I am thinking about what I am saying.
I wouldn’t call myself a clear, erudite communicator. Many times when I think I am communicating, I am just throwing out random phrases. I know this. I’m trying.
This past week has been hard. Every little thing is mowing me over. I feel like I am stopping, dropping and rolling several times a day.
It leads me to think of when friends are in the same position.
I think of the times I have been with a friend having a hard time. Long days and nights full of indecision or overwhelm. With embarrassment I think of how I gave them advice. Advice that came off as a scold. I thought I was doing being helpful. Ugh. What a jerk, sorry friends.
Being overwhelmed isn’t asking for advice. It is asking for help.
I was trying to help, really. From my mountaintop of piety. I have felt that mountain erode to a molehill then grow up to its highest peak again and again. The next time I am confronted with overwhelm instead of saying this is what I would do I will ask what can I do?
I have been thinking about survival.
When our second baby was born a newborn screen came back wrong. I had to pump and dump my breastmilk for six days. He was fine. The sieve for the screen was too fine or the sample was heated or who knows what happened. But those six days were not fun. I felt confident he was okay but had the fear. Fear our lives might be changed forever and the immediate fear that he would not breastfeed again. Mother to mother I had counseled other breastfeeding moms and had seen scenarios similar to this. My mother told me not to worry. Humans want to survive. We are good at it. She was right. Our baby was fine and he nursed in to toddlerhood.
I read studies about how we as humans have longer life expectancies, better lives because of improved diets. Optimized diets. For years I ran a marathon trying to get an optimal diet with what my mother had said to me playing on a loop, humans want to survive.
I hemmed and hawed over food choices, sent away for the best cod liver oil and liver pills and generally made myself terrified of food. It all started to ease off and I began to look at a more critical eye. Could ‘improved diet’ be three squares plus snacks? Year round fresh fruit and veg? I believe it is possible that our children today waste more food than children two hundred years ago had daily. We live in the time of plenty. There are pesticides and gmo’s, I agree. Let’s not go there.
I say let’s not go there because that’s not why I wrote this. I am writing this to say that I think we are doing a pretty great job. You know, there have been some doughnuts and one or many of my children may wax lyrical to strangers about that candy store her mom and dad take them to but that’s not the full picture. Birthday cake at a party does not a cavity make. Ice cream at the beach won’t give sign grandchildren up for broken bones. There are allergies. Yes. There are sensitivities. Yes. Do what you can. But don’t beat yourself up over a couple of french fries. Guys! You are doing a great job!
A midwife I had once asked me what I was worried about. She said, Do you eat? Yes. Do you eat food? Yes. Then stop worrying. Sometimes the worrying and trying to be perfect is the thing that will get ya. At 13 I became vegetarian and when I told my dad he took a drag on his umpteenth cigarette of the day and said, But you could get hit by a bus.
I have been thinking of clandestine foolishness.
The Fed Ex truck has just pulled out of the driveway. On board is the wedding dress I made for my friend. We went to high school together, graduating 20 years ago only seeing one another if I remember correctly, twice since then. I jumped at the chance to make her dress. She didn’t ask, I volunteered. I made sure to let her know that I am no magic seamstress. I make things with love. Generally I live a pretty flawed existence and I’m fine with that. Perfection isn’t my thing.
I agonized for weeks over the making of this dress. Most of it in my head. Indulging in so many scenarios where I ruined her wedding ( inflated ego much? ) by my sub par zipper insertion techniques. She will give this dress life, make it shine and make it beautiful. Cloth is cloth. Without a human soul, it is lifeless. And get over yourself, Brooke.
There are many number of indulgences of clandestine foolishnesses these days. Well trodden paths that lead nowhere but circles. I have been trying to give myself a realistic perspective of my role in other people’s lives. Not to minimize our mistakes and their impact on others but to get a clearer view of our place in the world. I can worry a problem threadbare sometimes for no discernible reason. In secret a worry can grow, grow large, grow ugly and grow out of control.
We are all the whole, broken in to little pieces that all fit in together, somehow. Our victories and our sorrows. Mistakes that loom large on our own screen fade in the horizon. Leaving a hazy line.