Stretched

I think the biggest problem for me with multiple disciplines (visual art, writing, ballet) is switching gears from one to another. After wrapping up the ballet season and feeling a sense of relief that I don’t have to plan classes or choreograph dances, I feel exuberantly unburdened. I feel like I have all the time in the world, and of course there are so many things to catch up on, now that I have all this “free time.” At the same time, I have a tiny sticky note wafting around, reminding me of writing deadlines, and some decent-sized sketchbooks looming in darkened corners. Those sketchbooks are definitely up to something. There is a predatory quality to their lurking that makes me wary.
And there are so, so many word documents and files of word documents on my laptop, just begging to be released into the world…And these disciplines–I used to call then passions–of mine perch precariously on the summit of a veritable mountain of tasks and responsibilities I carry as a mother, a wife, and a person who needs a certain amount of self-care.

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A quick “action sketch” from college art–a few too many muscle groups, I think

For years I’ve given myself motivational lectures about “narrowing my focus” to be more efficient. In a way, I feel my life has done it for me. The chronically ill can accomplish only so many tasks in a day, however much they may enjoy those pursuits. But the longing is still there.
I’ve never quite believed the Superwoman myth: that I could Do it All. “What is all this ‘it’ I might want to do?” I wondered… I do, however, have a tendency to embrace too much, to stretch myself too much trying to include just one more…And as my illness has taught me, when you stretch that much, sometimes things just don’t work efficiently. Sometimes there’s something to be said for being static. Grounded. Stable. And yet I am who I am.

My Life as a Rough Sketch

IMG_20170313_204024.jpgI have so many rough sketches I never finished–many I never intended to. My my life–that I always intended to do more with. I was thinking about this as I quickly sketched a rough self-portrait. My skills an an artist aren’t what they once were. But then, I reflected, much about me isn’t what it used to be.

The sketch, lacking in detail, nevertheless shows more than I would have thought. The not-quite-at-ease posture, the slightly lifted arms (as if to carefully hold the mug and keep it from spilling) are very accurate. I move differently than I once did, with more care and less ease. The hands are awkward, and grip too tightly, as mine do, to maintain their grip. I couldn’t quite get the foot right:my dancer’s feet that just won’t do what they’re supposed to anymore. They have the muscle memory, they try, but they are going the way many of my other joints have…

Yet here I am. Seated, contemplative, even if just for a moment. Looking into the distance as do most of the female figures I [used to] draw and paint.

But rough around the edges, just like my life: So many things I haven’t finished, and priorities have had to change. So much isn’t what I would have envisioned. So much is still vague.

Yet here I am.

Afterthoughts

Lately when I write, I think I’ve said everything I have to say…Then all I have to do is hit “publish,” “send,” or simply start doing something away from my computer, and inspiration strikes again, or I realize I forgot a vital point, or that I quite simply flubbed a cover letter.
As a less-than-mobile person for the last five months, this can get a bit exhausting, especially if it’s something I want to write before I forget.
I’m supposed to be working at putting full weight on my weak leg with every step, but when I’m in a hurry, I resort to the tested and reliable method of the crutch swing: click, swing, click swing, holding up the leg that hold me back.

I feel a little like a three-legged dog sometimes: a bit bedraggled, a bit slow, not sure I’m really wanted, overcompensating to do what needs to be done.

But as long as I can do what needs to be done. Then again, rehabilitating this leg also needs to be done.

But there are so many afterthoughts..

At Night

It’s a stormy night. The wind is howling outside, and a windchime tinkles softly, a bit brokenly. My children have been asleep for hours now, but I cannot sleep. It’s after 5:30 a.m., and I still feel agitated. I have paperwork to do, healing to do…I want to avoid taking any more medication tonight, but my slow-healing knee is aching sharply. A pair of crutches leans against the wall by my bed. Pain twinges through my leg. Weather changes have always affected that old injury, and it would seem that surgery hasn’t changed that. One more thing the doctor can’t explain.
I wonder if it will be a rainy day tomorrow. I wonder what my children will be interested in doing. They’ve been asking to go to the library and the park, but it is almost impossible for me to get out of the house on my crutches. I hate to ask my overworked husband if he would like to take them. He is already so tired.

