Sunday, May 10, 2009

Grumpy guts

A chance comment from a far away friend some weeks ago was the wake up call. This was someone who'd known me WHEN. When we were young and supposedly carefree. When we shared most things, from an order of fries and a coke in KFC to clothes and confidences. So you could say, even though more than twenty years have gone by, she knows me. In our brief time together on a fleeting visit to home, she'd called me hoping to get together finally, something we have been trying to do for more than a year now. As usual, I was working. When am I not? Eventually we did get together, but we've not managed to do since.

And that's what did it really. Looking back at this blog there's been a definite trend, the joy has gone, to be replaced by a heaviness, a distinct lack of joy. That's when I knew for sure, no balance, I'd become subsumed by the rigours of job and given up the very things that made me interesting, that gave me pleasure and most of all, balance. A self confessed workaholic, my tendency to hold myself responsible for all things was now taking a toll.

That, and the residual effects of too much responsibility and overwork after the Summit caused me to re-visit my cognitive therapist. It has been a long journey back but worth the effort. In pouring out my thoughts, feelings and emotions to her, in our ritual of cleansing, I am reminded that I must be an active part of my own recovery.

When did food stop being a pleasure and become reduced to fuel? When taste become unimportant, when did the act of sitting down to a meal and being aware of everything going into my mouth become a chore? The act of cooking, or cooking for and with friends. Slowly I started to understand how much of me had been given up, most of all shocked by how bored I was by me.

It took a lot of little earthquakes to wake me up. Relating to another friend how tired my body felt, when did I become old? I remembered too, the all too brief sensations that took hold, salsa dancing one night recently, E. counting the steps for me, telling me to slow down and let him lead. The sound of his voice in my ear, soothing and reassuring, knowing that he would not let me fall. In those moments letting myself go, singing along to Elvis Crespo and really feeling my body move. I love to dance, it was one of the things that was so great about the X-man, is a great dancer and when we were on the floor it was magic. For a couple of nights it came back to me, as held tight against this man who smelled so good and moved like a dream, my body ignored the uptight me and really let go. We moved around the floor in step, it was an outpouring that opened a door I don't wish to close.

Yoga, an activity that I've practiced for most of my life and yet have only attempted sporadically over the last five years, how could I have let it go? The limber strength that was such a part of everyday living, put aside. My body knows the difference, the excuses are getting tired, how did I get from instructor training to barely being able to get into basic positions? This cannot continue.

Mother's Day today, barreling up the highway to see my Granny. Knowing that there would be at least fifteen minutes of her diatribe about my lack of visits and phone calls. The time I spend working and not looking after myself. In the end, we hung out together, she oohing over the plants that I bought her and then disappearing inside to bequeath a new dress sent to her by my aunt but too racy for her. No sleeves and short, you might see her knees! We giggled together like two girls. I truly love her and she loves me, warts and all. Yes Gaby, I took your advice, no grumpy guts today.

And so, the changes, slow in coming, some a deal between my therapist and me, are taking hold. My dog and I play ball again, he drives me nuts and I put up with him. Spanish class starts in two weeks, meanwhile, yoga on Tuesday. Work is that thing you do to live, you do not live to work. When people speak of finding balance it should not be an abstract concept. Today, really tasting the savoury bite of fresh watercress. The vivid green leaves crinkling as I put them into my mouth, enjoying the peppery bite against my tongue. Later this week my brother, John and I will split a bottle of good wine, maybe some cheese, and talk.

Taking pleasure from reading a good book or going to the movies. There are art exhibitions to go to, play clothes to try on, meals to be cooked, lots of coffee to be drunk and new classes to try. Maybe even a coffee shop...who knows what waits.


Gabriela said...

Simple things, the most important ones. The most forgotten ones too.
Spanish classes? Feel free to read my blog anytime, as a practice, ha, ha.
This was odd. Earlier today I was reflecting about the good things my blog has given me and knowing you was in the list. And I wondered how your granny would be doing. I just found out she is very well, Give her my best.
And my very best to you too.

Coffeewallah said...

Gaby, I do read your blog for practice, it's what made me decide to go back to Spanish class. I hope one day to meet you face to face and would like to speak to you...and E. in your language instead of mine.

Gabriela said...

I'm really flattered...
I was wondering if you could help me with this: I'm preparing a post about "the city I live in", and I'm collecting impressions from friends about their own ciites. I'd love to include your opinion about your Trini place of residence, if you agree. Just send three of four lines about your own city as a comment on my blog. I won't publish it, I'll translate it and include it in my post. And I'll let you know when it is done.
I guess it'd better if you delete this comment after reading it. I couldn't find another way to reach you.

Coffeewallah said...

Gaby, you can contact me direct via my Twitter page

Gabriela said...

Thanks but... I don't have a Twitter account!

Kari said...

I have been, am in, that place where I allow my job to consume me, where I push myself just one more hour, just one more story.

But lately, parallel to your own exhaustion and life sacrifice and re-evaluation, I've found myself leaving the office after eight hours, leaving the tragedy when I can where I left it. Finding that balance and finding me. Thanks for sharing this. So apt.