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A TENDER SELF
January 8, 2007
 
Is this a cold I feel coming on? I suspect that it is -- I shook at least a hundred hands yesterday, and at least one of them must have belonged to someone who was either coming down with something or getting over it.

I have a modest array of remedies given me by various wise women: Emergen-C, which is a vitamin immunity boost, from Anna. Zicam, a gel which you apply to your nose at the first sign of trouble, also from Anna. A tea for the throat from Dottie. I don't have any Airborne, but I'm going to run out and get some when the drug store opens, because why not?

The calendar is fairly calm today. If I can see my way clear to going to Curves wearing gloves and a paper mask, I will do so. Otherwise, the hell with it. I was going to get my blood tested today, but I'll wait a day or two: lots of germs in my blood today, I'll bet.

So I should be free to work at home. I owe work to a few people, and perhaps I can dispatch some of it. But even here, I must be circumspect: illness saps mental energy, not just physical energy. I've never been able to understand that. Here is what I look like when I work: I am sitting in a chair typing. I stare into space for a long time and then I type a little more. More staring, a little more typing. That's the "work" I do at home. Nothing about it should make a person tired. And yet I am bone-weary at the end of a day of it.

Oh, my energy in days gone by! My dependable body! My ability to walk a cold to death, to pull an all-nighter if I had to, to triumph over things -- all so changed.

But so what? I see now that some of the things I spent a great deal of my limitless energy on weren't really worth it. Others could have done them, or they could have gone by the boards, and the world none the poorer for it. Now, things must be as they are, and I can't make them otherwise by a prodigious exercise of the will.

A new tenderness toward myself has overtaken me, a new sense that tomorrow is another day. I still find it a little shocking, this new self with her modest goals, but these days she attracts me strongly. It isn't all up to you any more, she whispers. And, as a matter of fact, it never was.
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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