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I’m alive … and working toward well

 

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I try not to post when we’re out of town for all the obvious reasons, so for the first chunk of time I’ve been MIA I was up near Mt. Hood with my parents for a memorable vacation and then … we all got sick again – or still?- and I’ve been getting worse instead of better. I’m sure I’ll be better any day now and get back to writing again. Thanks for checking in … I am alive and working my way toward well.


Letting go

I don’t know how to explain this so I’ll just share it the way I experience it. As a writer, I’m always eager to hear about the “process” for other writers, artists … actually I happen to enjoy talking about how people approach everyday tasks and issues as well … it’s the kind of thing I like to write about … real life.

I always have kind of a seed of an idea for what I think I’m going to write about in my next month’s column. I let the ideas marinate and collect the bits and pieces that come to mind as I go about the business of my life. And I pray for inspiration to write what needs to be written. Somehow, it always—without fail—comes. I think it’s because that’s how faith works: pray and get to work.

Sometimes the thing I feel I must write isn’t something I necessary want to write about. It’s not fun to write about. It’s more personal than I want to be. It’s a risk. But because of that faith thing … I do it anyway.

This month’s column about post-partum depression and the guilt that seems to be every mother’s burden is something I’ve been working on for awhile but not really wanting to print. I’ve avoided writing about it even here because … it’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It sounds whiny. I chose this life. And, of course, I don’t understand it myself.

So as I was writing the final draft I prayed again … Is this really the right thing to do? Wouldn’t it be more fun to write about the tulip festival?  I happened to be driving to a garage sale as I left God this voicemail. As I was handing over my quarter for my new favorite shirt, I saw a book I knew I had to buy: Down Came the Rain: my journey through postpartum depression by Brooke Shields.

I’m not quite done with it as it’s been difficult to read but here’s my favorite line so far:

There was freedom in performing, and I felt I would never be able to experience it again. I became aware that, as a mother, your priorities get switched, and I felt surprisingly resentful. In my mind, being a mother meant not being able to be onstage. It was an irrational thought, but according to my current state of mind, having a baby commanded an all-or-nothing approach; I didn’t believe in the possibility of balance. I wasn’t sure I was ready for such an ultimatum. I didn’t realize that I was the one who had made it.

Well, with that clear message I submitted what I’d written. You can read it here, if you’d like.

In honor of all mothers who carry a burden of guilt, lay it down. Walk away from that and into wonder at the opportunity to be a mother, learning as you go: always.


I know, it’s ironic but still …

 

Sam and Jake Johnny jumpup

Things we learned this week:

the boys: Underdoggies in the Johnny Jump up only seem like a good idea.

me: reacting to comments on social media sites, or chain emails is, generally speaking, not in my best interest. First of all who do you know that reads something like that and thinks: you know what? I never saw it that way, thanks for the perspective. Usually these threads serve as a way to share what someone is feeling, and then turn into a chain reaction of emotional potshots usually, by the way, ending with “but we’re still friends, right?”

Well, no. Not at the moment. Freedom of speech and all that aside … My point being, let it be. If someone has something to say, let them. It’s not our job to try to change each other’s mind. In fact, to me it seems like an even better idea to try harder to understand where someone else is coming from rather than trying to correct them, or worse, condemning them for being and thinking differently.

And yes, I see the irony in this post … telling others to not try to change people while at the same time trying to convince them to go easy on the online sparring about politics, parenting … you name it.

I think we need to collectively make an effort to look for common ground before picking apart our differences.

And I’ll hop down off my soap box now.


Perspective

Well, it happened. I ran out of things to say.

Just kidding.

I honestly am not sure how entire weeks are passing by so quickly, yet they are. I’m drinking TheraFlu as I write this, so that’s how I’m doing. Since TheraFlu was one of my pregnancy cravings I’m happy I can finally have some when I’m sick. Gratitude in the small things and all.

Speaking of which, Matt found me scrubbing the bottom of our refrigerator with a toothbrush yesterday and then later scrubbing the chairs that have been stained for years.

“The last time I saw you doing that you were pregnant, so you just in a cleaning mood or what?”

“My PARENTS are coming this WEEK!” I said as if that explained everything. Because it’s not like I’m ten and could get grounded for not cleaning my room, right?

“I don’t get it. Place looks great.” He said leaving a trail of coffee as he headed out of the room.

People will say that my parents are coming to see me and my family, not the house. But those people don’t know my parents. Yes, yes of course they’re coming to see us. But a little bit to see how we’re doing. Which is to say, have I learned to fold my clothes yet? Do I wash the doors? Have I figured out how to squirt Windex on a rag and wash a window? Do I care about any of that yet?

Not so much. But for them, I’ll make an effort … what the hell.This used to freak me out but now I’m just happy they’re here to care.

I do have to admit, there might be something to this deep-cleaning thing. At some point my mind goes numb and there, on that back burner I never get to, are ideas marinating. Major plot points I’ve struggled with for six years are starting to come together, which is even cooler than the freshly cleaned chairs that got paint spilled all over them this morning. Now, I’m calling them Warhol-inspired décor and moving on.

Have I mentioned the new (yes, again) title? Uprooted. It’s the first one that doesn’t feel off somehow. Which is to say it’s perfect.