it gets worse. more and more i battle with trying to figure if all these tragedies, all this struggle, isn't particularly unique to us or if it is simply par for the course. all i can figure is that some of it is and some of it isn't and it could always be worse. this does not really help. i suppose the question is simply am i justified in praying for a break? i try to figure if it isn't just my karma or a wrathful god or whatever, if i am not simply deserving of all my heartache. yet i do not believe in any of that shit. still i ask the questions, trying to determine if i am a fool for complaining. in my logical brain, i believe that your life is your life, your struggle is your struggle, and your emotional reactions to your experiences are valid. i have trouble granting myself that same validation. i am always minimizing the emotional realities resulting from my experiences. for instance, i probably, in all actuality, have some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. a truck fell out of the sky and almost stole the breath right out of me, stopped my heart, ceased the unfolding of sebastian. i am permanently anxious because of this. i am heartbroken for my eldest son and the struggle and laboratory examination he endures as a result of what i feel but logically deny to be my body's total incompetence. i deal. i move on. the holes in my heart remain. then this past summer, my husband suffered his own heartbreak that has left our entire future more uncertain than it was to begin with. i don't even know how to summarize how we've been struggling with everything that spiraled out from that. every day we have less and less money, or rather, more and more no money, which, as standard as that is for most of the planet including us, is nonetheless more and more terrifying and anxiety-inducing. i go over lists in my head of all the ways in which i do not budget appropriately and spend too much and try to move things about and get a feel for what all this might be like if we did The Right Thing and embraced our poverty. it is painful to imagine a life of staying at home literally twenty-four/seven with my children for lack of funds to leave, subsisting on rice and beans (which in large part, thanks to veganism, we already do). there is, of course, no question that this is entirely possible, but with all the major trauma in our lives, how would our marriage and our sanity survive it? i suppose in some ways it seems too much to demand of the universe that we strive for happiness and aspire to ideals. i could put my children in daycare and head off to some cushy, dreadfully boring, and completely-antithetical-to-my-being corporate job answering phones and creating spreadsheets. i could potentially climb a very short little corporate ladder if need be. but then my children would be in daycare, i would be more miserable than i am, and this life would be ten times more complicated than it already is. jon could give all this up and go into the corporate sector himself. we have already reduced our grocery bill. we already do not buy toilet paper, cleaning products, diapers, formula, ridiculous toys. jon does not buy books. our craft projects are from things we already have. i can imagine a life with less and it is bleak. i feel guilt at even thinking it though, because most of the known universe does live with much less. we are clothed and fed and privilegedly up to our eyeballs in debt, all for the promise of a better life than the lower-middle class intellectual's "simple" existence we already enjoy. yet my skin shivers, feels tight around my spine at the fear crept into my heart by so much stacked up in the red. i mentally negotiate the differences and all my inadequacies. i perform this self-examining trapeze act, turning over and over all the possibilities for how i might have avoided all this and seek to realize how i failed, What Went Wrong. i am consumed by guilt and terror and in the end simply accept the truth of this existence and ignore it all, know that something will come through and there is, at present, nothing to be done about it.


i am fluctuating day-to-day, at times hour-by-hour between being fine and being empty. i am tired, it's true. i have small children who sleep less than i'd like them to, i nurse half the night, i go out too much, and i am always trying to do too much. maybe it has caught up with me. maybe i really am just sad. i am broken out, perhaps hormonal. i am not currently on speaking terms with the moon to know the whys or hows of that, however. maybe it's just too much. maybe i rush around my whole life flinging things into the great hole in my heart, the inferno that eats everything, uses everything, burns it up into smoke and ashes. perhaps that is a little dramatic. i am yelling at aleks. i am punishing, threatening. i don't want to, but at this moment it's all i have. it is not so entirely bad, but it is terribly far from ideal. that's everyday though. i long ago finished with guilt over it. all i can do is recognize what is happening, think on what i'd prefer to do, wonder why it happened to begin with, and move forward, hoping to perhaps short-circuit a causal relationship here and there, reminding myself in the moment what is happening. i can only move forward. with my children at least for now, i seem to have learned that lesson. one down. eight hundred fifty-eight million more to go. eh, maybe i'm low-balling that figure.

it got cold overnight. jon is away. i turned the heat on again. now we're all bespeckled in slippers and long-sleeved jammies, moving about in our laid-back morning routine. i am sneezing a bit and blowing my nose. i don't feel sick, but i don't feel good. i feel lonely. empty. it's the only word for it. trying to root out the causes is like searching for a needle in a stack of needles. i wish my feelings came with wikipedia entries so they might be catalogued and numbered and cross-referenced. perhaps then it could all be sorted. maybe i could make sense to myself. i have felt intermittently empty for so long now that it hardly seems unusual or unique. it seems almost normal. but just now i am tired and do not wish to do all the things i need to do. i just haven't the inertia. if i just keep going all the time, i don't notice the hole. i can ignore it, even as it nags at me from out the corner of my eye. go away, hole. leave me alone.

