what I meant to say

I put tie-dye sheets on our bed the other day.  They don’t match our duvet but I have to stop and consider if we are the type of people who match.  It’s bedtime for the kids, I have left the house and escaped to Starbucks to write, and this is the post I meant to write for Mother’s Day.  Actually, it’s not the post at all.  It’s the post I am settling on sharing.

A few wonderful links about motherhood:

Mother’s Day Proclamation, by Julia Ward Howe, 1870

Babies to Teenagers – This is a link to a series of posts.  I love Maggie’s “Babies to Teenagers” posts she writes on her blog.  Sometimes she simply shares pictures, sometimes she writes posts so breathtaking and heart-wrenching that I am speechless. I don’t know her personally but I have been reading her blog for years and I can say with absolute certainty that she is my very favorite blogger – and a very gifted writer.

on things being hard, and what I think it means to grow up

Why I Hate Mother’s Day

What I Know About Motherhood Now That My Child Has Died

Encouragement for tired moms

My friend Ryan Hartigan’s status update on Mother’s Day:

Today, I’m thinking about the mothers (whom I’ve known personally – and, perhaps unwittingly – so many of us undoubtedly have) who try to shield their children from the constant stream of domestic violence that they suffer, but which people find so easy to overlook while public figures cut funding for shelters for those mothers who manage to make the escape; I’m also thinking about the unthinking judgment visited upon those mothers by figures who’ve never had to endure violence, who berate them for what should apparently be so easy to escape, even though these mothers get stalked by abusive partners who will not let them go. My grandmother could have told you all about that. But she fell into all of the above categories. And she died.

I’m thinking about all the mothers who work three jobs and bust their asses to get by and get reprimanded for apparently not being good enough mothers, by people who have the resources to make all their own choices with ease; I’m thinking about mothers who love their children but are apparently automatically flawed (despite the statistics showing otherwise) because others think it’s a problem that their children happily have two mothers; I’m thinking about mothers who don’t get access to basic healthcare when the resources are available, and die from eminently treatable conditions; I’m thinking about mothers who get judged for not having belly six-packs after they’ve had children; I’m thinking about all the mental conditions which can and should be addressed but are dismissed as female neuroses; I’m thinking about the examples of rape culture which should change the most unthinking minds, but don’t, as mothers try to prepare their children for a world that doesn’t think that these things happen very often. I’m thinking about all the mothers who made tough decisions.

Sarah McLachlan’s status update on Mother’s Day:

Just when you think you can’t take anymore, they smile at you and your heart melts and in an instant, all the feral animalistic thoughts recede. Our children have the ability to bring us to our knees , we weigh the depths of love and terror and wonder how could we ever go on without them?
They are our greatest teachers and harshest critics – our babies, born of our bodies and spirits to raise us to the highest office- motherhood. Love those babies well and love yourself even more, for you are witness to and part of an ongoing miracle. Life is rich, embrace it all, happy mothers day, Love Sarah

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I don’t want to write about motherhood.  It seems like it’s THE THING for mothers to write about and I always seem to want to rail against THE THING, no matter what it is.  When I was younger, my subject was me, myself, and I.  In addition to having the luxury to obsess over myself, I also had the luxury of time.  An old high school classmate passed away yesterday, and I am reminded that I still have time.  I think of her, and how she probably had to face up to the fact that she was going to have to leave her kids without a mother, and I am reminded that it’s okay to be so immersed in this mothering that I often can’t think of anything else.  This is my reality.

This is my reality: I don’t know how to be a mother and a wife and a human being and a woman and a writer and an employee.  I don’t know how to handle everything that I need to handle.  Some nights after the kids are in bed I clean until everything is sparkling and fresh, and within an hour of a new day, there is no more sparkle, only crumbs and dirt, smears of peanut butter, small pieces of egg on the kitchen floor.  Other nights I am at work and I come home tired and depleted and oddly wired from rushing around refilling drinks and cleaning tables and taking orders all night.  And still other nights I give up on progress and collapse on the couch to read or watch The Walking Dead.  I have words swimming through my head throughout the day but my hands are full with my children and their needs; by the time I sit down to write the words have left me.  I am exhausted, and with the addition of my third child has come the realization that I have never worked this hard in my life; every moment is full.  I have a full life.  What is it people say when someone dies?  “She lived her life to the fullest.”

