grey to green

 

You would think I tried to erase myself.

But we’ll come back to that. I am supposed to tell you about the blog, and we have to chat about the weather first. Because really, there have only been two days of storms. Most of the time, the air just feels ready to rain, like it could burst and spill at any moment.

I understood immediately, though, the way the northwestern sky swallows you. The meteorologists here have come up with a million different ways to say cloudy, and still none of them can capture the way you feel. In the middle of the afternoon on a desaturated day, it seems quite possible that things have always been this way, and there were never mountains, and sunflowers have always been grey, and the clock and everyone who watches it may just stand still forever in a dizzy, misty haze until the end of time.

But the pines offer reassurance, with their optimistic branches taller and stronger than us, that time is something we fucking made up. And there was a yesterday as sure as there will be a tomorrow, only labeled in our minds and not counted by the savage black crows who wake me up every morning and watch me, from the trees beyond the deck, sipping my hipster spice coffee that was on sale today but won’t be next week because we sketched the seasons into a calendar and wrote a bunch of rules that crows don’t give a fuck about. They make me nervous. Their cries echo so eerily across the field, carrying down the firs and hills and bouncing off my spine. The children found one dead while they were playing in the field behind the house, and now the three year old keeps saying ‘die’ over and over. I don’t trust them to swoop down for my eyes like sparkly green marbles, leaving me blind and bleeding. Which is irrational, yes, but keeps me suspicious nonetheless.

So these are the things I think in the morning, and also how I am jealous of the gardeners. To be honest, it might not even be a garden. I can only see silhouettes, of a man and a woman, backlit by the sunrise, and sometimes in colorful clothes if they had Saturday off and decided to spend it outside. Tiny dots, way up high where the hills meet the clouds, weaving in and out of things green and growing wild around them. I am jealous of their commitment to the mediocre, and I imagine they do not have chaos in their cells like the air and the crows and me. But maybe they do, and they plant their thoughts in the earth and trust them to bloom and trust them to never catch fire.

It has to be different this time though. Nothing is as fucked up as you think it is. Sometimes playful hearts become mischievous in restless souls, and they play tricks, like the light that splashes through the branches and across your gorgeous face. I get a glimpse of that flame inside, only for a moment. Ready, desperate even. What if I burst and spill? What if I put my thoughts here? Can I trust you?

The pursuit of perfection is a disease, and I need a cure as much as I crave sleep, or saltwater in the pitch black places where my lungs should be. Curtains drawn until we heal, I bid my time and tell myself it is all temporary. The leaves will fall and October will come, and then it will go, and we will still be breathing, picturesque and timely autumn nonsense or not. We are not supposed to be capable of ceasing to exist, for when we feel burnt out, our star cells shine brighter in the hearts of those who can carry us. But you have to trust the sun to rise, and the moon when she sings you to sleep, and that shit will make sense again one day soon and you will be okay and you are exactly where you need to be. And where we all need you to be.

So it will be a mess, yes, but sometimes we can find the most spectacular things in the most unexpected syllables, like the sweet release of all the uncomfortably worked up rain clouds, if only they have permission to fall from your nibbled on lips. And you can rest easy under the tapping of the tin roof, and turn that music up until you can hear it again, for I have learned a thing or two about the importance of saying please.

And thank you.

Thank you for understanding that I can only offer what I am, so if we’re gonna do this, it will have to be enough. Ready, set, spill, and the rest is just a delicate dance around some unspoken rules.

tongue tied

I don’t have time to write. I don’t have time to write, or do anything else, because I have small children at home.

No.

I don’t have the attention span to write. I don’t have the energy to write.

I don’t have the emotional stability to write. The mental clarity.

I have time.

Why do I write?

I write because I do. Because I always have. Because I feel better. Because I breathe.

I write because I have overflowing thoughts, and they spill into words on paper.

I don’t know why I write, but I need to. There are many things we do but don’t understand.

So why can’t I write now? Fear of perfection. Fear of writing something I don’t want to read? Something I don’t want to admit is inside my head?

I have time to write. I have time to do anything I want. We all do, right?

I don’t write because there are dishes. Because there is laundry. Because there are doctor’s appointments to schedule. Because there is dinner to cook. Because my journal to keep myself on track of things is already days behind. I don’t write because of the guilt that I should be playing outside too. Because of the guilt that I should be walking the dog. I should be taking the kids to the park. I should be enjoying a movie cuddled with them instead of putting on the tv for them while I escape into my headphones for peace and quiet.

I don’t write because I’ve forgotten how to write for myself.

I don’t write because I can make money. I can be paid for my writing, if I am writing in a certain voice. If I am writing about a certain product. If I am reaching a certain audience. If I am telling you what you need to hear, or what a brand wants you to hear. If I save up all the thoughts for the perfect flow of words that will go viral. I can make money if I do those things, so I don’t write for myself.

Because you don’t want to read this. I don’t want to read this. I don’t want to give life to what’s in my mind. I don’t want to let it be real.

