Late Winter’s Night, Notes to Self

A journal entry written only a matter of months ago, but I don’t remember writing it, written as it was on the doorsill of sleep, in that silver sliver between waking life and slumber, in a winter of heightened uncertainty. I feel myself in a different place now, but recognize in my body, the truthfulness of what this stretch of the road felt like. Am grateful for its imprint.

What do I want to say to myself in this silent time of the night when bird song has stilled and night time cars roll by? I am not sure where I have been, or where I am going. My memories are slipping away and I haven’t the heart to chase after them. I am in a state of suspension, hanging, unsure whether to begin dreaming and doing again. It is an odd state to be in because usually I am impatient, full of hope and fury, but right now I am quiet and ready to stretch like a cat in the sun. I want to spend time outside and on the ground. Nothing feels urgent except living inside my body. Feeling the feeling of being inside this skin and looking out through these eyes, hearing with these ears. Everything I touch is touched by these fingers that I know so well– and yet also, not at all. This is the curiosity of these days. I am filled with very quiet quests. I am satisfied with the small scope of my life. I do not want to think about what-ifs. No grand plans, no reaching for the stars. I am happy to look out the window at the reflection of the full moon in the distant water. 

I feel far away from much of the world. My words falter when I try to voice what’s in my heart — my heart falters too. I am unsure, not so steady in my gaze. Not so certain of what I am feeling. I am more certain of what I do not feel. I do not feel social, I do not feel brimful of goodwill, or very friendly. I am not thrilling the way I used to, at the beauty and sincerity of other lives. I feel like I am on a narrow street and I am curiously satisfied with its width and the limits of what is on offer. I am not interested in broader promenades. Other people can mingle and make merry. Right now I feel content to be in this perfect paradoxical solitude of two, on the night walk of my husband’s long healing. I know this time will pass and that my heart will open to the greater world again. I am not in a hurry for that to happen, I want it to arrive in its own time, in its own readiness. 

I do not want to belong to any big groups no matter how congenial they are. I do not want to match my thoughts or my feelings to others. I want to be as I am and allowed to unfold in my own way, without the spur of guilt or the tug of inspiration. Let me not be buffeted by other people’s energies. I have moved that way for so long and now I’d rather not move at all than move in the old way. It isn’t resentment or regret that makes me feel this way — it’s an inkling of rapture — the rapture that’s eluded me all this while because I’ve been listening to someone else’s song instead of my own. I may not be very musically gifted but that is beside the point. Better my own humble beat, and raggedy tune than someone else’s grand orchestra twirling me endlessly around.

Why has it taken me so long to value my inner sovereignty? I do not say this with total disregard for other people’s influence. I love the ways in which we are capable of mobilizing one another but right now I do not particularly want to be put in motion. It is alright to sit this one out. The dance floor will not miss me. I am sure I will slip back in at some point, but for now I want to take my own turns — follow deep interior impulses and not be beholden to anyone else. There is something luxurious about this renunciation. It makes me feel more myself than I have felt in awhile. 

I do not have an image of myself to maintain and there is a freedom in that. There is no need for me to try and convince either of us that I am service-hearted, compassionate, deeply empathic or any kind of good. I can be who I am. Full of one thing and then another, unapologetic in my contradictions– and joyfully curious– about what comes next. 

9 responses to “Late Winter’s Night, Notes to Self

  • Debra MacKillop

    As a 69 year old single woman, living through the pandemic alone with a sick and aging dog, but also has a scattered extended family of adult children and a grandson ALL of whom I adore, and a support group of friends that has grown much smaller for many reasons, this verse captured my own feelings perfectly and eloquently. There is a certain freedom in this experience as you expressed. Thank you.

  • Pallavi Juneja

    Such a delight getting a notification of a new post by you. I savour each one. Thank you

  • vaishali

    thank you for pouring your heart out. bless you pavithra with peace and strength to cope with the loss. please may i request you to post one msg a day. that becomes my thought for the day and your words play in the back of my head. you have magic in your words. they heal. they help us recuperate. they create a bond of sisterhood. i shared your msg with a friend who was recently bereaved and your words were balm to her grief.

    • Pavithra K. Mehta

      You are so sweet in your encouragement Vaishali. Just to clarify — I have not experienced a loss, just a long period of uncertainty. May your friend find her way through the thicket of grief, and feel the support of dear ones like you.

      • Vaishali

        my bad totally. a thousand apologies. may you and your dear ones be blessed with good health and longevity.

  • maranelancheran

    when time descales, the moment expands into infinity making everything full and alive and nothing is lost ever…in that even the anxieties and uncertainties wear that invisible cloak…your words transport us into that infinite moment…

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