This prose was originally published in Chaleur Magazine.
I loved ironing. It was my meditation. My church. My tradition. You at a computer on the green sofa. Me with a wireless headphone. Watching CBS Sunday Morning. Dancing around the ironing board. Playing with the iron. Stroking your shirts. As if they were your body and the iron was my hand. Smoothing wrinkles. Bringing order. Pouring my love through the spitting and snorting nose of the iron. I imagined that when you wore the shirts, you would feel my love, and draw in the energy to help you through the office days, of writing depositions, arguments, and holding your own at court.
I wanted you to feel loved, worthy, dazzling, beautiful, and powerful. I hope you did.
I still love ironing. The colorful cotton Kurtas from India. The flyaway pants hand-made by Indonesian artists. The one I wear to 5Rhythms dancing. A red Peruvian T-shirt that caught my eyes at an airport from the Amazons to Cusco. With a hummingbird.
There was a long time in between that I did not iron. I chose to wear wrinkled clothes rather than touching the iron that once represented a channel of my love. I believed that the ironed shirts somehow brought you closer to the one you met at the office, the one who was not me. I worried that it made you more attractive, approachable, smooth to her seductions. I wondered if I brought this to myself. By giving so much of myself to you, I ironed a path to my own abandonment, like a giant asphalt paver.
I swore that I will never iron another shirt for a man. I declared to all my friends so. Then I stopped ironing for myself.
Years later, I am back to ironing. Not every Sunday, but some Sundays. Not every garment but some garments. While ironing, I ask for a blessing. From the fountain of love that exists, beyond the stingy steel of the iron. May I be generous enough to offer my love without wanting anything in return. May I give myself what I needed from others and gave to others. May I dance with my own sexiness. May I smooth my own wrinkles. May I feel my own dazzlingly beautiful authentic colors wherever I am. While crunching numbers at the office. While walking in the woods singing with the birds. While sitting quietly bathing in my tears. May I iron shirts for a worthy man one day. With all the love I have, even if I am afraid to lose him.
There is no such thing as “too much loving.” There is no “irresistibly perfect ironed shirt.” There is no “self-paved road to aloneness.” There is an abundant love wanting to flow. There is a channel that opens, closes, opens again.