Sunday, June 30, 2013

Goodbye and thank you...

So, every few months, someone gets mad at me, on the computer. I'm rude for a myriad of reasons. I'm a shitty parent. I'm ugly. I'm closed minded. I have problems. I'm inconsiderate to my readers. I'm shady and a thief.  If you've been reading Last Mom On Earth for a long time, you know that I struggle with this all being worth it, with the feeling that I'm supposed to owe people something simply because I write about myself, but I'm not sure what it is.  Or, maybe, it's always something different.  People feel as though I'm available for them to use, because of the work I've done here. There have been many straws and my back is officially broken. 

Writing this blog has taught me a lot of things about my worth.  It has proven to me that I can do this.  I can make my way in the world with my words.  I can try and make amazing things happen.  It has also brought me so much love.  It has opened up the world to me in astounding ways.  I've opened up, too.  I've bled over the world.  

It has also taught me that an open vein of instant communication is not what I'm looking for, in my life.  I'd like for my writing to foster an environment of respect, and let's face it.  Being considered a "blogger" doesn't inspire people to take you or your work seriously, necessarily.  It's not worth it for me to put so much into this, when I get back instant feedback that isn't well thought out or considerate of who I am and really doesn't mean anything.  It's not worth it for me to wring myself out here to be called a "mommy blogger," and to be resented for getting paid or being read, or to have people expect that I should be available to them, because I should be grateful that anybody considers me relevant, in the first place.  Or whatever.

I'm as fucking for real as I can be, here, and I think I've reached a point where I don't have the desire to be this vulnerable and public in a forum like this. I'm not trying to be an internet superstar. I don't want to be a blogger. I'm just trying to be me. I think I need to be me in private and work on my writing in a more removed and professional way, and stop worrying about immediate feedback and using writing as socializing. I will still be writing for HuffPo and Saludify and Voxxi. I hope you will join me there, every once in a while. 

Long live Last Mom On Earth.  It's been weird and exhilarating and maddening and beautiful, being you.

Also, all of you who have been with me.  I love you millions of ways and for forever and thank you, for everything.

This blog is officially closed down. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Just a phase...

So, I'm feeling a need to tighten things up, around here.

If you want to know the truth, I've been feeling discouraged, lately.  Not overwhelmed or under confident, necessarily, just like I am not committing myself anywhere, except to my children.  I feel thinly spread across the rest of my life, like I'm not really doing anything justice.  Like I'm not really doing anything.

I've tried things like setting goals, making schedules, rearranging obligations, enforcing nap times (or "rest times" since my girls are getting older) which never go well... and the bottom line, for me, is that when I try to manage everything in a way where I'll have time to do the things I want to do as myself, and just because, it all just comes out uninspired and inauthentic and mildly embarrassing.  Like I'm a ghost or I've been filled with water until you can see through me.

It feels like talking and talking when I don't have anything to say, all of this.  Making time, writing disjointed and limp, in the evenings.  Listening to books while I fold the laundry.  Texting my husband.  Meeting for play dates. Trying to interact with beauty and god from a padded bench in the play area at a mall.  I am splattered across a white wall; I am water.  I feel mildly like I don't exist, and I'm not sure I have anything to say about it, right now.

I know it's okay.  I know my kids are young and they won't take up all of my energy, forever.  I know this is a phase.  It's a hard phase, where I don't feel like I have anything left of my self.  When I lay down to sleep at night, I am barely a whole and separate thing, in my head.

Instead of talking about myself, right now, maybe I should reserve what I can, because there's not much flesh to me, there's not much gristle.  There's nothing for me to grip and my fingernails are clinking against bone.

It is unlike me to not have the right words, but I don't, in this moment.

It is very like me, however; to have run out of metal in my blood.  It is very like me to need to be quiet for a minute.  To sit down in a fucking chair with a real fucking book and have it be heavy and breaking in the spine, and I can hold it in my hands and my back will ache and my eyes will sting, and I'll just shut up for a while.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Little miracles

I spend so much time feeling either like the world is collapsing in on me, 
 or that I'm splitting wide open to hold it all inside of me.

I prefer splitting open, even though it's scary and it hurts.

I prefer an understanding that all of the experience of my life is an exposed, open space, and that there is nothing to hold on to, not really.  That everything I grasp at so dearly is just tucking my head under my wing and humming with my ears covered.

There isn't anything to hold on to.  There is nothing to anchor myself to.  I will always be this thing.  I had better get to making friends with it.

There is nothing, and that isn't a bad thing.

This is supposed to be a flower.  What is it, really?  

It is a wonder and a miracle, and it is also just a little thing, and we see these kinds of things all the time and have little names for them.  

Flower, tree, vegetable, animal, person.  

Our eyes and our thoughts pass over them a thousand times each day.  How often do we stop to consider that particles of matter and forces of nature came together in such a way as to manifest this completely singular and unlikely little miracle with her brown eyes and graying hair and thoughts like storm clouds?

Edited to add: Danie commented and left this story for me to read and I thought it was extraordinarily beautiful and thought you might like to read it too.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fear will just be a feeling

When I feel overwhelmed, I freeze up.

