Saturday, July 5, 2014

Discovery — I Am Who I Am

I was seven when I decided to give my life to poetry. Now I'm 74, and indeed it is what I have done.

Now that I am alone, and nearly two years have passed, I begin to realise that I am doing much the same things I always did — certainly during my 20 years with Andrew, and many that date back much longer than that. I'm a creature of long habit.

I notice it most when I sit at my computer and work on poems, or tasks related to poetry: reviews, revision, workshopping, collaborations.... With or without a husband, a 9-5 job, children or pets, friends or hobbies, courses of study, spiritual odysseys or geographical travels — being engaged with the writing of poetry has been my constant. 

It hasn’t made me great or famous, and certainly not wealthy, but it is the way I have chosen to spend my life, and in its own way has given me purpose and fulfilment. I continue to turn to it naturally: my lifelong habit.

Other habits aren't vocational, but I like them all the same — perhaps simply because they ARE habits. There are just certain ways I like to do things, whether it's the food I eat, the way I wash the dishes, the time of day I have my shower, or the shows I watch on telly. I've made a few changes to suit the fact that I'm pleasing no-one but me now, but I find myself going, mostly, through the same routines as ever.

I live my life much as I did when Andrew was here, except that I’m doing it by myself. It often feels as it used to when he was alive; I slip almost into that comfortable awareness of the partner, the companion, the mate somewhere nearby. 

I realise that many of the things I do when I am taking only myself into account are things I also did when I was partnered … and when I was partnered before … and when I was single in between … and when I was a young student who’d not yet married….

The me inside was always here. There isn't any new or hidden self to discover. Perhaps it's clearer now, since the fading of the "other" in my head — but really it was always clear enough.