I’m in the midst of a seismic change in my life and it has thrown me for a loop! Between figuring out how to be independent but still connected enough to the people that matter to me so that I am not totally isolated, it’s a balancing act.
It’s been a while (I often seem to begin my posts in this way!). A lot has happened over the last month and a bit. Let’s see…I went home to Nairobi for my sister’s wedding and a desperately needed break, came back and moved to a new city for a new job, and picked up a writing project that I had put down because I was in an awful place mentally and had nothing creative to give. Whilst I was away, I was drafting my thoughts in bits and pieces and so here are some of those thoughts…
My God how I needed this trip. To be reminded that my world is not so small. That it contains the absolute beauty of my nephews laughing; the joy and miracle of knowing they are living in the same world I am in. The trust when they look at me and say “hug” or the confidence that I will play with them whenever they want to. In my world, I am an auntie.
My world is not so broken. This year has been filled with pressing weight and anxiety, panic attacks and weeks spent hiding under the covers but still, it is not so broken. I am not so broken. This trip has reminded me that in my house, I am the peaceful one. The one that’s goofy and silly and happy to be childish. That my mother leans on me for strength. And my older brother enjoys my silly humour. That my younger brother turns to me as a confidant, and my older sister loves me despite how often we rub each other wrong, and my sister-in-law enjoys my company. I am many things to the people who love me and know me and those things are worthy.
Moving is terrifying. Doing something for just me is terrifying. It’s ironic that I have spent the past six years dealing with some pretty heavy health-related things both personally and with a dear and close family member but this move away from home and alone again makes me feel more scared than I have been in a very long time. Perhaps because I got used to the situation I was in, it wasn’t setting off the alarms in my mind quite so much, but right now, I’m spending a lot of time telling myself to breath easy.
She arrived at the country mansion in a silver limousine. She’d sent out invitations and everything: her name written twice with “&” in the middle, the calligraphy of coupling. She strode down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James, faced the celebrant like a keen soldier reporting for duty, her voice shaky yet sure. I do. I do. “You may now kiss the mirror.” Applause. Confetti. Every single one of the hundred and forty guests deemed the service “unimprovable.” Especially the vows. So “from the heart.” Her wedding gown was ivory; pointedly off-white, “After all, we’ve shared a bed for thirty-two years,” she quipped in her first speech, “I’m hardly virginal if you know what I mean.” (No one knew exactly what she meant.) Not a soul questioned their devotion. You only had to look at them. Hand cupped in hand. Smiling out of the same eyes. You could sense their secret language, bone-deep, blended blood. Toasts were frequent, tearful. One guest eyed his wife — hovering harmlessly at the bar — and imagined what his life might’ve been if he’d responded, years ago, to that offer in his head: “I’m the only one who will ever truly understand you. Marry me, Derek. I love you. Marry me.” At the time, he hadn’t taken his proposal seriously. He recharged his champagne flute, watched the newlywed cut her five-tiered cake, both hands on the knife. “Is it too late for us to try?” Derek whispered to no one, as the bride glided herself onto the dance floor, taking turns first to lead then follow.