So, this is how it’s done—the re-engagement:
Flying home to Pennsylvania and sitting in the arms and on the lap of my family, propping myself up against their love. Reaching out to dear friends, asking questions, making plans. Spending time with my nephews, holding their small, warm hands, running after them through the wet grass and laughing—laughing, above all, at their silliness and sweetness. Letting my father scratch my back. Keeping my mother company on a drive through the countryside, beneath a black-and-blue sky, a thunderstorm looming, the green fields stretching and rolling before us like a young and muscled colt, restless and ready for the great burst of Spring.
And listening to my father recite poetry. And sleeping soundly in my childhood bed. And watching my sisters mother their babies, remembering it is better to be proud of their efforts than torture myself with thoughts of, “Will I ever…?”
This—the re-engagement. It is spending an entire morning cleaning my apartment, filling the fridge with fresh foods, giving the kitty extra helpings of food and of love, an apology for my absence. It is taking the car to the car wash, dropping off the dry-cleaning, returning phone calls, sorting through the mail, making a few new mixes, updating the Netflix queue, scheduling a hair cut, e-mailing friends about upcoming plans and trips.
It is remembering much of this will take time.
It is going to yoga, and sweating it all out, at day’s end.
Even as I collapsed to my knees in last night’s debacle of a yoga class, thinking how long it’s been since I’ve felt this squidgey and uncomfortable in my own skin, I reminded myself that the pain and tightness in my muscles and the sickness in my stomach was all there for a reason, was all a part of the process, the re-engagement to my life here in Boston.
Class passed, torturously slow. The air hung in thick, immobile swaths of heated and soggy humidity. Several times, I sunk to my knees. More than once, I felt the bitter prick of tears. Nausea and nonsensical thoughts churned through me like waves. It took hard, focused work just to breathe.
But, once class was over, and I lay, pooled, on my mat, a smile crept across my face. It had been messy, yes. I had doubted my resolve, my strength. I wanted to quit more times than I wanted to persevere. Not one single second of the 90 minutes newly finished felt good or empowering or encouraging.
And yet, I knew—with a calm and steeled certainty—that my efforts were not in vain. None of my efforts are, in or out of the hot room.
Because this is how it goes—the re-engagement, I mean.
It is messy and strange, uncomfortable and awkward and tediously slow at times. It is not always fun.
And yet, I can feel myself lifting my chin, readying my reserves, reaching out to those I need. Because I am committed to muddling my way through, to making my way back to feeling at home here, once again.