She can be cold and she can make you sweat one hell of an existential sweat, but she will come through at the right time with the right hook to keep you turning the page.
They call it a wardrobe because every day you just have to get in there and do battle.
In my bourgeoning adulthood, one thing I have come to appreciate is the authoritative click of a good heel. It doesn’t have to be a tall one. Just a strong one.
On a Saturday morning in the middle of October, you will sit on your porch and let your coffee warm itself in the sun. Your child will be nearby, toddling around in a shirt and a diaper, peeking through the shrubs to watch the traffic — constant, hurried, loud. The cat will be somewhere around you, eating spider webs and green things, relishing his momentary freedom. You’ll be planning your day, trying to plot out showers and travel times and parking spots and meals and naps. You’ll look at your child’s head full of hair and wonder how the spinning globe we’re riding on got us all to this one moment in time, and you’ll sip your coffee again, its warmth extended for a little while by the sun’s efforts.
There is a spider just outside the front window. She is suspended on a single thread, bisecting it between the points where it is attached to the pane. She’s halfway between her origin and her destination, dangling and swaying back and forth in the breeze. She’s dead. Kicked ye olde bucket while making a go at another web: her first, seventh, dozenth, hundreth — who really even knows but her. There is just the one thread she is suspended from, the beginnings of her new sticky hammock. So she had just gotten started.
She was setting up a new shop, spinning spinning spinning, driven by instinct. Something happened and she gave out, I guess. Seven of her little legs are curled up beneath her while one — the one she used to guide herself down the thread — sticks out behind her. A crooked little aerial ballet pose for the ages.
This is going to sound like bad poetry because I am not sure how best to articulate it. But I’ll try.
Once in a while, the mind takes hold of something and slows down everything around it — the clock ticking, the Earth’s revolutions, the breaths coming from your own nostrils — as if to crystallize and distill and separate out the destination, faint pinprick as it may be, from the rest of the ordinary ebbs and flows of life.
I wonder if the brain worked this way before movies or if this is something my brain has begun to do because of movies. It is theatrical in nature and dramatic at heart and it perplexes me, the ways in which the organism functioned before the ways in which we function now. What if I would have been better in and at another time?
This life springs people and circumstances into your orbit you must evaluate and categorize carefully should they prove useful or harmful or worth more time than you initially thought. Or less.
It is the waiting to find out which shelf to put you on that I have little patience for. My brain fancies itself a label-maker, one of those crude punch-letter contraptions, and it is constantly wanting to slap an explanatory strip on everything, and then a new one on top, and then an updated one on that, and so on. All that time spent thinking about shelving does strange things to one’s perception of reality and possibility.
I’m not a great judge of character but I am goddamned sincere.
One of the best things about life is not knowing what’s around the corner. One of the worst things about life is not knowing who’s around the corner.
My mind is this great humming butter churn of a thing, moving unformed chunks of ideas around slowly and with great struggle.
I have nothing to write about. It is driving me fucking bonkers. I have been sitting here staring at this screen, trying to make it happen, trying to remember something, anything, worth sharing and I have nothing. Everything is extremely mundane. I can’t just write about my kid all the time, cool as he is. I can’t write about work, insane as it is. That’s it, though. I don’t have anything else. I’m not overly happy or overly sad about anything. I just continue to have absolutely nothing to fucking talk about and I think it’s time to pronounce the blog dead because maybe then I will get my mojo back.
I can’t keep writing about not writing.
OK. Now that I got that out of my system, I am just going to write. Some stream-of-consciousness shit helps unclog the mind, doesn’t it? I swear I think I have done this before here and yes I did just search my archives for an example and I came up short.
You are going to think this is ridiculous but I just made myself cry up there, when I decided to consider killing the blog. I’m not even PMSing. I am that emotionally constipated and frustrated. This thing that is mine that used to give me such joy is such a point of stress now. Self-imposed, completely stupid stress! No one cares! Once Google Reader is dead, there might be four people who ever remember to come by here and they know how fucking crazy I am anyway and don’t expect anything from me!
I’m, like, three months behind on Holden’s month-by-month posts. I feel a ridiculous amount of guilt about that, which is sort of making me feel like I shouldn’t write about anything else until I get those out of the way. Stupid.
Is it living in Nashville that has sapped me? Because crazy shit used to happen to me and around me all the time in Memphis. Nothing happens here except sometimes I get irrationally angry at a song Pandora will play. I don’t ever see or interact with people except for the ones I live with or the ones I work with, and all those people are off limits from my (public) online smartassery. I want to tell stories about all you delightful weirdos, dammit! Middle management has taken that from me.
I was thinking earlier about how I have been a middle manager at heart my whole life. How I always wanted to do roll call at school and take names when the teacher left the room. I always wanted to please the authority figures in life so they would know that secretly, despite my age, I was one of them. This explains why I never snuck out of the house or blew curfew without calling my parents and letting them know I’d be a smidge late.
Being a manager, though, has been an interesting trip. I have always always always been nonconfrontational and uncomfortable with delivering bad news or having to provide discipline or critique. It’s the people pleaser in me who is crippled by the thought of hurting someone’s feelings or saying something that will make them like me less. Learning to be OK with people not liking me has been a lifelong struggle, even though I am POSITIVE that there have been plenty of people throughout my life who haven’t liked me. Because, as I discover every few years or so, I am a serious asshole sometimes.
So now I kind of have to get right with that asshole part of me and harness it for good. Harness it to keep people honest, to foster productivity, to pressure people to stay on track. Use it to provide a push but not too hard.
WHY AM I WRITING ABOUT WORK? OH MY GOD, NO ONE CARES.
Work is my life right now. I think about it almost obsessively. How can I be better, do better, cultivate better results?
Is it because I think I’m a terrible mother? Or do I think I’m a terrible mother because I am so focused on my career?
Ew, those feelings are sticky. Best not touch them.
Last January, I did one of these so I could remember how it was taking care of a newborn while on maternity leave. I figured I’d do one again while I am a Working Mother of a Toddler, so that in a year or two when my life has changed yet again (spoiler alert: it just keeps changing!), I can look back and try to remember what this life was like.
So here is a pretty typical LT day, told in pictures. To see the captions, you have to toggle on full screen and click the picture, I think. You can hit pause and then scroll through them at your own pace.
Sometimes I ache so hard for a future life that it ruins my whole day.
Many people, most people(?) live their whole lives and they don’t get what they want. And that’s OK. Because no one is entitled to get what they want. Even if what they want is totally reasonable. Why the fuck should the universe align itself so that you get what you want? That is not the purpose or the function of the organism. Surely by now you have accepted that.