naked in winter.

December 24, 2009

well, okay. naked and winter are certainly relative terms, never mind their sassy courage. there is truth though, if not promise, from my emboldened header. it is winter, yep. even here in the mildness of southern california december, the succulents have been wrapped at night, heaters are no longer just collecting dust, and my breath has shown up in my bedroom as maya and i have buried ourselves under the covers and collectively glared at the alarm clock. the year is almost 2010. we are a decade in to the millenium. say it: twenty ten. in the year twenty ten i will turn 45. time to get naked. i am purging and purging – the veils, the cardigans, the masks, the winter coats, whatever the hell you want to call the armor we all employ to get through our days, our careers, our beautiful ups and our difficult, lesson-filled downs. and really, what better time to get naked than at the almost age of 45 in the almost year twenty ten?

i have many friends who are looking around at the framework they’ve built for their lives, and behind the looking, the assessments, the measuring, the acquisitions, are the questions. i built this frame when i was young, does it still fit me, do i like it, are we supposed to exist in one structure all of our lives, no matter how we grow and change and stretch, and realize there are other sorts of framework that might better suit us, now? what is the structure made of, how strong is it, is it real or has it become a personal mythology?

these are, in moments and amongst many others, my questions. and please – bear with my perky stance when i declare to all of you: i find this inquisition strangely glamorous. yes, glamorous, oddly enough. i get to be here for this. i have friends who don’t, friends who are gone. and so i am grateful, and feeling every day what it is to transition out of youth – the only thing i knew until suddenly, i was on this side of it – and it is an unbelievably powerful and deep place to reside, this place of being a woman in my forties. i have wrinkles, my ass has changed shape, on my face there are laugh lines and smile lines – the lines of a life that so far has been healthy and well-lived and joy-filled, and i feel downright beautiful.

mind you, i have been more beautiful, but never have i felt so…light-filled and gorgeous. and this feeling, of rightness and meaning, exists at a time when i get little sleep, carry too much stress, and parent and work about 21/7. i think it is inevitable, and what happens when your insides begin to inform your outsides. your charm, your quirks, your kindness – the person you now know yourself to be(coming) – shine from within, and the light is irresistable. i see it everywhere around me, and feel graced and in some disbelief to be surrounded by so many people thriving and living their fullest lives.

i have a friend who is working very hard i believe, to create a new sort of ownership for who he has been, who he is now – in any one singular, present moment – and who he will become. this decision for him seems new; for me it is less so. but his choices – to have honesty and integrity as a daily practice, and to be supported by a group of peers and reminded of that practice, has made me recall how far away we can get from that high standard – as we cope and juggle and manage and celebrate and intermingle – and i myself am reminded, and grateful for the reminder. and so i decide, again i decide, to shed what is not authentic, try to bravely look at what is, ask for help when i need it, work my ass off, pull constantly from my pool of patience and kindness especially as it pertains to my daughter, and to acknowledge which framework(s) still fit, and which to let go of. so something new can be built, or maybe just so there is some breathing room to be found at the necessary or available intervals.

this is my naked, my most current one. i am hoping my real naked is as pretty as this other naked, though part of the other naked is realizing and eventually surrendering to the fact that at a certain moment, it won’t be. i can’t say i am ready to trade in one naked for the other; i want both. can i gracefully turn myself over to this reality of growing older and gathering – hopefully – some degree of knowledge and/or wisdom, slowing down, trusting and allowing for a certain brand of seasoned knowing-ness, and still embody energy and insight and beauty? i do so hope the aesthetic and the informed can mutually coexist. and where beauty withers, can grace fill in? or wisdom? or strength? or does one simply become a part of the other?

yesterday i changed my facebook profile picture to one of me with an old friend’s father felix, an amazing painter and lover of women, when i was living in stockholm at 21. friends who have seen it, have remarked upon its softness, prettiness, innocence. it is soft, and hopeful, as was i. since then i have experienced a dozen heartaches and heartbreaks, disappointments, devastating grief and loss and loneliness, moments of laying on the ground and thinking ‘i don’t think i can get up again.’ but i have also experienced the most delicious moments life can offer – thousands of them. the smell of freesia after a rain, a delicate and perfect wedding, the birth of my daughter, laughing hysterically and unstoppably in a crowded room with one of my closest friends rene, cups and years of coffee with brilliant friends, confidences with my mother, dress up with my daughter, travel and food and wine, and a dozen dogs rescued. lavender-scented maya bundled in a towel in my arms after a bath, an enviable and hard-won relationship with my daughter’s father and one of my very best friends. my sister and my sister ring and our road trips and history and my love for her and her love for me. is my innocence gone? hardly. does the softness and prettiness of life fail to move me now? it never fails me. can i embody it still, do i feel it, can i light a room with my earnestness and belief in the human spirit, my own spirit? can i drop what no longer resonates and peel back the untruths and sit in authenticity? just watch me. for if not this strip down, this getting to the deepest heart of things, then what?

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10 Responses to “naked in winter.”

  1. Ruth Says:

    Just what I needed. Merci, bien, ma pus.

  2. erinlee Says:

    beautiful. merry christmas.

  3. lisa e Says:

    from another turning 45 in 2010, how beautifully lived and beautifully said; a wonderful gift you have and have given. thank you for your wonderful thoughts and insights this year; may they continue on and on as they have uplifted me and inspired me and i love you for it. merry christmas to you and yours!

  4. Caroline Says:

    I wish i knew that girl! She looks like an adventurer. xo, c

  5. June Says:

    Beautifully written words that provoke thoughts, emotion and meaning in me. I’m blessed to have you in my life. Keep it coming sister!

  6. mel Says:

    Thank you for putting into words what we all would like to express. You write about peoples inner dialouges, unspoken fears, and hopes. You are a gift. Thanks for you!xoxoxo

    -Mel

  7. Jim Says:

    Getting naked, being naked, underneath our smiles we are all naked. When I am courageous and warm enough to be naked I can see you also. In those moments I have seen the glorious, all loving, gratitude filled universe reflected in infinite depth from the moisture of your skin..and all I can do is cry. I stopped by the Grand Canyon where Janice and I shared our first week end together, hiking, adventuring and slowly stripping the smiles and fears away. I cried yesterday for a long time. And then I pulled on my turtle neck smile with the fear woven fabric and got back to work. Thank you for the reminder.
    Jim

  8. myriam Says:

    a life illuminated!
    so bright and shiny and loved.
    xo

  9. javier Says:

    changes…

    mi father is in the hospital, about to die. It is a mater of hours…

    I just wanted to tell you, share it with you.
    My old friend.

    You will be always beautiful to me.

  10. Tina Louise Wilson Says:

    a wonderful inspirational read. a very familiar road to me right now as well. thanks for being you and i am grateful as hell that you are such a dear friend.


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