I am so good at pushing the wrong button and the wrong time! And I am so good at procrastination.
2011 ended and 2012, started with a trip to my favorite poetry workshop in San Miguel de Allende. Took a car, then a plane, then a bus, then another bus and then a taxi much of which I had to do in my get-along Spanish. Nine hours of travel and I’m finally in the old-school style hotel, signing things. My friend Jennifer Clement, who created this wonderful week of poetry, walks in the lobby, “I have wormsalt!”
“Wormsalt, Jennifer?” I have not been in the lobby more than five minutes. She is in black velvet with candlelight hair, pulled softly to the back, with curls. I have not seen her in a years time.
“Yes! Wormsalt for the mescal!” I took one of the plastic Dixie cups from her hand, touched my finger in what looked like damp sand, licked my finger and knocked back the liquor. My whole body smiled.
“Wow! You tossed that back!”
Nodding: “Well I’ve been traveling about ten hours at this point.” I tried the wormsalt again. . .it reminded me of swimming in the Atlantic and licking my lips when I came out of the water. “How’d you know I was here?” I asked Jennifer.
“Oh, I told them I wanted to know the second you arrived. We’re up on the patio, come get another drink! Then we’ll go to dinner and then fireworks at the Jardin!” Off she went to rejoin the small party and I went to my room. Changed into something more festive with salt and smokey mescal still on my tongue. One year started and the new one began as I made my way back to the hotel, smiling at strangers, fireworks over head.
Nice, sweet, delicious memory. Woven into this week are moments of absolute confusion, chronic pain and old buttons. Woven into this week are threads like silk that shine and lay soft in my heart. New friends, skulking about the former home to the nuns. . . a midnight cloister walk. . . poems and readings and good food. I went home exhausted. A cluttered brain and somewhat defeated.
I had spent 2o11 ‘working’ on myself. I worked hard at work. I wanted so much to have 2012 be new. But I was stuck. . . and felt entirely alone with my confusion of who I am. Who am I now?
And the year brought me to Boston and my husband got to know our grandson. And then I helped the ‘kids’ pack up and move to a place near Boulder. I drove with my son from Austin to Boulder and it was sweet. . . he was loving every inch of the thousand mile drive. A drive, and week or so there, I was done. All done. Done in. It was sad and huge awareness that I don’t have the physical reserves that I had BC. This came at 52, when I had always thought I’d have that awareness at 62.
The summer I had my sister here, my home, for six weeks. She was lost and needed quiet to figure out what’s best for her. As sisters we squabbled a little but mostly we drank red wine and laughed and poked around thrift stores. Then after my adventure in moving, my other sister (by marriage) came for five days. She and I rearrange furniture and danced at night with my husband’s band.
This year, I found a choir. I found singing, my first and forever love, and oh god it was hard. Like Mexico hard, confusion and in articulation. Wanting to belong and scared to death of belonging then to be rejected. . . but I went. I went and showed up. Every Wednesday night, choir then dancing at my favorite bar in Austin, Donn’s Depot. I would leave choir mentally exhausted. . .just as I had been in my workshops in Mexico.
And then it got better. This feeling of belonging filled me without the fear. I could belong somewhere on Wednesday nights and that was great. And the pastor of this church wore clogs and quoted poetry in sermons. I can listen. I could follow.
Before 2012 ended, somewhere around Thanksgiving I realized I was happy in my own skin for the first time in what seems years. I am not the person I was before . . .I could not return to the past but in letting go, fully, I found a me.
In this finding are friends, steadfast and true. Some new, some old dear friends. In the kitchen my husband holding me saying: “I miss your laugh” early in the year and then “You’re the best friend I’ve ever had” later in the year. A year when I felt like a family again with my son and daughter-in-law and grandson.
And, here I am, mid-way through the first month of 2013, focused on what I am and what fills my life with work and work with life. Cliche, perhaps. I still have a high-maintenance body I deal with every day. I get muddled and stuck. . . but I no longer judge myself for this and won’t hang with those who do. But the best part is , I have a sense of potential in my life, sense of wonder. And how I have missed this. How I have longed to feel like this.
What else can I say?