I moved from chair to chair today, feeling a cool boredom, a restless peace, an uneasy joy. I cranked open the old wooden windows to let the breeze in, so I wouldn’t feel guilty for not going out. The sky was grey wool all day today, with horror movie fog and while I am on my annual summer beach vacation, the weather was a good reason to snuggle up with my notebook and a book.
We call the area with the chairs “Chairs.” That’s its geographical name. “Let’s meet at Chairs,” my best friend would say while coordinating the day. But my friends aren’t here. It’s strange to experience this place without them. For 10 summers we’ve come up together, overlapping for a bit before my bestie passes the baton to me. I know the house almost as well as the family, which is why this year I was asked to come up to open the place.
We’ve been up here without them before, but that was when I had a partner in all things. That was when we were four. So it’s my first time doing this alone, just me and the kids. And I was surprised to find that at the bottom edge of fear and doubt, it’s thrilling! I can do this! WE CAN DO THIS! We have been.
Last summer when we were here, I burned with confusion and desire. Mr. Saturday Night was my new lover, his name emblazoned all over this town, and our bizarre Edith Wharton of a private romance had me in knots. Should I text him? Did he like me? What was this going to turn out to be?
But today I sat on the cusp of something big. I’ve come here to be stripped naked. I intentionally left my makeup case at home. I deleted social media from my phone. I’m trying to resist reaching out, projecting outward for energy or validation. I’m trying to turn in and sit with the truth and the real and the ugly.
And as I pick at the scabs to explore and expose what’s underneath, as I roll back the rugs to see what’s been swept under, it’s all strangely fine. Pus and raw flesh are part of me too, nature’s way of healing. Much like the curling iron burn scar on my left shoulder from last summer, these past hurts, accidentally inflicted, take time to heal.
Under the rug I find flecks of old skin and dust bunnies and small fragments of toys. The deritrus of what had to be shed to make room for the new. The dead cells, powdered and imperceptibly discarded to fulfil the cycle of life. Dying a thousand million times a day to further your evolution and adaptation to this harsh life.
It’s OK. I’m okay. I know I can love the ugliest parts of myself. The 13-year-old me, mouth of metal, untameable hair and skin with more eruptions than a Hawaiian volcano. The age when I broke. When I severed and became the unpresent, overthinking self-doubter. When I lost my voice and my power. It has taken over 30 years to make her whole again. She’s/we are almost there, but not quite yet. But this week, this summer, I will embrace her fully. I don’t need to fear for I AM HERE for myself.