Thursday, June 18

dark baby dark

I am really probably ok at the moment, though I sometimes, like tonight, sense an edge, as though standing at the brink of the precipice, and the thought of having to pull myself back yet again, by sheer might seems too exhausting; perhaps not worth it this time? The frustration lies in seeing myself make the same mistakes, or reacting in the same ways as I used to, as if all I have been through, all I have been taught and all I have done, counts for nothing. When I react to a disappointing situation in a typically emotionally unstable, pessimistic fashion, I question whether I have really come that far? Or am I still the girl who over-reacts, who is over-sensitive, who is unreasonable in her hopes and expectations, and by extension, her disappointments.
Recently an opportunity was presented to me: unexpected, it fell out of the blue into my line of sight, and I believed it was for me. I was surprised, it seemed to fit me, I tried it on; not too bad, a bit of adjustment needed, but what a chance! Subtly, on a very minute level, I started to imagine . . . life became a what-if, which is a slightly lighter shade than average. Challenges presented themselves: I was able to solve them, to dissect them and to move on in my tiny, timorous imaginings . . . what if.
There-in lies the mistake. The fatal flaw. The costly error of judgement.
For probably about 10 months now, I(and those closest to me eg husband and friends) have held my breath, and climbed, ever-so-slowly towards the light. The 4th of July, independance day, marks my second birthday, when for some reason it was decided that I should not fade away, not yet, not now, but try again. I hate the word try. 'try' denotes optimism, trusting-ness, belief in luck, chance or a greater good. But, for whatever reason, despite my seeming reluctance, life was given back to me. And I was glad. And since then I have climbed upwards. Stronger, stronger, taller, taller. Some spiritual growth, perhaps. Some new social confidence, completely foreign to me yet strangely easy. Friends grew up around me like tangles of glorious plant-life, and my children flourished, grew stronger, rounder, sweeter. And I held my breath. It is not till now, as I slowly exhale, that I realise it was held at all. The way that I was fighting the dark, was by living the now, completely in-the-moment, and the times when I slipped back a bit was the times when I looked up, at the horizon: for just a second, and sensed the longevity of motherhood. Of dependance, and needs, and demands, and belittling, of becoming the side-lined, anti-intellectual etc etc that I have always dreaded. And so I would dive back down again into the murky present, and revel in the short-ness of time, how it passes, how to encourage and even enjoy the passage of time.
And so this opportunity presented itself, and I lifted my head up to the horizon, and opened my eyes, and let out my breath, heard it fall and rise, and began to imagine.
I saw myself as a useful member of society, reaching outside of the household and the oh so vital work of day to day mothering, and into the community at large. Things that I have learnt, and been taught, suddenly seemed to be required, asked for! I saw myself as an adult, on my own two feet, being involved in important and vital work in ministry, with a chance to 'make an impact' in the church, and not only all of this, but a contributor of finance, which let's face it, ultimately equals some measure of status or success. Perhaps not the bread-winner, but definitely a small goods and deli-items earner. Perhaps dairy and grain-winner? You get the picture.
And I saw its possible longevity. Perhaps to expand. To become a vocation. The opportunity did, after all, tie my passions, my loves, and my experience/training into one bundle with the added spiritual dimension - is this not the beginnings of a vocation? When it is written on the screen, you can see its obvious flaws a mile off. Too large an opportunity. Too grandiose. Overly positive. And I let myself really have some dreams. Which honestly, is probably the first time in about four years.
So the world looked a little more exciting for a week or two. The children were sweeter than usual. And my little stony heart, the wee timorous cowerin' beastie that it is, was all up and down. Without its usual blanket, hedge and moat, it quivered with possibility. For the first time in a while, what I live, my day to day life, was not quite enough. I had, perhaps, been called to higher things. I had, perhaps, more to me than people thought.
And then, the short sharp wind. A little draft under the door. Nothing major. No one turned to look at me on the street. No rumbles were felt. It really was just a normal day. A normal occurence. An obvious choice was made - could there have been any doubt in anyones mind? And yet there had been, just for a few days, a little belief in something bigger for me just around the corner, and the flaw was in believing that it was possibly for me. And so the opportunity passed by. Like a still small breeze ... and I was left a little the worse for it.
The usual condolences. Promises of greater things in the future. Sincere compliments of my potential unlimited. Beauty and talent unparalleled. People talk of my youth - as always, such a stumbling block for me - that I have forever, and do they really mean that perhaps in ten or fifteen years, I may have an actual chance? Once youth has finally left me, reluctantly, I will at last be respected, worthy of such chances? Such talk is nothing but belittling of me - yes I am young, and people look down on me because of it. I think the most grating comfort that people offer me is to say that there is something better out there. More suited to me etc. Do people not realise what it means to me to have hope? If you are not a person who understands my mind and my heart, this will be frustrating, but the truth is that I live best and happiest when I do not hope for better things. Hope is the flaw, the chink in my armour.
So what now? Now that I wake up and see the truth of the world around me. Nothing dramatic. Nothing major. While some of my reactions to life remain the same, others have changed, and so there is nothing to fear in my actions, in my safety. That path was closed to me, and I am still here. I hold my breath again, steady myself. I talk to myself in a matronly tone - loving but strict. As if on my rarely-used mat of joseph pilates, I curl into myself, focus my stength on the stable core, slowly slowly roll out to stand, not quite relaxed, but not tense. My shoulders fall back, my head lifts up. Slowly slowly. This is not depression. I was depressed for an afternoon, but even as I write, my back is straightening. A minor setback, that's all. A temporary glitch in the matrix. And a note of caution to myself, as I face tomorrow. I will face each day, as its own creature, nothing more. The days cannot string together in monotony, as if there is hope ahead, as yet unreached chances. No. Baby steps. Not the horizon, but not gazing at my feet either. Looking at other people, friends, loved ones, small daily activites, some mundanity of duty. This HAS to be enough. This is enough.
Again, I apologise for the over-wrought drama of it all.


