In the fall of 2012 I was delightfully happy. Joy. That is what I felt. It was throughout my entire being. My cells even danced in my body. Despite this joy, writing was a struggle. It was my challenge to balance it with homelife. I found myself feeling guilty that I wanted my kids to be gone so I could work yet I saw myself as a homemaker. How could I want to be home with them yet wish them to be gone?
It seemed as though I had to choose. I chose my family, focused on homeschooling, and stopped writing. Every once in a while I would lift my head out of the sand and do a blog post or journal but my pen would go into the drawer and I would get back to business. Homelife business.
My thoughts of writing increased as I became pregnant. To me my little one was telling me to get to business even from the womb. Write. I did not. Not on any regular basis anyway. Not in anyway that seemed significant to me. Now she is here and the pressure to write is even stronger. Yet I hide and avoid the pen. What is up?
I think I have to deal with my choice-making back in 2012. I have to deal with why I choose to leave writing. One of my quests has been to balance work and home. With writing home life is better. I am a better mom. A better wife. A better person. Yet, it seems as though I really need to fight for my time to write and it became too much. Without it I am not my best. I also need to battle with myself to actually sit down. My thoughts allow me to do everything but write.
Food has become too much of a crutch. I am 20 lbs over weight. My whole body hurts. Foods bother me like they never have before. I am tired all the time. Never excited for life. Honestly, I think I am burning out. Much of what is going on right now is very similar to what I went through in 2010.
Now, I must write. The battle of my thoughts must begin. I need to plant new thoughts that will lead me to writing. I need to return to my life of awareness and mindfulness. I need to return to yoga, meditation, cooking … finding a family rhythm. I need to uncover and demyth all the stories I have told myself about writing. It isn’t a competion or a choice to be made. I can have both. I have to have writing.
Since 2am I have watched 1.5 hours of How I Met Your Mother episodes. All of which I have seen already. Plus, I have stuffed myself so full of food that I feel very ill right now. Here is my attempt at writing. Nervous …
I grab my shake and bags and get out of the car. I walk to the back door and pull it open. As I step inside Marina comes out of the coffee-room with a coffee and a warm smile.
“Hey, How are you?” I ask.
“Awesome” she replies with a smile. I knew that was going to be her response. I ask just to hear her say it cause it makes me glow a bit inside. “We have an issue with the welding program.” she says. And so my day begins. I have not even finished my breakfast or taken off my coat and I am at work.
Despite an hours drive to work, straight highway, I could not finish my breakfast because I was too afraid of wildlife while I drove in the dark. It is February. The only light I can count on is from the full moon.
Marina and I walk to my office and continue our chat. We chat as I hang up my coat and turn on my computer. We have a possible solution and then just as we are finishing up someone else is at my door with an issue. And so goes my day. Putting out fires.
I use my lunch hour to catch up on emails. Fires there too. Someone comes to my door and I say that if it is not due in the next 30 minutes I can’t deal with it right now. My mid afternoon I start my lunch and sneak off to the Co-op down the alley for a chocolate bar mid afternoon.
By the time I drive home it is 5:30. I walk in the door and holler for Sherese to come up so I can take her to guitar lessons. We pile in the car and off we go. As I wait for her lesson I am on my phone responding to work emails. Then back home.
Three hours on the road today. Exhausted. Finally we can start eating supper at 8pm. Forget it. Teela needs me. I sit and nurse her and then try to prep something for supper for tomorrow as well as clean up a bit. My family sits and watches TV. I have two laptops going and one TV on the main floor. Teela is running in circles around our bungalow. It is noisy and I am annoyed I am alone in getting everything done. I am annoyed that I have to ask for help. I am annoyed that everyone is oblivious. It took me 6 hours to eat my breakfast and 4 hours to eat my lunch. Supper wasn’t until 8pm and I didn’t even get to eat it while it was hot cause I had to nurse. Now I am the only one cleaning and cooking for tomorrow while everyone gets to relax. Oh, lets not forget that I just spent three hours driving today.
I can’t keep this up.
K, this is rough. I don’t like it but I do feel I broke the seal. It makes me think of how I have already written this scene three years ago and which approach is better. I will regret posting this but I am going to anyway. Don’t judge me. I know I can do better.
