This morning, I looked at, or rather, actually saw, the towel rack in my bathroom, which contains no towels (they are flung over the shower rod), but, I am ashamed to confess, a week's worth of work clothes folded over the rack each afternoon and topped with a successive layer, Monday on the bottom, Friday on the top. The intent is to get them off as quickly as possible and hang them later after sorting what needs to be laundered. Alas, there is quite a bit of archeological psychology that could be done. At the very back (bottom), forlorn and askew, is a long gray skirt, one of my favorites, a piece of blended three season wool that usually never makes it back into the closet because it is often unearthed from where it rests to be worn again. Now hanging at a steep angle that clearly reveals its longtime placement on the rack, it hangs with its hem undone on one side, the threads still in place. It was unhemmed by a boot buckle. How long has it been there, I wondered. It has been, if the previous photo did not give this away, a period in my life where overwhelmed with uncertainty, responsibility, and fatigue, I have let things at home fall where they may. I only make way for myself in the moment: clear newspapers to read new ones, run the dishwasher to have dishes, sleep because I simply can't stay awake.
Downed hems are a giveaway: the surest sign of neglect of self ---not of appearance, that's been, for what is worth, kept up--- it has been the inner space that has been in disarray, favorite things, plants, pursuits, pushed aside for the "later" that feels as elusive as a gasp for air that is never quite deep enough. How long, I think I was asking myself as I gazed at the hanging hem, has it been since I could really breathe ? Years. And yet today, I can exhale. Several days ago, just in time for summer, came the news that the chance I had taken has paid off: I will be leaving behind the work I have referred to as "the option" and returning to the field (the life) I know and prefer. It is only on this blog, and to a few people close to me that I have been able to complain about being employed in a position I have not at all liked. Somewhere, sometime, I will write about the class difference, or maybe life experience difference, that fed into various responses to my dilemma. All I can say is that if you've had your dream job/profession, and you are forced to live outside of it without finding something of equal force, it is hard to be the person you were. I fought to get back, and when it seemed beyond reach, here it is: I am returned from exile, to different borders, but returned nonetheless.
The skirt is going to the tailor soon. It needs to be taken up.