How do I go back to my old life when I’m a new me? How do I return to the mundane when I’ve just stood in the depths of the flames? Just stood in the belly of the beast and cried out, I’m here! How do I marry the two, the intensity, the warrior, the fiery goddess who conquers all obstacles in the name of love with the wife, mother, and professional who politely greets and smiles at others she encounters on her daily journeys to daycare, work, mommyhood and back again?
Over these months I’ve felt the layers melt away, the need to put on an outfit and dress up for all those who had to cross paths with me just no longer made the cut. I stopped wearing makeup, lived in yoga pants and sweatshirts, and let my hair go curly. But as I’ve gone back to work, back to my old life, I’m slipping back. Back to rushed mornings and makeup in the car. I actually rear ended a lady on my first day back to work as I was frantically searching my car for my office keys. I knew it was going to happen too, not seconds before I thought to myself, that’s the last thing I need, to get into an accident. But I kept rummaging. The woman was an angel, at the sight of my tears she simply said ok, I’m fine, you’re fine, lets just go to work and be safe. I felt relieved, but also guilty, why did I feel like my tears had been a lie? I had blubbered on about how it was my first day back to work and leaving my baby and the tears flowed easily and quickly like they had been just simmering below the surface, but that wasn’t why I was crying. Maybe it was because I was returning to my old life, my old job, my rushed pace and frazzled mind, constantly with the nagging feeling that I was forgetting to take care of someone or something.
The past 10 months have been like a reprieve from my life. Being able to work from home and take care of my babies. I’ve known it was going to come to an end but somehow I kept being gifted a little bit more time. My gifts have come primarily in the form of coronavirus, which first caused the pandemic and shut down of schools, it then allowed me to work from home in the last weeks if my pregnancy to avoid unnecessary risk. Finally, during the last week of the year it came in the form of actual coronaviris infection and a mandatory quarantine for a week which meant putting off my physical return to work. Now, after having returned for a week and a half my remaining source of hope is the ability to work from home on Wednesdays, at least l have Wednesdays I hear myself repeating to others. But its just a trick, I’m right back in the game of fooling myself into my old life. I can get everything done on Wednesdays that I can’t get done every other day, catch up on bills, chores, cleaning, hey maybe I’ll even take a yoga class? And hey I’ll do therapy on those days too because Wednesdays are apparently an endless vortex of time where I can just do everything. Well no surprise that’s fast becoming a let down. And what happens when there’s no more Wednesdays? Just rushed mornings and rear ending angels, and never ending nagging that somethings being forgotten?
Maybe its me. Who’s being forgotten is me. I discovered who I am in that hospital bed. She was scared but steady and present. She was terrified but she made it through the other side. I found a piece of myself there, maybe more than a piece, it took all of my pieces all of me to make it through and I don’t want to lose any of her because she is fucking amazing and powerful and whole. I want her to be the me that shows up everyday. I don’t want to lose her to some hazy memory of that time when I was brave once. I want to be brave everyday. Brave and tender and raw. Vulnerable and true. I want to BE ME. For now my little secret reminder is my soft unshaven legs. This was a part of me that fell away in the aftermath. It was not serving me to shave, only others. I felt shame around this though, like I was dirty and ugly for not shaving, like society would turn up their noses and shake their fingers with “how dare you break the rules” dancing on their tongues. So now I wear the makeup and put on the clothes and the smile, but my hair bounces curly around my face for the first time in years and my legs bear more hair than they ever have , and I think I like it. The layers have all been stripped away and I want to be very careful and intentional about those I put back on. What is it that I want in this new life? This new version of me? I’m not sure but I know I don’t want to go back to the way things were, I am changed and new and I can create the life I want for myself.
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