In Which I Am Seven Months Old Again

I’m being irresponsible tomorrow. I’m ditching the baby and I’m driving (being driven) out to the camp where currently resides my husband, and I’m going because I feel like there is a husband-shaped hole in my chest, even though he’s only been gone a night and a half so far, but I can’t breathe without him around, and he keeps me sane.

I’m going, because I miss him already, even though he would only have gotten home two hours ago if this had been a regular work day, and I remember all the reasons why I’m not an army wife, like so many of my dearest, most-adored friends, and I am grateful, and I am ashamed, because I am not as strong as they are.

But also, it occurs to me that I am going tomorrow because it is camp, not just because it is where my husband is. Packing him off, sending him to camp with one of my scripts and no way to ever see it performed, to know if the message was Right, and clear, and true – it is wrong. It is not, really, because I have a small person, and he is my world at the moment, because I am his. But it felt wrong. I need camp.

Church has been hit and miss over the last term – hard with a small child, especially a baby far too young to sit quietly and play, but also too old to sleep through the service – just exactly the right age to know that people mean fun, and attention, and to crave it. And it occurs to me that the husband-shaped hole is not as big as the God-shaped hole.

And that is why I am like a seven-month old: I know who God is, and I know that I want him around, but I’m the child who’s crawled out into the middle of the floor and forgotten her way back. I can’t remember which way I came from, where I left Him, which room He was in… and I’m out of strength to crawl, and I can’t walk, and all I can do is sit in the middle of the floor sobbing – Mummy, I need you, come find me – God, where are you, please pick me up. I need a hug.

I’m seven months old, and I can’t walk to God, and I’ve forgotten which way to crawl – so tomorrow, I am going to be irresponsible, and go to the camp I’m not supposed to be at, and leave the small person behind – but maybe, just maybe, I will find Him there.

Saving Me

I read a beautiful post on Sarah Bessey’s blog about what was saving her. She invited everyone to participate, and I am late to the party, because I always am what with one thing or another, but here I am at last, and I bear cake.

What is saving me is this: wonderful blogs, and finally having a space of my own on the internet where I can say what I’m thinking and think what I’m saying and somehow align the two. Wise words, beauty in life, small moments captured in the hecticness of life. A husband who can cook and clean, who rides out my exhausted tantrums, who is God’s love incarnate in oh-so-many ways. Books are always saving me, and at the moment it’s Dresden Files and Kate Daniels, new short sotry authors, and thinking of new texts for school. It’s the people who surround me in my day-to-day moments, the ones I’m blessed to share my minutes with, the ones I love, who let me be me, who take my quirkiness in their stride – it’s you, because you’re one of these people, sharing my life with me, laughing with me as I sometimes stumble.

But mostly – oddly – it’s dog poo, and putting the small person to bed. Because he’s been crying and fussing and not wanting to leave my side, and so to clean up the yard I strapped him on and wore him until my back muscles cried, and we worked in the warmth of a pre-spring afternoon, sunshine gilding his hair, like yellow labrador hair, and the smiling eyes of our dogs. I moved, and used my body in the way it was designed to be used, and carrying a child so close felt like the small heaven of quiet-soul moments, felt like the sunbright warmth of connected people, felt like happy dog fur, which is both happy-dog fur, and happy dog-fur, tumbling freewheeling spiralling in the breeze as I scoop and shovel, scoop and shovel.

No one knew that dog poo could be spiritual. (Well probably they did, but my soul had never heard it.)

It’s putting him to bed, forced into slower rhythm of twilit rooms, of soft white humming of the washing machine and droning from a far-distant tv. It’s knowing I can’t leave because he wants me close, it’s realising that I need him close, and learning to enjoy, to stop, to not be forced, because when I have nothing better to do I love these nighttime rhythms, and I have nothing better to do, because he is a priority. So I sing into his forehead as I lower him to the mattress, pat his stomach, smooth his hair, give him Eeyore and drap myself along his cot like a swooning maiden made kneeless by sighs of love, and my heart swells, and I remember dog poo, and how soul-quiet comes when we let it, not when we demand it.

I lie on the floor, still singing, still humming, and for the first time all day I let myself relax, and putting him to sleep is no longer hard, draining work, but my solace in a frantic day, and I thank God for a small child who needs me, even though I am tired of need, because I need need, and he needs me, and it because of this that I am lying on the floor soothing myself as much as him.

One day, I will remember lessons learned in soul-quiet moments, and the moments will come thicker – like honey, maybe, the sweet glaze over a life well lived, slow and luscious and dreamy.

I wrap my smile around the thoughts of honey, and take my saving thoughts to bed.

Humanity

There are days when I want to crawl into a corner and cry because of the atrocities that are committed daily, hourly, minutely in the name of ‘humanity’. This world is just so broken, and I am just so little. It’s frustrating, and heart-breaking, and soul-destroying if I allow myself to forget the starfish – that throwing one out of a million starfish back still matters to that one. And dearest God, it is hard to remember sometimes, especially when I have a broken care meter.