Well here I step gently back into the blogging sphere. I am a bit apprehensive. I am not sure what I am willing or able to commit to here. I feel my life has flipped around.
Dad telling me stories over Christmas.
A childhood Christmas. I am the one in the middle.
In December life finally made me realize that I was fighting a current, trying to paddle paddle as hard as I could against the flow. Perhaps instead of fighting the current I could get where I want to go much easier if I simply flowed with the current? What I am trying to say is that homeschooling/being-a-mom is my focus. It is a passion of mine as well as writing and I was trying to make writing a priority and family life was constantly pushing its way into writing. I was resentful and frustrated with my family’s darn interruptions yet I know I am going to miss them terribly when I don’t have them anymore.
Making our first gingerbread house. Hopefully the beginning of a tradition.
Over the last month I have really settled into this idea that I am going to let writing be mostly for me while I keep up with your stories.
I began working with a writing coach at the end of 2012 to complete Sunlight. It didn’t feel like a good way to end the year in a way. She made me realize that I had to start my book over. While this is good news, and I totally respect her opinion, it was a real bummer to put it mildly.
Brooke asked me if I wanted to write about my marriage, parenting or burnout … I realized I was all over the place and this is why Sunlight seemed so confusing and, well, too much for me. Cause it is too much. I do believe I have a new plot now. Well not a new plot but an adjusted, more focused one and I hope I can share these new changes and chapters with you in the weeks and possibly months to come as I get back on the Sunlight project. I would love your advice as well.
Between working on Sunlight privately, journalling (I have the book The New Diary by Tristine Rainer – love her thoughts on writing!), focusing on my family (I am starting a daycare and a Waldorf co-op), plus running two memoir writing groups, I will not be blogging as often but I will do my darndest to keep up with everyone else’s wonderful and inspiring stories.
“To be an artist is not compatible with being a woman by definition. The whole point of creative work is to let yourself go enough to pick up whatever falls out of your right brain before it disappears. If you’re always paying attention to everybody else, that’s hard to do.”
– Too Good for Her Own Good by Claudia Bepko and Jo-Ann Krestan
In the book Bepko and Krestan talk about how being good is instinctive. The things a good woman does are so small and simple no one notices them, not even ones self. This is my dilemma. I get going and by the end of the day or late afternoon I become aware that not much has been done. I have been dilly dallying all over the place. I don’t feel satisfied with the day.
I have a writing prompt emailed to me each day and today’s prompt was to write about a time when I felt capable. Sadly I struggled recalling a time I felt capable. After writing for a few minutes I reminisced on feeling capable when I took care of myself and then my family. During this time I had a routine of meditating, yoga cooking/eating right and writing. When I had these things in my daily routine I felt I could take on the world.
Why don’t I do these things everyday if it is so wonderful? Laziness and I get sidetracked. I get pulled in other directions because I want to be helpful. Like this morning, I have been up since 2am because my puppy Chances was barking outside and I was worried my husband wasn’t getting any sleep. So I got up to handle the situation and have been up ever since. Then I get pulled into my sixteen year old’s work preparations. She is asking me where work gloves are and if this sandwich meat is still good to eat and who’s car is she taking.
Why didn’t I just let my husband worry about his own sleep? I bet when he wakes up he will tell me that he never even heard the dog barking. I am such a worry wart and a pleaser. I asked Sherese, my teenager heading to work, to prep last night but she was out hobnobbing with her friends until after I went to bed. Now I am pulled into her drama.
I am up and feel I have so much writing and research to get done that I have made myself believe I do not deserve to sleep. Stopping for yoga and meditation isn’t worth it. I keep myself awake to work. Cause I miss it so. I have not done all that I have wanted to for at least a week.
My new strategy to mend this belief that I need to serve others in my day and not myself is to experiment with drawing a line in my life with the question “Does this act serve my goal, my gifts, my life purpose?” I don’t think every situation I apply it to will be cut and dry, black and white but I am going to give a go, experiment. I also think it is going to take practice in even recognizing when I am being pulled into that goodness code I live by. I need to create a new code of goodness.