I walked down around the corner of the building, taking the long way around so I could pick up my mail, and I caught the sight of my shadow marching along in front of me, slightly to the right. I was surprised at how square my shoulders were, that the tilt of my head indicated confidence rather than the wilting feeling I've been fighting off for several days. I wondered for a moment at how much the shape of my shadow has changed in the last few months...there's the obvious, stomach slightly flatter...but there was this command about me that I didn't recognize in myself.
I've been on a roller coaster, up and down, up and down, all around. I started lagging about a week ago, even as things started to ever so slightly improve in all sorts of places. I wondered if I'd been kidding myself about all the changes I want to make, about how changed I feel. I wondered how much of it was bravado to carry me through this mess. I wondered how it would be in six months or a year when all the novelty has worn off and I'm just alone again. I pushed myself harder and asked more of myself and committed more, with half the heart. And that's when I told myself, somewhere deep inside to just stop for a minute. I locked myself in my apartment all weekend and barely went out except as was mandatory by life's expectations. I didn't really do much...laundry, cleaning...and of course hair color. I argued with Darius in my head, but even in fantasizing about telling him off, it ended in a draw. I watched a crazy movie called "Dark Water" and I felt like I'd get sick...it hit too close to home and it made my life feel like it would drive me crazy.
So once more I'm on my own tonight, and I came home for more of the same. I sat down and ate some grapes instead of supper. I took a bath. I wondered why it had been so long since I've cried and yet so long since I've been able to sleep all night long. The two didn't seem to match for me. But then I remembered I had to return some keys to Dan, my property manager. He had let me use a fridge in an empty apartment when mine was on the fritz. I walked them down and handed them to him and passed back through the parking lot, taking the long way so I could get my mail. And I caught a glimpse of my shadow on the brick wall. I realized in spite of myself, I truly have changed. I'm not a woman who walks with her eyes cast downward and her shoulders slumped. I reflected back on my exchange with Dan and how I met his quizzical look when I rang his bell, and how I unapologetically apologized for taking so long to return the keys. I had honestly felt no shame. And that's a novelty for me. And it's a bigger novelty that it wasn't forced or coerced, and I didn't really even think about it until well after the moment had passed.
I sit again in the quiet of my apartment, in a way reveling in the quiet of my apartment. I really am a new woman. I'm not entirely sure of what this new woman really is or looks like, but I'm proud of what she's shown me so far.