This is the first day in over a year (feels like 50) that I have the whole house and my whole self to myself for more than an hour. "I am ALONE!" I sang as I returned home from dropping off Kathryn at a friend's house. I am gloriously, unabashedly drinking in the time and space of aloneness. I feel a massive weight lifted off my shoulders and soul in reveling for a few precious hours in MY space. Being just me, doing whatever I want to do and knowing no one else is around to comment, verbally or non--knowing that I won't be interrupted by someone walking unexpectedly through the front door flinging their current needs at me.
I just finished dancing with complete abandon, singing at the top of my lungs to Dog Days are Over (Florence and the Machine) and Dakota (Stereophonics) and was astonished to find tears welling in my eyes. I am so far out of touch with music that I didn't even know the title of Dog Days until I found it on You Tube and cranked it up and played it over and over again. I feel rejuvenated, re-energized, more whole. I feel like I exist again, outside of my roles of wife and stepmother. In the simple act of feeling and moving, I am. I am Kari. I am me.
I realized that I'm not just out of touch with music, but that I'm out of touch with myself. I've read so much about wife-ing and mother-ing and all it entails and I heard women say that they have to keep some of themselves somewhere in the midst of all of this, and I didn't know what they meant. I thought, erroneously, that these roles were supposed to change me and define me. Instead, I am discovering that without taking the time to be me, I am losing me. I haven't written for eons. I don't read in a significant way anymore. My correspondence with my dearest friends has limped along and petered out. And I haven't danced alone in ages. These are some of the things that keep me grounded, keep me holding onto me.
This I must say: I am happy being a wife and parent and I am so happy to be where I am. I am also so incredibly happy to discover today the parts of me that I've forgotten--and that they are still there, still intact, still alive--probably the most vital and spirited parts of myself. I need them. I need me. I feel like I'm breathing differently and that I'm exhaling instead of holding it all in. I didn't understand that it's not selfish to make time to do these things--it's actually necessary. The dishes will wait. The closets will get organized another day. But I cannot be without the things that make me Me. And the question that will help me keep this frame of mind is simply this:
How long has it been since I danced?