May was about decompression and quiet (as quiet as it can be with two little boys in the house) and balance and clarity.
Osama bin Laden died. The Rapture did not happen. I had a wonderful Mother's Day, complete with a beautiful necklace from my boys, breakfast out, a box of chocolates, an eyebrow wax and bang trim, some much treasured time to myself, a visit from friends, and dinner at my mother-in-law's. Simon started getting on his hands and knees in preparation for crawling and he also started making BIG sounds in preparation for talking. Simon amazed us with his abilities to move across the room at record speed by just wiggling and rolling around. Charlie baffled us (and still does) with his mega nighttime tantrums and as a result, we got little sleep the entire month. But Charlie amused us by starting to say HI! to everything, from the flowers to the ants to his own pudgy little arm. And Charlie melted my heart by saying, "Hi Mommy. I mishu." We went to Sea World and the Renaissance Faire and a wedding at a winery, strolled around the neighborhood, went to the Farmer's Market and to play with friends, and spent lots of time in our "backyard." We had family pictures taken, thanks to Becki, which you will see scattered throughout this post. I went to a free zumba class and loved it. I started taking art lessons on the cheap twice a month and love that too. I did yoga on our back patio early Friday morning under the trees and (guess what?) I loved that as well.
Life is good.
Of course, life also deals out some shitty situations, like the fact that we are poor and on top of that we are having some issues with the birth center who handled my pregnancy and labor. I will probably say more on that when I know more (and by that, I mean when the issue has been completely dealt with). These things are stressful, to be sure. But they aren't everything. Life is full of such annoyances.
Clarity is often difficult in a world that seems designed to keep true understanding at bay. From the depths of the garage we dug out three big Rubbermaid containers filled with my old journals and I read through a few of them. Ten years ago I was an incredibly prolific writer but, as I have already mentioned many times before, I was also existing in the blackest hole of desperation and depression that I have ever experienced. Dealing with sexual abuse and daddy issues on top of being a confused 20-something year old made such a terrible combination. I was just so lost and I had no idea of what I was doing or where I was going and I didn't even have much of a clue that things were going to get better. I made some awful decisions and I hated myself. I hated myself and believed myself incapable of love. And that was all I wanted: love. To love and to know that someone in this big cruel world loved me back.
I proved my hurting and cynical self wrong when I married Roy and had his babies.
But there is another side to the story.
As I grew up and shed the heavy skin of that lost little girl, I not only gave up the ridiculous notion that I would never know real love but I also gave up the idealist who wanted to drop out of college and just write and who for a short while did just that. But then I re-enrolled in college and being a scholar was my religion for awhile. I had already convinced myself that writing for a living wasn't going to happen and so I had to figure out something else. And so once I got my BA in English, I immediately went on to pursue an MA in English because I was still trying to figure out something else to do with my life. We read stories and poems and essays and critical writings and I loved every minute of my education, both undergrad and grad. (Well, mostly.) I was thrilled to be surrounded by all the depth and genius of those writers. Learning is an amazing thing and a gift for which I am so grateful.
But I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I could have been a college professor or a journalist or a photographer or a teacher or even something entirely random, and I could even have stayed at my terrible job that I hated, continuing to proofread boring legal documents while putting up with inordinate amounts of bullshit.
I could have done all of these things and even enjoyed some of them, but the only thing I really wanted (other than babies) was to write, dammit.
I gave up the crappy job after Charlie was born and worked through all the birth trauma and then had Simon, and I find myself deeply and joyfully entrenched in this mothering thing - not just the mothering thing, but this stay-at-home mothering thing. On any given day I get to hang out with my kids, watch them meet another milestone, play outside, take walks, read books, laugh, cry, change ten poopy diapers, go for playdates or to the park. Some days are damn hard but I love it wholeheartedly. And I am fulfilled in a way that I thought I could only dream of. It's a gift, to have this time with them.
My graduate degree remains unfinished. I only have my thesis to go. My course work is set to expire a year from now. I took a year-long leave of absence for this year because of Simon. A few months ago I began to think about going back. I decided that I needed to change my thesis topic because I was no longer interested in the old one (that I've had since 2005). I got the ok from my advisor and was instructed to start researching and reading and putting together a thesis committee. That was almost two months ago, and I haven't done anything remotely related to school.
I don't want to research or read or put together a committee or write a thesis. I know I should want to do it, after putting so much time, energy, and money into the program, but I don't want it anymore. I don't want any of it.
And that is what I said to Roy a couple of weeks ago: "What if I don't go back to school?"
Sometimes all you have to do is ask the question, and then you'll see the answer.
Start where I am. Find a place amongst all the toys, piles of crap, unpaid bills, and dirty diapers, and write. Clean out the office and make a space for writing to happen, and write. Carve out both small and big chunks of time, and write. Start or join a writer's group, and write. Do the dishes and the laundry, and write. Deal with life's stressors and beauties, and write. Love my husband, and write. Mother my kids, and write. Piss and moan about how unoriginal I am and how I have no extra time, and write. Practice saying "I am a writer" instead of "I want to be a writer", and write. Forget what I should be doing (like finishing my degree), and write.
And that is where I find myself at the end of this strange and glorious May. Motherhood has stripped me of the extraneous, bringing me back to myself, and I finally understand that my past self was indeed sad and lonely, but she wasn't wrong about everything. She knew that the dream would never die - and that it shouldn't.
I've come full circle, but this time as a whole person - and a writer. And so I write. Because in writing is where I find my truth. I write and I write and I write and I write.