My current weekend undertaking was inspired by my beautiful friend Lenni. She just moved into a new apartment which is completely astounding in its meticulous organization. She turned the place upside down, and transformed it into a haven. She has lived in her place a fraction of the time that I have lived in mine, yet hers feels so much more like a home.
And so, I’m inspired now to whip this place into shape. It’s a HUGE task.
After our last show, and a spell of cocooning and genuine ennui, the Fortress was definitely not ready for visitors. Today I tackled the bedroom. I got rid of two giant boxes of clothes, color-coordinated my closet, and then pulled a shoebox full of cards, photos, and letters down for sorting.
This sort of exercise is impossible without a trip down memory lane, which is really the last thing I wanted today. You can’t not read the things you come across, and so the rest of the afternoon went like this:
I began with a five page letter from my recent ex. Which I then tossed. Next was a series of birthday cards from my parents, telling me how proud they were of me. I kept only the most poignant ones. Then I found a stack of Christmas cards from my ex husband. I kept all of these, because he’s an incredible writer. Then an engagement card from my aunt who passed away. This was followed by a letter from my ex-niece, from when she was nine, telling me how excited she was to be one of my flower girls. Then photos from my wedding of the flower girls, and another of me surrounded by all of my girlfriends, everyone happy and laughing. Then a stack of photos of me when I was a child. Then photos of my grandmother, and an incredible photo taken at the height of the seventies of my mother, my grandmother, and all of the other sisters, each looking beautiful and invincible. The last thing I discovered, which totally unraveled me, was a photo of me napping on the living room floor with my dad.
How is it possible to have experienced so much laughter, and love, and disappointment and heartache all by the tender age of 32? I have a lifetime of emotion already experienced, and the evidence of my roller coaster ride fits neatly into a shoe box.
In the photo with my father, I’m about three. My hands are tossed above my head as if I had completely surrendered to the land of dreams. My father’s arms are crossed over his chest, as if protecting himself from dreaming. Like he knew it was a bad idea to fling yourself at the world with such abandon.I realized, looking at that photo, how much my parents must worry about me, and I was ashamed of the disappointment I have caused them at various points in my life.
I’m experiencing parenting through my best friend, who just had her first child in November. This tiny, perfect little girl inspires so much hope. Her freshly begun life is so full of possibility, and we are all of us projecting our dreams onto her, speculating and imagining the kind of woman she will become.
No parent imagines divorce, or heartbreak, or failure when they gaze at the marvel of their child’s newly-seeing eyes.
It amazes me that I can usually go through my days feeling very positive and at peace, and then something will crack open the lid, and my sorrow will pour out like molten lava. I have moments of such complete fear. Fear that I have missed my one shot at blissful domesticity, fear that I will become one of those women who is too afraid to give herself over to love again, fear that my hurt is too deep and will never completely go away, fear that I will grow old without ever having children to love, fear that I will get sick with nobody to take care of me…
I watch as all my friends grow into their marriages, begin to have children, buy houses, find new love, and I feel truly that I’m going to be left behind.
Tomorrow, I will NOT go to brunch early. This way, I don’t start my day surrounded by young families.