i am trying to have a life here. i am trying always always always to realize and to know, to walk around with the knowledge that this is my life, that my life is occurring right now. always. i am filling my life up with halloween decorations, trips to and volunteering at the food co-op, the planning of vegan meals, baking, re-learning how to knit, attempting the study of midwifery, particularly fertility, drinking wine, figuring the proper manufacture of bath bombs, coming up with an idea for nanowrimo, cleaning and re-cleaning and re-cleaning my house, trips to the library, strange dreams that look not like the texture of dreams that belong to me, picking up, picking up, picking up, coming up with new ideas for new projects to fill up my time and make this look and feel like a life. i want to read nothing but things written by women for a year. i want to undo my scarf and start over, make it skinnier. i want to notice the moon. i want to paint something new for the bathroom. i want to finish the quilt. i want to crochet amy a plant sweater and sew bonnie her bag. i want to get the stupid bath bombs right - especially since i ordered a pound of citric acid that will be here tuesday. i want to mend the quilts. mostly i want to want all those things. or maybe i just want to gain the sense that this is anything other than needing something to do to fill the time.

i have this problem where i think of all the things in the world, the horrible happenings everywhere, the great big things that people do, the simple things that gain any sort of recognition at all, and i feel so small, so invalid in all my crises. i feel as though my emotions are minor irritations, unimportant, dwarfed by the enormity of infinity. it's a battle, ultimately, as i give so much voice and thought and time to the miniscule tragedies that unfold in my heart and mind. i am an emotional bulimic, gorging on self-absorption and total obsession with each tiny nuance of my existence before denying it all as unimportant and insignificant. yet i know and will be the first to advise others that realities do not negate one another, that varying perspectives are equally valid (if not equally valuable - i'm not into moral relativism, here). i know that my perspective is what gives me these challenges, that makes my experiences difficult or easy. my perspective and my history, my collection of experiences, inform this life and shape this heart and mind, rendering these varying reactions and struggles unique and valid. i am what i am. if only i could figure it and pinpoint what it is that is making me feel so empty. why do i necessitate constant motion to distract me from myself and from my emotions? there is nothing here to figure, i suppose. i have children. it is difficult. i alternate moment-to-moment with doing an okay job of it and fucking it up. it is how it is and how it will, in all likelihood, continue to be.


i feel empty of words, things to obsess about. yesterday i got the sense that my life is empty. i have nothing for me that i do. it comes and goes. in truth, i do not know what i am doing exactly. i am coming up with things to occupy me, trying to focus on being a mom. sort of. i've been running errands, cooking, cleaning, hosting, going to events, avoiding balancing the checkbook, crafting, learning to knit all over again, and in some ways, on some days, trying to learn about unschooling and midwifery. i pick up the books occasionally and thumb through them, or get momentarily absorbed and then distracted. that's actually a much better description of my entire life right now: mild absorption followed by distraction, usually the result of mild absorption in something else. this skipping about makes it difficult to sense the general texture of my life, leaves me feeling as if i do not in fact have the slightest idea about what i am doing. i am doing so much so half-heartedly or with spurts of enthusiasm that nothing appears to be the thing i am doing. i keep inventing new projects for myself. haven't i always done this? is this perhaps just who i am? it doesn't look like anything specific. i saw a children's book recently about career options - one of those "when i grow up" things - each of the options was this one thing, this singular, defined, limited, specific-yet-general occupation like baker, teacher, firefighter, etc. i realized that i internalized that sort of thinking growing up. we probably all do, but it is not a reflection of how the world operates. most professional careers are inter-disciplinary to some degree or at least have specialties that make a job so much more than "scientist" - try instead "explosives expert" or "biochemist researching drugs to halt the spread of lymphoma in females." no three-year-old ever wants to grow up and become a systems analyst. frequently i examine objects and wonder about how someone was paid to think them up - like the new method of dispensing gatorade in convenience stores: the bottles hang from their lids. someone had to think that there was a better (or, er, different) way to dispense them in glass coolers and they somehow set in motion this whole process of inventing and designing and patenting and selling and distributing and installing these big hunks of plastic. one might also consider the whole process of drilling the petroleum out of the earth and shipping and refining and shipping and using and shipping it to create that big hunk of plastic. how fucking useless is all that? just to reinvent the goddamned shelf. all those little people doing all those tasks (and all the people pushing paper to make those tasks happen: managers, receptionists, ceos, administrative assistants, janitors, computer technicians) for what? couldn't their time be spent doing something much simpler and interesting? growing food, building a tool shed, cooking, cleaning their home, painting a picture, playing an instrument? all that sounds much more valuable to me, frankly. and that's what i do for a living. and yet i am compelled to devalue those essential tasks, probably due to the lack of value for them in this culture. here i am, hiding out in the bathroom to write without distraction or interruption, feeling like my life has nothing in it that gives it meaning. how fucking asinine. the whole purpose of me wanting my children to unschool is so they can sense the value in just living and being who they are, without the compulsion to become a wage slave, supporting the weight of empires with their blood and sweat. i want them to feel like who they are and what they do is valuable, whether that is to struggle to support themselves with a less-than-desirable livelihood because that it is what is available while they enjoy doing whatever else they please, or if it be to struggle to make a life for themselves working in some more noble profession like a non-profit organization or as a researcher of history or culture or biology. whatever it is they choose or come to do, or all the multitude of things they choose or come to do, i want them to appreciate that as the thing they are doing, that as the life they are already living instead of waiting around for society to tell them it has begun because they have earned a degree, gotten married, bought a house, chosen a profession. we are many things at different times. we are changing all the time. we need - i need to be able to recognize that and embrace it as what is real and what is true. i am who i sought to become. the real trick of this truth is realizing that i always was.


