I went on a date with myself today.
I used to take Artist dates, a term Julia Cameron coined in her art manifesto The Artists's Way, as a way to get inspired, see the world, be by myself. It's like shopping - I don't really like to shop with other women or my husband or my mom. I like to go by myself and take my time and look and see and observe. And that time is what I miss most of all from my life before baby.
I need time to be alone - perhaps like some need time with others. And yes, I have all kinds of time alone these days but alone with a baby does not count. It does not count at all. Alone means alone - with no one to need me or alter my course or distract me.
So today, while the nugget played with his girlfriend Alex, I simply got in the car, left the to do list at home and drove downtown. (Okay, so I drove. Yes, I drove when I could have easily taken Muni. But cut me some slack - my time was limited and suddenly I have become very aware of germs and riding in a Muni bus for even 5 minutes is like swimming in an oversized petri dish. So yes, I drove.) And yes, I used precious babysitting time to just spend time with myself without really getting anything done. I won't make a habit of it - but today, I deserved it.
And what hit me immediately as I approached Market and Powell - is that there is a whole world going on. A world without babies and diapers and separation anxiety and puffs and sleep training and drool and car seats and my god the list goes on. I just wanted to stop and grab someone and say "Do you know that I had a baby?" And really, they would just look at me and say "Okay, crazy lady" and be on their way.
A world outside apartment #8. I was flabbergasted and amazed and envious.
What I wanted to do was meander through Anthropologie and get lost in the racks of clothes I was not about to buy and the home items that I have no room for in our tiny space. But I had a little bit of a mission: to find shirts that fit my postpartum/nursing body. I knew it wouldn't be fun and that I would need to swallow my pride when I looked at the size but this was part of my new year's intentions: to accept the state of this body, exactly as it is. I am only 6 days into the new year, so I have gotten to about my chin...I still have a way to go with this whole acceptance thing.
But back to my mission. I needed cheap, stylish and functional. I was/am not willing to invest a great deal of money into this new wardrobe - the first step is to accept, the second is to work really hard at changing it. Store #1, no dice. And the clock was ticking - so store #2 had to be a winner. So I marched into the Gap, grabbed a few pieces off the sale rack and was pleasantly surprised when I actually smiled at myself in the mirror.
It was a half smile - but I thought, "This will do."