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eat, pray, bathe...

  
eat, pray, bathe...

The house sold, move out date is September first, though I can move earlier if I find the sunny and character filled home I have in my mind. Every time I close my eyes and welcome sleep, I can see it, all Zen and cozy, filled with art and love. This move is a move of the soul, a leap of faith, and the first time I will live on my own. Kids grown, I venture away from the home where I was a mom for 21 years, now to be introduced to, a me that I've not known since I was 20. I have a new and exciting career at Anthropologie; its ceiling is limitless with artistic and business opportunities, and new friendships offering camaraderie, at just the right time. 
I have beautiful things to fill the new nest, and a strong sense of what I would like my new life to feel like when I land. I hope to find a place near Suburban Sq. so that I can ride my bike to Trader Joe's, Starbucks, The Farmers Market; and most of all, to my daughter's store for quick visits, and perhaps the occasional purchase. It doesn't hurt that the R5 is right there to hop on and meet up with her at the Reading Terminal Market for coffee and some shopping. It is new to think of, a me that doesn't include: Frisbee tournament weekends, kids at dinner time; playing music and laughing. No more sleep-over’s, parent/teacher meetings and unexpected E.R. visits. Yes, I loved these things and I miss them more than I can say, but that cannot be my state of mind today or I will never make this transformation of the heart. I have to get excited about liberation. I've never been a woman who sought much more than being, 'bare-foot and pregnant' planting roots and nurturing all that surrounded me and my family. 

Liberation...it was an almost, dirty word, as if it was to be emancipated from my tribe, and now, it is the word I cleave to, as I would a lover in the middle of a stormy night. The messages imprinted upon me as a young girl were that of dependence =family=love. Hence, liberation/freedom would mean being let go of, left, and alone. Oh the tangle of mixed messages imprinted on us as kids.

I enter, on the side door of my life now, and welcome a time to nurture me.  Why is that so daunting? I've successfully launched three bright, loving and happy kids, I root herbs, I champion friends, causes, etc. So why can't I seem to champion myself? I feel a kind of punishment by this supposed 'freedom' and all that it has to offer. I never asked for it, in fact I have lived a life that called for everything that looked nothing like,' an unmarried, career gal, in her forties' kind of life. I thought I would be a wife, leaning on my hubby about now, as the last of my flock prepares to fly off to college. I thought that we'd take up tennis or scuba diving to fill the void, or maybe we would be drawing up architectural plans for that addition we'd always wanted, but never had the time or money to get to. Maybe there would be loud sex again and nude cavorting about in the middle of the day. You can bet that I haven't given up hope on that as something soon on the horizon. Marriage means everything to me; it means family in its deepest form. That one person, that will love you, and you them, having each other's back, through it all, every day, for the rest of your life. For me, why bother without it. The rest is just stuff to do before we move on from this place. Marriage is as integral to me as my kids and my heart. They are one thing that moves, beats and breathes together. We are a tribe. And I can feel that someone missing from it. I can feel the missing of my other half.

And so it goes....

eat.... one would think this would be the longest of the three chapters, but as I recognize most of my readers as woman, I'd be preaching to the choir. Well, it began with stress eating because of the lack of the traditional love I so yearned for, from desired things that couldn't fill the void, from pain I saw in the ones I loved, that I couldn't remove. So, I fed my soul with food, yummy food, expensive food, junk food, diner food, standing at the island, kind of eating food, food. I ate to celebrate, I ate to hide, I ate for control, although that was the last thing I had over it. I shared fabulous meals out with a wealthy friend that had me along as her five star companion at meal time. She and I became quite close and suddenly, she moved across the country and left me, so I ate some more. And this is how, after two years of love and loss, and 20 pounds to prove it, I found myself in need of divine intervention.

