February already.

last night, late, i curled up in bed with my journal…the ‘real’ one, the private one, the one that i’ve kept for years in a largely unvaried series of black-bound sketchbooks. the one in which my handwriting – which is actually square-ish all-caps print, inordinately and bizarrely and pridefully straight – tracks across the page like almost-foreign calligraphy. the one in which i try to make sense of my life and my self, to mark my path down for some un-named posterity. or just for me, even…perhaps mostly for me, since glancing back through the pages of my journals is like catching glimpses of previous selves in a mirror – momentary immersion in a familiar but forgotten identity. i am always amazed by how quickly i forget who i’ve been.

since i started this blog last April, the journal has gotten short shrift…blogging satisfies much of the weird urge i have to archive my life, and it likewise takes most of the time i have for that particular indulgence these days. but last night, looking through the sparse journal entries of the past couple of months, i began to wonder if i’m not getting short shrift in the whole deal, too.

it’s not, gentle reader, that i don’t appreciate you. or that i’m not honest with you. or that i don’t frequently abuse your patience by appropriating the blog for navel gazing (i know! i know! i am doing it now, so sorry) and self-affirmation and exploration and all those fine things that a journal also provides a venue for. but ultimately, the blog has an obligation to be – or at least try to be…insert hopeful smile here – entertaining, and moderately polite regarding persons in my life whom some of you may actually know, or be. a journal doesn’t carry these burdens. and in my journal, i say things i’d never say here. or i used to. and i wondered last night if maybe i need to be saying a few more of those things to myself, for myself.

because before i became a mother, i used to only have myself to try to foster into the best person i could be. and some of that fostering was silly, like my OCD-driven (but very fetching) handwriting efforts, or the three years of high school i spent trying to decipher and write out lyrics to my favourite songs (yeh, this was before the internet. and before record companies printed lyrics inside the liner, apparently. in retrospect, not my wisest use of time). but some of it made me better. i spent a lot of time searching. i spent a lot of time questioning. i was achingly aware of myself, in a way that i occasionally find mortifying to read back on…but i was also, for the most part, self-aware.

now, aside from the time i spend trying to foster Oscar into being the best person he can be, which is more noble and more immediately rewarding than working on myself, i spend a lot of time looking for other wry, tongue-in-cheek, sharp mom blogs to link to, in hopes that they’ll like me and link me back. which is not quite the same as trying to make myself a better person.

so i was wondering, last night, if i really want to be self-aware, anymore? if it matters? if i were to look closely at my neglected self, i’d notice first that i haven’t gotten a haircut in six months, and that ye olde mommy pooch would be well-served by some sit-ups…but i’d also notice that for the first time in my life i really don’t give a shit about those things, and that i’m enjoying the heck out of being freed from my own vanity and its attendant slavery. self-consciousness is a fine thing to shed. deeper though, i’m not so sure that the neglect is serving me well. i notice that i’m a little more frayed than i like to be, that i’m struggling constantly with the issue of trying to carve out some time for myself. i write about it, now and then, but i don’t think i’ve ever gotten at what i’d like that time for, other than laundry and more blog-searching and the occasional piece of paid work that i’d like to do. but i think there is more. to me.

and i’ve forgotten.

it seems timely to try to remember, right now. a year ago today, in a snowstorm, i drove to my OBgyn’s office to have her confirm that i did, indeed, need to head back to Halifax to the hospital where we’d lost Finn, and where i would, indeed, need to go back on bedrest just as i had the year before, in hopes of a happier outcome. i was 25 weeks pregnant. i was scared all to hell. i spent seven weeks in that hospital bed, all of February and most of March…and then two more weeks in bed at home before O was born. i could have spent that time getting lots of self-awareness in, in retrospect, but i spent most of it trying to tamp down the nauseating panic of my own lack of control in this whole bid to bring home a child.

so really, the whole of this last year has been for O…about fostering him. it’s been about me in terms of my role as a mother, but little else. and i’ve grown in ways i never imagined possible for self-centered moi (and no, this is not an ass joke). being Oscar’s mama has made me more content than i’ve ever been in my life…but i don’t want to stop my development there. contentment does not make for interesting journal entries, or for a particularly interesting sense of oneself, dear readers. or for a particularly healthy mother-son relationship once he grows up and decides he’d like a life of his own, after all. so i am going to try to remember that i’m here too. mother, but also more.


the big question, of course, is where the hell do i start? what does more mean, at this place in my life?

i need to dig out the rest of those old journals.