Weathering

me with quote

Weathering

Literally thin-skinned, I suppose, my face
catches the wind off the snow-line and flushes
with a flush that will never wholly settle. Well:
that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young for ever, to pass.

I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy
men who need to be seen with passable women.
But now that I am in love with a place
which doesn’t care how I look, or if I’m happy,

happy is how I look, and that’s all.
My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake, my waist thicken,
and the years work all their usual changes.
If my face is to be weather-beaten as well

that’s little enough lost, a fair bargain
for a year among the lakes and fells, when simply
to look out of my window at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what
my soul may wear over its new complexion.

–Fleur Adcock

I love this poem, and one day I hope to have that time among the lakes.

Perhaps even more now that I am weathering. My hair is going grey, my waist thickened, and my face, while never pretty, is showing the years in various lines and wrinkles.

I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
nor anything but pretty enough to satisfy
men who need to be seen with passable women.

That’s me. Never the attractive, pretty, or sought after one. I’m at peace with being somewhat plain (except for the unruly hair), there are worse things, much worse things. Perhaps I’ll be the type of woman who looks fabulous at 70, but a life of being average looking, a life of more than a few difficulties has given me some insights.

  • Eat the damn cake, because you know, it’s cake.
  • Hug people and tell them they matter, because people do matter, and often need to reminded of this.
  • Hold on to what you love. Let go of what hurts you. Seems easy enough. Still working on this one.
  • There are no knights in shining armor, you have to rescue yourself. I used to dream of being rescued, of someone loving me like Neruda wrote in his poems, now I’m okay with reading his poetry to myself, and taking care of myself.
  • What other people think of you is none of your business, so try not to care so much about that. Still working on this one too.
  • Every day alive is a gift, don’t waste it. It’s been 14 years and 2 days since my friend Cathy died. My friend with three kids the same ages as mine. Every year I get with my kids is icing, is precious. Every spring, every holiday, every damn day. I try not to forget this.
  • There is such a thing as a free lunch. Sometimes you get the lunch, and sometimes you give someone the lunch. That’s how life works.
  • Kindness, it really is the new black. It goes with everything.
  • When things get uncomfortable, try not to reach for the first, or second, or third distraction. When you feel rotten, feel rotten, don’t wallow, but don’t push it down and pretend it doesn’t exist. Lean into it, and when you’re ready let it go. Lean on your friends, and let them lean on you. It’s how we all get by, with a little help from our friends.

It’s not a huge amount of knowledge, but it’s what’s I’ve got right now. I think maybe if I had had an easier time of it, if I was ever seen as beautiful, or wealthy or any number of things, that I might not have had my ego kicked into the dirt enough times to soften it, to soften me, to weather me. This is a good thing I tell myself when I look in the mirror and see every single year on my face, around my waist, on my belly and on my thighs, and I then I channel Anne Lamott as best I can

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”
― Anne Lamott

So, another year older, and I’m still walking and breathing. I’m happy, most of the time, and grateful, so very grateful for what I do have.

“Oh no, I’ve said too much…. I’ve said enough”

ImageSo. I’m a bit overwhelmed. 

I’m in that hamster wheel section of my brain where the thoughts spin faster and faster and get crazier and crazier. Not fun.

This is what’s spinning around:

  1. I need to move on from where I am now – career, relationship, life…
  2. I should get divorced. I WANT to get divorced. I can’t afford to get divorced.
  3. I need to get a job that pays me enough to live on, has benefits, and sick days. (divorce = no health care)
  4. I was trained as a nurse in Canada, but have to back to school to do that here.
  5. I need to go back to school – see 4.
  6. I need money to go back to school – see 1,2 & 4.
  7. I have a daughter in University.
  8. She needs money to go to school. 
  9. I need to borrow money – see 5 & 7.
  10. I already owe money – see 5,6,7, & 8.
  11. Going back to nursing would let me live on my own – see 2.
  12. I need health care – see 2 & 3.
  13. My son is making life very hard, mine and his own.
  14. I can create. I can write, I can’t get organized, display or sell my work.
  15. My office is an unorganized disaster that keeps me from getting anything constructive done.
  16. I’m tired. see all of the above.
  17. I need to get organized – see all of the above.
  18. I have no idea where to start or what to do next – ditto.
  19. I feel badly that everyone seems to handle their lives better than I do.
  20. Other people have been divorced and remarried since I got separated.
  21. Other people have kids in university and do not turn themselves inside out trying to pay for it and organize it.
  22. Other people are in school themselves and have managed to pay for it, and organize themselves.
  23. Some other people are in school and have kids in school.
  24. Other people get organized and display and sell their art/writing/photography.
  25. Thinking about other people doing everything better is making me nuts.
  26.  I need to see a neurologist. 
  27. My son ate up almost all of our new and unimpressive health insurance – see 13.
  28. I want to take yoga teacher training, it will cost money – see 1, 5 & 10.
  29. I don’t know if it’s just stress making my head hurt – see 13, 16, 25 & 26.
  30. I don’t like getting head aches because they have already caused permanent brain damage and I’d like to keep what marbles I have left – see 26.
  31. I don’t think I have enough marbles left to go back to school – see 1,3,4,5,6……

 

Right. Well there you have it. Take all of those, spin them faster and faster and that would be my brain right now. No wonder I have a headache.