Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How to Get Rid of Old Furniture

Due to some housecleaning of the psyche, I haven't posted in a month.  It's been mostly sorting out drawers so far, in a typical effort to avoid the big crap that really needs to go.  I know the large pieces of emotional furniture, with their broken legs and ripped upholstery, are there, but it's still possible in my little mind they'll be necessary at some point. They've been with me for nearly a lifetime, and who knows when I will need them? 

In the drawer category: my feet have been bothering me.  This is due to many road miles and not enough yoga.  More significantly, I am a short girl who finds heels make me feel, not surprisingly, powerful.  Yet the burning sensation in my left foot sent me to a reflexologist.  My choice of her was reflexive, in fact, as I was hoping I might sort out some other things through her trade, rather than that of a podiatrist accustomed to serious things. My issue (plantar fascitis, it turned out) wasn't serious, but the thought of any kind of disability curtailing my daily cardio freaked me out.

So off I went to see Brenda.  There were low lights and groovy mood music, so it was a little like a relaxing massage, except all those little crystals in my nerve endings (this part I believe, as her work felt like breaking up tiny pieces of broken glass in my heels and toes and other parts in between) made it smart, quite a lot. 

"I don't talk a lot during my sessions," said Brenda.  She turned out to rival lawyers in her lack of self-awareness.  I heard about how Tums, mammograms and what she called "Dancercise yoga" all would eventually kill me, and how she'd really like to start over again on another planet.  I didn't argue back but thought, as I watched her walk back towards her desk to print out my invoice, that my yoga studio sold me with the teachers: as much as exercise is enjoyable, I get off my ass and get to it because I want to look good in shorts.  After four rather chatty sessions, my feet feel objectively better and I did truly feel the energy coming through Brenda's hands to my soles, but my notion of a gift of widsom with purchase didn't pan out.

The old couches and the charming chair needing refurbishment were still there.  Why do I still cry on the days when I drop the kids off for a week at their father's? How come, despite a deliberately busier social calendar, is the dog my closest companion? Why are my short and limited relationships the exception rather than the rule?  Shouldn't being on my own, which feels normal, also feel good by this point?

A long talk with an old friend, as is often the case, turned into a catalyst for movement.  "Work is good for you," she offered.  And it is, although as all-consuming as it can be for someone of my ilk, it can't possibly be enough to serve all my emotional needs. And (her question an echo of the one nagging me constantly) after six years as a single person with plenty to offer, why hadn't I found something substantial?

"I need to be a good mother," I offered. "The kids don't need to be meeting guys I date.  We always break up." Well, she suggested, that's a very convenient excuse.  She then wondered what I was trying to control, and why.  And also why I hadn't outsourced at least some of the work in figuring it all out.  "Nobody, alone, can handle what you're trying to do. And what you're doing isn't working."

Then she said, And you're really no fun at all right now. I knew she was right.  This is a woman who's been married for two decades, raised two children through university age, and suffered a terrifying and life-threatening illness.  She is well aware that life as a grownup is not always fun and games.  She loves me enough to tell me I am a tightly-wound piece of work. 

So now on to the bigger stuff.  I thought I'd dealt with it long ago, but there is plenty of evidence against it.  A bunch of activity--like beating myself up for not making everyone's life absolutely perfect--has turned out to be a good distraction from doing my own necessary inventory and purge. I'm a little better on the spiritual front these days, which is a safe harbor.  But the real work lies with me, and letting go is the hardest part.

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