While journaling yesterday I discovered I have an inner Madeleine L’Engle. When I picture the author of ‘A Winkle in Time’ and ‘Circle of Quiet’ (my favorite) I see a comfortably-sized lady in a African-style moo-moo, lots of large, clunky jewelry and a laissez-faire attitude about housework and bedtimes. I don’t know if I have her pegged exactly but this image of her has taken residence in my soul.
On the outside I am a jean-wearing (no, NOT mommy jeans, mine are boot-cut and come nowhere near my natural waist, thank you), anxiety-ridden, not-so-much-fun mother. I don’t know how to play and baskets of laundry piled in my office can send me into a frenzy. I don’t have the patience to do much with my brillo-pad of hair other than stuff it away at the back of my head or put more on my face than a swish of bronzer and a dash of mascara. I do “do” jewelry – my hands feel embarrassingly naked without the oversized rings I prefer, but I frequently forget to wear the many necklaces and bracelets I angle for each birthday and Christmas.
But inside there resides a different woman. This woman wears long, floaty skirts, with boots in the winter and sandals in the summer. She has bangles up her arms and huge wooden ear-rings peeking from beneath her wild hair. She raises early to walk with her large dog and comes home to a tidy, sunny, beautiful, antique and art-filled office where in perfect serenity she writes all morning. She laughs easily and plays in earnest. In her sun room she dances with abandon to Indian and African drum music.
I have had this authentic person inside for many years, I just didn’t know she had Madeleine for a muse.
Being authentic doesn’t always go over so well when you’ve forgotten the cupcakes again for your daughter’s snack day because you’ve been writing since 5AM. But through my journal I do hope to introduce and forge a relationship between these two selves. I truly believe if I can envision the life I want I will make it happen. My inner Madeleine peeks out sometimes when I am dancing with my children to a Bollywood video on YouTube or when, on a (rare) special night out I reach for the long skirt and complicated shell and bead necklace. This is the authentic, slightly eccentric me who Sarah Ban Breathnach urges us all to recognize and become one with in her book ‘Simple Abundance.’ It will take a little coaxing to get her out, she is a little shy right now, but I am working on her.