but too much for comfort.
On top of that I feel like I am some sort of turning point in my life. My life is changing and I’m changing. What have to do is changing. What I want to do is changing. I suppose that is natural, but it has been a surprise to me. I am still attracted to painting. It’s a shame that I haven’t been painting for years, but I haven’t. Right now I have a painting that is about 3/4 done just sitting there waiting for me and has been for over a year. It’s not half bad either.
Now I am into new interests as well. Who would have thought I would ever ask my mother to move in with me and for me to become her caregiver? Who would have thought that I would have to sit down and figure out all the rules that surround Medicare this early? Who would have thought that I would become fascinated with Roller Derby?
I still love to read Stephen King novels and this latest one on 11/22/63 definitely has my attention. I still love music. I still love theater and movies. But I don’t sing all that much anymore. I go to the local theater on occasion and I hardly ever go to the movies any more. I know, I can’t believe that either, but it’s true. And it’s not because there aren’t any movies I want to see. I just can’t seem to get out there to see them before they leave, so I end up renting them. Le sigh.
Today was my day off. As a rule, I only get one day off a week and end up working the other six. Today I slept in, read news and stories and blogs on the computer, gathered up all the trash in the house, put it in the big can, and dragged the can to the curb. Loaded and ran the dishwasher. Hand-washed the dishes that won’t fit or otherwise don’t go in the dishwasher. Had a long talk with mother about reorganizing how we are doing things. Went out and started her car that has been sitting undriven for six weeks and made sure it was still running properly. Sorted out all the mail and bills. Searched for and bought a basket that will clip onto her walker so she can carry things with her. Made us lunch. Cooked us dinner. Watched an episode of Bones. Is that all I have to show for my day? It seems unbelievably boring written down like that. Trust me, this is not the life I planned.
Oh I know what else I did today. I wrote a lengthy email to a friend who had asked me a series of theological questions she and her daughter are struggling with. I spent a long time on that.
I meant to get a couple of loads of laundry done today. I meant to cook a much more elaborate dinner in celebration of Easter because I was just too tired to cook anything yesterday. I meant to change the sheets on my bed and clean up my bedroom. None of that got done and at this point it will not – not tonight anyway.
Now I will put the tea I have been steeping in the pitcher and into the refrigerator. I wash my face and brush my teeth and complete my extensive night-time toilet that includes the application of expensive emollients to my delicate skin. Then I will crawl into my bed with the same sheets on it and read some more on that Stephen King novel before I fall asleep again.
There’s always tomorrow.