Yesterday was not a happy day. Now that it’s today, I reflect. What was different, I cannot note down. In the life of a General Operations Manager, there were no specific demands, no extra calamities, no surprises, nothing to flapdoodle about. All was as calm as it ever is. The rain didn’t fall, the outside tap didn’t freeze, my car started and there was enough wood for warmth. So, I deduce, it must be me. I was different. I felt overly weary, of everything, my body slow, my mind fixated on self and all her runforthehills thoughts.
On days like this I speak to no-one, call nobody, write no messages. I hide. I withdraw my tentacles and curl into my shell, whilst still functioning as I should. My thoughts are not fluffed up and sparkly warkly, but, instead, as dark as the basalt rocks on the shore. I see no birds, hear no song. I am cold and I am sore. No smiles are smiled back at. My voice is empty of chiaroscuro. I just want it over. The day, I mean.
It is very tempting to beat myself black and blue over days like this. After all, haven’t I realised that it was I who had my nickers in a twist? Everything else just ticked on, like the kitchen clock, moving on the hours and minutes as per normal, hours and minutes that, as far as I could tell, slowed down deliberately to upset me. This morning, however, I wake a different woman and yet all is exactly the same as it was yesterday. I listened to Heather Small singing Proud and answered her question. Nothing, I said, as I served up macaroni cheese. Today I would reply that I got through it, made macaroni cheese, for goodness sake, and even served it up with peas and a napkin. I kept the house warm and tidied where necessary. I greeted the occupational therapist with the lovely green eyes and even offered her a hot beverage. I waved at a neighbour as she catapulted by on the end of a huge wolfhound. I fed the birds and worked more on my current tapestry. I did good. But what I am learning, is to accept days like this whilst inside them. When I cannot, or will not, remind myself of my huge list of blessings, it is not the end of the world, nor of me. It doesn’t mean I am reverting to the moaning Minnie I was at the start of this caring journey. How could I, considering all the learning I have learned, all the changes I have made inside me?
Living in the moment is super fun when the moment is shiny and bright. Not so easy when it is too dark to see and all a girl wants is to go back to bed. My belief is that daily work is very important, inner work I mean. So, on days when I could kick ‘inner work’ into the never-never, it’s okay. I want to be a lady on the inside – and what she encompasses is grace, kindness, dignity and compassion. Never mind the outside, that skinny shaven-headed scruff in jeans and a big jumper, because being a lady on the outside only means diddly squat. I have met a few of them in my time and they were completely see-through. But when I cannot manage much grace or dignity or even much compassionate kindness, I do not topple. I am just tapselteerie for a day. So, although it is tempting, I will not judge me. I will just let days like this pass by, and I will pick myself up, in kindness and step forth into the new.
Something I wrote whilst in Africa comes back to me in relevance.
‘What would a lady choose? That’s what interests me. I know I am born a woman, but a lady is grown over time. Or not. Some say a lady is polite, deferring to others, especially men. She doesn’t shout or swear or run amok, or jump fences in a frock. She is just a lady on the outside. I don’t want to be her.
But I do want dignity, calm, self-control. That’s what interests me. A lady on the inside. I’ll still jump fences in a frock, shout sometimes in a red blood rage, swear and curse and think on murder. And, I may defer, I may not, but if I do it won’t be because you are a man, but because you have earned my respect. ‘