Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A woman's place is inside a bubble?

I have just returned from a nine-day solo vacation, visiting friends and family in New York and Massachusetts. There is a mood I get into while away from frequently-seen faces and practiced routines that is a sort of pleasant isolation, as if I am in a bubble of non-judgmentalism that has a sheen of good will. It may come off as pleasant to others as well, though it is not necessarily my usual style. Since I am not investing daily in the outcome of the situations I enter while on a trip, I can be generous and calm. But it’s not a personal generosity. My mind feels empty, unattached. I imagine it’s Zen-like, but it could be merely repression (my dreams during trips are quite complex and intense). But during the day, though conversation abounds, emotions were either absent or stifled. I could barely detect any within myself, aside from the two flares of irritation that burst briefly when my parents called my name as I was leaving a room, forcing me to pay attention just as I was about to do something else. This happened once with each parent. I hope I made up for this by simply staying in the room next time as long as possible, giving what seemed to me benign (non-resentful) attention. What did it cost me? I could only act like this because I had little else to do. I participated in social events with friends and at-home time with family without experiencing a strong sense of involvement, whatever that means. This cannot happen in my “real” life. I have too much energy to remain detached. I often throw myself into my non-vacation life the way I used to with the pretend games I played as a kid, like “cops and robbers,” or “house.” This suggests that my non-vacation life is, in fact, a collection of games, such as “job,” “marriage,” “creative community participation,” and so forth. If so, I am happy to be “winning” some of them. On vacation, I could place bets, but I wasn’t really allowed to play. You know what I mean?