milestone stuff

where i’m from, the most beautiful days of the year are fall afternoons.

bright-gold and sunshot, they make glitter out of the crimson of dying leaves and children out of grownups.

i dare you to not scuff your feet along the sidewalks of October here on this sandy red mud rock, wearing clouds of fallen leaves like fluffy slippers. i dare you to stare down a leafpile and – six or sixty – NOT know that your legs are made to leap, to leave the earth behind, however briefly.

i spent a lot of years trying to be somewhere other than here.

but afternoons like this one i can’t remember Paris, or Bangkok, or San Diego. i remember these narrow sidewalks under my sneakers all the fall afternoon walks of my childhood and i am glad i came home.

three months from today i turn forty.

this occurred to me as i made my way across a field this afternoon, by a park where my children play. where i played a thousand years ago in a cabinet of my memory where the light is always an October afternoon, crisp and tart and fleeting like an apple just bitten.

the brown will come, says the beauty. it’s juiciest that way.

i walked a few paces with the thought of my own browning, letting it settle into my skin.

my skin has been feeling forty for awhile now. most of my friends have already turned the corner. i realized, as i kicked at a red leaf skittering across the grass ahead of me, that i can live with forty, and not just because it beats the hell out of the alternative. i think i can own forty. i think i may actually be a far better forty-year-old than i was a twenty-year-old. even if i haven’t entirely grown up. maybe because i know better now what grown up means, to me. what i care about. what i don’t.

i understand, now, that forty has exactly no mathematical relationship to whether you leap in the leaves.

the three months left of my thirties, though? they weigh BIG.

endings come heavy for me. last chances perch on my shoulders, armed with riding crops. i am motivated by a deep and abiding fear of regret, of longing for that which will never come again. so the idea that i have three months left to become the person i will be at forty is, for me, a powerful thing.

Schmutzie was asking today about life lists.

i don’t have one. i did a lot of stuff when i was younger, largely motivated by that abiding fear of regret and longing. a lot of it was reckless and excessive and beautiful. occasionally it was all three at once.

it doesn’t mean there isn’t lots left undone: it’s just not out there, for the most part. (except that marrying David Bowie bit. save the date. i’ll get back to you.)

it’s in ME. and i feel like i’m on the verge.

i didn’t really get it when we moved back here nearly seven years ago. i’d been gone fifteen years, nearly half my life. i came back because i gave up on the perfect elsewhere, but i didn’t know i’d stumble upon all these ghosts of my younger self here, at every corner.

we took the kids to a playground on Saturday, at my elementary schoolyard. an accidental stop, a space i’ve barely thought of in a quarter century or more. i stood there in the expanse of green with my children racing around me and marveled at time and memory, at what survives. i ran my bare hands over metal rungs i once swung from, looked off to the fence where my friends and i huddled over our first cigarettes, all swaggers and coughs. i marvelled how small the equipment had grown. i wrapped my thirty-nine-year-old body around a bar and flipped upside down, to show Oscar – or myself – it could be done.

and all around me, ghosts, of children grown for twenty years. here, i am more tied to who i’ve been than anywhere in the world.

not all umbilica give life. some are simply tethers, ties to station and subject positions that one no longer even sees as choice.

i am from a small place. a good place, but a small place. i left, and travelled, but mostly where the wind blew, and where the jobs were. i grew up simply and completely NOT knowing you could just move to New York, visas and muggers be damned. i was nearly thirty before i met someone with intentions to move there, and i remember gaping at her like she’d just discovered electricity. she was seven years younger than i. we were in a hostel in Amsterdam. we had just left a sex shop. but it was the idea of New York as a viable address that left me agog, fired all the neurons in my brain.

oh, i said to her, nodding like i met New York-bound people all the time. and then i understood that try as i might and go where i would, i’d never outrun myself or where i came from.

i am from a family in which fatalism is a positive coping mechanism. one should not let one’s aims get too high above one’s means, and one should make the most of what one has. i believe the latter to my core. i have only just begun to see the trap in the former.

i grew up waiting to be tapped on the shoulder. to be sprung from the limitations of means and capacity to imagine bigger aims: that is acceptable. that is not getting above your station. that is properly demure, not arrogant or boastful or silly or laughable. i grew up believing the world was mostly meritocracy.

