Today was my first pay day in four months, solid evidence in my pocket that I have, in fact, been working.
It has been exhausting. So much so that even starting to write this, whatever it might turn out to be, feels like an enormous effort. I thought that I should check in though, lest you think that I have disappeared from the face of the earth.
It has been a tremendous change. Good, in many ways (my teaching has never been better); I feel valued, welcomed back; liked: there is a certain societally accepted pleasure in the ‘dignity of labor’, I suppose- I am bringing home the bacon.
At the same time, the physical toll, on these pathetic legs of mine, has been quite considerable. My dreams also became immediately more turmoiled, violent ( as well as the love and the mutual energization there is also a certain violation of the psyche in the act of teaching – I have always felt that).
It is just so damn HARD to thrust yourself back into the ‘swing of things’ when your joints hurt so terribly from the effort of it : yes, increasingly I can walk without a stick and can even pick up a pace when I eventually get going; but standing in front of a class then sitting down, standing up again is like tearing limbs off a crustacean, like a bulldozer swearing through earth, a painful stretch of metal and atrophied muscle and ligaments and stiff, cartilaged tissue that leaves me feeling broken, ancient, and embarrassed.
And really tired. The first week, after the immense, soul-leavening effort of ‘communing’ with new students, walking distances with my backpack full of text books ( and perfumes materials, water; and sundries), when I finally got home from Yokohama to the handicapped bed in the kitchen, so depleted I felt despair, unable to move, I felt like throwing in the towel.
I HATE this new reality. My confidence and self-image have been significantly damaged. A stick is so incredibly aging. My gait has irrevocably altered. I feel ungainly, fat, and old.
And incredibly, ever more so, aware of smell. To a maniacal, Patrick Suskind, level of critical consciousness. My god, the breath and body odour of some of the teachers. The horror at the knowingness of my own smell, how it lingers like an Other now that I am in my new suits and my rosy, profiled template ( today I miraculously found two bottles of Parfums de Rosine Roseberry, reportedly discontinued, just as I finished my what I thought might be my last bottle – I snapped both of them up on the spot and am really delighted ).
I need nice perfume now more than ever. It acts as a buffer, and a bridge. It restores a modicum of self dignity, it floats around my senses ; reminds me of sturdier, younger days.