I didn’t mean to disappear again.
I hate that I’m becoming “that blogger,” the one who writes for a week or two and then disappears without any warning or explanation.
I know we don’t owe anyone anything in the Internets, especially not in our own spaces, but I also know that I consider many of you friends and I don’t want to be the kind of friend that just vanishes without a trace for weeks at a time. I don’t like it when my friends do that to me, and I don’t want to do that to my friends either.
So I’m sorry I’ve been away. I’ve tried to write. I’ve tried and I’ve failed. Miserably. This is where most people mention the many unfinished drafts waiting to be published, but I will admit that not a word has been written that you haven’t seen. Not even in my journal. I haven’t been able to write, not anywhere.
I’ve opened up posts. Sometimes I’ve even stared at them for a good couple of minutes, but not once have I written a word. Usually I just shut the computer down and start reading a book.
I just can’t seem to write anything.
I think there are a lot of reasons why, but it’s hard to pin any of them down. Everything is so intertwined right now, it’s hard to tease out one narrative and commit to it from beginning to end without mentioning all the other issues at play. Each strand is so completely, and complexly, a part of all the others, you can’t trace it under your finger without starting down the path of a totally different thread. And the hardest part is, half the time you don’t even realize you’ve gone astray, the colors are so muddled and stained, it’s hard to tell the individual strands apart.
Jesus, even that metaphor is a fucking disaster.
I really, truly don’t know what to say, except that this business of tearing oneself down and then rebuilding from the foundation is devastating, especially when you’ve removed (or are attempting to) all the scaffolding you depended on in the past. Brené Brown talks about abandoning the things we do to numb ourselves and how when she did it she felt like a turtle without its shell… in a briar patch. That is how I feel. It’s excruciating, and I want nothing more than to slip back into the well worn armor I’ve carried around for the entirety of my adult life.
So in the absence of a cohesive narrative, I guess I’ll just start writing and see what happens.
Winter break has been… challenging. 24/7 with both kids, no breaks, my son cutting four molars… It’s not the best environment to be managing all this. But I suppose none is.
Christmas Day was surprisingly nice. Low key. It was what I needed. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up; I’ve spent the last four years learning that what I used to love about holidays with family (actually spending meaningful time with them) is just not possible with young kids. Walking into the day with realistic expectations helped stave off the disappointment, and there were even some nice moments with my overly-stimulated, Christmas-crazed kids. (I realize that risks sounding totally ungrateful–please know I am not ungrateful, and that I appreciate every Christmas I spend with my kids, but–as are many things in parenting–it’s complicated.)
I finally saw my therapist, and we spent the hour tackling my compulsive spending. It was… unpleasant. She is clearly concerned. As per her suggestion, I came home and handed over all my credit cards to my husband. I am carrying around my debit card to buy gas and for emergencies, but on a weekly basis I’m only using cash. I’m giving myself $100 a week right now, but I’m not allowed to by anything non-essential and I have to write down how every cent is spent. (My therapist suggested $50 a week, and I’m going to work down to that in the next month.) I could tell my husband was freaked out by all of it, and I had to assure him (again, through tears) that I hadn’t told her anything I hadn’t already divulged to him. I think the difference is she knows what follow-up questions to ask, and what my responses to those questions mean. She recognizes when I get defensive or try to justify my actions. She knows me. We’re going to work on it. It’s going to be hard. I’m going to stumble and fall, over and over again, but I’m going to keep getting up and continue stumbling forward.
The next few weeks are a test of sorts, to see what kind of self-control I have. If I can stick to my spending plan it will be one thing, if I can’t, it will be quite another. The pressure is considerable.
I’m hitting the wall on the commitment to minimalism. Turns out I’m not just addicted to accumulating stuff but to the stuff itself. I’m having a harder and harder time letting go. And yet I realize I have to. I understand that the life I lead now, with the stuff I own, it’s untenable. And yet I’m not sure how to change. It’s hard. I don’t know how to do this. But I have to and so I keep at it.
I miss writing. And I don’t. I haven’t tackled it here (or anywhere) yet but the Creative Non-Fiction class had a big impact on me. Someone critiquing my work affected me deeply. And then I quit the magazine and can’t seem to maintain a writing schedule here. I recognize all these steps as a distancing of myself from writing, from my understanding of myself as a writer, but I’m not quite sure why I am taking those steps. I assume the reasons will present themselves, eventually.
In the absence of my usual coping techniques (stuff, shopping, writing, even biting my nails, which I’m trying to quit) I find myself scrambling to fill the space and pass the time. I am loathe to even transfer the laundry without an audiobook playing. At night, before I fall asleep, I’ve resorted to my old habit of telling stories in my head, mostly the tooling and retooling of scenes that I love, keeping my mind occupied so it won’t have to acknowledge whatever is brewing behind the projector screen.
This past weekend my husband and I lost ourselves in Broadchurch, the BBC version. I cried. A lot.
I am trying to be accepting of all this, both how I feel and how I’m coping. Maybe that is why it’s hard to write, because I’m trying so desperately not to judge any of this as good or bad. Or maybe it’s because I know I’m clutching at straws, and if I sit still long enough to get it down I’ll see it all for what it is.
I honestly have no idea. But at least I wrote this. And that’s something.