How To Be Kind To Yourself
by KARA VANDERBIJL
Closing up the lake house after a weekend is like tucking a child into bed. Perishables are taken out of the fridge and lined up on the counter to be claimed by parting guests, tossed in a grocery bag in the back seat of a car alongside sandals and dirty beach towels. Blinds lowered over yawning windows, closed like sleepy lids. Run the dishwasher. Sliding doors pulled shut against the cooling evening, locked. Lights extinguished, except the one over the kitchen sink which will stay on until we come back. Summer has been put to sleep.
This weekend, it was cloudy and almost too cold to be on the lake. As the boat cut through the blue waves the wind rushed up against me and took my breath away. There was nothing to do but to lean into it, to look into the glass of the sky and predict what the next months will be like. Hibernation. A little wine by the fire and a stack of books.
My summer was fat, spilling over its own edges with a sort of frenetic hilarity. I flowed happily, from one party to the next, one drink to the next, with a sense underneath that I was overflowing. Tired circles. Thighs softening. One day, sucking in a soft tummy to button my pants.
Beneath my joy I’ve always lived a bit like an ascetic, bread to bread. I like this simplicity because I know at all times what’s going in and what’s coming out, what I’ve consumed and what I’ve created. I’ve been an emotional explorer but in everything else I’ve been monastic. Closed. Shut up young, beautiful, to pray and wait and pray some more.
But I felt — this summer, at least — that I should bathe in the wine of youth. That you can be kind to yourself in small snatches between the times you’re tuckering yourself out, by eating an apple, by slowly sipping a glass of water in meditation. It’s not much. I’ve felt guilty for my lack of discipline, for my propensity to excess.
Now is not the time for settling. We’ll be old and tired soon. When our summer’s gone, we can shut the doors against what’s loud, confused, chaotic. We can settle into our foundations with a creak of contentment; we’ve seen what we meant to see. We can rest, simple.
"Heart of Gold (original dean street demo)" - Birdy (mp3)
"Light Me Up (kid harpoon demo)" - Birdy (mp3)
The new album from Birdy, The Fire Within, was released in the UK on September 23rd.