Saturday, January 10, 2015

happy (or something like it) new year

Having two full weeks off—twelve days of which were after Christmas—was head-clearing and house-clearing. Every day that I slept in felt luxurious, and I got a jump start on my New Year’s resolutions, which are really one resolution with a few branches: Be more mindful. Because gentleness seems to walk hand in hand with mindfulness, I’m choosing not to get mad at myself for the fact that I’ve already fallen off the mindfulness wagon at least a half dozen times. The point, I think, is that mindfulness is not a wagon.

The inside of my head is almost as tidy.
The house-clearing part came when AK and I lugged somewhere between ten and twenty bags of stuff from our office to Goodwill/recycling/trash. The office—a.k.a. our storage room (since my real office is Starbucks), a.k.a. the room OC gets shut in when he forgets to use his inside meow—has been hanging over my head for four years. It will hopefully be our baby’s room, but fixing it up preemptively seemed audacious. Not fixing it up at all seemed depressing, like the room was accumulating all my emotional baggage along with my unpublished manuscripts.

It’s still not a nursery, but it’s orderly. That feels great.

There was another loop in our parenthood roller coaster over the holidays. That did not feel great. I handled it okay, which means I was only a little not-okay.

I’m feeling kind of Zen about the baby thing right now—still sad and frustrated by our long and confusing wait, but willing to believe there’s a kid in our near-ish future.

Then I think, Well, maybe that feeling of peace will help us land a kid.

Then I think, So, maybe being torn up and impatient and pushy up until now showed the universe that I wasn’t ready for a kid, and this whole thing is my own damn fault.

I’m never more than a few inches away from self-flagellating magical thinking. Anyway, back to the Zen.

Despite the niceness of the break, I was happy to get back to my routine and back to Homeboy on Monday, especially to my creative writing class. For one of our prompts, I asked: What are you an expert on?

And despite the niceness of the break and the quiet hum of optimism I feel toward 2015, here’s what I wrote.

Kid, you've got nothing on me.
I am an expert at crying. I’ve cried so hard all my sinuses have swelled shut. I’ve cried while running and driving and doing yoga. I am a multi-tasker, a world explorer. I’ve cried at Starbucks and on curbs, in the prescription line at CVS, for both the medicine that’s making me cry and the one that will help me stop.

I’ve cried in exam rooms and pre-op rooms and chiropractic offices and on five therapists’ couches.

I could write a taxonomy of crying: the first swell of tears, when you’re not sure which way it will go; the single tear down the cheek, like the hero in a bad movie; crying with guilt and gratitude and happiness about the sweet fragility of the world; bitter crying into a pillow; look-what-you-did-to-me crying; crying until you turn yourself inside out and start vomiting because nothing will erase the pain; movie crying; sad song crying; thank-god-someone-gets-it crying; nobody-but-Stephen-Sondheim-gets-it crying; crying that stops abruptly because your session is up; crying that stops abruptly because you really need to get to work. 

I feel like I should say “crying that turns into laughter,” but honestly, that’s never happened to me. It might. But I think it will take years.


Sizzle said...

We have one of those rooms- that seem to accumulate our emotional baggage & are in between office and a kid's room. Right now 4 bins of holiday decor & 6 donation bags are piled in its center. Baby steps (bad pun).

I have cried until I laugh. Usually with my sister or best friend. It is pretty magical. I hope that happens for you someday.

Cheryl said...

I will join you in making baby steps. :-)