i grew up not knowing how to set goals, or plan longterm, or strategize to understand and utilize the systems by which choices are constrained in our culture.

i grew up thinking if i were good enough, a fairy godmother would come along. probably take me to New York or London or Kathmandu. make me a writer. or a thinker. or something.

and i grew up thinking if the fairy godmother didn’t come, that was that. it wasn’t in me.

i seem to have grown old and foolish enough to believe i was wrong. i have three months left until i am forty, and i am done waiting.

not for New York, or London, or Kathmandu, so much. not right now. their fall afternoons can’t be better than here.

but i’m writing, and sending stuff out, for the first time in my life. academic stuff. semi-literary stuff. still not the brand book idea i had an agent for a year ago and choked because i was too shy to push. that will have to come after my dissertation, so go the rules of my funding. but still. i somehow, simply, didn’t think i could. i clicked ‘send’ this afternoon and i laughed and thought, shit, that wasn’t so hard.

there will be rejection. that used to terrify me. i don’t think it does so much, anymore. i have three months to get used to it. and i will eat up all advice – unless you’re suggesting The Secret – with gratitude.

my thirties have been the hardest and best decade of my life. they brought me birth and death, took me further from home than i’d ever imagined and brought me back. i want to end them able to look the little ghost of myself at the playground in the eye and say, i did okay by you, kid. i grew up into somebody not afraid to try, and fail.

that’s who i want to be when i’m forty. i have three months.



you bounce, of course.

you always bounce, legs like Tigger and a spirit to match. but when we are forty feet off the floor and you are hanging partway out the viewing window cut into the cinderblocks of this old gym, i get nervous. my hand seeks purchase on your wiggling person: i grip the back of your Elmo panties as if they were a harness. my tightrope walker.

we are watching Oscar. your birthday coincided with the opening day of gymnastics, this year. you and i went to the kindergym. you climbed nimbly and walked the balance beam all on your own, and you sat on your mat this year, which surprised me most. on the rings you let me flip you upside and over and you laughed like sparkles and shouted AGAIN!

but Oscar, he is in the Big Gym with the big trampoline and the big beams and bars and we are in the gallery and you want DOWN. NOW.

i want to go THERE, Mama! you lean as far as the Elmo panties clutched in my deathgrip will allow and point down, at the marvels spread below us, the little groups of gymnasts hopping and swinging.

i smile. you will, love. next year, when you’re bigger.

that was the wrong thing to say.

i feel your outrage before i see and hear it. your body, sprung to bounce, tightens for the explosion. your face turns to me, wounded, plaintive, offended to your core.

i am the most bovine and unfair creature you have ever encountered.


you puff up like an indignant turkey and glare at me, daring me to contradict this Fact. as you should, really. your impending Bigger-ness has been impressed upon you for weeks now. you are proud of your Big. you look to me for reassurance that you are Doing It Right.

i have betrayed your faith in this bounteous inevitable.

the force with which you feel things always stuns me. someday this child will curse me, i think, a beat too late every time. then you forgive just as quickly, wholeheartedly, and i am again your sun and stars. i bask, and i pull back to breathe, all at once.

it will not be long, now. three years ago, on the day you were born, three seemed remarkably far in the distance for all of us. Oscar was just past two. toddlers and babies were all i knew. close, immediate, intimate. so needy. so sweet-smelling. and i thought i will get the hang of this eventually, find a balance, find ENOUGH of me for both of you.

suddenly he is in kindergarten, striding and stretching away from me into the world of cool and peers and independence, and you are hot on his tail and i look around me at this hectic maul where i cannot even pee by myself and i feel it slip like sand and i see, oh. there is no balance. there is too much. then not enough. you will bounce away, leap by leap and i will blink and find myself clutching a pair of ancient Elmo panties and waving, thinking how the hell did this happen?

it is as it should be.

yet…i see now why people have third, or fourth, or seventh babies. the promise of one more shot at balance. the realization that all those little old biddies were right, and it really does go So Fast. one more chance to do it better, because not one of us will ever get it perfect.

you are my last baby, Josephine.

i bend down to meet you, eye to eye. you ARE bigger, i say, and i beam at you. you’re SO bigger. but all those kids are four or five, sweetheart. when you are four, you can go to the big gym. you are three. Three. TODAY!

