Back in early ’81 when I first got into recovery, I boo–hoo’d to a very wise woman about the latest in my then disastrous choices in relationships.
I was following her around as she cleaned her house. I whined as she scoured her pink–tiled bathroom sink. I whined as I perched on the pink bathtub watching her work. I was also so self-obsessed it never occurred to me to ask if I could help.
Finally she stopped. Hands encased in yellow rubber gloves, a container of Comet in one hand, a green and yellow sponge in the other, she just looked at me. She tilted her head to the right. I was in her way. Her next chore was scouring the bathtub.
Sputtering my thanks, I tried to escape; to get out of her way. She wasn’t finished with me quite yet.The yellow gloved hand with the Comet rested on her left hip as she pointed at me with the sponge.
“Honey, get yourself the biggest, heaviest item you have, that takes up a lot of room in your bed and sleep with it for a year before you have any more relationships.”
That item turned out to be my typewriter. And it did take up a lot of bed space and yes, I was teachable back then and I shared my bed with it for a very long time.
I remember that typewriter on my bed. The weight of it. The size of it. It took up a lot of space on my bed. There was a comfort in that emptiness being filled as I began my journey of figuring out who I was as a person. There were some labels I couldn’t shake off as easily; a single mom and Asian woman.
I started to untangle that knot inside me that, frankly, I am still untangling. You know, that one that sneaks up out of the blue quietly whispering: ‘You really are not enough.’
I had to start to figure out what my inner compass was, not just what given to me by my parents, my teachers, the world. What is that line in the sand that I will not cross. And more importantly, am I willing to take a stand even if no one stands with me?
Being that Typewriter Girl all those years ago was a great exercise in changing a behavior. Who’d a thunk it that I also followed a suggestion?
The biggest piece of information I got from that whole experience was the fact that I was making a conscious choice. A 45 pound IBM Selectric does not just appear on one’s bed. That choice led me to wonder what other choices I had. Having choices has been an important part of my journey.
Almost 40 years later, my black hair is now very white (yeah, my hairdresser says I need to stop being in denial and describing my hair as ‘salt and pepper’), I’m a few pounds heavier, my boobs sag and I’m invisible to men. I am a crone, and proud of it.