I think I must feel overwhelmed all the time.

I feel like I am afraid of not being in control, but the truth is probably more like I am afraid of everything that I am really in control of.  I'm afraid that I'll fail, that I'm failing.

As a younger person, I started a lot, but never finished anything.  I made big plans, got excited about them, and then they died some time later, when things weren't new and exciting anymore.

I'm not sure why I turned out that way.  Maybe everybody does, to some extent.

For me, it's like there's this imaginary place where everybody is healthy and whole, where no one is demanding anything of me, where it's not too hot and not to cold, nobody is waiting on or expecting anything from me, I've gotten plenty of rest, feel fine physically and everyone agrees with me.  That is the place where I am okay.  I can wake up alone, in this place, and the world is quiet and there's a slight breeze and it's sunny.  There aren't any messes.  No one is crying.  There are no dishes to wash.  In fact, there aren't many dishes at all.  Surfaces are bare.  There are no expectations.  I can take a walk and listen to music and I'm finally okay.  This place is not reality.

Everything in life that isn't this place overwhelms me because I also imagine that sickness and pain and whining and dishes and disagreement and feeling exhausted and losing my temper and the noise of traffic and the kids are bored and having to go grocery shopping and not taking advantage of this nice day and eating too much and spills on the carpet and potty training and writing and late bedtimes and feeling lonely and a missing sex drive and peeling wallpaper and ants in the kitchen and overgrown hedges and the car need brakes and stitches and not being able to be everything that everyone needs is all evidence that I'm a total failure.  At everything.

I don't even notice that I feel this way, anymore.  I never say, "I feel like a failure."  I don't feel like a failure, I just feel nervous all the time.  I just feel sick to my stomach when I wake up in the morning.  I just startle easily.  When someone calls for me, I immediately say, "What's wrong?"  My heart pounds.  My jaw aches.  I don't feel like a failure because I am too busy avoiding that feeling.  It's too scary for me.

It is at the heart of everything I do.  Avoiding having to feel what I really feel, which is that I'm lacking.  That I don't have enough.  That I'm not enough.  That I can't do this.

What if I allowed myself to feel like a failure?  What if I allowed it to break my heart?  What if I owned it, went towards it, welcomed it like a guest?  Maybe feeling like a failure isn't my problem.  Maybe the problem is really that I'm too scared to feel it, so I distract myself.  I over schedule.  I make plans. I look forward to what's next.  I am never present, because I might have to feel overwhelmed, and I am too afraid of that so I just keep moving, moving, moving.  Planning and thinking and looking for answers. 

But avoiding feeling scared makes me afraid.  Avoiding feeling overwhelmed makes everything harder than it needs to me.  Trying to stay one step ahead of everything just means that nothing really gets acknowledged, and when something isn't acknowledged, it can't be dealt with.

I have an idea that I should try existing, instead of planning and thinking and worrying.  That I should be here, in my life, in my home where there are leaks and messes and where there's too little space and too much stuff.  I should crawl right to the middle of things, hold each little imperfection in my hands, turning it over in my palms and feeling it, understanding it for what it is.  I should weep on my knees, instead of scattering myself across the blank, black space of a night where I can't sleep and I lie and say I don't know why.  I have an idea that I should go towards the things that overwhelm me, because they will follow me, anyway.

Whether or not I acknowledge it, I will be what I am, I will feel what I feel.  If I acknowledge it, I might be able to work with it.  There are things I might even be able to change, things I might be able to forgive and accept.  There are things that will be out of my control, and being out of control might scare me, but the fear won't hook me and drag me down and away from my purpose.  It will just be a thing, like all of the other things.  Fear will just be a feeling.  It will exist and I will feel it and it might break my heart and at least I will be really living instead of trying to avoid being touched in places that are tender.  At least I will stop building walls meant to protect me, that really trap me in the darkness.

So, the truth is that I feel like I failure, and I also feel like a god.  Both things scare me.  I want to feel that fear, because I want to feel everything, touch it, and let it go.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The animals in the zoo

I can't sleep when it storms, she said, because I worry for all of the animals in the zoo.

They are rattling bars, and pacing the concrete floors of their enclosures.  Lights flicker, the sound of rain like a whisper, is all around them.  Some of them curl into themselves and settle in, with fur coarse and warm. Some of them breathe quietly, together, and they are still and fine.  Some of them go mad at the sound of thunder, at the wild, white heat of lightening.  Some of them call into the wind and strain against their bars.  Some of them scream.  Some of them roar.  All of them are me.

I worry for them, too.

Straight lines and everything is always the same.  Buzzing lights overhead.  I worry for them, like this.

The smell of exhaust, the glow of a screen.  Faces stopping briefly to peer inside.  Love.  Scratchy bedsheets at night and pills from an orange bottle.

Where is the water, the animals wonder.  Where are the insects?  Why does my heart beat faster than it should when I am quiet and alone, and why does it scare me so?  

Where is the silence, and when will I see dawn, again, as something free and belonging to myself?  