What does that mean, to live fully?  I always imagined that someone who lived her life to the fullest was a person who had managed to escape the boring rat race of working, bill paying, debt, bureaucracy, red tape, and monotonous tedium that seems to make up most adult lives.  Someone who drove a Jeep Wrangler or a convertible or perhaps a Volkswagen van, who laughed all the time and never let life get her down, who “danced like no one was watching.”  You know?  I always felt envious of those free spirited types, until I realized that they don’t exist, except for maybe in the movies.  We’ve all got bills to pay, mouths to feed (if only our own), lifestyles to support.  It doesn’t leave a lot of time for giving into wild hairs and going off-roading on a regular basis.

What I have come to realize is that life is hard, it’s hard for all of us, and that there is no escape from what must be done.  Choosing to be a mother means that I’ve had to let go of the notion that motherhood is bliss.  It’s not.  It’s hard work with a lot of laughs, a lot of tears, a lot of uncertainty.  There are the small quiet perfect moments when I am nursing my daughter or holding one of my boys.  There are the horrible moments when I have just yelled at one of my sons for not listening and I hate myself for not being more patient.  And then there are the moments in between: the constant influx of dirty dishes, smelly clothes, poopy diapers, tears to be wiped away, sickness, temper tantrums, the tie-dye sheets that don’t match our duvet, when I realize that THIS IS IT.  This is my life, this is what I have chosen for myself.  This is what must be done.  It’s humbling and huge to have it all laid out so clearly in front of me.  I must kiss this booboo, I must get them down for their nap, I must feed them a healthy snack, I must not let them watch too much TV. I must find a decent pre-school, I must pick the best elementary school, I must help with homework.  I must teach them how to drive, I must talk to them about sex and drugs and alcohol, I must help them fill out their college applications.  I must watch them walk the stage at their high school graduation, I must wave as they drive off to college, I must be brave.

I must let go.  Of most other things.

I don’t want to write about being a mother.  I want to write about something more profound.  It’s just that motherhood is the most profound thing I have ever experienced.  On the crumb-covered floors of my kitchen, I have found a small piece of enlightenment.  I have no idea what to do with it.  I know exactly what to do.

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what we talk about when we talk about depression

In March I began taking Lexapro after seeing a psychiatrist. My decision to see him was made months ago, when I was still pregnant. Since having my first child, I have been struggling mightily with depression and anxiety. Over the last (almost) four years, I have made countless calls to my husband at work, crying so hard it was difficult to breathe. I have spent hours alone at home with one child, or two children, or three. I have endured numerous visions of horrible things happening to my babies, many panic-induced mornings or afternoons when I hid in the kitchen and shoved chocolate in my mouth and guzzled soda – anything to make it better for just one second. I have looked out the window and thought about leaving, either by car or by suicide. I have read accounts of mothers who shook their babies or drowned them in bathtubs and I have understood the overwhelming darkness that grips desperate women.

I am not proud of these things. But this has been part of my experience of motherhood, one of isolation and alienation, probing the depths of myself and hating what I found there.

The other part is laughter and hugs and kisses and gentleness and light and the knowledge that my family is my world. That when my children were born, I was born – a little more each time with each child. That my husband is truly the best person I have ever known – flawed and fallible, yes, but someone I am truly honored to love. That those things, the depression and anxiety and yelling and thoughts of suicide, aren’t me. They are pieces of my experience. But not me.

What happened when I became a mother is that I was unexpectedly cut open and my first child was delivered and I slept under the haze of general anesthesia through it all. I was not present for my son’s birth and neither was my husband, and to this day it is something that bothers me, that my son was ushered into the world without the two people who loved him most there to catch him, to say “Welcome to the world. We’ve been waiting so long for you, Charlie.” He is a wonderful child, he knows he is loved, and it’s not often that I think of his traumatic birth. But when I do, it’s with the knowledge that such a thing, the birth of a child, no matter how it unfolds, changes a mother for life. It would have changed me regardless, and yet, it stings. It stings and I learned. I learned so much and I evolved into a mama warrior and I dragged the darkness along with me, the trauma, and then I put it all into my next pregnancy and my preparations for my second son’s birth and I had fantasies of cathartic weeping while pushing him out in a pool of warm water. I had a feeling that a different birth experience would help me to heal and I went down a different path to deliver my child and at the end of that path, ultimately, was another operating room, another surgical birth. I was so exhausted from laboring so long and pushing so long that I could barely stay awake while the OB cut into me and pulled my second son out of my scarred womb. But I stayed awake, I was determined to be present through it all, and I heard his first cry and I felt the squish of his cheek to mine before the nurses whisked him away. The OB took a long time stitching me shut as he had lacerated my bladder during the surgery, and over the next week, I developed a bad UTI and I spent an entire day at home sobbing in agony while waiting for a prescription and a confirmation from the doctor of what we already knew.

