I love days where you get to do all the things you want to do.
Each and every day is eaten up by so much have to. Have to get out of bed. Have to go to work. Have to pay attention at work all day, have to be polite and friendly and efficient. Have to repress the urge to actually maim all the people you swear under your breath you’ll maim as you check out at Wal-mart/get stuck in traffic/try and fix a paper jam on the office printer.
And even beyond the obligations, there’s so much compromise. Where to meet friends for supper, and how long to stay out. What to watch on the TV as you lounge on the couch with your husband/girlfriend/roommate/mother.
The best days are the days where you get to do absolutely whatever it is you want to do. The lovely little things, sometimes just the quiet things — things we can’t always make time for, in the hustle and the bustle of the day to day, the obligations, the have to. The things that actually make us saner and nicer and more patient and rested, but aren’t technically seen as necessary, so they’re the first things to be dropped, when life starts to get hectic.
First of all, Shaun and I got to sleep in together. That alone was a miracle. Y’all know how it is — you know you’re really an adult when the concept of sleeping in is no longer considered a necessity, it becomes a luxury. Sometimes, it becomes wishful thinking, or I did that once, a long time ago. I relish my mornings sleeping in, because they’re so rare — but I do get to do it. I have a few people in my life who don’t, really, ever. These are the mornings where I snuggle deeper into my pillow fort and think, okay, yeah, it is okay that we don’t have kids yet, and fall back asleep. And Lord, it’s rare enough for me to get to sleep in — but for Shaun to get to sleep in too? We always want to try and pretend we’re going to make big brunch plans for Sunday mornings, but the truth is, if we’re both actually able to be home together, it’s a damn delicious luxury to get to snuggle up together while the fan whirs lazily over head and the cat purrs on our feet.
We got up, we got a lazy lunch, we were lazy slobs on the couch together, for as long as we possibly could be. Shaun showered, I took the trash out, did the last of the little tasks from the #friendsfamily dinner and movie party the night before. Admired how clean the house still was from the deep clean I’d done the day before, how much of that had survived the get together, the popcorn-into-each-other’s-mouth-tossing contest and the kids pretending to be the Hulk and the five separate kinds of dessert everyone brought.
Shaun had to go to work and well, that wasn’t ideal. Sunday’s his least favourite shift, and I’d always rather have him with me — but again, there are little activities and hobbies that I’m less inclined to do when he’s at home. I walked — which we do often, together — but I got to put in my headphones, blast my music, get walking to the beat in that way we ex-color guard members and aged dancers love. Choreographed in my head. It was hot — not quite so hot as yesterday, less humid, but hot enough. Hot for the first week of September.
Came back, stretched, did some yoga but — Emi’s given me ballet fever lately. I’m preparing to take over her Tech & Anatomy and Advanced Ballet classes for about four weeks while she’s waiting for SB, having SB, and recovering from having SB. It’s a little daunting, my strength is always in choreo and modern and conceptual things, so while I love ballet — and I really do, I love ballet — it’s not my forte. Emi teaches a very classical ballet class, with the full barre with complicated combos and then, center, the adagio, the petite allegro, the reverence at the end. I’ve been working to beef up my classical ballet vocabulary and today, I just — did it. Did the full barre, both sides, at home, using the back of the couch.
Ballet is a vast number of things, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m not great at it. But I love a ballet class, because ballet is first and foremost, so precise. There are so many rules, and absolutely every part of your body has a very specific place to be, in every single movement. There’s no way to do even just a ballet barre and not be, just, super aware of how hard you are working, both mentally and physically. There is no rest in ballet, you must constantly be thinking about each step, whether to close in front or in back, where the arm is, where the head is, pulling your ribs in, tucking your tailbone, dropping your shoulders, turn out, extension — what comes next — what comes next — and what’s best of all, you’re supposed to make all of that look easy.
The nice thing is that if you really do work at it, you really can feel yourself getting better. There is a very marked list of ways to measure your progress in ballet; how long you can balance, how high you can lift your leg, how sharp you can make your movements, how soft. I can feel myself improving in each of those things — slowly, incrementally — but doing the barre at home goes a long way in making improvemnts for the next class.
And then — time for me to go to work. Working on this here website. Watching dance videos for inspiration. Meditated briefly, admired how nice the sunshine streaming through the windows looks on the hardwood floor, on the tablecloth and the vase of flowers left on the dining room table from last night.
Sat down and read several pages of Louise Glück poetry. I’ve got to make myself make time for poetry — it’s not easy to buzz through, or sink into, like fiction. You’ve got to work at it, you’ve got to hold it in your head and suck on it for a while, like a peppermint. But every time I make time to do it — it’s so soothing. It’s so comforting, and challenging, and inspiring all at the same time — especially Louise Glück. I’ve got her complete works, and have been slowly working my way through it for the last couple years. Reading it in big chunks, like the collections themselves. Today, I read a long section concentrating on specific nature images, the poppy, the hawthorn tree repeated over and over again — but addressing a cold, detached persona, commenting on how they interacted with the world. Very haunting, and tinged with this bitterness — but the pairing with the nature imagery grounds it, makes it very down to earth in almost a tired, weary way.
Brief break for a shower, and some sustenance. Rereading my current fiction project. Finally buckling down and writing a few pages. Pausing, rereading, reflecting. I’d like to say I’ll write another few pages before calling it a night, but we’ll see how well the inspiration will flow.
The lamps are light low, now, The Civil Wars on Spotify to put me in a properly melancholy for writing; Kitty’s asleep in her dad’s chair, we’re both waiting for him to get home. It’s been a good day, after a good night. One of those healing, restful days that helps get me back to ground zero, so I can get ready for whatever projects come up next. I talked on the phone to my mama a few minutes ago, and I told her, I feel like days like this can be spiritual. Taking the time to nurture yourself, resting. Filling yourself up with energy and patience again. She knew what I meant, she’d spent the day going to church and having a nap and walking around in nature over in Southern Illinois and sitting outside with her tea at dusk, watching her kitties and the dogs caper through the leaves. It’s like the Sabbath in all ways, she said, it’s always the rest day.