Monday, May 05, 2008

One Hundred Posts Later...

I just so happened to look over at the sidebar of my blog and noticed that this will be my one hundredth post. It has taken me nearly 2 full years to reach this milestone. It seems I progress in fits and starts. Since I have been feeling somewhat reflective since I awoke, I will indulge myself here.

My second post was a short missive pondering the significance of turning forty. A few weeks ago I wrote about waiting. There is a pattern here, but I think there is also some actual progress as well. I don't spend as much time waiting as I once did, but there is still some work to be done.

There is a transformation going on, I can feel it. But there are times when I feel as if I have taken two steps forward and one step back. On my darker days, I am convinced that I have taken one baby step forward and two giant steps back. I have attained a greater sense of calm. But I continue to hide from painful things rather than confront and vanquish them. It really is quite ridiculous that a fear of loss and pain compel me to hide resulting in the very loss and pain that I fear. More ridiculous still is the ability to articulate the problem, and not actually solve it in a meaningful way.

Within the past year or two, I have found myself peeling layers of stuff away, both in physical and metaphysical terms. On the physical side, I used to wear fairly dramatic eyeliner, have hair to my waist, more than a few extra pounds and three rings stacked on the third finger of my left hand. Today, a little mascara, less hair than most men, a lean physique and one thin gold band is all that is left. I hoard fewer possessions than I once did as mean task when one lives with a pack rat!!

Mentally, the same sort of paring down is happening as well, but it feels somewhat superficial. Like picking away the outer edges of a week old scab...those pieces are ready to come off, and take very little effort to remove. But when you work your way toward the center of the wound, the scab is not so willing to come away...sometimes it hurts, sometimes it bleeds. So you stop picking, maybe for a day or more, until that part has healed a little more, and the painless picking can resume.

When I was a child, I picked scabs with reckless abandon, giving no thought at all to the scars I was creating as I reopened wounds again and again. But those were only my knees, not my soul. As life goes on, I have learned that I need to approach some wounds with a little more care. Perhaps some salve. Some I am afraid to touch yet. I know it will hurt, and fear the pain more than the canker itself. I am trying to move away from a fear based life, as again and again I discover that my fear of the thing is almost always bigger than the thing itself.

There are some really big things on my plate right now:

• My son is rapidly approaching adolescence. I want to walk through it with him in such a way that we come out the other side as two adults who would choose to spend time together, rather than that awkward obligatory mother/child relationship.

• I have some friendships that need some work. I am harboring some hurt and grudges to some extent. It needs to be addressed. I have to decide how I want to address it. Should fences be mended to best extent possible, recognizing that somethings you just never come all the way back from, or should I just let them go. Either way, the loss is significant.

• I need to be a better cousin, niece, sister and aunt. Call. Write. Understand that no one can read my mind to know that I am actually thinking of, caring about and loving them.

• I need to figure out how to better exist in my marriage: how to be more present, more caring, more patient. We used to walk side by side, but Brian always knew I was adjusting my pace to match his, or reminded me to do just that. Somewhere along the line, that stopped, and when we looked up, I was a quarter mile up the road. Brian feels left behind. I feel held back. This dynamic is creating feelings of resentment and jealousy. Not healthy at all.

In someways I feel like an athlete playing through an injury. Every day, I show up to the game, and some days, I make a pretty good play. While it is clear that I am not performing at a hundred percent, being sidelined is not an option. Would that it were. I'd go someplace really quiet, but not necessarily solitary. But maybe that is an illusion...that healing time has to happen outside the daily demands of life. Maybe it is through the daily demands of life, practice as it were, that we heal, grow and strengthen. But when your natural tendency is to burrow in rather than stretch out, it can be difficult to just get out of your own way!


In other news:

--> Christopher's baseball team is undefeated (3 and 0) so far. His Cardinals actually mercied the Astros 13-2 (in his league, games are declared over when one team is beating the other by more than 10 runs).

--> Brian's birthday was last Tuesday. We had the party on Saturday night. A good time was had by all. We thought we'd have the weekend kid free, but alas, Christopher's Boy Scout troop canceled their camping trip.

--> Christopher brought home an absolutely stellar progress report last week. His math grade is still a little weak, but I think we can bring it up before the end of the year.

--> Brian's 42 and a half year old sister, mother to our 18 year old nephew, just gave birth to a brand new baby girl, Alexis Juliana. She is the only girl born to this generation, so nope, she's not gonna be spoiled...nahh.



The Real Mother Hen said...

You know, after peeling some layers away myself, I still struggled... then one day I realize I struggled because I reacted to every situation.

The moment I stop reacting, is the moment I become present and being all calm. Having said that, I still react! :)

simonsays said...

You do have a lot on your plate. But, you have and will handle it all beautifully. Don't worry.

Happy Tuesday to you. :)

Maria said...

Marriage is hard. Raising children in hard. I get so weary of people telling me how if you do it properly and with great love, it is effortless.

Nothing of value is ever effortless.

But. you know...sometimes we just get so very tired, don't we?

The World According to Me said...

Happy one hundredth post.

Life can be a difficult slow journey sometimes. But I’m glad to hear you feel a greater sense of calm and you feel progress has been made.

Here’s to painless picking!

Congratulations to Brian’s sister!

Nick said...

Rebecca, interesting what you say about peeling stuff away. I think that's an essential aspect of seeking greater wisdom and maturity. In my own case I find it's a matter of peeling away all the pretensions and social roles and conventional opinions that stop me being my real self. Not easy to do because there's always a tendency to try to impress and gain status rather than being oneself at the risk of disapproval and incomprehension.

Also interesting what you said earlier about waiting. I also have zilch memories of a lot of things I've done because I'm anticipating the next thing to do, which I always imagine will be more exciting and fulfilling. I think it's also my habitual impatience and restlessness that stops me concentrating properly on what's happening.

suesun said...

I swear it's like you're my strange distant twin who is going through all the same shit I am. You could be writing my story here. Thanks for doing it.... now I don't have to! xoxo

suesun said...

I also just remembered that my first ever post was a little poem about turning 40 :-)

Eastcoastdweller said...

I wonder how many of us realize,when we first tread out into the waters of the blogosphere, how it will affect, and how it will chronicle, our lives.