Children are out of school for the summer. They are argue about bedtimes being extended and extended until me their mother has to wait until 11 pm for the sound of silence to invade in its exquisite respite. They are growing older, these children, and my role with them evolving. Last summer I treaded water in the deep end of the pool and had them swim safely to me, tag my hand and rush back to the side of the pool. They have no such requirement now: Drop me off at the pool, Mom. You don’t have to stay. No, don’t stay.
There are projects afoot. There are changes being made. Schedules that have to account for the new poverty that comes with lack of structured work or the promise of structured work and possible paychecks at much later dates.
I didn’t mean to teach for so so long. I didn’t mean for my identity to be swallowed whole. I didn’t mean to not be economically successful. Mothering and teaching are both exhausting sports and they require much the same energies and empathies that leave nothing left for the giver but the need of sleep.
I have a long to do list and I’m resurrecting skills that have laid dormant for quite a while. I’m unearthing material. I’m studying their words, their ways, their methods. I’m sitting in this hundred plus year old office and thinking why not me?
Why not me.
When I get this way I lock myself up in my office and I don’t listen to the myriad of feminist and femme female musicians that occupy my iPod and my computer. I head for David Bowie’s Hunky Dory. I throw up my hands.
And then I feel better. No medication. No alcohol. Just David Bowie.
Late last year when I wasn’t feeling well a man tried to enter my life, weasle his way in and he had charming qualities to be sure, nearly a man who sold the world, if ya know what I mean. I mentioned David Bowie. I mentioned the solace of coffee and loud Bowie and my office and my words on paper. And he said:
“I just don’t get what you people see in David Bowie.” So much in a single sentence. I –I couldn’t.
It might be as simple as some people have a soul and some people don’t. Perhaps the souless can’t decipher it but ‘you people, me people can. I know. Give it a rest. But still.
So thank you, David Bowie, as I make this transition away from teaching, into a new phase of mothering, back into writing and media and activism and film. Thank you. You are helping the process run as smoothly as it can.