My journal is open in my knit blanket covered lap. It is just another evening, all the things that may make this a Monday, but who knows anymore. My body is resting from the increasing time I spend behind the bar, pouring drinks, talking, running – fast on my feet and quick with my hands. With my pen, I am suddenly there. I look around the room, waiting for someone to eyeball summon me. This girl is telling a story. I don’t care to hear it, but I listen anyway like it is my job – to just listen. Other stories are swirling around like a mirage of conversation and small talk. Is it office politics or a Tinder date? It all meshes together after they drink enough whiskey, or after I do. Tomorrow is for shopping at Ikea but tonight is for eating pizza. A woman tells me to which I can only reply with unquestioning laughter. Two grad students chatter away about going to Iceland over spring break -because that is the new “it” destination. They clink their copper mule mugs together, to Iceland, to their youth. I pause to turn the page and I am back in my living room. I realize I am writing the same word, first in perfect cursive then in really neat print, audience. I am telling the story now and I am suddenly very aware of my audience.
To be absolutely clear: I need to write like I need to breathe. Inhale and exhale the words onto the page, a release of expression, aaah so freeing. I say anything I want. As I am still navigating my way through this new life, I take pride in the evolution of the process. But seriously, how do I ever find any time to write? I actually get this question quite often. I have four kids and as many jobs, and routine dedication to writing is an ongoing attempt to manage my sanity, to compress my anxiety and filter out the toxic thoughts. I fear the person I will become if I don’t write. (The person I was). Write in the morning. I tell myself. Write at night. Write while the kids are eating lunch, write while they are playing outside. In reality, I scamper through my house with my notebook tucked under my arm, trying to jot a few things down, hopeful for a prompt for later or a feeling that just needed to come out.
Love of Health
Last day of the month. Love month is almost over and this post almost didn’t make it. When a family of six gets sick, it is pretty much game over.
I have plans. Big plans. The week started with a list of demands that has me wondering if I am, once again, “just trying to get by” at too many jobs. But isn’t that what motherhood, or just adulthood, is? I sat on my bed, my to-do list physically sprinkled about my cross folded legs. This is how I work best, sitting on my bed with everything laid out in front of me. My slippers slide my running shoes under the bed and cuddled onto my feet in silent encouragement that it was ok to skip my run today. My stomach dipped. I instinctively knew to lie down, slowly pulling my legs closer and closer into my chest. Suddenly I was nestled deep in my to-do list and I wanted to sleep. My stomach quivered in the way that is usually reserved for anxiety. Great, I have overwhelmed my self to sleep like a scary lullaby – a rocky –a- bye baby for the modern world. But it wasn’t anxiety. Fuck. I realized. It was nausea. I don’t have time to get sick. I cursed. Josh was home to work to check on me shortly after. I got the nap blessing and the “take all the time you need” reassurance to my health. I knew it was short lived, Layla, Jackson and Cece had been infected, and it was only a matter of time before we turned to puke zombies and healthy babies outnumbered healthy adults. I tried to force sleep but my stomach taunted me to stay awake. Just say it. It would say. No. No. I pleaded, desperate for sleep. Say it! Fine. I want to throw up. Please, I just want to throw up. My wish was granted. Infected count: 4-2.
5K of Love
Lately, I just keep running. My brain is so full. I am a bottle of champagne just waiting to be corked and running allows me to pop the cork, no one else. I need an appointment with my own thoughts, but they were so busy they couldn’t fit me in. So it got clogged. I made mistakes, first little ones then much larger ones. Or was it a lot of little ones that made me look like one big failure? Either way, I didn’t have time to organize my (many) thoughts. And the cork blew on me. With running, I am alone in my head, letting it all go. All those analysis, those worries, the funny musings and the downright cliché; it all piled on top of each other, like the laundry I don’t have time to sort. This isn’t something that happened last year or recently; this is a lifetime of bubbling anxiety. I need to get healthy. I promised myself.
Love and Marriage
Continuing the theme for the month of love, I reflected on something I normally don’t write about (at least publish), my husband and my marriage.
I look at the clock again, it’s a quarter past stuck in time with two toddlers. There is a melodic echo of a knife smacking down on the cutting board; I am preparing dinner. The drawer next to me squeaks and I close it again, careful not to pinch the small fingers that keep desperately prying it open to pull out one more measuring cup. It topples out, plastic, disposable, already knowing the fate of soon becoming buried in mystery corners of the house. 1/3 cup. Who needs that one? I fill it with sweet cereal hoping that will allow me to finish chopping carrots. The clock reminds me of how much longer until he comes home and I crave him walking in the front door with fresh relief and companionship.