In elementary school, we had “disaster drills.” We were instructed to get under our desks and cover our heads.
This was supposed to protect us from apocalyptic horrors.
For mere tornadoes, we were marched into an inner hallway in the building, to sit on the floor facing the wall, with our arms over our heads and our heads on our knees.
We sat through a few really vicious storms that way, and survived.
I’m suddenly undergoing a burst of “nesting” – rearranging furniture, buying furniture I can’t afford, planning to paint again, trying to finally finish this house, so that we might actually have people over, to use those holiday-themed guest towels.
The result so far has been some really pleasant together time for my daughter and me, with a cozy fire and no TV (moved to the basement, in a nice finished room, but it will take time to get used to that; I bought myself cheap TV and set it up in what I am calling my “boudoir.” I have always wanted a “boudoir,” and I’m almost done with it. Just need some decent drapes and a chaise to recline – fetchingly – on.)
Wait – who am I kidding about guests? And who the hell is ever going to see me reclining fetchingly? We don’t have guests. Neither one of us really wants them, unless they are related to us, and even then, we take them one, or two maximum, at a time.
As for anyone else in my “boudoir,” well, dream on.
So much for “New Year’s Revolutions” . I was going to open up my Facebook page to “friends of friends” and change my LinkedIn page to describe what I want to be.
HA. Today I posted that I’m quitting Facebook. The politics have started again. I can’t take it. It brings out the worst in me – the opposite of what I’m trying to be.
Duck and cover. Sound the retreat.
Hide in the rearranged, redecorated, slightly nicer cocoon.
I need an actual, real job, that pays a living wage and provides health insurance.
I’m not going to get one this way.
But my job search is laughable. It has become painfully obvious that even in an allegedly tight labor market, no one is impressed by my very lengthy resume, pockmarked with caregiving gaps and peppered with short-term failures between too-long stays at high-stress, high paying jobs. Or maybe it’s just bad old (OLD – HA) age discrimination.
“I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Dont tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!”
-Emily Dickinson (according to Wikipedia, that’s the closest transcription of what she actually wrote – when it was first published, the editor changed “advertise” to “banish us” and “June” to ‘”day.” WTF?)
“Put yourself out there, something will come along.”
HA. Frog, meet bog.
“The Soul selects her own Society –
Then – shuts the Door –
On her divine Majority –
Obtrude no more
Unmoved – she notes the Chariots – pausing –
At her low Gate –
Unmoved – an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat –
I’ve known her – from an ample nation –
Choose One –
Then – close the Valves of her attention –
– Emily again – and editors again screwed around with her punctuation and word choices – many versions say, “To her divine Majority present no more” but I’m sure “On her…Obtrude” is right because it’s just more – Emily-ish. (Dashes, HA.) The few analyses I found claim it is about limiting socializing to just a few companions, but to me it is about choosing one’s own company over socializing with anyone at all. The One chosen was the self. Buzz off world, leave me alone. Quit bugging me. Get off my lawn. She likes her own society. Valves of attention closed. Like a kid with their fingers in their ears, yelling, “I’m not listening.” Nothing will change her mind. Stone. Unmoved and unmovable.
I’m no Emily Dickinson and I don’t want to be as unmovable as stone, but periodic retreat is a thing with me. Maybe it’s the OCD, maybe it’s grief, or fear – of running out of money, of not being a good enough parent, of nothing good ever happening again. Of boring you with boring me. Of aging and seeing my mother’s face in the mirror. Of a small, meaningless life, heading for a big birthday in June, sans even the admiring bog.
Maybe it’s this endless sloppy winter and spring nowhere in sight.
Maybe I’m just “tired of being strong.” (Connie Nielsen in Gladiator)
Is there any value in retreat?
Cocoons become chrysalides from which beauties emerge.
Let’s hope so. We’ll see.
Until then I remain,
Your confused, withdrawing, backpeddling, solitary, guestless and unfetching,