pray....I prayed to be skinnier, better, married, funnier, sexier, more...whole, peaceful and after all the searching and eating....to be enough. I had to look myself in the mirror and answer the hardest question of my life. At the end of the day, no matter where the chips may fall, no matter my marital status, or my kids living near, am I enough?... My answer came quickly, I don't know, I shrugged, naked in the mirror...I just don't know, but I need to be. And there was the answer, I need to be enough. So God, help me, because I cannot find myself as such, if not through your eyes. And this is the leap of faith that I trust in myself, even though I feel at times, alone, wanting the safety of a traditional family life. So with a deep inhale and open eyes, I spread my wings, and I dive out, into the dark sky of life; knowing that I will either land on my feet, or learn how to fly. Though mostly with me, my faith had been rattled these past few years; dating an atheist didn't help. I'm no holy roller, but I believe in God and I have always found comfort in the Episcopalian faith and in Buddhism. The Dalai Lama's messages have comforted me through many storms. I had my time wrapped up in Hindu text and Yoga mediation; all wonderful roads that held my hand through the years. And so, I am back, walking the cemetery of my church on Easter, having a conversation with God in my head. This journey of finding a more centered place to share my faith is where I am now. I think I have a good foundation to build upon after all these many years of a deep love of God, trees, nature, and of love itself. I plan on attending church this Sunday. It will be the first time back in years, partially because our past Reverend was a very young and sexy version of Jesus. He was a hippie at his core (just my type) and I found that while he was delivering his sermon, I was imagining him in ways that were, let’s just say, not Godly, although, in these fantasies, I was calling out  God's name with gusto! I kept catching myself and thinking, "holy-shit, I am so going to hell; but a few verses later, a few turns of his long black robe, purple sash swaying, his fingers running through his tousled brown hair, and I was back there, worshiping Jesus in the most lustful of ways. I left church as to stop sinning. All is safe now, our new Rev. is in his mid-sixties, I think it's safe to say, my head will be in a pure place as I sit in those old wooden pews. I digress; I can't wait to smell the incense, hear the choir, the sermon, take communion, and just be, with each moment. My someone special will be by my side. God and I will be in deep conversation over this man I love and seek a life with. Just be...I remind myself, just be.

bathe...  Since I was a little girl, baths have held a magical place in my heart. I can take a bath any time of day, and it is always a treasured time. I run the steamy water full blast, fingers wiggling through the rush of water, testing it's temperature as I pour in the bubbles or the bath beads; will it be lavender scented or will they be red beads or the dolphin shaped blue ones the kids brought back from a trip with their father. I took baths with my kids for years when they were little, all four of us in my huge claw foot tub. One time, as I lay on my side, stretching down the length of the tub to make more room for three toddlers, my youngest looked at me with the deepest of concern, contorting his sweet cherub face, and said, "mommy!, your boob is drowning!" I laughed so hard as I tried to console his sincere worry, while also popping my breast up, out of the ominous water. Funny, he was the only one I had breast fed; the other two could have cared less if my boob drowned in a sea of bubbles. Priceless moments. Bath time is like Christmas, I watch the bubbles run over the lip of the tub, I strip my clothes off with delight as I sink down below the surface and listen to my humming, as it echoes off the ceramic sides, and stare up at the ceiling, just allowing the water to dance below my nose; every so often taking in a deep breath and submerging like a whale, all still and silent. It is so peaceful, wonderful, and all that is good seems better, and all that may have been hard, seems lighter. The whooshing, the warm wash cloth placed over my breasts as I chat with my daughter, the traveling stream of bubbles, tracing my belly button, the brilliance of my toes, as they measure the tentative turns of the cold faucet, to adjust the liquid valium that swirls around my body. I'm even weightless here, my skin appears tan under the water, and I am breathing slower, more deeply. I turn over on my belly and let the water rush in a wave over my back, splashing up to kiss the nape of my neck and wisps of hair. I'm a kid again, sitting with my foot tapping on the silver drain, as it produces cyclones, until every last sip has been gurgled up by its stainless steel mouth. Standing, I feel the cool breeze from the window feather me as I watch the bubbles run down my body; finally wrapping myself up in a large white towel, with a smile from ear to ear. Pure contentment, pure delight. Always welcoming me home...

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Comment by Tara Klinges on April 21, 2012 at 11:45pm

well put! And thank you for the very kind words.

Comment by wiffledust on April 21, 2012 at 9:31pm

i realy enjoyed this.it spoke to me as a woman who has gone through some heavy duty changes and also who knows of some of the locations you speak about very very well. we have a few things in common, we do. your descriptions are very vivid, and i respect the way you share somethings very personal and yet so universal that any honest woman can relate to them well......thanks for this!

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