the chirp in my voice does not convince you, and your eyes well up. you are embarrassed. you were so sure.

next year, i promise. next year. but you don’t need to rush to be four, honey. three is GOOD. three is the bounciest, best thing in the world, okay? believe me. and don’t lean out the window like that.

i feel your small hand snake around my thigh. you lean in, and we stand together and watch the big kids below, my hand in your hair. the whole while i hear you whisper BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER under your breath. the eternal prayer of the younger child.

i pull you close to me and i try not to whisper, take your time.

happy birthday, my Big Girl, my love.

end of summer by o&poecormier
(photo courtesy of the lovely & talented @BethPJohnston)

a bonfire on the beach on the last night of summer. by next summer, we will have a cottage here. we hope.

for now, sandy feet and salt and smoke in our clothes on an unseasonally warm September night. small bodies racing down the shore into the sunset.

tomorrow, school. tomorrow. already.
what brought your summer to a close?

the year Star Wars was released, i was five years old. i’d never been to a movie, even a Disney fairytale: my mom would take me me to Candleshoe in the theatre later that year, but at the time i had no clue i was missing anything.

i started first grade that September, innocent of The Force and of Jedi and robots. within weeks, the scales had fallen from my eyes: EVERYone, it seemed, had plastic figurines with long legs and strange costumes. some were golden; one had cinnamon buns for hair. i didn’t realize it all stemmed from a film. i thought there was a game called Star Boards that everyone knew but me.

Oscar is five. he starts school next week. he has owned a Star Wars tshirt for a year or so, now; he is the proud inheritor of his father’s plastic 1977 figurines. but yesterday, he took a leap i didn’t take until i was twenty-five: he watched Star Wars. with his dad. and popcorn. rite of passage.

(he is now convinced he is Han Solo. i seem to have been relegated to the role of R2D2. he is also convinced he can make his sister quiet using The Force. good luck, young Jedi, sez me.)

i think it’s mostly those of us born before VCRs that can remember our first movies, because we were OLD by the time we got taken to one. do you remember yours? do you remember the first time you saw Star Wars?

skipping stones by o&poecormier
skipping stones, a photo by o&poecormier on Flickr.

Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
– Shakespeare, ‘The Tempest’

just before sunset on the last day of April, the day the lobster traps go out.

this is Dave’s beach, his father’s beach before him. the water is cold. there are mountains on the other side of the shore.

this is where we brought him, the last place. his birthright.

we laid our palms in the water and the last of his ashes drifted into the tide that has taken generations before him to sea. six years to the day.

it is done. and it is good. at the end of the sea change…peace. for each of us in our way. in the end, we are all of us only dust to dust, stones skipping on the water. what remains, six years later, is only love.

(waking today to this day of portents, i hope for sea changes all around, for less fear, for peace. i sit quiet and solemn, and hope for something rich and strange to come.)

my boy.

we spent your last day of four home sick together yesterday. this morning you are five and the cupcakes for the preschool party are iced in blue chocolate-milk icing, a jujube dinosaur parked garishly in each.

you have a cough that will not quit, but we will go to preschool with the cupcakes no matter what. what are germs amongst cupcake kindred?

all is ready.

five, Oscar. by your next birthday, you’ll probably be reading.

you can sound out words, already, and when you print your name your “s” is more and more frequently right-side-up. you love to make things, grow things, imagine things. you hoard my empty tin cans for building robots and dinosaur pod-cars and pirate ships. you lust after Bakugan, but i am not sure you know why, not yet.

in the last few weeks all the people you draw have eyes of a matched size, two perfect circles in their face. it disconcerts me in its suddenness, that fearful symmetry. but there it is: it seems to have come to stay. your cock-eyed days are behind you, my son. welcome to the tyranny of aesthetics. don’t ever let it win, entirely.

i still don’t quite know if you are right- or left-handed, at five. your teacher is baffled. i am amused. i tell her maybe you are neither. or both, like your uncle Stephen before you.

five. the year most kids start reliably remembering things.

