06:46 Getting real.
I am in one of my old journals right now. Vijournal. This app, sadly now defunct, was one of the things that unlocked me four and a half years ago, when after nearly two decades of feeling blocked, I unleashed a daily torrent of words that now rarely stops.
Oh dear. Already I’ve sidetracked. Welcome to my brain. I am not here to talk about journalling apps. Yet I kind of always am. Every time I write something I yearn for others to be able to do the same. So sometimes I get overly caught up in details and then the original point was lost.
But I came here to talk about yesterday’s post.
Yesterday’s post was yet another one, that, more often than not these days, gave me a giant knot in my forehead by the time I hit “publish.”
It started out as a seven-minute post, not much more than the length of what I’d written above. It started at 21:47, just after I’d finished helping one of my sons with his school presentation (which I had suddenly become aware of — guess when? — on the ride home from school, though he’d known about it since last week — I do not blame him, for how can I? I am guilty of the same levels of procrastination).
I had planned a nice evening of cooking dinner, jumping around in the plunge pool, and writing a lovely happy sobriety blog post about what a gorgeous and happy morning I’d had. Instead, during a moment in the van while waiting for one of the kids to get out of school (their exit times are staggered a bit, it’s all very complicated, god do I ever miss the Canadian system in that way), I started binging on (writers’) social media and could not stop. I do know partly why this is. The kids after school are challenging. Understandably so. They’ve just come out of massively stressful social and performance-testing situations and they need to unwind. Basically it’s mayhem. I think I automatically tap into my phone to soothe myself in the midst of it (even knowing it’s bad while I’m doing it! I can’t stop myself!). But that only makes the situation worse. It makes no sense but it makes so much sense. I think any of you here can probably relate. Most of us have done it with booze or some other drug (including nicotine, caffeine, work, etc.) at some point in the past. Even those who call themselves “normal.”
So the kids are basically climbing all over the van and I’m helping them memorize poetry and signing permission slips and writing notes to teachers and fielding questions about ice cream and occasionally checking my phone for a hit and then finally the third son comes out and asks if they can play minecraft when they get home and I say no and then he says he has this presentation due tomorrow and I’m like oh my god and then we’re driving to the grocery store and picking out the ice creams I promised and the little one is asking for anything besides-and-except ice cream to have as well but I’ve already explained that there will be nothing but ice cream, there will be no mentos there will be no toys there will be no gumballs from the 20 eurocents machine there will be nothing but ice cream. Got it? Got it. Okay, so we have a deal. And we go in. But the youngest kid wants ben and jerry’s cookie dough and I’m like no there’s six of us and ben and jerry’s is too expensive to justify since it’s just a tiny little tub and we’re having these cones, those cones or this tub and I know he likes all of those types and it will be fine when we get home I just have to get past this awful-about-to-come moment and we just need to get out of here while there’s half an hour of sun left so we can get into that pool because the weather is so gorgeous it’s ridiculous and you’ve got to splash while the sun shines and it was so much work to install this wonderful little pool and soon we will have to drain it for the winter so I really really want to swim in the sun and I imagine myself just getting into the water and floating and it will feel so good but my littlest boy keeps whining about this other ice cream now this one’s pistachio and none of us likes pistachio except him and I know he loves chocolate-and-vanilla swirl and I know he loves salted caramel cones and the rest of us will probably love those too and look there is a deal it’s half price for two boxes and so hey I’m getting 16 cones for €5.20 instead of one little tub of b&j’s for €5.69 and it’s not like we’re cash-poor anymore we actually have money but this is why we have money it’s partly because we worked our asses off when we were in our twenties and thirties (and in many ways we still are working our asses off) and partly because we don’t waste it* and I’m trying to teach them these values and so holy shit here comes the whining and then oh crap here we are at the checkout and oh my god it’s the same cashier that always sees him whining and… jeezus, what do I hear myself whisper to him? but the following:
“now please, just be friendly to her, come out of your ice cream thoughts and smile at her, don’t think about yourself all the time. look, she’s working so hard, what will she think, how will she feel?”
and holy shit I’ve become my mother.
and I love my mother and would never wish for another mother
but fuck do I wish I could stop smiling when I’m not happy
and stop caring so much about what others think or feel.
07:14 this was not what I meant to write about. and now I have to go.
I have blocked myself from wordpress via SelfControl app but I wrote this for you, with you in mind, and I hope I still have the guts to publish it later.
I promise, I promise self, I will not edit it. Why? because I can’t bear the awful loop that self-editing throws me into.
It’s damaging. I can’t manage it.
*Edit: of course, the unnamed (and in that thought-train, irrelevant) part was situational luck. or maybe karmic progression/regression… whatever that extra little something is, that’s beyond our seeming control. (damn, now I’ve edited…)