i hate that i have expectations for myself that are ridiculous, but they are unyielding. they stick no matter what. i want to be better. i want to do it all right and get it all right and be the best me that is possible at all times and do more things and explore more things and focus and feel focused. i don't want to do the things i was doing. i want to launch a new project. i want to feel the energy of newness. and that is just absolutely stupid because i am already doing so much. growing up, i felt like i quit everything. a therapist once suggested that maybe i was just done with those things. it was nice to be given that permission. but now, i'm a grown up with grownup responsibilities and commitments to more than just myself, but also myself. and sometimes i just want to quit, refocus, do something else. it's not really reasonable though. i suppose what i really need is to rediscover my love for those things and the energy that was lost. but i come back and back and back, my whole life, to realizing that what i really really need to be doing at all times is thinking and writing and getting, dragging, a book out of me. but it doesn't come. there isn't time. it will be agonizingly slow and my greatest fear is that by the time it's happened, someone else will have already written it and maybe written it better. because it's coming, of course.
i neglect, as always, to think on or allow for the circumstances in my life that make it so the book doesn't come or couldn't come or maybe shouldn't at all even attempt a coming. this stupid phd is wearing on me. i want it over. i want to move on. i know that in a year, we'll be ready to move to a new city and a new job and new problems of finding and building community and struggling to be who i am at all times. i know that in a year, i'll have to leave behind, at least partially, the business i've started. sometimes i think that this business i've started is not what i ever really wanted to do in the first place. it was just something to occupy me, something to do. won't someone else come along and love it and feel the need to spread the word and save the world and do it for me? no. that will not happen. sometimes i am loathe to finish what i start. it's a shameful thing, fraught with regret and shaken, hanging heads, upturned palms.
and what of my children? lately i keep thinking that what i really need to do is to be satisfied wholly by being their mother and being brilliantly and creatively domestically inclined. and i've tried that before and grown bored and needing to break free from my shell. but when i watch others doing this and doing it so well and so beautifully seemingly without all the trappings of guilt, indecision, anger, and humiliating humanity encapsulated by flying into rages at home, frothing mouth spewing indecipherable streams of profanity, the children crying and scared, markers still in hand from drawing on the month-old sofa, i feel at a loss, like clearly i must be doing all of this so, so wrong. i must be too distracted by my life, by the commitments i've made to all these ridiculous and growing outside activities. i must have made a wrong turn, a wrong decision. and i must stop volunteering for things.
and yet, i feel ever so succinctly and have always believed that children need to witness parents and particularly mothers, doing things that benefit the world, that help others, and that fulfill their need for well-being. but with all these commitments and all this charming creativity and running about being busy for committees, businesses, and individuals, comes the insanity of stress and a decided lack of well-being. i am stuck in the perpetuation of activity by the activities i perform. i am stuck in the spiral of self-destructive tendencies and precisely non-beneficial choices. i force myself again and again, or not so much force as randomly desire or crave, to drink and smoke, as though forcing the relaxation i require and far, far away from my children. but couldn't i do yoga and drink water or breathe deeply like a sane, well-balanced person?
i set myself up for these expectations i cannot mentally or emotionally handle trying to meet and then fail and fail again. it is a ludicrous cycle to be stuck in and i am buried deep.
jon was supposed to come home tonight, but his flight was canceled. it's certainly not the end of the world, but i am not particularly interested in continuing to endure the agony of taking care of the children by myself. my dad left today and for the three days he was here, i think there was more stress than before. maybe that's part of it. i don't know. the days seem unending. being alone is so hard for me to do. i have no great grief, i suppose. just the simple mundane struggle of my relationship with my children and the needs of myself and the two of them. when i think about it, to complain feels stupid and pathetic because i am not always alone. i do not go day in and day out without the love and support of my husband. i do not toil at mere drudgery, but at meaningful, self-chosen work. and yet, it is difficult. it is so very difficult. things don't go right. messes get made. cupboards get emptied. stomachs fill and growl again. it all goes and goes without stopping. there is no rest, it seems. no pause in between. no time for breath. no time to reconsider and recalculate, which must always be done. the negotiations occur amidst it all - in the folding of towels, in the stirring of pots, the thinking of replies to emails and the negotiations of work and hobby. it is all always there, needing, wanting. and i am always lacking. i cannot even love perfectly. i am in love with the idea of loving and wonder, sometimes, what love even is, if i truly mean the love of the thing itself, or if i just invent it in the fantasy of all the good moments of the thing or those that are good enough. is it pure and unbreaking like light? or is it a story i tell myself about seeing hands folded just so, or lips puckered or dirt on a soft, round cheek? is it just a collection of ideas? is there nothing really there? or do i, in thinking of it, try too hard for the perfect glimpse that cannot really exist? without the struggle, does love come easily or does it perhaps not come at all? if there were nothing to press against, would my heart merely feel empty and small? could i even stand it?
jon has been in mexico for five days. is decompressing from a stressful year in school, writing and researching his dissertation. it will still be here when he gets back, but it will be summer and there will be no classes to teach and no other busywork to occupy him. i, in the meantime, am home with the children, alone. i was extraordinarily busy before he left and all those things i was doing can still occupy plenty of headspace. in fact, there was no decompression from my stress. i simply hit the solid wall of being alone with two children. there will not be time to decompress. there will be no time for me. i don't know how i am supposed to deal with my life. i feel pathetic to whine about how difficult it is to take care of my children with no partner and no respite. i feel pathetic that i cannot make it through a day without feeling rage from the frustration of children - their messes and their intense whining, their needs, their unreasonable desires. i cannot keep it all together enough to feed everyone and enrich them and fulfill tasks and clean and keep myself sane. i think of how history has shown that none of this was intended to be this way, that isolation is damaging. and yet - i watch so many people do this and do it far better than i am able and i cannot for the life of me figure why i seem so resistant to bucking up and dealing with my shit. we are not starving and things are together, but i scream and swear and we stay indoors and i do no cooking. it is far from my ideal.