I don’t have time to write. But I do. I don’t write because I am afraid of myself. I am afraid that I will feel something. I am afraid that I will not be good enough. I don’t write because I want to be a good mom, and I feel like I can’t be. Like I don’t enjoy the things I’m supposed to. That normal people don’t need to write out their feelings just to have patience for ten minutes of playing with barbie dolls in the moment.

I don’t write because it’s easier to press pause. It’s easier to step outside of the moment and let the weight of all the things I want to do wash over me, to suffocate me in paralyzing guilt.

I don’t write because I would rather be at the beach. Or hiking through a forest. Or getting a new tattoo. Or I decide to redecorate my house. I don’t write because if it feels like a job, I want to run away. If it feels like a chore, I want to feel alive.

I don’t write because I am distracted. I am distracted by everything. I am distracted by needing a four letter label for my distraction. By trying to hide my distraction, or medicate my distraction. By trying to rationalize why and how my brain chemistry works and put it into explicable little definitions. I am distracted by trying to make sense of what I am, and who I am. I am worried that everyone else can see the mess of wires tangled behind my eyes. I’m overwhelmed by the pressure I place on myself.

I don’t write because I am worried someone will read it. I am worried someone will tell me I am an inspiration, and I will feel like an imposter. I don’t write because my words can hurt. I am afraid that the things I have to say will break someone into pieces. Or show everyone all my broken pieces.

I don’t write because I don’t know what to fucking say. I am afraid everyone will tell me I am excellent and eloquent, and I will look in the mirror and see my flaws. And deny that I do. And try to take the compliments with grace. How do I do it all? ‘Oh, haha, I don’t know, it just comes natural.’

It doesn’t. I don’t do it all. I curl up in my bed and cry. And I feel like a failure. And I let those thoughts consume me and I rush around at the last minute to wipe my tears and put on some lipstick and make sure the kids don’t have dirty nails and polish up the surface of our life and I cover up the crazy for you. Or at least make the crazy look cute and use terms like “hot mess”.

I don’t write because it’s never quiet. Because there is always someone screaming or crying or chewing or needing their diaper changed or barking or something boiling or beeping or asking me questions. I don’t write because I am needed in a million other ways. And when I could write, I can’t just write like this.

I can’t write because who cares what my banana pudding recipe is like. You all have pinterest too. I have no secrets to share. Why am I unique? I don’t write because I don’t feel like I am special.

I don’t write because I am not entitled. I don’t write because I don’t think I am enough. I am not enough to be placed on a pedestal, to have followers. Why me? I am not more important than you because I have a messy head and my chaos happens to look like creativity.

I don’t write because what if someone takes me seriously? What if this ‘little blog of mine’ is not just a phase? What if it’s ok to spend my days taking photos of my life and sharing my diary with hundreds of thousands of people?

I don’t write because I don’t take myself seriously. I don’t write because if I do, I feel vulnerable. And confused why anyone cares what I have to say. What is everyone searching for that they think they will find in the alphabetic vomit that I type into a keyboard?

I don’t write because this is not a safe space. Because my words are powerful, and they can make changes. They can change me, they can cause legal action, they can persuade others, and they can change the world. And that’s scary as fuck. I’m not powerful.

I don’t write because there is no safe space. Someone could always read what I write, no matter where I write it. The only really safe space is inside my head.

I don’t write because I’ve been abused. Because I question everything I do in every moment of the day, because I’ve been taught to walk on eggshells and overanalyze my words and actions. Because I am too busy making sure I look like I have my shit together, convincing everyone I am strong and unaffected by the years of emotional turmoil that’s in the past. Because it’s not in the past – it still spins in my head every waking moment.

I don’t write because I am impulsive. I don’t trust myself to believe the things I say after I say them, enough to feel certain about the results. When I say things, it makes things happen. I move across the country, I make people feel things. I make people fall in love, with things, with places, with me. I affect the lives of everyone around me. I don’t want to be responsible for that sort of thing. What if I change my mind? What if I get bored and unhappy as usual? What if everyone sees that I really have no idea what I’m doing because I say the opposite of something I was so sure of yesterday?

I don’t write because there are rules, you know. Even though this isn’t a real job, in the real world, where people really respect you and what you do as work. There are still rules. Because posts have to be this many words, and they have to have this many well-lit photos with eye-catching text overlays. Because sentences have to end in periods and begin with capital letters and you have to share it all on Twitter with a catchy headline and your Facebook photos have to be certain dimensions and you have to plan an editorial calendar around the holidays and you have to be relatable and you have to share good content on a regular predictable schedule and you have to engage and you have to plan your stories with a purpose and a vision and treat it like a business and you have to do this and that and you have to follow the fucking rules, don’t you know? You can’t break the rules.

I don’t write because I think the rules are fucking dumb. I don’t write because I am afraid that the way I write is not how you’re supposed to. Because the way I write is the way I think and the way I think isn’t normal either. And who cares what I think? I am not an authority.

I’m just kind of a mess. I don’t write because I can’t anymore without admitting that.

So there it is.