i was all nicely absorbed in my tedious, melancholic self-reflection there, but suddenly i find myself drawn into being pissed off about real-life drama. i'm not too keen on my husband right now - people i love, so when people i moderately tolerate come into view, i am acutely irritated by their very existence. i am not particularly kind, i don't suppose, but neither am i overtly mean or judgmental. maybe i am overtly judgmental actually, but not mean. i don't condescend to people. i just state my facts as i know them with my typical passion thrown in of course. aleks is obsessed with this ramones song right now. he runs around the table in the dining room while singing it. he calls it the "oh yeah" song and we fight over the cd player over and over. two songs later is an elliot smith song he refuses to let me listen to. sebastian flicked smoothie all over the dining room with his straw and i said, "this is why i hate children," under my breath. of course, like any good mother, i don't really mean it. of course. they are pretty cute after all. i have nothing interesting to write. my self-obsession seems to have subsided for the moment, so i cannot sit and reflect endlessly on why everything sucks for me or for the world. elliot smith finally made it on without aleks noticing, so i can sink into a nice warm puddle of despair. what can i despair about? the state of my relationship with jon's ever-present but fluctuating depression and the moodiness that accompanies it and how i struggle to support him through this, taking the children on excursion after excursion, abandoning my own aspirations (though admittedly i was markedly ambivalent about them), and all the while getting almost no thanks and therefore drinking and smoking too much, the latter the greatest of crunchy sins? the empty place in my stomach that churns when i think of mothering and all i left and all the terrible stinky drama the internet inspires, how part of me misses it, but part of me is disgusted i stayed as long as i did in that addiction and that i still participate and get worked up over our own local board and the discussions there? my struggle to be a good mom, to not scream at my children, to teach them, to facilitate their learning and not want to throttle them half the time even as they fight over blocks and make ungodly loud noises at me and each other? my feeling of lacking something that belongs to me or in some way proves my worth as a person in this society, intimately related to my lack of affirmation that anything i do is good at all, though there are certainly moments when fellow housewives admire my home, the things that i own, my baking or my entertaining skills and then i feel like i should be dressed in heels and curled hair like some goddamned donna reed clone though i'm sure i look exactly like the modern version of that with my choicest outfits donned for occasions of visitors, my properly mussed hair, my jewelry, my makeuped face (good lord i am donna reed!)? i think perhaps i've hit on something here - what does it say about me that i go to bars after the children are sleeping with my girlfriend to chainsmoke and as usual overestimate my ninety-two pounds' ability to metabolize three beers in two hours and meet random hipster-potentially-gay guys who gasp at the fact that these ninety-two pounds have created two children and high-five at the fact of their intactness and get wide-eyed at the truck-that-fell-out-of-the-sky story which i always bring up when i'm drunk? what kind of fucking mother am i then? when i stumble home at two-thirty in the morning and shower the smoke off as best i can and climb into bed and nurse the baby with my drunken breasts? what does it say about me that i do this while taking such care to not vaccinate my children, to not shoot mercury and other neuro-toxins into their veins; such care to feed them organic, now nearly-vegan, always whole highly nutritious foods; such care to not send them to school to have their love of life and love of learning drilled out of them by the rote memorization required for standardized testing; such care to give birth to them at home to keep them safe from cold hands, harsh lights, super-microbes invented on linoleum, eager nurses and doctors who order spinal taps for infection or inject drugs in my (and thereby their) bloodstream; such care to take them all over town exposing them to art, culture, diversity, civic, environmental, and personal responsibility; such care to honor their abilities to know their own bodies and when they are hungry, tired, hurt, sad, angry, joyful??? does it simply imply that i am burnt out? or does it say that i have failed, that i am a hypocrite, that i should know better? does it say that i am human and imperfect, that i know my own limits and honor the space that i need? or does it just say that i am muddling through all of this as best as i can? surely i am not totally void of conviction here. surely i am not just a miserable excuse for a human being. surely i am just in deep need of some comfort, some nurturing and i get it however i can take it and my friends who are also miserable love company and can at least commiserate and respect that we all get through it however we have to and it'll get better and it'll get worse again and fuck it, maybe-gay guys are fun and it feels good to make someone's eyes light up, to be shown deep respect for my intelligence, even in a hipster bar on a nice autumn night.