When will I see the dawn again, painting everything in softness and light, without covering my eyes?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ingtroducing Gwynnie Bee, and how I never buy clothes for myself

So, I'm not a fashion person.  I don't really wear make up or uncomfortable shoes.  I don't care whether or not you approve of my "style," or if you find me attractive.  I don't aim to be some kind of spokesperson for beauty, about what it should mean, or what role it should play in your life.

The bottom line is that you get to be whatever you want.  You get to look however you look, how you were born or how you want to change yourself, and I don't even kind of get a say. You get to look like you and I will value you for everything but your clothes and makeup and haircut.

If you get a cute hair cut, I'll let you know that I like it, and it would never change whether or not I find you a valuable, beautiful person.  If you lose a bunch of weight, and I know that it meant a lot to you, I will congratulate you and mean it, even though it doesn't mean anything to me, and the way I see you.

I'm not immune to fine and fancy things, either.  There was a time where I walked around like this:

That was a lifetime ago.  I got pregnant, and everything changed for me.  I didn't know who I was.  I had built an identity up around me for so long, that when I couldn't play that part anymore because it was killing me, all that was left of me was flesh and hair and bits of bone.  I was annihilated.  I was pink and raw and my skin ached all over.

I had no idea where to go, so I started opening the windows.  I started stepping outside in the daylight.  I started walking and walking.  I went inside.  Deep inside.  And I found something there.  It was as though I had been destitute and dragging myself along the ground, and the whole time I was dying there, there was a handful of treasure like seeds buried in the dirt beneath me.

Anyway, I'm terrible at selling things.

I'm working with the beautiful women at Gwynnie Bee for at least the next two months.  They are giving me some free membership time in exchange for telling you my thoughts about it.  Gwynnie Bee is a new clothing rental service for sizes 10-28 where you pay a certain amount per month, depending on how many garments you want to have out.  You look through their growing collection, and put the things you like in your virtual closet, and they'll send you a package so that you can try them on and wear them for a while.

When you're finished with a garment, you can send it back in prepaid bags, and they'll ship you something else from your closet.  You don't have to launder anything.  Shipping and laundering are part of what you pay for, with your subscription.

So, I'm sharing this with you because I liked the idea when I heard about it.  I might not be like... fancy and outfitted anymore, but I like feeling comfortable in things and looking like myself.  Also, it's not like I'm going to go out and try on and buy a bunch of clothes any time soon.  As a matter of fact, I can't even remember the last time I bought a piece of clothing for myself that wasn't out of absolute necessity, (and that didn't cause me stress over spending money.)

Here I am wearing a shirt from Gwynnie Bee.  It was a comfortable, okay shirt.  Scouty was my photographer.  (It was her idea that I should model with the vacuum cleaner and while meditating.)

I tried on two other things that didn't really excite me.  One of them was even hilariously awful.  It was still fun to get them in the mail. I'll let you know when I try something that feels perfect.

If you'd like to try Gwynnie Bee, too, they're offering a free 30 day trial to my readers, (and to everybody else, it seems, but if you click the links on my page instead of looking GB up yourself, it will make me look good.)  Click here to start browsing and closeting.  Let me know what you think of everything, and if you find something that feels perfect, for you.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This moment...

Nothing is solid, everything is like a dream.

I was lying in bed next to my girl this morning, and she was sleeping and quiet and beautiful, and it seemed so real.  Then, the moment passed, and it was like a dream.

Later, we'll visit with our friends for lunch, but for now, it is only something hazy in my mind, some future thing that I can imagine, but I'm not guaranteed.

So much of what I believe to be reality is only held in the electricity and fog of my mind.

The only thing that is really happening is this moment, and it will pass, too.

I wonder how present I really am, for my life.  I mutter to myself about my worries while I put away the dishes.  I rush the girls through getting dressed so that we can make it to our next destination in a way that doesn't drag, so that we can be home and bathed and fed before it's time to sleep.

Everything I do, I'm stretching myself thin in long, dragging tendrils of smoke, trying to wrap myself about what's already happened so that I can predict what will happen in the future or reaching for something that hasn't happened yet.

I must believe that there is something better than myself, in my the future.

I must believe that I am not enough to live bravely and present, as I am, right now.

I must not understand that I have everything I need, in this moment.

In wanting more or less of everything, in looking forward to pleasure and trying to reason my way out of pain, I am missing the only moment that is really happening.

What am I missing because I'm afraid that I am not enough... because I'm afraid that something painful will touch me, or because I'm clinging to a hope that the future holds something better?

I am missing the feeling of the ground under my feet.  The pleasure of breathing.  The glimmer of water as it fills the sink.  I am not tasting or hearing or seeing, when I believe that my thoughts are reality.  I am not touching what I touch.  I am nothing.  I am smoke.  My thoughts are not reality.  My thoughts are shadows and light, they are like a dream.  Everything that has ever happened will pass in an instant, and everything that hasn't happened yet, hasn't happened.  The only thing I have is the wealth of this moment, and this moment is always new.