So . . . I've been gone awhile, and I thought that the season of resurrection is as good a time as any to renew, revive, and revisit my blogging self. I've been in a weird headspace, searching for pleasure in my life. My children are so clear about which activities bring them happiness. They swim and play sports and dabble in music, and the raw joy seeps out of their pores. They are so expressive that it's never hard to know what the giggles and happy dances mean. I had a conversation with a colleague, and we concluded that men also make no bones about what brings them pleasure. Whatever else is going on in the world, men make time and space for what they want to do. But for me--maybe it's that mom thing--I feel like a personal assistant, facilitating the lives around me and serving, serving, serving. When I thought about what I wanted to do and considered my options--learn a new skill? try a sport? join a group?--I could hardly even give a name to the kinds of things I like to do. And then I started to feel really pathetic.
As I've discussed to death, my career is on life support. I've been thinking about the 18 year old girl I used to be, and wondering if she'd be disappointed that I'm not all fabulous in the ways that she expected. After all, she imagined that at this point, we'd have a couple of books somewhere, and we'd be vacationing in cool, exciting places, and we'd have an impressive title. The Diva told me not to listen to her--she's young and knows nothing! All I can say is, "Sorry girl! I tried." It's just not turning out like we thought. And so, we probably--no, definitely--need to come up with an alternative plan to the bill of goods somebody sold us in graduate school about how this was going to work. We need to make some new connections and try some new projects so that we can travel a different road. One that might get us closer to that impressive title. And perhaps a vacation in Paris (hey--dreams are free, right?!) But more importantly, we need to feel pleasure. We need to be creative and focused in ways that have nothing to do with being someone's mommy or wife or instructor. A colleague suggested that blogging does that for her, so I'm making that my first step to a less depressed me.
I'm reading a devotional centered around the Lenten season. It's from the perspective of depression (the author is a scholar and minister who lives with bipolar disorder). One of the last entries I read was about how, for her, cycling helps her feel more human and full of life. How she knows that sadness rises up to suck her into an abyss, so she needs to be intentional about participating in her life. I don't have a diagnosed mental illness, but the cycle she mentions has been sapping me, too, in a way. It's been hard lately to keep myself from thinking about how much I suck, to remind myself that I've done some things that other people think are pretty great. I need to be intentional about meditating on the good, even while disappointment and fear and calamity threaten all around me. Otherwise . . . it's just too much.
So, returning to the blog is the first step. Another is to make some moves toward something tangibly good. I think I'm going to take a sewing class. I've been wanting to do that for years. And maybe I can go from there to learning to quilt, something else I always thought would be cool. And I think I'm going to take another swim class this summer, now that I've moved past my suspicion that my body won't float. I'll let you know how it goes!
4 days ago