In the past nine days I have cried or almost-cried at least as many times, if not more. Probably I shouldn’t tell you this so publicly, probably I should keep this for a personal diary, but I have always been terrible at keeping a journal. It’s on my list of things to do – start a journal, this time for real, and actually stick to it – so for now I will say it here. There have been an awful lot of tears and almost-tears this week-and-two-days.
Only one of those cries was an ugly cry, a big sobbing mess of a cry, exploding my sinuses and making it painful to breathe or to do much of anything really but leak in every direction and rage impotently. One other was a delicate cry, while another was even smaller and more poetic than that. The others were merely stinging eyes, filling eyes, pricking eyes, welling-up eyes. Tears that stood but did not fall.
A thing about me: Sometimes my eyes change colors. When I cry, my eyes, eyes that lightened from a true brown to hazel as I aged, turn very green.
Eyes don’t usually do this. Well, maybe not the changing color part, because I know of other people with eyes that shift mercurially, but I mean the lightening. Eyes don’t usually become lighter as we age. In most people, they darken. Whenever I tell people about my eyes, this is what they tell me anyway. That it’s uncommon to become lighter with age.
But not impossible.
Last night I took a shower before I went to bed. I lingered beneath the running water, just warm enough to be relaxing at the end of a sunny Northern California May Saturday. I thought about the idea my friend had proposed to me, on the day I had been most emotionally upended: that while it might sound ludicrous, it was most certainly the moon because everyone she knew was distraught. I thought about moons, and what moons meant to women. I thought about what it meant to be a woman, what it meant to me to be a woman. I thought about the fact I had never really given thanks to the girl I had been. I thought about how little we own our bodies, in so many senses of the word own. I thought about the ways we perform every day, to others and even to ourselves, how often we are honest, and perhaps how rarely. I thought about how I would be performing when I wrote this. I thought about the women I was reading, the words and memoirs that were changing me and teaching me to truly be fearless. I thought about letting go of a lot of things, about the worry that maybe this was all something I should have gone through in my 20s, because that’s when you go through things like this, when you carefully craft who you are, layer by layer, influence by influence, and should be finished by that most certainly by your late 30s.
As the water ran down my face and neck, I rubbed my fingers on my brow and down across my eyelids, down past my nose and mouth. I could smell garlic, thyme picked from the herb box, and the bright, sweet perfume of Meyer lemon, brazenly purloined from an unknown neighbor’s yard in broad daylight. I ran my hands down with the water, past my breasts, to my belly, no longer quite so flat but still smooth, and held them there, quietly.
I thought, good-bye to all that. I thought we are who we are, and we change how we change, and some of us are lucky enough to become lighter as we age.
Source: Flickr / ohheygreat