I’m back! I was here all along. Integrity, or Selfishness?
So, I moved to Arizona and vanished! I stopped answering emails and letters, failed to send promised letters, disappeared from Facebook. Sometimes I didn’t process a paycheck or overlooked a check in the mail because I simply didn’t have time to attend to anything.
But wait–wasn’t I supposed to be moving on to the next, better, more empowered, sunnier phase of my life?
Well, yes, I was. And those solar panels augured a return to low-impact, conscious living, as in my Hawaii days. As Phil pointed out–and he met me in Hawaii and happened to be in AZ right when I arrived–it also augured a return to working extremely hard for other people, as I did there, so that I’d never feel satisfied with the work, inevitably small contribution to neverending chores, and would also never have the energy to do my own creative work. That Phil, love him. He has quite the habit of being right.
I always want to be of great service when I’m of service. And there is always more to do. When I first showed up, I worked all hours on the farm. I got better at guarding “my own” time but only because my work obligations mounted and mounted.
And sometimes the chores are tedious, sometimes stinky, and then there was the “attack rooster” storyline which was probably the last anyone heard of me on Facebook.
And these feed sacks. They’re 50lbs…
…if you know how small I am, you can imagine that deadlifting them from an obstacle-strewn floor and humping them out the door, maybe half a dozen on a heavy (pun intended) day, would be wearying.
Meanwhile I took on an editing client here in town who likes my work very much, and it was RWW-thesis-proofreading season, and my dictionary job stepped up the pace too. This is not an excuse but an explanation of my disappearance.
I’m back! I had to pull myself back! All the times I’ve spoken of the “unmilked cow” feeling from not writing…after this six weeks or so of overwork plus physical chores I’m beyond unmilked cow maybe into worn-out leather territory! Worn-out leather that holds a stiff shape only tangentially connected to how it used to look. And it’s funny how “lack of writing” is both a symptom and a result of failure of self care.
Once I’d gotten clear that things had to change–and THANK YOU, my friends whose advice I asked, all of whom unanimously counseled me to reclaim my life and move–I meditated and imagined what sort of a home I’d like to live in. A small, but spacious self-contained house. Ground outside for growing things. Set back from the road but not behind a gate. A certain price range I had in mind. And I kept an eye on Craigslist. And uncannily soon, I found it!
More pictures soon when I give you the tour, but this was the bare-bones walk through. A little house (half of a duplex) with separate bedroom/main room/bathroom/kitchen–I’ve never had such expansion in my whole life before! A big yard in the back, too. I know this isn’t exactly a great time of year to start gardening in Tucson (it’s been well over 100 degrees the last several days) but plenty of time, right? Having a whole inside-of-a-house to furnish and organize just as I please is its own kind of gardening.
I even like that it’s nondescript on the outside. Sacred space. Sacred space has been my main intention.
I worked chickens through the end of the month save a four-day trip to Pittsburgh to work on a book. Returned from Pittsburgh, did some final chores, moved!
I’ve spent three nights here so far, not entirely unpacked, and I have such a good feeling about it.
I struggled with intense guilt about letting down the chicken farmers, being a flake, being selfish, not keeping my word. But I also know with deep knowing that I have done the right thing for myself, without even going into the terrible self-care habits I was sinking into in that situation, and this selfishness means that I have a better chance of being able to give more. To write to my friends and on my blog, for example!
It is good to be back.