“I will be different. I will remain the same. I will still go parchment-faced with embarrassment, and clench my pencil between fingers like pencils. I will quite frequently push the doors marked Pull and pull the doors marked Push [and spill coffee on myself in bizarre places for reasons too difficult to explain]. I will be lonely, almost certainly…I will walk by myself on the shore of the sea and look at the freegulls flying. I will grow too orderly, plumping up the chesterfield cushions just-so before I go to bed. I will rage in my insomnia like a prophetess. I will take care to remember a vitamin pill each morning with my breakfast. I will be afraid. Sometimes I will feel light-hearted, sometimes light-headed. I may sing aloud, even in the dark. I will ask myself if I am going mad, but if I do, I won’t know it.”
~Margaret Laurence, A Jest of God
I spend my life traveling (careening?) between point A and point B
of various cognitive dissonances
With the not-good-enough voice trying to
shout down the “am so” one,
having traveled four thousand
and sixty-two point nine
miles to do what I’ve been
wanting to do
trying to do
qualified to do
for twenty years.
And this pervasive feeling of joy
teetering like a plate on a stick atop the awareness
that it’s only ever as good as my
hormones will allow it to be,
plus that soupçon of fear
that rides, always, just behind my right ear,
and the awareness that we are all,
in some way,
I continue to insist on believing that anything can be fixed if one can just think of just the right words.
I also think that my epitaph should be”she had really good intentions.”
Can’t help but wonder if these two are related somehow.
Only Daughter loves traveling, moving, fresh starts.
I enjoy fresh starts while realizing that I’m probably just going to be bringing most of the same problems with me, but still.
You may or may not know, but we are departing next week for four months in Brazil, where I will be teaching at the University of Brasilia on a Fulbright while Only Daughter does online school, Husband works on book projects, and we hopefully embark on many exciting adventures. You can follow along, if you’d like, at my travel blog here.
Meanwhile, we have been dealing with an extremely disappointing if not outright disturbing political landscape and the revelation of the uglier side of many, and considering different career options for me, while I try to deal with the reality of unfulfilled dreams and seek new challenges.
So, a fresh start, in many ways, and I intend to maximize on it.
Had a lovely conversation with a dear friend over lunch today, as we discussed the need to preserve our own mental health while not abandoning the needs of our society and planet, and the balancing of dreams vs. realities, acknowledging/mourning disappointments while embarking on new dreams, the need to balance our work and families while taking care of ourselves. Many of these a quest for many of us and each could fuel a blog all its own.
But I am embarking on this journey with some vows of my own, inspired by AGV:
- to take and enjoy each day as it comes,
- to focus on the opportunity rather than the obligation each situation presents,
- to stop spending time on regrets of the past and look ahead to the future, and, finally
- not to fret.
Wish me luck!!!
Seems like this is the hardest thing for me.
It seems to be a shape-shifter;
Once I know what it looks like,
It’s there and then it’s
I can give up sugar and meat
Read a book knit a sweater watch three episodes of Call the Midwife
Sleep on your left shoulder
Or curled up around my pillows
Swear off bourbon
Clean all of the bathrooms and organize every drawer.
It’s still there.
And then it’s gone.
“Everything I want from a mother is entrail-exhausting, rage-flooded, shocked-alive, and structured like a shriek. All I have the courage to ask for is this convenience. We wipe down the counter. We hang up towel and sponge. When I was little I understood the world to be made of paper, and that everyone should step carefully or go through the paper. I wanted a notation for that, for the going-through. I thought, I still think, this notation is stored somewhere, above us in a sort of mist or secret layer. I never realized that Verna had been carrying the ghost of Mildred at the front of her mind for fifty years, like impossible antlers. The judgments we bring to bear on one another are not very sound, are they?”
Ann Carson, “Back the Way You Went,” New Yorker, October 31, 2016