Sunday, September 23, 2007
Betwixt and between~
I got some good news a couple of days ago. The Chicken Soup series is going to include an essay I wrote in their "Chicken Soup For the Empty Nester."
They asked for a brief bio-- no more than fifty words. Me in a nutshell-- the traditional paragraph written in third person where I tell about myself as if I weren't me.
Actually, I have five versions of me in my "brief bio" folder, because some publications allow more words, and each publication warrants a different style.
None of my bios would do, though. They all began: Ruth is a teacher, or, Ruth has been teaching for more than . . .
The book will be published in June 2008. I will be retired then. I need a new bio for the future. In the publishing world the future is always ahead of reality. The future is now.
I revised my bio to say: Ruth is a retired teacher . . .
No big deal. I liked the sound of it, but my subconscious had something to reveal.
I dreamt I had given birth to a baby girl. I was thrilled, but I wasn't taking care of her. I was going about my surreal dream business, leaving her in the care of others. No worries. I felt safe doing this, and thought about her often.
At some point, I asked that she be brought to me. Whoever had been taking care of her-- I don't even know-- carried her carelessly, nearly upside down, not protecting her head. She was tossed down in front of me looking nearly dead.
I began taking off layers of her clothing that were making her sweat. (It figures I'd get a baby who has hot flashes, too.) She perked right up, and became alert. I noticed how beautiful she was.
I think too much, analyze too much, my husband tells me. Just live, he says. Don't try to find a reason for everything. So I've been ignoring the odd feelings lately, the betwixt and between, neither here nor there sense. The feeling of metamorphosis, of being squeezed in a cocoon, but it's too soon to emerge. Asking the proverbial adolescent question tweaked for midlife: Not who am I? But who will I be next?
I am a teacher. I've said that for 34 years. Next year I will say, I am a retired teacher. But that's not enough. Who else will I be? My dream . . . am I pregnant with a new me?
I took a walk today, the first day of fall. Summer to fall transitions were everywhere. It was beautiful. I took comfort.