I ran away today for a little bit yesterday.
45 minutes before I was due to relieve Esmé’s day nurse, heading home after an exciting outing at the grocery store and gas station, I found myself cruising past the turn-off to home. I didn’t exactly decide to keep going, but my windows were down, Radio Radio playing just a bit too loud, and, well, I had on a wild shade of red lipstick that my grandmother might have worn in 1940–all of which seems to have had the effect of making me temporarily something other than chronically early and overly practical.
It felt like such a tremendous luxury and I soaked up every moment, enjoying some space to let my mind wander.
Driving without a destination through some rolling back roads, slow enough to hear the music, but fast enough to keep my hair flying, like a teenager again–when I used to kill time after school driving these same roads, sneaking smokes before dance class. And I found myself thinking of that version of me–with a whole life of decisions in front of her–and what she might think of me now. Certainly she would be unimpressed by my graying hair, minivan, and minimal alcohol intake…and she would see my choice to live close to home as unadventurous and disappointing.
But I’d like to think that the teenage-me would be pleased with a few things about my life. I think she’d appreciate that I am still weird and overwhelmingly passionate. I think she might be pleasantly surprised that I am still a wiseass with a bit of a sharp tongue–but that, for the most part, as a grown woman I use that to get things done. But most of all, I think she would appreciate the way that I am writing out into the world about what I am feeling and thinking.
I have almost always written about my life. But it is only since Ez that I have done so in any way that wasn’t secretive and masked. As a teenager I primarily wrote poetry telling everything through a bit of a fog, afraid to own my words, my feelings, my experiences even in the quiet confessional of my notebooks…trying to make what I put on paper vague enough to be somehow universal.
In the car I found myself thinking that the teenage-me would like that I have found the power of my (our) words is in their precision, in their specificity. While I know my craft is not as honed as I would have it be and that my writing has suffered in many ways from fatigue, distraction, and old-fashioned laziness, I do know that what I say here sometimes touches people. Not every post, not every idea, not every word, of course…but sometimes in these true moments that are specific to my life, something clicks with another person. These moments may be tiny little fleeting blips in the world, but they are honest and true. Maybe they make someone feel a little bit less alone…see a little bit more about how our lives aren’t all that different…or get inspired in some small way even for a moment to try something new, to interact with the next person they see who is medically fragile, to enjoy the good fortune of their own children’s health.
I know it happens only because it pops up in places, in conversations with people I didn’t know had read a word of this blog. It startles me every time, but it feels just so satisfying that something about our odd little life and the mess in my head could be meaningful to someone else.
When I turned my car around to head back toward home I found myself laughing a little bit that it is these thoughts that I find myself coming to when I have a few moments to re-center myself: the ways I find meaning in my life with Esmé through writing…
No matter how much I might need to grasp at a sense of freedom, even for a few minutes in my car, I know that the beautiful creative space that exists in the blur between Esmé and me is always where I want to be–where I will find my home, my words, my heart.