I try not to resent my situation. Resentment won’t make me heal any faster, it won’t help my husband get any more rest. I hate that he has to take all the extra work on. There is so little I can do right now, and so much that I want to do….

I finally become sleepy, but the rush I feel as I unintentionally pull myself out of sleep is an exhilarating one. A draft in the house intensifies the chill I feel. The medication I take makes me shiver easily.
The windchime sounds brokenly again, beautifully broken. I hear a tree branch crackle in the wind, and hope that doesn’t mean a power outage is coming.
I reach for a sweatshirt from a pile of clean laundry my husband brought me. Now, like a quiet butler, he is nowhere to be seen. I wish he would stay in our room with me. He’s afraid of bumping me in the night–hurting me. I am tired of being fragile. It’s been four months since I’ve picked up one of my children without being seated. I haven’t gone on a walk for more than six months.
I have to recover, we have to get our lives back.
I hear a branch fall outside and the wind picks up even more. I want to check on my children and make sure they’re covered up warmly. I’m so tired that moving at all is an effort. A glance at the crutches exhausts me. I remind myself that the kids are old enough to pull their blankets back on. I still feel remiss.
The windchime sings in the gusts that sweep our porch now.
I wonder what tomorrow will be like.

Writing to Music

When I really delved back into writing like I meant it, I happened to come across some music I liked–way back when. It’s a way back when that feels like yesterday, anyway, so I assume that means I either haven’t matured or I’ve been in some kind of time bubble wondering why the world has changed and why people around me have gotten older and started having kids. Then there are these two adorable but feisty little goblins who keep flinging themselves on me and calling me Mama. They’re kinda cute, so I accept it. I feed them, and play silly games with them and cuddle them and stuff. And then there’s this amazing guy they call Dad. I think I’ll keep him too. He’s kinda nice to have around–indispensable, in fact.

So, here I am in my time bubble. The ’80s going retro has been terribly confusing. But at least the music I loved in college is still as un-retro as ever. Garmarna’s remix of Hildegard Von Bingen’s ethereal chants, miscellaneous classical pieces I love because they are still and uplifting at the same time, and let’s face it, when I was a snob I listened to classical music simply because it was classical. Nostalgia is a big factor, lifting me out of present-day frustrations and stresses to reminisce about I time I no longer remember as difficult or stressful, though it was more so.

The music is timeless, anyway, and soothing. A few tracks stand out, if I can remember composer’s names (another trait that went by the wayside with snobbery). Delibes’ Song to the Moon,  Alhambra by somebody else, Lascia Chi’o Piangia  by someone I certainly should remember, but don’t. I wouldn’t remember Delibes if my students hadn’t done a simplified dance from Coppelia last year. If I mutilate spelling, please comment and correct me. None deserve it better than I, believe me.

Well, point being, the music helps me write. I wrote better in college–I think. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve found laying around. Sometimes things I can’t believe I wrote. Some I’m pissed because I can’t remember how it was supposed to end and it was never finished.

I think I’ve finally, after far too many years, gotten to the point I am done messing around. I’m writing almost every day now, or rather every night. Short on sleep, but at least I feel like I’m accomplishing something for this family that seems to be mine…I’m entering my fourth month of Invalidship, and I don’t like it. So while I bust my britches to get walking again, I might as well be productive while applying ice packs.

One of these days, a blog will accept my writing. One of these days, I will finish one of many stories and find some way to publish it–and I think blogging will at least open up that thought realm for me. I have to watch my idealism, I may find myself trying to puff thought bubbles into the ethers, hoping a book will materialize.

Writers, honestly….