Natalie came by today with fig butter and fresh figs. Abbie mailed me a beautiful wooden board for cards and photos.
I walked down the stairs to retrieve both these things and I did it without a cane.
My bedroom is the first room I’ve had all to myself since prison, and before then– well, I don’t remember. I met Dave when I was 19 and living with my sister. We were married right away.
(I know. 19! Right away! What a disaster that could have been, and I suppose you could say it was one, but not in the way you’d have guessed.)
In 10 days, I’ll be 37 years old.
I know all these tidbits feel unrelated but they’re nested together like litter in my ocean.
When I first came home from prison, people kept saying I should get my own place. I know what they meant was, enjoy your independence, but what I heard was, prepare for your life of loneliness.
How do you decorate a bedroom at almost-40 when you’ve never done it before? What makes a good pillow? How do you pick when you’ve always just used what was available? The only rule is that I cannot paint the walls. Beyond that: anything is possible.
How do you to pick an aesthetic when you float through them like clouds?
Why do I float through them?
Why does everyone else seem to see a clear energy from me, when I only see muddle and fluid and frost?
Every day, I get a bit closer to something that is right.
On a temporary shelf, to be put somewhere, there are trinkets from all around the world. There are dinosaurs and dandelions. There is too much brown and too much texture– fancy, sullen, rough and silky, I love them all.
There is no art yet.
Maybe when I’m a little older, I’ll know better what I want.
On Sunday, I went to the Long Beach Plant Club Meet-up with the roommate. We dropped off a table to display all the free cacti and then walked around the park.
When I first moved to Long Beach, there was a labyrinth there. I went with Anthony and from the tall heights, looked over pumpjacks and ocean.
The labyrinth is overgrown now, that’s how long ago I came home.
Back then, I asked Anthony why everyone was so keen on me having my own place, my own room, etc. I was feeling like people wanted me to be singularly and independently settled so that they could just … let go.
Can you imagine, he said, laughing. People just … letting you go. He laughed some more. No, Ra. You’re stuck with us. You just deserve space.
In the foster home, when I come home from prison, the kids write on a card what I always tell them when they leave: if you created and loved in a tiny room with more rules than air, imagine what you’ll do with the world in your pocket.
I text Donny when my room is livable. I’ve been a bad girlfriend lately, barely able to check in, unable to distinguish interesting information from my to do list. If phones didn’t send pictures, I might have disappeared from all my people entirely.
The room is livable. There’s progress. I sleep a full night and it begins to feel familiar.
Not like home, yet. But familiar.
He says, I’m glad. You deserve space.
In 10 days, I turn 37 years old. At this rate, it’s only a blink before I’ve lived more adult life without Dave than with him. I have missed him every day.
But, I have not been lonely, or alone.
Somehow all the figs and labyrinths and wooden boards and free cacti all fit together in one room, in one person, in one life.
People like to tell me I deserve space (everyone deserves space)– but the thing is, room or not, I have space. I have a universe at the tip of my wingspan and always have.
I like my freedom cluttered with living beings and all their possibilities.
I’m a very small fish in a giant ocean, and I’ve gotten to meet some extraordinary faces and go to places most people could only imagine. Places that probably shouldn’t exist at all, in some cases.
Somewhere, maybe, far above me, near a labyrinth, maybe, is a giant who is worried that she has a future alone.
Thinking of this, sometimes, I smile up at the sky. I dress a little loudly, I whistle in the kitchen. I make a splash.
I want her to know.
I want her to know.
Yes, there’s dark spaces in this existence and a lot of mistakes, and loss. The ocean has litter in it and some figs only exist because a wasp died inside. No one can tell you straight what makes a good pillow and so you’ll have to learn the hard way. And sometimes, you get a lucky on a choice you make at nineteen years old, and sometimes, you are the giant, and sometimes you are the fish down below, but in all of these scenarios, the rest of us–
You can’t really be alone, but beyond that: anything is possible.
“Ra gets dramatic about all changes, in this case– moving.” Part 4 of ?