The human soul is strong, though; it wants to survive – flourish, even – and I healed. My incision healed and my heart healed even as it broke in different places simultaneously. My dad was put under hospice care and I learned that my midwife had heartlessly betrayed me, and in the midst of these things, my husband got a new job and we packed it up and moved six hours north, leaving our family and friends and our beautiful little home behind. We’d rented an apartment sight unseen and it was fine, it was a place to live while we got adjusted and came to know the area, but it was never home. We had no money; that first Christmas we were only able to buy the boys a gift because my dear friend sent me a gift certificate to Amazon. We had one car and I spent days upon days in our cave of an apartment with the boys while my husband worked. After a six month adjustment period and realizing we’d never be able to make it on one income, I returned to my college job, waiting tables, and I worked nights while Roy worked days and we passed the kids off between us.

One month after being back at work, I found out I was pregnant. I was never unhappy about it. I knew this baby was our baby girl. But I was unprepared. I was terrified. I wanted to fast forward through the pregnancy and birth and just hold her in my arms. As my belly grew, my anxiety worsened. I grieved hard over the fact that I would never have a vaginal birth. Thoughts of death crept into my mind on a regular basis. My dad’s condition worsened and stabilized, worsened and stabilized. I made two trips to see him while I was pregnant, and each time I was never sure when I’d get to see him again. It is strange now, to look back on my last pregnancy – I was so sure that I was going to die during my C-section, that I’d never meet my daughter, that I’d leave my beloved family and friends behind, and I was so preoccupied with my own mortality that my dad’s death was a true shock, even though he’d been on hospice for almost two years, even though he was skeletal, even though I knew he couldn’t hold on forever. He’d been ill for 30 years, surely he’d make it a little longer.

He didn’t. He died the week my daughter was born, and it’s been over four months now, and the world still doesn’t feel right without him. He died the day after my mom’s birthday, five days before his own birthday. I don’t mean to make this about him, but all things are about him, all things lead to him, he’s half the reason why I’m here and the entire reason why I’m a woman. He’s in me and he’s in my children. I can’t deny him.

But what was I talking about?

Depression. Yes, things have happened, hormones fluctuating over and over, three pregnancies, three births, three children have entered my life in the last four years, we’ve moved twice, once was completely out of the area I’d lived in for 10 years and the place we called home, I quit my job and became a stay at home parent and then went back to work part time. Things are always changing and I once heard that depression is a healthy reaction to change. Depression, for me, is hard to recognize, even though it makes me virtually unrecognizable. I’m always justifying it, thinking if I ate better, got more exercise, slept more, I would feel better, and while that is almost certainly true, none of those things have been able to pull me out of what has been, at times, a truly terrifying place. And people have said all kinds of “helpful” things to me, like “just be grateful” or “just be happy”. Someone asked me recently why I don’t “just smoke some weed.” I don’t get this whole “just” attitude. It’s like telling someone suffering from infertility to “just relax” or “just adopt.” If things were as easy as that, none of us would be hurting and we’d have all the things we wanted.

I think I finally gave up and realized that as much as I wanted my depression and anxiety to have a completely natural cure, I’d experienced too much misery to wait it out much longer. When I went to see my psychiatrist for the first time, my voice shook as I described what life had been like for me – yes, I’d had so many moments of sweetness and light, but the bad moments were horrible, they were monstrous and my self-hatred was growing. I finally realized that as much as I wanted the bad moments to be normal, they weren’t. They were me being unable to cope with whatever little thing I couldn’t cope with at the moment, making that little thing into a huge horrendous thing that led me to yell at the kids or call my husband sobbing, and the worst part, to hate myself for being weak. For failing.