SCREECH. dammit. i think i missed my window.

there i am, meandering my way through a mother’s love letter when my legs begin to spin in thin air like Wile E. Coyote in that split second before gravity triumphs and the freefall begins.

before my fingers can even telegraph it all to the keyboard i clamp down. i am aghast.

it’s not that he will not remember, these castles and kingdoms and Jurassic days and too-early mornings. i know it and i knew it every day of these past five years even if i waited until today to acknowledge it to myself, aloud.

it’s that i waited anyway. suddenly i realize that the time is not coming back: that he will remember. that his own narratives will take over, soon…that they already are. that he will read soon. that all those last gasps of truth and nuttiness i always wanted to somehow convey to my children when they were small and helpless and believed everything i said?

i waited too long.

one day he wakes up and the dinosaurs start shooting at each other and i say, “dude, that’s violent. that’s not okay in our house.” and he says “Mom. you’re dead. bang.” and just like that, the window closes.

Oscar, my heart.

when you are reading, i suppose i’ll need to make some adjustments to the wishes i write down for you.

(not that someday these words won’t be all yours – yours and your sister’s. but what is here is for the someday you. not the five-year-old who makes dinosaurs into wild and ravaging pirates on a paper boat.)

this morning i told you five was magic, because five-year-olds can listen extra good. and it worked and you zipped up your coat when asked just like a little Prussian and i was shocked and grateful and terribly impressed with my own genius but here’s the secret.

i want you to be a little Prussian and i don’t want you to be a little Prussian. for the moment, in the right now, i fuss with all these manners, this making your bed, this silliness. it is my job.

but it is my job, too, to teach you that the world is heartache and beauty and worth living in. what life does, little one, is rips by you until last week and twenty years ago seem equidistant and you do. not. believe it but there it is. a fact. you won’t believe me, now. you can’t, i know.

but take pictures, Oscar, so you remember.

and here’s my advice, on life. for five-year-old pirates and fifty-year-old pirates, because i secretly hope you’ll keep a little of your swashbuckle.

the world requires more than politeness and tidy beds to be a decent place.

(ssshhh. don’t tell.)

sure, be on time. and look people in the eye, always. and say thankyou and i’m sorry. especially i’m sorry.

but don’t stop being fierce. don’t stop throwing yourself into the arms of those who love you. don’t stop being able to say, i’m scared. keep working on doing stuff even when you are scared. keep making up naughty rhymes to songs. try not to sing them in front of your Nannie.

you told me yesterday you weren’t really turning five; that you were already eighteen. and i looked at you and realized i will blink and it will be true.

but you will shine, then, like now. i know it. just don’t let them steal your shine, kid; the real pirates, the ones who try to make us all conform.

because you are amazing the way you are, and you have been from the moment five years ago when they first laid you in my arms.

i write this for the someday you, so you will know what it was i meant to tell you, all these busy, distracted, beautiful days. soon the window will close, and you will not hear me much, for years. but if you ever wonder about the sounds my mouth is making? it’s just this stuff.

it says i love you. happy birthday, Oscar boy.

love Mama


April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire

– T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland, Part I, The Burial of The Dead

April is a love letter, the worst kind. it sneaks up in flowered paper and leaves you twisted and gasping at its end. its mud holds all the carnal knowledge of dust to dust, all the endings from which beginnings start again, another year.

maybe we never bury our dead completely. dirt piles up on the graves we make, layer by forgetting layer, but dirt is fragile. the rains of April wash it loose.

it was raining, that morning five years ago when i started out.

the crib sat in the next room, an act of faith performed on our behalf. Dave’s parents had bought it and set it up for us: left alone, we might have wavered, too afraid to call down the eyes of the gods on our hubris. but it was there, sturdy and ready, covered in tinfoil to discourage the cat from nesting in it. i ran my hands up its old-fashioned spindles and caught my breath. it was an artefact of promise.

i named the blog ten days before Oscar was born. now, i blush at its domesticity. but in that moment, it felt crazy brave.

it said, this time we will bring him home.

the blog itself was Dave’s idea. he asked, and i said no, i couldn’t possibly, and then, well, maybe i could and he said yes and he set up the wordpress account and bought the domain. an act of faith. my words were bottled up and choking me, all this crocus blooming in the raw earth of April and my terror and my grief, and he saw and he opened a door and i walked through.

and so i began this witness, this love letter, five years ago today.

and now it is five years gone like *that,* another rainy morning, and i am stunned. an eye-blink. and i try to imagine this past five years without this space and i cannot, because this is one of my lilacs out of the dead land, these children, yes, but also these words and this work and this community, these friends. memory and desire.

