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Learning and trying to be kind and living my life as fully as I can stand it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The unhermiting

Buying books that I loved in order to give them to people I love makes me feel happy. Full of good memories of curling up in a quiet corner to read. I add books to my cart on Amazon and then feel a dip in joy as I tell myself that I should buy these books from a local bookstore to support my community and small business. Yep. That right there is a good insight into how I feel a lot of the time. My values bat against my forehead like kitten paws playing with a soft toy. . .until one unleashes its claws and the points sink into flesh. You should! Because I believe strongly in supporting local bookstores. Just as I believe strongly in feeding my children healthy foods and in teaching them manners and in not having too many toys and in. . . so many things.

Should is a dirty word. It is an almost constant bedfellow of mine. I keep trying to kick it out but it really likes to snuggle up close.

Back in October when I was flying high and writing every day I was living life without the spectre of Should. It was gone. I felt like I'd put down my 1,000 pound back back--the bag full of caring so damn much what other people think. It was exhilarating. A little scary even. My mind was so powerful--I could see connections between people and ideas create themselves in the air in front of me, like physical, obvious things. I felt so joyful and strong and sure. The clarity. . .I miss it.

These days I can't get away from feeling raw and vulnerable. So self-conscious. I hate it. I knew the post-hospital feelings wouldn't last forever but it's been an especially rough come down. The back pack is cinched tight on my shoulders and I wake up every morning stiff and sore. I have about seven half-written blog posts that I started and then stopped because I couldn't stand the sound of my own written voice. Blech. Why would anyone want to read this? So navel-gazing and unimportant. Why do I even have a stupid blog? The insecurity just seeps into every pore and I feel pathetic. Even as a part of me knows this is not the truth. Knows what to do to get away from it or try to. I just can't right now.

And I keep it largely to myself. When I was full of joy and the feeling of really getting it, getting what this life is all about, I wanted to share it with everyone I knew. Here! Take this wisdom and add it to whatever you have going on. But the itchy, doubting, yucky blahness? That makes me want to sink into the couch and eat crappy, soothing food and watch TV and maybe drink some booze. . .during the day. It makes me want to be a hermit because I don't want any advice. I don't want any reassurance. I only want someone to step inside my brain and heart and know exactly, 100% how I feel so there is no chance of misinterpretation. That person can give me advice. Or even better take over my life for a while and make all the decisions.

I am incredibly hard on myself and veer into the dark and serious. Which then makes me the lame person at the party who you don't want to stand next to because all I want to do is talk about the main purpose of life. . .and all everyone else wants to do is have a few drinks and have fun. Sometimes I feel like I don't know how to have fun. This is a metaphorical party of course because I don't actually go to real parties anymore.

So I've been quiet. Sensitive and wounded and shy and silent. Wanting to say something meaningful about the violence and fear in the world and falling short anytime I try. Wanting to share the exquisite shuffle from piercingly sweet moment of parenting to"I need to be away from here" as I walk out the door immediately upon the arrival of my husband because I can not take another minute of my children.

People help us so much and, yes, we could certainly ask for and find more help. We should (there's that fucking word again.) But the help we really need is the ability to call for a sub. Like, now! Not the help that needs to be planned and arranged...the kind where I could have someone immediately walk in and take over the minute I need help. That can happen, right? The ancient arrangement of entire communities living in the same cave makes so much sense. I could ride off and hunt with weapons and blood and fierceness and fresh air and leave my little ones with someone else for the moment. And then I could come back and be their primary caregiver again. Yes. Who wants to join my cave?

Thank you to my friend Cat for the push and the hug to get back to it, even while I'm feeling raw and vulnerable. Especially while I'm feeling that way. Here's to all of you, navigating the choppy waters wearing or carrying luggage that needs to be put down. I have no solutions but I offer you my camaraderie and my company.

Friday, December 4, 2015

A little post

It's quiet in the house. Dark outside. The kids will be home soon.

I'm online, searching for a nativity scene. A creche. The set of figures that represents the birth of Jesus. Surprised to discover that I care a lot about having one and I care much more than I would have guessed about what it looks like.

Will I teach my children about Jesus? Geez, that is a big question.

Will we teach them about Santa?

I'm telling you, being in the parent role as we approach this holiday is bringing up all sorts of big questions that I don't feel ready to answer. And yet here I am, discovering that I want a nativity scene with a separate baby Jesus--not one with the babe in Mary's arms. So. . .huh. Maybe some of the decisions have already been made.

Christmas to me meant sleeping in the same bed with my brother and my sister on Christmas Eve until very recently. It meant new pajamas. Christmas morning meant beautiful, hushed, glowing tree with lights and three new ornaments from Santa every year. Donuts on a plate in the kitchen, from Santa. Taking turns opening presents, varying the order every year--from oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest or starting in the middle. We each watched the other with love and happiness, so glad to be able to gift one another.

It meant Christmas music, but more the religious songs like Adeste Fidelis or Joy to the World. Silent Night. The wood-smoke smell in chilly air. The big tree on the Eastern edge of Golden Gate Park with long strands of colored lights wrapping it in long columns. Magical. Midnight Mass, or an earlier Mass, with the familiar story of waiting for a child to be born.

It meant looking out the window from the back seat of the car, wondering in amazement at the moon following us home. Feeling safe and warm with my parents in the front seat, my siblings next to me.

Joy is hard to find right now, it seems. I feel blue a lot of the time. Overwhelmed. Surrounded by things I wish were done. Being hard on myself. Feeling so thin-skinned and sensitive and self-conscious that it's hard to come here to write because I second-guess almost every word that comes out of my mouth. And this is not how I want to be.

I think I'll go make a fire so I can welcome my four healthy children into a home that is warm.