The little white pills have helped me, thankfully. At night I sweat profusely while I sleep (wonderful side effect) and when the baby wakes to feed, I am cold with my damp clothes stuck to my skin. It’s a little alarming and also a little comforting, I like to imagine that my psyche is driving out the demons with a brutal force, I like to imagine that someday I will be cured. I have no idea if I’ll be on medication forever, but for now, it’s helping me cope with the needs of my three small children and the grief surrounding the death of my father, and the grief surrounding everything else in life. There are still bad days, the difference is I’m not staring desperation in the eye much of the time.

I’m practicing talking about my depression and anxiety. I’m practicing talking about being on medication. I’m practicing this because as with most unsavory parts of life, much is left unsaid, and I need to shine a light on my experience. It matters.

It’s January.  I can’t get warm.  Under my clothes that extra flesh of motherhood clings to my bones.  I’ve grown used to looking at myself in the mirror and seeing my naked face there.  When I pick up my husband from work, the bruise-like shadows under his eyes make me grimace.  He is tired.  I am tired.  Two time zones away, my dad’s skeleton becomes more pronounced under his skin.

I’m hibernating, watching the world from the living room window.  At night I put on my headphones and walk in the cold.  My body cries for movement, stretching.  Nighttime does not relax me.  I am rereading books I read ten years ago, the obsession threatens to consume me again.  I can’t get warm.  I write these sentences in the bathtub.  I am hiding in the bathroom from my kids, my husband, my cats.  I cannot make myself care about cleaning or cooking balanced meals.  I could barely eat today.

I want to stretch out on a couch and read for hours.  We forfeited our couch when we moved and don’t have the money to buy another one.  There are hardly any overhead lights in our apartment.  We can’t afford floor lamps either.  I make myself run the vacuum and I hear the satisfying crackle of Wheat Thins becoming dismembered from the suction. I think back to the days of my first job, fast food, and how I loved washing the greasy kitchen cooking utensils, particularly the bacon press.  I used to stand at the drive-thru window and look out at the train tracks nearby and dream about life.

I was waiting for my life to begin.  I didn’t realize it already had.  When you’re 16, people tell you your life has just begun, or sometimes they say your life hasn’t begun at all.  But it’s not true.  That’s 16 years worth of living.  Baby, child, adolescent, teenager.  At 16, a person stands on the cusp of adulthood.  There’s so much living to be done before responsibility sets in, before you find yourself staring out a window thinking about the way life is going to be.  Me, I’m twice the age I was when I got that first job and I’m still looking out windows, still dreaming.  Still wondering what to be when I grow up.  I’m 32.

I’m the heartbeat and the warmth.  I’m the sternness and the tickle monster.  I watch my boys sleep and I ache.  My heart hurts from the depth of the love it contains.  And the flow of sadness.  It’s January and I can’t get warm.  I’m 32.  I feel like I’ve been here a long time.

(written 1/24/12, rediscovered today)

what the living do

I have a list of significant dates.  February 16, 2013 made that list, and I was surprised it did, and I am now surprised that I was surprised.  Of course the date of my dad’s memorial service would make the list of Most Important Days.

I dressed entirely in black.  I’m not sure how many times I cried, but I am sure that it felt both good and scary to let the tears in fall in the presence of others.  Vulnerability is a bitch.  I faced her head on when I walked up to the podium and delivered a short speech about my relationship with my dad.  I had pieced parts of it together using blog posts, both old and recent, and then added some more things.  I had originally planned to read a poem by Marie Howe but something compelled me to write for the occasion.  To speak.  To throw the voice of my soul.

I have strong tendencies toward observation, I often sit back and watch what other people do because they never fail to fascinate me.  I sometimes make myself watch instead of participate because watching is safer and I am afraid.  I knew I couldn’t just watch my dad’s memorial service go by, I knew I had to do something before we put him in the ground, and sharing what I had written was one of the last things I could do for him and one of the best things I could do for myself.

Growing up I observed my dad a lot, and as an adult I watched him fade away, and no amount of doing anything would have saved him, or will save any of us.  We will die whether we watch or we do, my dad is dead and most of the time I still feel raw when I realize this fact, his life is over, the memorial service is over, I am back home in California, what the hell do I do now?  How do I find peace in my heart, how do I accept that he is gone and the world will go on and that’s just the way of it?