I’ve been reading tonight about the over-sexualisation of prepubescent girls and, in the course of my read-click-read-click-read spree, I stumbled onto information about the Nestle boycott. I’ve heard about that somewhere very recently, like in the last week, probably from similar sites in a similar read-click-read spree, and tonight just solidified my desire to have nothing to do with the company. Details here. So now I’m all depressed about the state of the world, because it’s when I get into read-click-read sprees that my broken caremeter affects me most – because I have almost no ability to STOP once I get reading something, anything (yes, I compulsively read, even the cereal box, if there’s writing on it and it’s in my line of sight, I’ll be reding it), and so spress like this pile depressing information on my head like snow, piling and piling and piling until it’s like an avalanche and I’m suffocating and I can’t do anything and I feel useless and the only thing I can do is walk away and stop caring.

And then I hate that I don’t care any more 😛 Welcome to the bizarre and unnatural cycles of my head.

But then. The pasta boiling in the pot beside me right now is at least made entirely from real, pronouncable ingredients. There are no apparent connections to Nestle that I can detect. Doubtless, millions of other corporations are doing stuff just as screwed up, but I can’t battle them all, I hyperventlate just thinking about it, and I cling to the starfish, and remember that I am not here to fix the world, I’m not, I can’t, I’m not God… I’m pretty much only here to fix myself, and I do that by caring for others.

So I let go, release the death grip on my heart, allow myself to feel just a little of that caring. I bundle the rest of it tight, the pain, the frustration, the fury, and I give it over to someone who is the only one who can deal with it, and I take a deep breath, and remember the starfish, and force myself to smile at a pot of bubbling pasta that, to the best of my knowledge right now, is cruelty-free.

Repost: Quitting And Proud

This is the farewell post from my writing blog, and sums up nicely some of the reasons why I’m here 🙂

 

It’s time. It’s been coming for at least the last 9 months, but the time is finally here: I’m done. I’m quitting writing. Please understand, this is not said with the slightest trace of bitterness, regret, despair, or anger. A few days ago it might have been, but not now. Now it’s said with a sense of freedom, liberation – and excitement.

I’m growing up, you see. Learning that I’m the one in charge of my own life, and if I don’t take charge now, I’ll wake up forty-five with schoolkids, stuck in a rut I didn’t create for myself. I refuse to be a part of that future, and claiming my future means claiming my now. And my now of the last year or so involves far too much angst, over everything – evidenced by the fact that I saw the ear/now/throat surgeon yesterday, and while there are definitely operable structural issues (HOORAH, I WILL BE ABLE TO BREATHE), a large part of the problem is that I grind my teeth – and I grind my teeth because of stress.

It’s been a slow and gradual process, a culmination of many, many conversations and blog posts and things read and seen and observed. It’s knowing I spend far too much of my evenings on the computer; it’s knowing that I’m spending the majority of my time dealing with urgent and not important; it’s knowing that I can’t physically, mentally or emotionally cope with everything I’ve set up as ‘have to do’.

It’s being inspired by declutter blogs, finding the blogs of wonderful women who speak to the issues of my heart, who care about the things I care about, who struggle with the things I struggle with. It’s recognising the I want to spend more time being happy and less time being worried; it’s erasing ‘should’ and ‘have to’ from my vocabulary.

It’s learning to be kind to myself, to love myself, to recite love letters to my body every night as I towel off from my shower, to make time to relax, time to sit, time to breathe, time to be. It’s finding silence, finding the moment, finding me.

It’s finally, finally, finally, being set free from everyone else expectations, real, imagined, whatever. It’s learning to see how I measure up to my own expectations, my real, personal, own ones, not the ones that life has forced onto me. It’s laughing more, smiling more, running more, even though I get sweaty and bright red and the ungainly bits of me bounce. After all, sweat is the skin’s best cleanser, right?

Most of all, it’s learning about what makes me me. I’m quitting writing because I need silence, this kind of silence, and at the moment my world is full of words from first-breath to last-breath, and I can’t hear who I am through the noise.

It’s not a break, because that implies a specific intent to return. But it’s not necessarily forever-quitting. I love stories, I live stories, I breathe stories. I may be back. But if I am, it will be because I’ve remembered how to love writing – and not because I need yet another way to measure my worth in terms of thing done, quantity acheive, how quickly I can master something.

I was scared to quit for so long, because my house is littered with ‘Amy projects’, things started and incomplete after the first fervour of passion has died away. But it has finally occurred to me that all things in life are not equal. I’ve never quit things to do with my work, my family, my God. So if I start hobbies and drop them much like college boys change their underwear, SO REALLY WHAT? All it means is that I’m creative, doncha know? O:) 😀

So. I’m still going to be blogging, but it won’t be here, because I won’t be blogging about writing and there’s bound to be a whole truckload of TMI. If you’re interested in following me to my new home, there’s contact tab just up there ^ on the blog. Shoot me something – email, tweet, FB, whatevs – and let me know, and I’ll give you the address.

Otherwise, thank you. Thank you for sticking it out with me this long, for watching me mature and grow in my writing – and my life. Thank you, because even though I don’t know most of you, it’s amazing to know that there are people out there reading what I’m writing, that I’m not talking to a void. So thank you.

I have a few books that I collected to give away on here, so I’ll do that before the end of the week. There is also one or two more posts already scheduled, so I’ll let those post too. But other than that, this is it: the end of an era. I’m going to wave goodbye, close the door, and leave you all to party. Last one out switch off the lights, m’kay?

~Amy.