I have eternal admiration for Sue Monk Kidd and her lovely novels. They seem to come my way at just the right time, and resonate with me in just the right way. This week I re-read The Mermaid Chair, and it had been long enough ago when I first read it, that I didn't remember the story clearly. So it was new to me and I rolled in it like a fresh puppy.
"What comes to mind are ridiculous things like 'my own space,' 'my independence,' but they sound so shallow. They don't capture it."
"I never could make them understand that what I needed was to be alone with myself."
"Around here they call it 'a solitude of being.'"
- The Mermaid Chair p216
I've been turning that phrase, and those lines in my head for days. Feeling them on my tongue. A solitude of being. It has become an intense craving, battling with 'adventure' for top spot in my heart. I re-read these lines. I put them in my own words. I try to convey the striking, galvanized pull of solitude. I try not to feel smothered by togetherness and need.
I think it is a struggle many mothers face.
I think we put on our smile, and though it is a true love for our children that we carry, we still must choose the smile over the struggle. I used to call them 'stolen moments' if I could get away alone. But I'm facing an emergence of being. A recognition and an embracing.
A solitude of being is what I need to Be Me. To refill the well. Recharge the batteries. Refill my spirit.
"...the separateness, my independence, this abiding new loyalty I have to myself now..."
It has to be fed, this loyalty to one's self. Fed and stoked and petted and coaxed. We too easily become agents of care taking and caregiving, feeling that as we have chosen to walk along this path, we must slough off our skins and wear the coat of Motherhood, which is always heavy and often fraught with misconceptions.
The coat of Selfhood fits like the skin it is.
I am smoothing it on; burnishing the creases; becoming a Self again that is not stolen away or borrowed but a full-fledged right.
It is not without a price. The status quo gets shaken as I find my way. I'm desperate and slightly angry, spinning to and fro with my elbows out. This is not a graceful moment or a time of loveliness.
Birth never is.
It is portended by pressure and pain. Brought to being by blood and effort.
There is so much drama in birth of every kind!
It is a worthy momentous occasion though, because I know I will find true health and wellness for all the corners of myself.
Here's to this new year, and to all who seek a solitude of being... again and again.