The truth is, I feel like shit.
I get all mixed up and angry.
I feel like there must be somebody who knows something. I start thinking about death and dying people, how they're here but they're not here. I start thinking about giving birth to my daughters, and I hope they don't think about things too much as they grow. I hope they stay children forever, that they don't think about things like I do. That they're the type of girls who fall in love with a nice boy with glasses and they buy a little house with a sunny window.
It's not really about them, though. That is something. Everything, every thought I have is in some way about my children, but this isn't.
When I think too much about death and living, I start to feel angry about how I was born perfect and then everything around me fucked me up until I couldn't even recognize myself. I couldn't recognize the baby in those pictures.
I feel angry all the time. The things we worry about and want to be, they're not real. If you want to be a good mom and have a beautiful body and a clean house and a neat garden tucked into a piece of your own land. If you want to have a healthy heart and surround yourself with friends. If you want to be a good cook and a painter and cut back on your sugar and stop smoking. If you want to be happier than your parents were. If you want to travel and collect things. If you want to be unencumbered and free, you're impossible and everything you want isn't real.
I don't know what I mean.
I sometimes feel like Kurt should leave me and marry one of those girls next door with clean blonde hair who smile a lot. Somebody pretty and nice.
Sometimes I want to cover myself in mud. I want to gut myself with a knife and lay my organs out to glisten in the moonlight.
I've never been happy.
People are happy. I see them everywhere. They might not enjoy their jobs and they break up with their lovers and it's hard, but they're basically okay and happy as people. They don't have to work really hard to keep from crying when their babies go to bed at night. If you ask them about their lives, they say things like, "I don't know. It has mostly been good."
Sometimes, I think that if we didn't have kids, I would leave my husband and go far, far away where nobody knows me. I wouldn't talk to anyone or even look them in the eye. I would go somewhere dark and covered in pine trees. I would wander the forest at nightfall, collecting bits of bark and things that glitter pink and gold in the half-light of the sunset. I think that I wouldn't be able to bear loving him, because loving him means that I have to be whole. I have to keep it together and I can't keep it together. Only for the girls because they're perfect and holy and they're the only way I know how to matter. I keep it together because they deserve to be protected and revered. They deserve to be preserved, to be lain on a bed of feathers. They deserve to remember themselves when they're grown and looking at pictures.
It's not that I'm tired of mommy things, but I am. I am tired of the park after school and talking about babies and "Are you getting any sleep?" and apologizing for snapping about the house being dirty. I am tired of waking up and getting everybody dressed and feeding everybody and going to school and this goddamn day is the same as the day before it. I am tired of mommy things, but I am not tired of being a mommy.
At night, I wake up and I feel such a terrible longing for my babies that I pick Scouty up and carry her, half asleep and beautiful, into my bed. Louise would wake up and cry, but I'll go to her, someday. I can't sleep and it's 2 in the morning, listening to her slow, darling sleep breathing... it's the only thing I've ever loved. Knowing that she is happy and alive beside me is the only way I know how to be okay.
I am not okay in the other parts of me. The parts of me that aren't a mommy, I am not okay in those parts.
I would spend every moment of the rest of my life with them. They would be just as they are, now. Tiny and glowing and overflowing with laughter. Curious and wandering, picking up pine cones and calling them pineapples. It would be sunny always, and nothing else would exist.
But, they have to grow. I have to grow, but I don't know how, from here.
I'm miserable and bored and listless. I get preoccupied with how nothing matters except loving our babies. How beauty and art and love slip through life like rainwater on the face of a rock. How we think we know what we want, but then it isn't real. We want to run and write a book, but really, what we want is to matter and to have control. We want to not feel small. We want to feel like we're not insects, or that the flight of an insect might matter.
I want to feel like being alive means something. I don't want to buy things. I don't want to meet for lunch. I want to put my hand down my throat and pull out all of my piping. I want to rip the lining from my lungs and feed it to you. I want to be the electricity in the clouds. I want to know what living is to dying. I want there to have been a reason, when I'm all done.
I get worried there isn't a reason. I get worried that it doesn't matter how much time I waste, because it's all made up, anyway. How do you shake something like that? How do you buckle up your boots and strap on your suspenders and walk around in the world shaking hands and making jokes, when you're also a sea shell on the beach? When you're a worm, wriggling in a mass of worms? If nothing matters, how do you go on and why?
It makes me feel good when I make somebody smile, or when you write to me and tell me that you're lonely too. It makes me feel good when I win a prize or get a present. It makes me feel good when you want me, when you want to know me and like me. Is that what somebody does when they don't know what to do?
If holding your hand makes me feel better because your hand is warm, do I just hold on tight?
Today's post is a link up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary's Just Write. If you want to join in, write something about the details of your day and link up! Be sure to read a few other pieces and get to know some great new writers in the process.