Tuesday, January 7, 2020

So yeah, that writing journey.

I haven't said much lately about my journey with writing, and I'm sure you're all dying to know what the deal is.

(All 2 of you that have evidently looked at my posts and I don't know who you are but Iloveyouandthankyouverymuch.)

So, to end the suspense, here's the deal.

I'm very much confused about my role in life right now. Midlife identity crisis or some shit. I had side gigs and hobbies, but for the last decade (2009-2019) my main role was Mom. Of course that hasn't changed - it's not like my kids are out voting and buying lottery tickets - but that phase of life was just so mothery. It was diapers and cups full of cheerios and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and getting kicked in the head while nursing.

And now it's just.......sitting in pickup lines and regretting saying yes to the PTA.

The March of Motherhood: Transitioning from 24 hour care-giving to back corner support system. | www.jennrych.comI love that I can hold full, comprehensible (and often humorous) conversations with my kids and like, get to KNOW them beyond what foods they absolutely will not eat and which toys they must have or face spontaneous combustion. I love that we have a history of traditions and a familiar flow to how our family operates and heaps and heaps of authentic love for each other.

But my job as Mom now is not so much 24hr caretaker as it is back corner support system. I feel like that person at the corner of a boxing...uh, pen? cage? (what the hell are those things) that squirts water on the dudes and rubs their shoulders when things get tough, but really just stays there in the corner waiting to be called on. My kids can wipe their own butts and pour their own cereal and put their own (poorly matched) outfits on. Which is GOOD! Obviously. But like, what should I be doing while I stand over here waiting in the corner?

I thought I had it pretty figured out, and don't get me wrong - writing is still just a natural function for me. It's a part of my daily (literally daily) life in one form or another, and I feel unsettled until I spend time on it. It feels......very intertwined with my dharma.

It's just that, I don't know...my projects and ideas all have these slow burns to them, and that's fine. Maybe perfect even? Because I get to set them down often to refocus on family and get through busy seasons. It just doesn't feel very purposeful that way. And I get lost in the needs of life.

When this school year started, I thought I'd have all this time and maybe I could actually follow through with plans and focus my efforts on something real, something for me - and it turns out that life is kind of a bitch. Five hours fly by incredibly (shockingly) fast, and kids get sick or forget things for school and suddenly my meticulously planned week of productivity and focus is all stirred up and backwards. And with that momentum all jackknifed, it's super hard to convince yourself that it's okay to jump back in where you are because you're 700% sure it's just going to get all messed up again.

So I'm left in this limbo-y place of not being needed enough and being needed too much.

Fun fact: I do not like transitions. I never have. I'm good on this side or that one and I'll deal with whatever is there, but I cannot stand floating somewhere in the middle. Like March. Frickin' March! One day it's Winter, the next it's Spring - GET IT TOGETHER!

I am in the March of motherhood and I hate its guts.

I'm left feeling like, well, as I said - I'm not completely clear on my role. And I'm torn all of the time. I want to be available to my kids, but I also want to know who the hell I am when they're adults. I want to be in their classrooms and their school communities and I also want my own job to do and my own community. It's just hard, man.

So specifically on the writing front? It's going. I guess. I haven't taken any more of the free writing courses I'd planned on, and I haven't read any of the books I've collected to study it further. But I do add to my projects whenever a life experience calls for it. (They're all non-fiction, and largely memoir-ish.)

AH, that just reminded me of something Lisa Brennan-Jobs said about her book, Small Fry.

"I think I just have always been a writer and I've always been observing and the book was a way to make sense of my own story in a profound way so that I could go and do other stories. I'd actually love to write other books and I was dearly hoping to find another subject before writing this book and I just could not."

I feel exactly this way about my largest project. But when the idea came to me, it was so OBVIOUS that I needed to do it. She went on to say...

"I think with a lot of artists there is this first big project that has to be in some way autobiographical. [...] Certainly with writers - novelists, nonfiction and fiction - who often make their first projects highly personal. Maybe because they have to like, Marie Kondo them before they move onto their next projects."

I think it must be, because nearly all of my ideas are tied up in my life experience and it's almost like the Universe keeps shoving them at me until I finish one of them and clear the pipes. I'm trying, but it's sloooow going. And I just haven't quite figured out this Mom-Work balance thing since I'm currently just re-balancing the Mom side of it.

Anyone else out there in the March of motherhood? Or have been there not-too-long ago? How did you work your passions into your life? Where did you find space for your dharma? How did you keep on track with your own personal goals when half of your identity was still tied up in children?

For now, my writing goals are to simply.......try. I'm going to attempt to schedule a writing day with Matt weekly (well, he works, I sit in the squashy chair in the corner of his office and write, but there's usually coffee involved). I'm going to find time to write when the mood strikes, which sounds lazy, but you'd be surprised how often it strikes. And I also believe in inspired action.

I don't know what else I'm going to file under "try," but I'll post more when I get somewhere.

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