An Elegant Refresher


Last night, I spent the night at the West Baden Springs Hotel in southern Indiana, my first night far away from home (too far to get back at a moment’s notice) without Elizabeth in almost two years. It was fabulous! A real vacation away, if only for 24 hours. The resort was gorgeous, the food divine, the suite was luxurious – though the bed could have been a touch comfier – and it was a great night away! The property is sprawling and beautiful (West Baden Springs and French Lick Springs resorts are all on the same property) and I didn’t have time to explore but we are already planning on trying to save up to go back next year. It is not a cheap venture but they make the stay and cost worthwhile.

One thing I noticed last night, as I sat and enjoyed a nightcap with my husband in the gorgeous atrium was a feeling of wistfulness. ‘I miss this’, I thought. And what I meant by that was the elegance that I felt. We were n602298132_550114_9256all gussied up and it reminded me of the heyday of my larping, back several years ago when we would dress up for games, play in beautiful spaces, and have a wonderful time with friends. I miss those days. In my mind’s eye, I filled the gorgeous, domed atrium with well-dressed and creatively-costumed people having conversations here and there, a combat being run over there, an boon being negotiated at the next table. I missed it. I missed slipping into the skin of a character who wore elegance like the dress that covered my form. I miss those days. I miss the days of ladies gathered together, lacing corsets, pinning hair, tying ribbons, helping with make-up (a friend drew faint scars on my back once), complimenting costuming. It was not just larp, it was theatre, experience, community. And I miss it. I miss the me that I was when I was in it.

There is a line from a poem that I read lately, “Sometimes I Cry” by Annie Reneau, about being a mother and one line was a real gut-punch for me because it voiced a feeling that I often don’t know if I have a right to and so have been rather ashamed of:

“Sometimes I cry because in the process of gaining you, I gave up a version of me, and though I wouldn’t change that even if I could, sometimes I miss me desperately.”

I do. Sometimes I desperately miss the me that I was, the me that I am beneath the other mantles that I wear. And this short vacation allowed me to shed those mantles for a while and just be Mel for a bit. Not Mommy, not Industrious Student (I officially finished my summer grad courses two days ago), just Mel, and I got to take care of my wants and needs for a bit. And it was refreshing.

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