five years in, i want to thank him. because i would not have started on my own.

it was raining last Friday afternoon when i met Susan in DC.

she was among the first bloggers i connected to, more than four years ago now. she wrote smart, humble, patient posts about her last baby, and her toddler, and science, and i thought, i have something to learn from her.

she discovered that summer that she had cancer. she beat that cancer, and a couple more to boot. the fight is ongoing. she writes about it. but she writes about living, mostly. mothering. being a NASA scientist, and a writer.

when i flew into DC for Theorizing the Web – which was fabulous and warrants its own post, coming soon on the theoryblog – i thought maybe i’ll go a day early. maybe i can finally meet Susan, if she’s feeling up for it.

then it was raining and i had a cold and she had scans that morning that will tell if the tumours are growing and i realized at the last minute that i’d asked too much but then my phone rang and she was there, at the hotel.

and one of the gifts of this blog is that everytime i meet someone i’ve known from here it is like meeting an old friend but this one afternoon will stand out for me for the rest of my days. because she took me on the subway into the city through the rain, the two of us without umbrellas, splashing like kids, and we went to the Library of Congress and stood under the vaulted ceilings in that temple to knowledge and the mythos of a nation and the tour guide asked us both if we were twenty-eight and we very nearly kissed him and it was like playing hooky, for a minute, from time and the rest of the world. there is an archway there with four mosaics on the ceiling, science juxtaposed with family and poetry with education, and we posed like muses in our representative corners and i felt like maybe that hall was built solely to house the two of us in that moment. or like it should have been, even if all the names on the tiles were dead men.

she stopped on the stairs. i don’t remember exactly how she said it, only that there were tears in both our eyes. i know she said the word “die” and i thought she was brave to insert it into the conversation, to breach the hull of the unspoken. i know that the afternoon light shone in on us off all that marble and gilt, and the rain outside was invisible for a moment. we read the gold plaque that testifies to the power of authorship, us two brought together by words. and i know that what i heard her say sunk deep in me and told me, in that timeless place, that words matter. that all we leave behind is what we make and share. love. legacies. lilacs out of the dead land.

something to learn, indeed.

it was a perfect April afternoon, joyful and raw and close to the bone and the soul, both. and i thank her, for bringing me, for sharing it with me.

Dave’s parents came again this weekend while i was gone. they brought a bed this time, a full twin bed for Oscar’s fifth birthday ten days hence. it waits in the shed for the pirate quilt to be unveiled. Posey will graduate to his toddler bed. and the crib will go, its spindles no longer needed here.

it has a drop-side and The Law tells me i should not pass it on, though it is sturdy yet. and i wonder, do i bury it? honour it? light it a pyre in the backyard?

it will be gone but its legacy will still be here, in these words. as will mine, someday.

i thank that little crib, for being true to its promise. and i thank you, for being here, these five years, for witnessing.



our first Christmas together, he bought me the hat.

i never wanted diamonds. or perfume, or whatever was supposed to make me feel cherished.

those proper things always made me feel inept, party to an exchange that was somehow utterly unrelated to any of the things i valued about myself.

but a patchwork velvet top hat that called up Dolly Parton songs and Alice in Wonderland?

i think i smiled at him with tears in my eyes, that Christmas morning.

i turn 39 today. he got me the leather satchel he told me he’d gotten me last year but then, erm, forgot to order. it is beautiful. it looks like a refugee from 1974. i am told it will be here Friday. of THIS year.

he also got me a steamer thingie so that we can give up any pretense of me ever picking up an iron again in this life. a partner who can embrace one’s peculiarities, even the prosaic ones, is a keeper.

then he took my picture.

he starts a new job, today. or at least a new position, with a right official title: Manager, Web Communications & Innovations, UPEI.

a “real” job, my mother would say. she and i, who’ve both worked all our lives, have never quite had one.

i’m going to call him “Guv’nor.” or just “Sir.” i think the hat makes him look extra respectable.

i flew home from Korea six years ago today. we were wanderers, itinerants, de-coupled from any of the systems that make this culture run. we had no place in the order of things, no niche. he was a bad boy sort, a 3 am philosopher trying to leave the cigarettes in the dust. my mother asked him point-blank how he planned to support me. i told her i had no need to be supported.

