A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. Eleanor Roosevelt
That’s one of the take-aways from my time as President of the Junior League of Charlottesville. At the stroke of midnight tonight, my tenure as President is complete.
May has been more about hot water than cakes and champagne. I’ve gone through a lot of peppermint tea; it’s good for headaches AND upset stomachs, in case you were wondering. However, we’re finishing on an upswing, thanks to a good eye exam for Sissy today.
I had this vision that on June 1, my inbox would echo with its emptiness and I’d suddenly have free time to spare. That isn’t going to be the case, so I don’t know that there will be a return to regular blogging. I’m having a pre-midlife crisis, I guess; I am really questioning a lot about my life and where I want to go from here. I’ve spent the past three-plus years focusing on the Junior League to the point of exclusion of other parts of my life, and as fate would have it – not that I believe in fate, mind you – there has been so much upheaval in my life in 2014 (because even though my mother died on December 26, 2013, her memorial service was January 2 of this year) that I can’t simply start marching down the post-JLC Presidency bucket list.
Sure, I’d still like to get Gretchen in a class or working with a trainer who can help both of us deal with her anxiety better, but frankly, until I can drive to and from Sissy’s eye appointment (a whopping 100+ mile, one-way trek that takes me past my recently departed friend’s home, within a few miles of the home of my youth, and the graves of my father, grandparents, etc.) without weeping, I think maybe I need to drop back and focus on a concept two very wise women – one of my college sisters (we were assigned “sisters” in each class above us when we were freshman) and the barely-blogging gMarie – have reminded me of more than once… You can’t give from empty.
It goes against my nature to admit my well is dry, but there you go. I’m still trying to put on my happy face and I’m definitely putting one foot in front of the other, but I did actually ask the Knight a couple of weeks ago how one becomes the fragile flower who opts out of life because it’s just too much. I think I could get into about a month-long “breakdown” where I could just blog, walk the dogs for miles on end, and sip a lot of tea while reading. (And no, that’s not an option, not even for a day.)
Cue Chaplin’s Smile, or Annie’s Tomorrow. Heck, play them both. They’re a little melancholy, but one of my theme songs remains Melissa Manchester’s “Don’t Cry Out Loud.” Just so you know, it’s impossible to sing with a wee JRT licking your face.
See… the problem is that EVERYONE is struggling through something, and if not, they will be soon enough. I had this crazy idea as a teen that I was getting all of my trials and suffering out of the way early, and the rest of my life would be smooth sailing. Actually, my early years just prepared me to deal with all the mess that is life. We all have highs and lows, and I just learned early how to roll with the punches and keep on keeping on. I’m humming Tanya Tucker’s “Strong Enough to Bend” now. It’s about love, but the concept of bending instead of breaking really speaks to me. (Maybe that’s why I like yoga so much too?)
The good thing about hot tea is that even a properly tempered teapot with a great cozy can’t hold the heat in but for so long. Now that it’s not my job to steer the JLC ship, I feel a cool breeze, and the tree is bending in the wind.