I don’t know where to start.
I put on make-up this morning after I dried my hair and put on a top with buttons and pants with a zipper.
About twenty minutes after that I got a call from my husband, “You can cook that chicken for dinner or something; I read that re-freezing meats won’t be unsafe, but it might affect their flavor, so we don’t need to worry about food safety.”
Someone left the freezer open. Suppress nausea.
I woke this morning from a rather crazy dream, likely induced by the eight sessions of yoga I have either taught or attended in the last five days. In all of those, I’ve only had the gift of svasana, final relaxation pose, thrice. And of those three times, I’d say I truly let go …. oh, not at all.
In the dream, I stepped outside my childhood home to an evening late-season snow flurry; about four inches had accumulated and it was a collection of glorious frozen fluff. Just like the last time it snowed as such here, I was making a snow angel, in my house clothes, because I knew it would likely be the last downy fall in months, if not years.
In the dream, a pack of marauding pubescent boys, with their straight-brim baseball hats, enormous unlaced high-top shoes that reminded me of puppy feet, skinny jeans, hoodies and tshirts emblazoned with a lá mode and self-aggrandizing slogans were pimp-rolling (apologies to Tom Wolfe) my way. I’m not sure what my issue was with this band of boys, but I wasn’t threatened. I was feeling more defiant than they thought they were. I was ready to raise the bar on their perceived bad-assness. I was ready to wait and see.
Then I woke up to the sound of my alarm, a song by a Scandinavian band called “Jonsi & Alex” which plays primarily atmospheric music. I was completely disoriented. I think the song was “Howl.”
The pack of youth is clearly one of my sons. He’s testing me and his father a lot these days. I won’t go into it because it’s his story to tell and hopefully overcome, but let’s just say that he loves expensive sneakers and doesn’t know who he is yet. I can’t blame him for the latter because I’m not sure who I am and certainly I love shoes as well, but I wondered, at times like these after I changed back into shapeless clothing and my old slippers and put my freshly washed and blown-out hair into a pony tail so I could gut from the freezer about 100 pounds of bagels, waffles, english muffins, vegetables, fruit, NO!!! NOT THE ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!!!, orange juice, pink lemonade, raviolis, tortellinis, sweet potato fries, quesadillas… you name it. I wondered about a lot of things.
The freezer looked like crime scene. I needed caution tape wrapped around me because I was unhinged. Bag after bag after bag. I missed my husband who is at his desk during this moment because I know we would’ve had a fun time; we would’ve made lemonade instead of grousing about throwing it out.
I was thinking of a post Wednesday, “Where’s My Svasana?” because I’d taught yoga four times by that point and had only had experienced my own coached “lie down” twice. I laughed at the idea of that post this morning, nay, ten minutes ago when I was wiping down the blood bath of my freezer. I am sure I was exposed to salmonella, streptococcus, botulism, ptomaine, influenza and who knows what the what all the while as I wiped down the
juices blood of the meats I was discarding. There is one truth to this that I suppose is a convenience: it gave me an excuse to unload some food we’d forgotten about or had simply disliked. Probably about $250 worth. Ten sessions of therapy… or fifteen Gap t-shirts.
My cats were crying, “feed me! feed me! the juice on the carpet (yecch) is not enough but it is a huge stimulus to our digestive system. if you don’t feed us, we will go live with the neighbors again….” So I robotically said, “Namafuckingste” (that’s not Sanskrit) to the cats and let the kibble go >tink tink tink tinktinktinktinktinktink< into the shiny steel bowls.
When events like these happen, you are in a Moment of Truth. My Moment
says, chides, hisses, “Was it worth it? That yoga certificate? Feeling IN THE MOMENT right now? Was it worth it? That degree in English and writing? Was it worth it? Those babies you had….?”
No one tells you this ugly secret about parenting: IT’S FUCKING HARD.
Screw the pregnancy, screw the labor, screw the body shape distortion and what the fuck happened to me moments. The lack of sleep. The issues with their health. Behaviors that creep up in yourself, parts of you you never thought were there. Screw it all. That’s the easy part. Parenting shows you your True Nature. It gloats over your weaknesses as it challenges your strengths. Kids? They’re not the culprits. They’re not to blame. It’s us… those of us who’ve never actually grown up. Who still like to blame. Who don’t like the feelings we feel when our kids neeeeeeeeeeeeeed us. Because they’re supposed to.
Currently, there’s a wash of writers who want to blame all their shit on their kids. They can’t get a moment alone, so they blame it on their kids. It’s not the kids. It’s us. It’s the parents. It’s like this: my puppy Charlie. He’s great. He’s huge now, about 40# going on a likely and final 70#. I’m good with that. But he’s a dog, number one. And he’s a dog, number two. When he goes after a sock, a shoe, a jacket, a cat, a pillow, a blanket, a towel, a piece of paper, the newspaper, the garbage, Murphy … is he to blame?
When my kids go after each other, when they leave the freezer door ajar after making a smoothie, when they leave the back door unlocked, when they leave a brand new bike out front over night, when they don’t do their homework, when they trade the shoes you bought them for another pair with some kid at school you don’t know and whose family you’ve never met and your kid doesn’t even have a class with this child and he brings them home and says to you plain as day, “Dad bought me these….” or “Dad said I could …” whose “fault” is that? It’s not my puppy’s, I can tell you that. It’s the job of the parent and of the dog owner to make things right. To train the dog to stay away from the things he shouldn’t have. To ask first. And it’s the job of the parent to UNDERSTAND that KIDS ARE NEEDY. They can’t help it.
I’m grossed out by it all, the rash of parents who act as if they’ve figured it all out; that they deserve a trophy for staying sober or washing their kids’ hair. I know: I’m 117 years old and I have lost my sense of humor. I need to lighten up because exploiting my children’s natural behavior for my gain and popularity is what all the cool kids are doing.