Unknown said...

ah my love... I don't have anything any more helpful to say at this stage except that I love you ridiculously. It is lovely to see you smiling again now that you've finished writing, and that the bell jar seems to have lifted a little

Anonymous said...

Argh! Lost my comment again. Trying to remember it.

1) You have a great gift of expression. I think you should write out your feelings more often - it's greatly cathartic, and fun for the rest of us (thinking more about your rant on SUVs!)

2)You are a wonderful person, and I am VERY proud of you. I think you're doing a great job with your life - and yes, there will be things other than motherhood. You don't have to stay home 'til the kids leave the nest. And your children are wonderful, too. And beautiful.

3)Sorry you didn't get the job. However, the fact that that sort of job is so right for you gives you something to keep your eye out for. This lot thought you were too young, but other churches won't. I know they won't be as handy as the one you go to, but there is bound to be something like that out there. Though patience may have to be used - and that's a horrible word!!

4)Do you or your lovely husband know how I can RSS this to LiveJournal? I want to keep up with it better. And blogging is so much better for the big rants than Facebook.

Love and hugs

kimberlee said...

oh miss rachel, nice to hear so much of your true thoughts in your writing. I was reading about child development and this woman reckons it takes 2,000 times IN CONTEXT for a kido to learn a new, more socially appropriate behaviour. When I get frustrated with myself for falling back into old ways, I remember this and cut myself some slack. Change is super dooper slow, but it is happening.

I like that your back is straightening and you are taking this in stride. But i don't think this is not just another disappointment to get through, stepping up and taking a chance on something takes a lot of guts. that's an accomplishment, even if it didn't turn out right for you. sorry about that.
love you honey bunny! don't stop putting yourself out there! we like you!

Deborah Ward said...

Impressive self-reflection, Rach. Cleverly-written, too. Hope the process was as cathartic as it seems.