I’ve spent some time going back through what I’d written at this time last year. In much the same way that I can go through photos, which always tell a different story than words, it helped me understand more than ever, two things.
Some things never change.
The sun will always rise in the morning and when it does, I will always be distracted by the light cast and shadows created by its brilliance. I will struggle with wanting and needing to go outside, but probably won’t even though I truly want to. The neighbors I’ve tried to be friendly with will have yet another car in their driveway, flaunting their strange obsessive compulsiveness to my complete fascination.
Remember Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun? Each day from her balcony, she observed an old man in black placing flowers in a vase in the wall, and each day he ignored her smile as she watched him. That kind of fascination. Except mine isn’t as fascinating, and the last time I looked, I wasn’t Diane Lane.
Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about the sunrise, and I work at changing my determination to exercise my body consistently, but when the sun does rise, I’m mesmerized, then spend countless minutes wondering why that black SUV is centered perfectly in the neighbor’s driveway instead of one, or both of the silver sedans normally parked there. I wonder why they don’t greet me when I’m outside, or worse, hesitate to respond to my greeting without making eye contact. Nothing to lose sleep over, but it keeps me occupied so I don’t have to exercise or write about something constructive — like the body that has changed so much in the past two years, sometimes I feel as if I’m wearing someone else’s. It would be nice to be Diane Lane.
It hurts, and it doesn’t matter whether I’ve exercised or not, whether I’ve had a busy day around the house, or a long day of sitting at my Mac. It hurts. I don’t understand the abdomen that was once so taut, and now is anything but. It’s soft and pudgy, and feels like it did after I gave birth to each of my sons — empty, a bit lumpy, and sore. My shoulders hurt, my back aches, my arms sting, and my hip bones throb nearly all day long, every day. Some day more than others.
I’d say this is quite a bit of change, but to some extent, it’s normal. All I have to do is trawl through the message boards and forums on women’s health websites full of complaints like mine. Words like “debilatating,” “excruciating,” and “chronic” permeate the comments. Most come from women my age — some have had hysterectomies, and some haven’t.
Like I said. Normal. I can obsess over trying to fix it or deal with it.
I’m dealing with it. Sort of.
I’ve noticed the neighbors spend quite a bit of time moving their cars around. Their garage is meticulously organized, but there’s only room for one of their cars, so often, the second is parked in the driveway. Other days, they’re both in the driveway, side by side. Perfectly. Although they recently bought a new car — no, make that two — they’ve kept one of the older cars. Three cars for two people. Some days, I’m not sure where the old car is, and other days, after they’ve opened the garage, I notice it’s parked inside the garage, with each of the others parked in the driveway behind it. Should one of them want to drive the old car, both of the others have to be moved in order to back the old one out of the garage. Sometimes, all the cars are gone and I wonder where three cars have gone with only two people. I wonder why the lady backs her car out of the driveway, pulls forward to circle around the cul-de-sac, and then swings widely before pulling back into the driveway. Musical cars.
Some things never change.
The sun is exceptionally bright today, this first day of the new year that I’ve been alone in the house. The RTR is back to school, the MoH at work. House guests back to their homes and lives. The old doggo is on her bed downstairs, and the Yack Star curled on a pillow near me.
My coffee cup is empty.
There’s work to be done.