Papilio Machaon

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Once a week, I change my sheets. When I do this, I sprinkle lavender oil over the new sheets and pillowcases. For several days afterwards I sleep in a field of French lavender. I do this for you.


My therapist asked me what my plan was for school break. This was after I'd failed to make several appointments, having convinced myself that I was simply too busy to go to therapy from August to December.  These failures would be easily explained by the tumult of the semester, but I am too honest to name them for anything but avoidance.  I know myself. I avoid. 

She didn't ask what my plan was exactly, but she did kindly ask what obsession I intended to pursue. She, too, is honest.

"Korean Skin Care Regimes", answered I.  This, also, was truthful. 

"A rug", says I.  "Putting all of my shoes back into the boxes." 

"Playing stupid video games."

"Cleaning and organizing my eyeshadow and eyeliner."

"Buying Christmas cards and then feeling too tired to address them and send them out."

"Finding vintage cape clasps and re-fitting the vintage green wool cape from Germany I found in Montreal."


My obsessions - for they are little manic phases - are useful in their own bizarre way. They hyperfocus me on the pursuit of knowledge or skill. They make me nearly instantly expert on a whole range of esoteric knowledge. 

Mostly, I just have to ride them out and wait for them to fade.  Many do fade. Some never do. 


I experienced a strange delight in sending my child to Italy this winter school break. There is something so...beyond ... in that accomplishment. At 44, I consider her future in a way that I do not anticipate my own. I envy her time, but not jealously. I envy her being able to travel, having a desire to travel at her age. Her self confidence is evident as she easily traveled and spoke French and maneuvered through Italian Metro's and cafe's in a way that a 16 year old me would have never dared.


She returns and falls into a small depressive cloud. It is too small here. She is too worldly for this place.  I soothe. I speak words of support and clarity.  She will be 17 in May.

I see myself, sharply, in her transitioning persona. I tell her that it is all right for her to grow up and grow away from me.  She cries, and we snuggle. Her nearly adult body falls into me that same way that her toddler body did.

The following day I cry in my therapists office.


Tonight I sleep in my sheets that smell of French Lavender.  I close my eyes and think of fields in Provence where I lay with you. 

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