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47 weeks | It’s all here somewhere | no. 0041
This is my third attempt at beginning today’s post. It is now evening and the munchkin has just surrendered to the nap that has been waiting on him for the past three hours. I marvel at all the steps and back steps it has taken to get me into my writing. I have even relocated my computer so that a new scenery can expedite a smoother experience in finding a story to tell. The path has been rocky and frustrating today. Here I am, though, ready to see what this can become.
Once, earlier in the day when I am not succeeding at getting him to rest, I realize that I feel the annoying presence of a dull ache in my lower abdomen. Oh right, I’m on my cycle. Those are cramps, I keep forgetting. So I abandon hopes of a nap, and get up to make tea while he resumes exploring his new legos set. In the middle of some moderately witty comment I am making to the munchkin’s father, I proceed to pour scolding water onto my left hand–I’m left-handed!– while trying to strain the red raspberry leaves from the pot.
With stellar my-child-is-just-a-few-feet-away reflexes, I grip the handle of the pot, and miraculously don’t drop and shatter the glass mug I’m also holding. With my hand burning in agony, I manage to set everything down on the counter. I do scream out at some point, only to be echoed by my darling munchkin who yells in sheer delight at all the frenzy. My partner– who whenever there’s a first-aid emergency has a story up his sleeve about how the exact same thing happened to him on some wild adventure many moons ago– rushes to help me and assess the extent of the burn.
My hand stings as if it is on fire. My partner is worried my skin will blister and peel off. I am worried that I only have one paragraph of Wednesday’s Bloom written and it’s going to be really hard to hold a squirming munchkin and type with a burned hand. It then occurs to me that other things will be challenging with my injured hand: nursing, diaper changes, lifting the munchkin from here to there, cooking. (Ok, to be honest, it totally slipped my mind that I needed to also make dinner today.) It also dawns on me for the first time how much the munchkin grabs my hands just because throughout the day. What is usually a gentle and sweet moment between mother and son, now causes me to wince as his little fingers press into the exact spot that has been scorched.
I am struggling to embrace the poetry in my calamities today. Maybe there were no true calamities, but you get my point. All I really wanted to do was write, and then take care of things for my family. I’m trying to be poetic about saying that the day had a bunch of mishaps, and it would be really convenient if I could wrap my chaotic moments up with a beautiful epiphany to make all the fuss seem extra special. But the truth is actually something else altogether. I am reminded with a piercing clarity that this whole Wednesday’s Bloom ritual is rooted in honesty. I wanted to paint pictures of my life as is. So today, this jumbled array of happenings is that life I promised to write about.
I started off with this great motivation to get to the library, and let the munchkin have his story and play time. Then he would get tired, and NAP, and then I could write. It could all be so simple… After two major poop diapers substantially diminished my resolve to press onwards, I decided maybe this would be a good day to stay home after all. He fell into a short nap after I cleaned him up. In that brief quiet I noticed I was tired. Could it be all the extra iron draining from my body? Not to mention the sweltering July heat outside would not have helped my situation.
You would think I could have just dived right in to my writing when he was asleep that first time. But my story had not yet culled itself from my heart. I can not begin with a blank screen. I have to pre-write in my notebook. Mostly this is when I listen for the title of the post. I listen for the tone of my feelings, because it will guide me into the storytelling rhythm. Some days that magical flow is all dried up and it takes a long time for anything to spark. I try to be patient with the process, but I am also racing against the clock because when the munchkin awakes–which turns out to be a few minutes later– the writing faucet is like a tap that turns on and off. Only, the munchkin is the one controlling that faucet!
Somewhere on the page I scribble this metaphor about life being like a jigsaw puzzle, except you never have all the pieces. In fact, I am feeling like I have to create the missing pieces in the powers of my imagination. And even beyond wondering which pieces go where, there is no guiding picture to match my arrangement to. As such, the masterpiece keeps morphing. This instead is the unscripted life. The only measure of “rightness” or “wrongness” in determining where pieces go is how I feel about how I am expending my energy. The work of being aware of your intuition can be grueling at times. But I find it is one of the most rewarding parts of being alive.
The immediate thing that comes to mind when I question myself more deeply about the choice of puzzle imagery is a pile of disheveled pieces that do not easily make sense. This then makes me think of my long and lavish love affair with clutter. While I can intellectually appreciate the idea that the physical clutter of things in your space inhibits optimal, clear thinking, I choose to see all the things scattered about my room as a perpetual map of possibility. I could go there and read that book. Or I could go there and write that play. Or I could journey underneath that pile of papers and find my earrings from Trinidad that will make me remember something spectacular I always intended to finish writing about. It’s a win-win creatively speaking. I like feeling like I can see all the options, and journey wherever I want. I like the sensation of stumbling into the most amazing visions– a story, a dance, a workshop– that would not have appeared just so had everything been properly preassigned in its place.
Of course, the other side of things being everywhere is that things are everywhere! And when I want to put my hands on something, sometimes it’s hard to find it, or it’s hard to get in the mood to work on it because several other things are vying for my attention. This too is why the puzzle is resonating today. It’s like all the tools I need to assemble this new mommy artist superwoman process are here with me, but the whens and hows and what-exactly-am-I-trying-to-dos are all mixed up in my lap. There is a certain pleasant anticipation from feeling on the cusp each time the morning greets me. And yet, there is this swelling tension to break through into whatever iteration this dream is going to become.
For days now I have been radiating with an almost jittery excitement, visualizing how all my new projects can come together. I held the first New Mommy Writers’ Workshop a few weeks ago and have been buzzing with proposals for workshops, online courses, certifications, book tours, virtual sessions, and so much more. This passion I have to create spaces for all mothers to exist boldly and abundantly in our authentic processes is beginning to manifest in tangible ways. It’s like all these weeks of toiling in my words are blossoming into fruits from which others can partake.
This brings me joy, I must admit. Even as my day is ending far from where I intended, I feel good that I showed up to my work and wrote my truth anyway. Each time I face the confusion in the infinite puzzle called my life, I discover something vital about what it takes to be me. I think that’s why I don’t mind the clutter so much. Somewhere, amongst all these pieces, are the things that make me whole.
The munchkin, my first born, was born on a Wednesday. Wednesday’s Bloom: Textual Portraits of a New Mommy is an ongoing multi-media documentary project about my process as a mother. Today’s story is a part of Volume 1, 73 consecutive weeks of posts, spanning about the first year and a half of the munchkin’s life. Each episode explores my weekly discoveries, challenges, questions, and hopes as a mother. I also facilitate the New Mommy Writers’ Workshop for all mothers and women active in their mothering work who are excited about cultivating their own writing practices.