It's a windy day, the kind of day when the air throws mini-darts of dust into your already dried out contact lenses and old, urine stained newspapers whirl out of trash bins and threaten to land on your face. The creaky metal signs dangling precariously off of store awnings are on the verge of flying off, and people walk down the streets folding into themselves, bracing against the unexpected scourge of mother earth.
The wind must have rattled something inside. I felt it invading my lungs and swishing around in my veins. I feel shaken, discombobulated. Nothing feels right and I am itchy, as if my skin is too tight and I want to peel it off. My head feels like it's packed with too much, and I squeeze my palms against it to contain my thoughts.
Everything feels up in the air. My career, my pregnancy... I feel unhinged.
I've spent the past decade or so on one track - with blinders on. And suddenly I'm off track, and it is up to me to decide where to go.
Right now, I feel like letting the wind carry me wherever it will.
I've been working a temporary contract job that is bound to end any day. I am doing work I used to do as a paralegal, but it pays well for what it is. I don't mind it. Sometimes I work at home, other days I sit in cafes with wi-fi access, hanging out with the workday, mid-afternoon, latte sipping crowd. There is no pressure and no partner whose anxieties need to be constantly appeased. I don't have to worry about how to find more billable hours, whether I should stay that one extra hour in the office, whether I should get involved with this or that committee, whether I should go out of my way to chat more with this or that partner, whether I should make myself available for the drinks, dinner, boat ride, and the non-stop smiling and cheerleading that comes with the summer program, what more I should be doing to secure myself. I just do my work, and I get paid. And there is no one to impress.
Maybe I'll stay here awhile. But then what? How long can I stay here? Is it simply that I'm no longer in motion that's causing the unease? Or is it the longing to have arrived somewhere?
The other day, while shopping, I saw The Oprah Magazine, with Oprah in a fire red dress, silver buckle, arms outstretched, like a sun goddess, with this proclamation in big bold letters: "YOU are an Excellent Woman. How to finally let that message seep into your bones." I clutched it to my chest, because I want to let that message seep in. Me, a woman, apart from my career, apart from a child. Me alone. Me here and now.
So I won't play that game with myself right now, that game we played in seventh grade, where you try to decide whom to save in the nuclear shelter when there is room for only seven for twelve of you. And I won't wonder what they would do with someone like me. Oprah will save me.