I don’t care. I was never friends with The Bloggess or anyone else who writes tripe like that. I’ll just go on, in my bubble bath of obscurity, with my arms coated in freezer detritus.
And trying to start a business? Teaching yoga, which isn’t easy, especially for all-levels classes because you have no clue as to anyone’s abilities… so you write these lesson plans that might be too aggressive or too easy and you take too long and you wonder if you’re being effective? Some students look at you with blank stares. I guess I do too with my teachers. But they write checks and they come back and they say thank you and they tell you it was great and they enjoyed it… so there’s that. People don’t pay for shit that sucks.
Somewhere along the line, I learned to doubt myself to the point where I think everything I do is not enough. Somewhere along the line, I was told or inspired or encouraged to push myself to the razor’s edge and hang on to that singular fringe, like Sandra Bullock in “Gravity” only to wonder… if I let go… I know I won’t go spinning, because I feel like I already am. But really…
I learned that my best was always beatable. Try harder. Work harder. It’s deeper than work; it’s about survival. It’s about Mom; my mom who died last year. My mom who was so hard to reach. But that’s ancient history, right? And I’m a fully actualized adult. This freezer thing and all my crap is cake. NnnnNnNNnnnnn.
So I make notes after the classes to remind myself of what I forgot. To improve for the next class. Maybe one day it will just flow out of me and I won’t need lists and yoga cards and apps and stuff; that I will intuitively know how to teach a class.
. . . . . .
Somewhere in the weave of that dream I had, the freezer debacle, parenting, and the yoga teaching doubts was an epiphany: these are nice problems to have. As I posted on Facebook this morning just before diving in to coat myself in Fla-vor-ice drippings, pea juice, apple-chicken sausage whatnot, stir-fry sauce and who knows, I am certain that there are a couple billion people out there who would love to have this problem: a freezer with food. A freezer. Food.
As I shoved the bag of partially frozen ground beef into the back of the freezer praying to the Hamburger Helper gods that they have a concoction and blend of preservatives and spices which will make that meat palatable and digestible, I decided I am feeling invisible. That’s a yucky feeling. It taps all sorts of stuff deeeeeeeeeeeep inside me. But instead of pushing it aside, I’m going to have to sit with it.
I’m going to do something I’ve not usually done, which is NOT be all Pollyanna about it, even though it’s the truth, I’m not going to pat myself on the back for changing my perception about this, because the truth is I’m fucking exhausted.
I get that shit like this happens. I just could’ve used a break is all. This is the first time I’ve sat down to write for writing’s sake in a while. It’s the first time I’ve sat to do something for myself in about two weeks. I hope I entertained. I hope you learned something. I know I did.
Here comes the trash truck.
I needed this today! Thank you Molly.
Oh! thanks. You are very welcome. We are not alone, are we? Hang in there. 🙂
So much of this rings true to me. Thank you for writing this, Molly. We’re in this together, girl. Solidarity, sister. xo
Thanks honey. This is just the frosting, y’know? Lots of stuff going on that I won’t discuss, but I’m wiped. Solidarity. Xo
Chaos and disorder are the natural order of a mind seeking an enlightened path and reason… I love the way you express emotion in your writing. I can feel the chaos and sense the hope that there is a path for everything and it rarely begins with perfection (and those who would have us believe the opposite, that everything is “wireable,” don’t help us to understand and grow). Thanks.
thanks for your observations, M. i agree completely. the more “calm” things are, while grateful, i don’t feel as though i’m growing when i look back on it. thank you for reading, and feeling along with me. dan and i are buying a new freezer with a door alarm, a temp alarm and a light. when he described it, it was as though we were courting again! haha! 🙂
Thank you. My little girl vomited while simultaneously having diarrhea all morning. I did 4,000 loads of laundry and scrubbed every surface in my house when not holding hair holding and wiping tears. At 3:00 my teenager brought me an attitude because he wanted to play x-box instead of go to youth group, I sighed and cried and didn’t have the strength to debate and then projected all my misplaced frustration onto my poor husband when he walked in the door. Crap.
This piece made me love you a little more. And this line–“So I robotically said, “Namafuckingste” (that’s not Sanskrit) to the cats and let the kibble go >tink tink tink tinktinktinktinktinktink< into the shiny steel bowls"–made me spit coffee out and look for a way to work "Namafuckingste" into a conversation 🙂 xoxo
The song “Howl” might refer to the poem by Alan Ginsberg, the famous Beat poet. I think a parent wanting to howl is quite understandable when dealing with a kid who is rebellious and not particularly interested in a parent’s concerns. My advice is to go the “tough love” route and dealing with a situation like you describe with “Ok, you ruined the dinner tonight. Here’s $4. Go down to Taco Bell and buy yourself something.”
The preschool director where my kids went always read something really sweet during the Mother’s Day Tea which would make us all cry. My favorite was the one about the woman who was feeling invisible because her family didn’t seem to notice or appreciate all that she did. She was happy to do it, but was becoming frustrated at being so invisible. Her friend gave her a book about cathedrals and other special buildings, and the inscription was something to the effect of “all the great architects and builders are invisible. We don’t usually don’t know who they were, where they lived, or anything else about them, but we do know that they built structures of beauty, structures that inspire awe. You are an architect in the lives of your children. You may be invisible, but the stones you use, the design you choose, all these will be your legacy, your cathedral, your awe inspiring accomplishment”.
Your post reminded me of this “story”, because we do what we can to give them a good foundation and then send them out into the world, hoping someday that their kids will leave the freezer open and they’ll be cleaning up defrosted meat blood.