His death makes me feel so very small and powerless.

His life made me feel that way, too.

Here’s the poem I wanted to read but decided against, in favor of my own words:

What the Living Do

by Marie Howe
Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high in here and I can't turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm speechless:
I am living. I remember you.

everything changes

I’m claiming this time and these words for me.  We are in our new place, have been sleeping here for over a week now, and a home is taking shape.  We have been working hard and we fall into a dead sleep every night.  Tomorrow night we leave for Texas.  We will drive and drive and drive, just as we did in September 2011.  I thought that might be the last time I would ever see him alive.  But I was wrong.  He managed to live another year and three months.  It was September 3, 2012, when I last saw him alive.

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I was pregnant with my daughter, his granddaughter.  I knew it’d be the last time I’d be able to travel for awhile.  Still, when I said goodbye, I did it casually.

The time before, in May, when I said goodbye, I sobbed.  I held his hand, told him I loved him, and confessed to him my anguish.  He looked at me helplessly.  He wanted to say something but he couldn’t get any words out.

This has been the story of our relationship.

We both wanted to say things and couldn’t get the words out.  Or the wrong words came out.  Every once in awhile, we got it right.  Like the last two times I visited him at the nursing home.  He looked over at me and smiled and said, “Little Leslie.”

I always wanted to be his little girl.  That typical relationship, the one with the overprotective father threatening boyfriends with a shotgun?  I wanted that.  I wanted him to protect me, to be proud of me, to love me.  And I know he loved me, in his way.  The only way he knew how.  How do you go on when your brain has been overwhelmingly, violently altered by trauma?

You just go on, but not the same as you were.

I’m looking at those words, “the same,” and wondering what that really means.  Things don’t stay the same.  I always seem to find myself saying, “That was when everything changed,” but the truth is everything changes all the time.

This picture was taken before everything changed.

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It was Christmas 2008, and in less than six months, I would have a baby.  That baby changed everything.  This was the last Christmas before his health deteriorated to the point where he needed to be put in a nursing home.

I look at this picture and I realize that neither one of us has any idea what will happen to us in the next year.  I have no idea that I will birth a baby and be crippled by postpartum depression, that my old demons will rise again, and that motherhood will force me to reckon with who I really am.  He has no idea that he will lose his (relative) freedom and be placed somewhere so he can be tended to, which is something he never wanted (no matter how much he needed it).  In this picture we are four years away from being separated forever.

People are fond of telling me that we will see each other again, in heaven, in another life, and so on, and I appreciate their point of view.  It’s very comforting, but it’s just not a view I really share.  I want to believe that my dad is my guardian angel, watching over me, taking care of me in the afterlife the way he couldn’t in this life, but it isn’t something I really believe.  I want to.  How amazing that would be, to know he’d always be with me in that way.

Instead I feel alone.  I feel angry and abandoned.  I feel everything that I felt before, everything that led me into therapy years ago, the rage, the devastation, the horror at having a father who couldn’t be a daddy.  Only now there’s the added knowledge that I will never see him again.  There are no more chances.  There are no more opportunities.

So now what?

Drive and drive and drive to Texas.  Drive to the town of my birth.  Drive to the house that he built for his family over 30 years ago and spend a few days with ghosts of a past life, and with my family.  Attend his memorial service with his grandchildren in tow.  Return him to his mother as his ashes are buried at the foot of her grave.  Bring part of him home with me in a small urn.  Return to our new home and begin building the life we’d like to have.  Write.  Remember.  Grieve.  Heal.

One mile, one step, one day at a time.

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hold on

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I signed up for a writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed, also known as Dear Sugar, who I love and admire.  It’s not until June but it will almost certainly be a Big Thing to happen this year.  If I think about it too much, I start to talk myself out of it and then I want to go sit in the corner and eat massive amounts of chocolate and drink myself stupid, and I don’t even really drink.  There are a million reasons why I have no business taking a writing workshop with Cheryl Strayed.  But there’s at least one reason why I should do this workshop, so that’s what I’m going with.  

