Monday, June 27, 2011

London or bust...part 2

So, a month ago I sat alone at a pub in Leicester Square.  I enjoyed, perhaps, the best glass of wine I've ever had.  I had a little time before the curtain went up for "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Wyndham Theatre.   It had rained on and off most of the day, culminating in a thunderstorm.  Anyone who knows me knows I hate thunderstorms.  I am terrified by lightning, convinced that its sole purpose is to kill me.

Late in the afternoon, prior to my trek to the Leicester Square pub, I walked alone across Green Park, adjacent to Buckingham Palace, while pouring rain and lightning danced around me.  I walked briskly,  all the while chanting to myself "I am not going to get struck by lightning and die in London."  Finally, I made it back to my hotel, while the storm continued.

I was soaked from head to toe, and had about an hour to get put back together and out again to make it to the theatre by 7:30.   By the time I was ready to head out again, the rain had stopped.  The sun poked through the remaining storm clouds.  By the time I got to the pub, the late day sunlight was streaming down, reflecting off the wet streets.

And so I found a seat outdoors at a pub, with a name I now cannot recall.  I took a deep breath, and a long, slow, deliberate sip of wine.  I had made it through the storm, and now all was calm.  I was at peace,  happy.  It was a moment of such simple pleasure, and yet the kind of moment that is  so elusive in my real life.

I keep asking myself what I have gained by traveling to London on my own.  At the very least, I have found my "happy place".  When everything seems to be falling apart around me, the mundane routine exacerbated by frustration, I think back to that moment at the pub.  I take a deep breath and remember that I  traveled on my own, I made my way through a foreign city on my own.  I am strong and brave, and will never be the same again.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

London or bust...

So it's been a almost a month since I went to London on my own.  Those four days were absolutely life-changing.  I traversed the ocean on my own, set foot on foreign soil on my own.   I toured the city without a map, and didn't get lost.  I ate alone in restaurants, I went to the theatre by myself.   I shopped.  I rode the subway.  I walked in the rain without an umbrella.  I did all of this on my own, yet I wasn't lonely.    I was in my city--London.   I felt so at ease over those four days.  I was my own person.  Not someone's wife, not someone's mother.  Not a daughter, not a sister, not a nurse.  Just...myself.  So how can I come home and be the same person I was before I left?

I have struggled with that question everyday since I returned.  The minute I got off the plane, I was thrust right back into all those roles.  I had responsibilities, a job, chores that I had to attend to.   I was no longer my own person, but the person that had to be there for others.  I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, sister, nurse.  There's no way around that life.  I spend a great deal of time meeting the needs of others--it is an inherent part of the role I play.  Caretaker, problem solver, healer.  I love that part of my life, but that's the point.  It's only a "part" of my life.  But what about the other part?  The part that loves culture and books,  and British television and sci-fi, and fine art and the ballet.   How do I feed that part of my soul?  It's not as easy as it probably should be.