A Weekend Spent In A Stranger's Skin

As I stumbled through the door to our familiar old house, I was shell shocked and exhausted. Too much time spent curled up like a pretzel in the back of that suffocating car. My cheek still slightly damp from nestling it against the head of my youngest, who had collapsed from all the dramatic shifts in altitude. Three days and two nights spent in vain as I had done everything imaginable to tame my wee beasts and allow moments of enjoyment for the others. Fights and hurt feelings, stress and constant worry.

Tomorrow, a week from now or years from now, none of that shall be indicative of the memories I will revisit in my thoughts. It was somehow magical. Those hiccups of time watching my angels sleep, or the amazement sprinkled upon their adoring faces as seemingly thousands of luminescent fireworks burst out over the dark glass lake below. The cool nighttime breeze dancing recklessly through an open window in protest of the summer heat earlier that day.... Sounds of the open air concert nearby permeate the silence. Moments stolen to keep in touch with those dear to my heart. And oddly, the complete absence of insecurity.

For three wonderful days and two marvelous nights, I forgot myself. Forgot silly cares of covering up or cringing at judgemental glares. I forgot to ensure every hair was in place, or that no skin was exposed. I forgot to tone down my personality or contain my boisterous laughter. I forgot to be a surly mothering creature while frolicking in the water with my boys. I can't compare this to the innocence of childhood as these things did not exist in my own.

From the very second I was self aware at far too young of an age, I worried. About anything and everything imaginable. I winced at thoughts of leaving a solitary confinement of my own design. I felt a deep sense of shame and embarrassment at so much as going to a public swimming pool during daylight hours, or chewing a bite of food in the middle of an imagined audience. I loathed the way I walked, feared mockery at a full run.

A continuously streaming monologue of hatred that has looped over and over again in my brain for more than 3 decades was suddenly silenced. A silence of such magnitude, that all the sounds of the mountains we were nestled between became almost deafeningly wonderful. Splashes of water, and bustling crowds, crickets and music. The fireworks. My god, the fireworks.

Everywhere we ventured, there were mixtures of the elite and the welcoming. The latter would gravitate towards us in all our simple chaos. This was so delightfully and prevalently the case, that I forgot to shy away from the former. There were attitudes, galore, but I didn't care. I simply did not care. Who the hell was I and what the hell was in my drink(s)?

It was foreign, and marvelous on levels I didn't think possible. Surely not for such a person as myself!

As I walked across that threshold in the kitchen I've crossed innumerable times, I had shifted back to "normal". My first thought was to weep. But I didn't. And I haven't. Not yet. Perhaps some lake-dwelling organism burrowed an inch or two deeper than first assumed. Residual glee still coursing through my veins before disease sets in. No matter. As thrilled as I figured I should be to be home, I cannot wait to revisit that life in someone else's skin.

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Kitty

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Weekend Spent In A Stranger's Skin

As I stumbled through the door to our familiar old house, I was shell shocked and exhausted. Too much time spent curled up like a pretzel in the back of that suffocating car. My cheek still slightly damp from nestling it against the head of my youngest, who had collapsed from all the dramatic shifts in altitude. Three days and two nights spent in vain as I had done everything imaginable to tame my wee beasts and allow moments of enjoyment for the others. Fights and hurt feelings, stress and constant worry.

Tomorrow, a week from now or years from now, none of that shall be indicative of the memories I will revisit in my thoughts. It was somehow magical. Those hiccups of time watching my angels sleep, or the amazement sprinkled upon their adoring faces as seemingly thousands of luminescent fireworks burst out over the dark glass lake below. The cool nighttime breeze dancing recklessly through an open window in protest of the summer heat earlier that day.... Sounds of the open air concert nearby permeate the silence. Moments stolen to keep in touch with those dear to my heart. And oddly, the complete absence of insecurity.

For three wonderful days and two marvelous nights, I forgot myself. Forgot silly cares of covering up or cringing at judgemental glares. I forgot to ensure every hair was in place, or that no skin was exposed. I forgot to tone down my personality or contain my boisterous laughter. I forgot to be a surly mothering creature while frolicking in the water with my boys. I can't compare this to the innocence of childhood as these things did not exist in my own.

From the very second I was self aware at far too young of an age, I worried. About anything and everything imaginable. I winced at thoughts of leaving a solitary confinement of my own design. I felt a deep sense of shame and embarrassment at so much as going to a public swimming pool during daylight hours, or chewing a bite of food in the middle of an imagined audience. I loathed the way I walked, feared mockery at a full run.

A continuously streaming monologue of hatred that has looped over and over again in my brain for more than 3 decades was suddenly silenced. A silence of such magnitude, that all the sounds of the mountains we were nestled between became almost deafeningly wonderful. Splashes of water, and bustling crowds, crickets and music. The fireworks. My god, the fireworks.

Everywhere we ventured, there were mixtures of the elite and the welcoming. The latter would gravitate towards us in all our simple chaos. This was so delightfully and prevalently the case, that I forgot to shy away from the former. There were attitudes, galore, but I didn't care. I simply did not care. Who the hell was I and what the hell was in my drink(s)?

It was foreign, and marvelous on levels I didn't think possible. Surely not for such a person as myself!

As I walked across that threshold in the kitchen I've crossed innumerable times, I had shifted back to "normal". My first thought was to weep. But I didn't. And I haven't. Not yet. Perhaps some lake-dwelling organism burrowed an inch or two deeper than first assumed. Residual glee still coursing through my veins before disease sets in. No matter. As thrilled as I figured I should be to be home, I cannot wait to revisit that life in someone else's skin.

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