Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coming to terms with some shit.....

I have a million and ten things I'd like to post, but this issue seems to be the biggest so here we go....

Two nights, two conversations with virtual strangers, a couple Bloody Mary's and too much sangria, and I've been talked into doing the things I've been avoiding for years.

I wasn't really talked into anything, but I allowed some ideas that I've been ruminating over to fully manifest and reify and otherwise take shape.

For a long time now, I've felt like everybody was looking at me and wondering, "when is she going to do something?" Every time I say anything remotely intelligent (which I do a lot), my mother makes this huge nasally sigh and says I'm wasting my intelligence [raising my kids and not having a job]. My response in general to that sentiment is as follows: when I see people show affection toward their kids, do I sigh and say, "You're wasting your mammalian instincts having a job and putting those kids in daycare"? Of course I don't, so why is the converse always imposed on me.

The point that I am slowly wending my way towards is that I've finally realized that this, all of this, is not working. It's not working for The Man, or for me, or for the kids. As much as I want to be one of those seemingly super happy moms, knitting in a circle while their homeschooled kids play peacefully, I'm just not.

All my dreams of eschewing institutions for the children and running around barefoot and making art and reading library books are not working. These kids have to go to school. This epiphany is new (two days old, five days at the most), but it's real. I've paid lip service to the idea for a while, but only now do I believe it. In addition, I have to do something so that we don't fester in a money-less abyss. So I'm looking into my options, and I'm sure they are plentiful as long as I can get back to school for a few years.

For a few days, I felt like a failure over it all. Luckily, I have friends that have consoled me through the fact that a paradigm shift is simply a paradigm shift not an admission of failure.


  1. I have to admit, even though my baby-blog makes everything seem like my world is just glowing and peachy, this last year, including my MFA experiences (maybe even especially, actually, and especially in this last semester) have had that word, that awful awful word as a key: "FAILURE."

    And it's actually a word that has been attached to me by others in various institutions, which has made me feel craptastic. One of my dearest friends is defending her thesis tomorrow (hers was deferred for a year too and seriously, if that hadn't happened to her, I don't know what I would do when it happened to me) and it's gorgeous and many of the poems are about "failed girls."

    And in this weird way, I'm excited for tomorrow. Partly because I get to participate--I'm reading one of the failed girls' parts--and I feel like that's cathartic. It's become my own battle cry, "I'm a failed girl too!" Kind of like how when the doctors yanked my dang gall bladder out through my belly button a week and a half ago, it was cathartic. The world's nastiness is symbolically leaving the building.

    And while I'm doing the stay-at-home mom gig as long as we can hack it financially (um, starting Sunday--still at the university until Saturday morning meeting with thesis advisor and I'm not counting down at all, nononono), I know it would not be possible for me to homeschool the little bug. I do like the concept of unschooling... and I hope to provide a balance between her experiences in public school and her learning at home, for herself, because that's the best part of learning.

    I think it's important for you to mourn, though. I mourned my C-section like nobody's business. I watched She's Having a Baby the other night (please, don't ask why, other than I'm a stay at home mom with RLS, so I get insomnia sometimes) and cried--not because of anything other than the C-section at the end. So I guess I'm still mourning like an idiot. But I'm just promoting the fact that you go and feel all you need to feel when life's a-changing. And know that everyone feels like a failed girl in some way once in a while.

    Also know that I think you are super-awesome-fantastic-and-wonderful and I wish I were as spitfire-ish and had such a clever and quirky voice. Sending a world of love to you.

  2. i appreciate that world of love like nothing else.... I left my moral compass in Wisconsin, and she was one of the key players in convincing me that a paradigm shift is not necessarily an admission of failure and she said (re other things), "emotions are real and we have to acknowledge them but it doesn't mean that they are right or need to be acted upon."

  3. and the problem (there's many, but this one) is that I'm an idealist and when my foe reality rears her ugly head and forces compromise, I lose it a bit....

  4. Indeed: I think it's not the actual failure but the feeling like one that strikes a chord, probably because that word, that very one, has been such an awful taunt for me, and I think I have all those ooey gooey poetry feelings about things--like making sure you mourn a decision that you didn't want to go with. Compromise, or picking the "lesser of two evils," is certainly a nasty situation. One wishes that one's wants / goals are executed perfectly. I didn't realize what a perfectionist I was until that f-word surfaced. And when I look back on these months, just as you will, things will shift. Memory has a way of warping things strangely, which is probably why I try to write so much in the moment as opposed to reflectively; the truth, the honesty eeks out. Unless that's a good thing.

    And I know that, with putting family first, other decisions become harder. Deciding to have a c-section was hard for me because I so desperately wanted the vaginal birth story. My friend Swati pointed out that I had made the first decision in parenting--that I had to put the baby first. And it's true. Figuring out what's best for the baby, so to speak, is not always so easy. Things don't always match up right. And that is frustrating.

    I agree with your friend in that it's not an admission of failure--and that emotions are real and we have to acknowledge them but it doesn't mean they need to be acted up... not quite sure about the 'right' part, since that's tricky. (What makes an emotion 'wrong'? I'm sure you could go to the extremes, the perverts and the cruel people and say those emotions are wrong.)

    Anyway, semantics. The point is this: I'm thinking of you. And knowing that with a family as charming and compelling as yours, things will go well.

    Also, if you ever happen to move back to the Midwest, you'd make a lot of people happy. :)