Doing Life

Still coming to the computer later than I should be this morning. But I slept well and did do some yoga. I don’t recognize this body at all. Doing a forward fold, suddenly I stop a good 10 inches from the floor, my hamstrings tightening with a kind of metallic bite. This will take some time. I move through the Warrior positions feeling impatient. Let’s get this over. I have to work consciously at not allowing this to make me unhappy. When I am done, I feel like I didn’t really do it and should start again. I suppose that is a good sign that I have ambitions to get back to my practice as it was.

It’s funny that this morning doing my 2 minute poem warm-up I wrote about mercury. A liquid metal. Maybe I should use the imagery in my practice. Warming the elements until they flow. Adaptive.

I miss so many aspects of what my life was before things fell apart. And yet, I am grateful for the falling apart. It took me back to my basic drives. Put me in touch with what I know to be true of myself, but have been too cowardly to properly experience.

It’s been 4 rough years. And not a coincidence that I have gone through “the change” during this time. I don’t say that to be dainty. I am not afraid of the word menopause. But it has felt like a change. A metamorphosis. The electric shocks through my arms, the hot flashes and inexplicable waves of shame. The discovery of the mirrored arteries in my pelvis that nearly killed me by choking off my blood supply 51 years into my life. The cancers that seem to be invading every female relative I have. The rejection from the arts council from a book that was much better than my previous books. This is what it is to be midlife. As in: in the midst of real life – the things that have been on the periphery in youth, and easy to set aside, are center stage. This is real. The world gets bigger. My life gets smaller. And then somehow also -overwhelming.

It’s funny. Nothing I’ve been through is as hard as my childhood was. And my optimism is simultaneously waning and blossoming. The faith that I clung to as a child, that in the future things will be different – the trust that my story was heading so a wonderful, satisfying climax – that is gone. In some ways the arc that I imagined did happen. That’s not right. Not in any of the ways I imagined, but I did get a “happy” story arc.

I just didn’t imagine far enough. Who does? All of our culture’s stories end when the protagonist hits age 30 or 40. After that we’re comic relief. Or plot devices for someone else’s story.

So what now?

Now I have a very realistic idea of what is under my control. What I can focus on in terms of making my life better. And by better, I mean enjoying it more.

It’s a matter of choosing. And following through, of course. There are no guarantees of any sort – so it has to be the doing that matters.

I am not considering this a”reinvention”. In fact, the opposite. I am not using my energy to construct or invent a new personae, or a new “life”. All I’m doing is shaking off the fears and concerns for “how it looks”. I’m no longer trying to force a dramaturgy.

I am just doing.

Nothing is as it
should be has been is supposed –
every narrative


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