Voices in the Land of the Overly Tired
Back in the mid-Eighties, there was one Friday afternoon when I stopped at my then relatively new boyfriend’s house after work for a medical sales corporation, and things got prickly pretty fast. I was having my period, felt all out of sorts, and his gruff rejection of my offer to carry his trash downstairs (he was cleaning his kitchen) tipped me over the edge into misery. This was during a time in my life when I was getting deeper into Feminist Spirituality and the Goddess, and I was embarking on what would turn out to be a series of sculptures with accompanying rituals for healing. So, I took myself to another room–he lived on a second floor of a lovely old Bywater building, with his photography studio on the first floor–where it felt calm, sequestering myself in a world of my own making with my journal. And I began to write about a menstrual hut, where women gathered to tender one another, tell stories, bathe in a spring-fed pond, eat delicious food, and be freed from the constant demands on their energy and spirit. I must have spent forty-five minutes in this imaginary haven, and when I came back to the room, I felt whole again, refreshed and renewed and cared-for.
I’m some thirteen years post-menopausal, so my irritability isn’t hormonal; it’s just from utter exhaustion. And the humidity isn’t helping, although it’s not steamy, thankfully. In an hour I have to report for work, so I must be revived enough to carry on. I look around me at the house, mostly clean now, but disordered because of the whirlwind of five women working toward that goal on Wednesday; plants beg for water, dishes need washing, a massive amount of laundry is ongoing, Lucy follows my every move, wanting me to take her for a walk, wanting me not to leave her, wanting me not to yell at Marmalade who is insisting on knocking things off shelves to get my attention when gathering up those things requires another chore to be done. Each task, each demand, each worry is a voice of need. I want them to be silent, I want them to survive until I can get to them. I want my gorgeous aloe plant that fell from a high cabinet and needs larger pot (two visits to Lowe’s for a suitable one unsuccessful) and is withering to hold on. Please just hold on.
I am that plant, it seems.
I yearn for a lie-about on a hammock, strung between two autumn-painted trees, near water would be nice, the only sounds the lapping waves, birdsong (like the briefly visiting mockingbird this morning??), the purring of a cat or two on my body, Lucy gently breathing nearby. Cue the breeze, enough to warrant the coziness of an afghan, and enter the gentle spirits who leave delicious food and drink for when I wake from dozing and dreaming. As evening falls, a fire crackling in the hearth, perhaps the sound of a cello wafting in from a neighbor’s home, or better, a friend dropping by for good woman talk and storytelling.
There is nothing I have to do in this place but be. Just be. And when the first trickles of restfulness seep up, to enter the harmonic grace of gratitude. Then I will be restored.
But for now, I must get up, make food to take to work, put on my cheerful face to greet the public and be of service at a job I love and want to succeed at.
It is what is. And I’ll make the best of it, better now that I’ve written this.