I love my family. I loved being on vacation with them. I love that our kids are consistent (that questionable hallmark of good parenting), which they exhibit by dependably peeing on and around toilets no matter where we reside and reliably making messes in mere hours that would take others weeks and weeks to achieve. And I will undoubtedly tell you more about vacation eventually, because it was as awesome as I’d hoped and not as awful as it could have been, but right at this moment I must say I love being on Not Vacation with my family.
I love being on Not Vacation with them very much.
Very, very much.
Very, very, very much.
ALL THE MUCH, is what I’m saying.
Because it turns out two weeks of vacation is a LOT of time with People, folks. And, not to be dramatic, but, for those of us who are introverty, a LOT of time with People, even the People We Love More Than Any Other People in the World, equals a LOT of time having our energy siphoned away, as though all those People were issued Mystical Straws and then they popped those suckers right through our bodies and straight into our souls and slowly but surely sucked our Life’s Essence from our now-useless shells, Dementor style, leaving us empty and breathless and pretty much dead. Like, way more dead than the guy in Monty Python’s Holy Grail who insists he’s not quite dead enough to go on the death cart. Compared to us, that guy is downright spunky. No; we’re more like Wesley in the Princess Bride after he was tortured by The Machine. Dead by all appearances. Dead to everyone who needed him. But not so dead that a miracle, given enough time, couldn’t resurrect him. Just mostly dead, you know?
We arrived home on Saturday at 4:00pm, and I spent the next 5 hours at Full Crazy Mama TILT doing All the Laundry in All the World, and putting away All the Crap, and – get this – Cleaning My Bedroom which is also my office, which is really just a desk, which I couldn’t see because it was hiding under All the Piles. And why did I clean my bedroom, you ask? Why do something so very out of character? Because I was frantically and giddily anticipating today – Monday – the Best of Days! The day I would send my children to Day Camp and have ALL DAY to write! ALL DAY to sit on a potty with no surpise pee sprinkles! ALL DAY without the MomMomMomMomMommyMoms! ALL DAY to craft something brilliant for you out of all that’s been bottled and ready to burst from my brain.
And so this morning I sat at my pristine desk in my comfy pants. The off-yellow velour ones that are threadbare in the inner thighs. And I got straight to work, because that’s what we writers do. Butt in chair. Words on page. Discipline. Discipline. Write.
So far I’ve played all my lives on Candy Crush.
I’ve ordered nail wraps online.
I’ve ignored my panties which insist on rolling down the lowest of my belly rolls to constrict around my hip bones.
I’ve used the words “hip bones” in their loosest possible sense, since there’s no empirical evidence I have any.
And I’ve wondered if I’m constipated.
I mean, I’m either constipated or there’s a giant ghost poop haunting my bowels. And THIS IS WHY IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO TAKE TWO-WEEK WRITING BREAKS, people. BECAUSE IF YOU TAKE BREAKS, YOU COME BACK AND WRITE CRAP LIKE THIS.
Of course, if you don’t take breaks, you can write crap, too. That’s possible.
So, basically, to clarify, Shit Happens either way.
BUT, and here’s the writing tip I promised you in the midst of all this drivel, you can write in the poo, friends. And through the pretend poo – the feelings of inadequacy, the certainty you’re a fraud, the belief you’re doing nothing worthwhile – that haunts you, too. Because you will find, in writing and in life, the poo is ever-present and very, very good at trying to block your way. Your way up. Your way out. Your way past and over and onward and through. And so you face a choice. Every day. Every moment. Live fully in spite of the poo or go nowhere at all.
To be clear, going nowhere at all is totally an option, and one of which I avail myself frequently, because sometimes we simply must sit in the muck and the mess until we find the magic. We know this, right? Right. There’s no shame to be found here for resting a while. No shame. Not ever.
But sometimes we’re eager to move, to take next steps, to find the next right thing, to blaze a path through the jungle, to find the illusive Village… and we look at the overwhelming piles of crap surrounding us – emotional crap, writing crap, life crap, parenting crap, marriage crap – and we wonder HOW.
How do we write past, live past, move past this enormous mess?
Here’s the truth as far as I know it: We don’t move past the mess. Instead, we live and love and learn inside it. Despite it. Because of it. We write things – and push “publish” on them – knowing they’ve got crap clinging to them. We parent from sheer and brilliant imperfection. We inadequately shovel the poo and clear a way forward knowing more is on its way. And we take bold next steps knowing our shoes may squish and slide on the trail.
And what about you?
What’ve you been up to these past 2 weeks?
I’ve missed you, and I’ve missed hanging out here. I’d beg for someone to tell me that’s not weird, but I think we’re way, way past that. We’re weird. We’re good with that. It’s what makes us rad.