When Roy got home from work today, I had to go lie down in the dark for awhile.  When I came out, I felt a little more like a person instead of a sad sack.  I went to go get the mail and it was misting.  I walked around my apartment complex a few times and listened to my iPod and thought about change.  What if the things that I really need to change don’t?  Everything has changed but some things stay the same.  My dad is no longer a part of the world, and that doesn’t make sense to me.  Often in the middle of the night I wake up and remember that he’s gone.  

I want to be naive enough to believe that once we move into our new place and it’s all simplified and clean that life will cease to be messy and it will cease to be hard.  But you know, I have stopped seeking happiness and instead I am embracing meaning.  Here is a great article on what I mean by that.  It’s not that I feel happiness is impossible but I don’t think that I believe it’s a prolonged state of being for many of us, or any of us.  There’s just so much suffering in the world.  When I’m down in the trenches, desperate and depressed, there’s meaning in that.  There’s growth in that.  And evolution.  I don’t want to be there but sometimes there’s no avoiding the fact that I’m there, and it’s okay.  It’s – dare I say it? – normal.

People always say, “I just want to be happy,” and I think what they really mean is that they want life to be simple.  Happiness is a very simple state of being because (for me) there is absolute clarity.  Happiness is the golden hour right before sunset when the light is buttery and warm and perfect, and the trees are lit up with golden fire.  The rest of the time it’s just fog, clouds, and smoke.  I am getting more and more comfortable with this.  I am not comfortable with this at all.  

I adore that light and the way it makes each blade of grass shine so fiercely.  I ache for it when I wake up in the darkness and remember that my dad has died.  I reach for my husband and we hold each other in the darkness.  It’s really the only way, when the light isn’t shining.  You’ve got to grab the ones you love and hold on hard. 

refilling my own cup

Today started off with a little redhead in bed with me, reaching for my ears, lying quietly next to me as I tried to sleep.  He always holds onto my ears or touches the mole on my arm and then puts his arms around me tightly.  He needs touch like we all need water.  He is intensely physical.  The second I put the baby down, he rushes up to me.  “Up, Mommy, up!”  And I sigh because I’m tired, I’m touched out, and his arms wrapped around me bring me back to the knowledge that his cup needs refilling.  Pour, Mommy, pour.  And so I do, and eventually, he sleeps.

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I’ve started using Pinterest again.  I haven’t done much with it for maybe a year or so.  I got annoyed with it as I get annoyed with all social media.  I stopped following everyone and opted out of those stupid notification emails, but now, with the new place and the infinite possibilities, I find myself turning to Pinterest (and a few select pinners that I think are fucking awesome) once again for inspiration.

I think we’ve decided to get rid of a million things.  Something happened today, and I can’t remember what it was, but all of a sudden I started googling “minimalism with kids” and next thing you know I was reading this blog and the achy cobweb-covered wheels in my brain started turning.  I don’t want to be a minimalist.  I want to live in a space that feels good to me.  We’ve been living in 900 square feet for years and the new place is 1200 square feet.  I want to keep what fits into the new place and get rid of the rest.  I’m tired of stuff.  Of stepping on it, taking care of it, and worrying about it.

I like having stuff that reminds me of how potentially wonderful I and/or my life can be.  I have a bike, a shelf full of unread books, a few film cameras, some snazzy clothes.  But I’m not a bike rider at this point in my life, nor do I have the time or inclination to read all those books, nor am I going to be shooting film anytime soon because it’s too damn expensive.  Looking at these things reminds me of all the things I’m not doing with my life because I’m so busy doing other things like being a mom/wife/person and trying to survive.  I’m tired of trying to measure up to my own arbitrary standards.  What I’m doing is enough.  Who I am is enough.

So that’s today’s pep talk.  And we have a plan to downsize but it will take awhile, possibly months.  I’m hoping under all that unnecessary stuff we have, I’ll find myself again.  I have risen sort of heroically (in my own way) to the occasion of grief and welcoming new life and moving and recovering from a horrid dental infection and tooth extraction and bone graft and making plans for my dad’s memorial and then making plans to drive 25 hours to said memorial.  Many things are happening, and I don’t have the time or space to really process much.  I want our new apartment to be as wide open as my heart needs to be in order to break fully so I can put it back together again.

That was a long sentence.  Here’s what I meant to say: I need a safe space to fall apart a little bit.