Saturday, September 28, 2013

Being Me

April 12, 2013

I was rather exhausted after a somewhat emotional day.  I knew I needed to recharge.  My idea:  do something wholly and uniquely  Kaleesha.

Step 1:  Figure out what that looks like.

Step 2:  Figure out how to do it with an injured foot.  (Rusty nail incident two days 

It didn’t take long for me to realize that none of the things that came to mind weren’t exactly unique to me, but now, all of them together… ah ha.  I am merely the sum of all my parts.  And I would have to choose the fun things for this Me Day, not the melancholy things.  Had enough of that the day before.
I thought I’d share how shaped up, a little day-in-the-life break from the norm.
  • Write.  These days, when I write, I think of singer/songwriter Van Morrison and his latest album, “Born To Sing; No Plan B.”  Born to write.  It’s in my blood.
  • Share.  Sharing is a good 7/8ths the fun of writing.  And everything else in life for that matter.  I started by posting some older journal entries here on the blog.  I shared bits of my day on Facebook.
  • Dress fun.  I rarely dress up and when I do I like to dress fun, express myself.  Comfy, fun, blue jeans.  I usually wear skirts, but jeans just seemed to suit the day.  Red t-shirt.  Red is my bold, fun color; I don’t wear it often.  When you see me in red, you know I’m having an extroverted sort of day.  Hair down, brushed 100 strokes, with a string braid clipped in; my old pal Teddy made it for me years ago.  Jewelry—I also rarely wear jewelry anymore—sliver daisy bracelet, daisy necklace made from a quarter that a friend’s cousin gave me as a birthday present when we were teens—one of the coolest birthday gifts ever.  Hat.  A good hat can make your day.  My favorite fragrance; Tahitian Vanilla, an oil I picked up years ago in a “new age” shop and have used sparingly.  It’s sensual, delicious, heavenly.
It’s amazing how little things like the above make you feel better about yourself.
  • Get a decent photo of myself.  Nice to have one of those on hand, a little proof that I exist…
Stylin’, right?  (Don’t ask me how long it took me to get this shot, or how many photos I deleted!)  This reminds me of me at 17.   Oh, wait, check this out.  My friend Trish sketched this picture of me at age 17.  We were hanging out at a friend’s apartment:
  • Playing guitar and singing.  I’m not, nor have I ever been, very good at either, but I continue to play and sing.  Very rarely do I play for anyone else anymore, just the children, if they will listen.  Sometimes a friend begs and I give in, trembling with nervousness but delighted they are interested.  It’s mostly just a treat for me.  Today I’m practicing some Lumineers, Passenger, and Fun.
  • Tend my critters.  I hobbled to the barn and milked the goats, fed the chickens, watched the kid goats play.  I was filled with gratitude that I am able to have this in my life, that these animals provide food for my family, sometimes giving their lives but mostly not, mostly just trusting me to take care of them and sharing what they have with me.  Ornery as they can all be at times, frustrating as it is to troubleshoot various ailments, they bring me no small amount of pleasure.
  • Trip to town.  Overcast and breezy, but warm and springy.  Fields blush green, trees bud, daffodils pop, cows mate (get a room!  Have some decency!)… I love the 10 minute drive.  I love popping into the feed store and chatting with Debi.  I love driving Bobby’s car; it’s so smooth, easy to handle, so quiet… and the stereo system is decent.  I scan the stations and of the three available I am lucky one is a rock station.  I jam to Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” and Aerosmith’s “Ragdoll” while waiting for Bobby to get plumbing parts at the hardware store, watching the traffic and people in our rural little town.  This isn’t my favorite music, but I like it and it suits the day.  I am feelin’ groovy.
  • Photography.  Snapping shots of my children, my home, my critters, my creek.  Capturing moments, because as much as I think I will never forget the unbelievable sweetness of Little Brook’s face turned to mine, her curls piled wildly on her head, framing her big brown eyes, that moment when she smiles and her dimples deepen impossibly just for me… I will.  She will grow.  She will lose the innocence and unhindered admiration for and trust in her mama.  I must remember that it was there, once upon a time.  That for a time I was her most favorite person in the world, a cherished mama.   (This goes for all my children and the specialness of all their stages—it’s just an easy example.)   And I want to remember the way the sky looks when it’s about to rain, and the view of my house as I return from the barn, and the way the creek swells and rushes after a rain.
  • Life absorption. Then I put the camera away.  I don’t want to live my life only in future photographs, I want to live it now.  I want to absorb every bit of life I can, moment to moment, merely for what it is but also trusting that it will nurture me, change me, enrich me now for always.  And that by living my life I can enrich the lives of others; that when they meet me, talk with me, watch me, they will soak up some of me… hopefully to the enrichment of their lives.  So I focus on the moment, allowing myself to be moved by my environment.  This is really what a Me Day is about.
  • Mothering.  I sit and watch my children.  They sing silly songs, play games and interact with each other at the dining table over a simple lunch.  Who are these seven incredible people and why are they calling me Mom? How could the universe see fit to bestow these gifts on me?  Justin with his expressive face; he loves to make people laugh, loves to do things.  Seth with his shy smile, crazy hair down in his eyes, thinking amazing things and sharing so little of it, but surprising you when he does.  Blue with her out-of-the-Blue uncanny reflections upon everyday things.

    I brush their hair, help them find their shoes, comfort them when they are hurt, guide them in their academics, instruct them in kindness and patience (though I need the lessons as much myself), encourage them to be who they are, challenge them to be all they can be, enjoy them like no one else can.

Well now, everything else just kind of pales in comparison to that.

I spent a goodly amount of time just tackling things that needed to be done; responsibilities don’t disappear just because you feel like having a day for yourself.  But I found that with decision to live my day, to enjoy my day, to make the most of my day, that I could find special pleasure in even the mundane things like laundry and sweeping.

Because I still needed to rest my injured foot, I was able to spend time propped up in bed, chatting online with a good friend.  Is there anything as wonderful as building friendships and truly connecting with others?  It’s most enjoyable in person, of course, when you can see your friend close their eyes, wrinkle their nose and tilt their head back in compulsive laughter at something you just said, or share a moment of meditative silence together, connecting without words.  But, as a writer especially, I find engaging online via Facebook and email and chat to hold a special joy of it’s own, not just as a supplement to “real” friendships, but something wonderful in it’s own right.  When you know the person on the “other side of the screen” so well that you don’t need a winking emoticon to tell you they are joking or being sarcastic; when you can hear their laughter when you read “LOL” and feel their frustration when they write about their bad day; when you can exchange quips with lightening speed and not have to explain yourself; when you take time out of your day just to say “hey” and know it’s a treat waiting for them when they take time out of their day to see what’s happening online; when you write a long letter to a friend and they only respond to a tiny portion of it but you know they enjoyed the whole thing…   Internet friendships can be very rich.  I have always enjoyed my online friendships, but it’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed myself this much.

Sewing was near the top of my original list, and working in the greenhouse, and baking and going for a walk…  I did manage to get some brownies baked and eaten; definitely a Me thing.  Made some bread in the evening.  Watered the baby tomatoes and peppers and lettuce, sowed some more flower seed, played with the cat and her kittens who reside in there. Never did get to the sewing room.  Couldn’t do the walking thing because of my foot and that is most unfortunate because that is one of my favorite things to do.

It was a sampler sort of day and I didn’t even get to sample everything I wanted.  A few years ago I realized that I would need a good dozen or so lives to explore and experience all the things I would like to explore and experience.  Several of them would involve intensive travel and living in places like Corfu.  Several of them would also involve having a huge disposable income.  Ha.

That said, if I had to choose one life…  with very few alterations it would be the one I am living now.  Homesteading in rural Missouri, making do and sometimes doing without, learning and growing and mothering and befriending and teaching and absorbing life.  Thanks for sharing it with me, dear readers.  May we all learn to live intentionally the lives before us.

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