i was wrong. i didn’t know. but he’s held me up, through my rage and sorrow when Finn died. through the sleeplessness of two babies with colic. through this through-the-looking-glass adventure into academia, which owns me and strains me and makes me feel small and brittle too many busy mornings. we have scrambled, these six years, to establish some kind of a place here: to belong, to become embedded in the structure of the place. to see whether we could succeed.

it’s him who’s done it. six years in, and we are finally and for sure no longer staving off another junket as expat English teachers.

and i sigh with relief, and gratitude. because i needed to know it was possible: that even if the American dream is pretty much a sham, and no success ever means security, that sometimes, still, the good guys do okay.

even if my mother still thinks of him as ‘the bad boy.’

what does it mean to you to be ‘supported’?

last night i was at yoga with my mom.

(the above sentence entertains the ever-lovin’ crap out of me. part of me wants to wrap it up in shiny paper and turn it this way and that, like a spaceship that fell from the sky, because yoga with my mom sounds so pleasantly suburban and banal and normal and first-world problem-y, and i feel like i should follow it with charming antics about our trip to Starbucks after and our little shopping escapades and pedicures. which i can’t. my mother drinks tea. she sometimes buys us diapers. we have a storied history, my mama and i, but it has never involved exercise or girlfriend hobbies or shopping as therapy. and so we are rather imposters in this story. and yet, there we were, at yoga.)

we show up a little late because yoga starts at the awkward hour of 7pm and getting outta my house at 6:50pm is akin to extricating oneself from the grasp of a slightly hysterical octopus. we grab mats from the bin. my mother has not yet committed to purchasing one: after waiting 62 years to try an exercise class, she is not prepared to marry the first novelty that happens along. i just haven’t gotten to a store this crazy fall.

every week at yoga, my mother and i have set our mats down beside each other along the wall of the little pine-panelled room.  at first, she was nervous, careful and defensive and controlled, uncertain whether she was doing it right. i watched her out of the corner of my eye, whispered little encouragements or explanations. mostly i just watched. i listened to her breathe beside me, took in the shape of her back as we lay on our sides. i am like her, i thought. tiny wrists,  short waist, legs that prefer to be curled under.

it is a strange thing, to watch someone and marvel that body was where i began. it has never occurred to me before. we have never spent much time, my mother and i, just being, taking each other in. or if we did, i have forgotten. children betray their mothers’ care, oblivious.

but i catch sight of her hands beside me as we stretch. her winter hands, rough and cracking with the drop in temperature. for a moment, the 38 year old grunting through downward dog disappears. i am a child in bed, those hands on my hair.

forgotten is not the same as gone.

last night, though, when we walked in the room, there was no space for two mats beside each other. and so we ended up at opposite corners of the classroom.

and i missed her.

i was LESS CALM without her. that sentence is almost as funny as the first. when i was in labour with Oscar, and panicking, my poor mother hid behind Dave’s shoulder, hands raised to God, hyperventilating. i did not find this calming. i have found little about my mother calming in at least twenty-five years, in spite of her earnest efforts.

yet there it is. perhaps if we breathed more, talked less.

i know that my children will forget most of these days, this brutal frog-march into winter where i feel like i am failing everyone and everything around me. i feel powerless and inept and uncertain. too many essays churned out, sourced and tidied, sentences cropped into submission. now the words stutter from me, hesitant, timid.

in class later today, i will stand up and talk about blogging, and identity, and how digital technologies have made it possible for whole worlds of conversation about mothering and motherhood and being mothered to exist and to be shared.

i thought it would be the easiest thing in the world to research. what do i know better than blogging and mothering? what am i doing here if not trying to write myself into some kind of coherent existence?

today in class i will them that i started to write two weeks before Oscar was born. almost a year after Finn died. i will tell them i was afraid to speak the open wound of my once and future motherhood, and so i wrote it down, that in-between place of uncertainty and hope and fear that was all that i knew.

i kept writing because that place of uncertainty and hope and fear has never gone away, only changed.

i keep writing because i have no other place to tell my mother that i missed her last night.

but i am afraid.

my life as a student this fall has been a drop down a rabbit hole of half-remembered existence. blogging has spoiled me. i have built a place here where i have grown steadily less afraid to speak. i have unlearned a lifetime of being careful and defensive and controlled, uncertain whether i was doing it right…whatever “it” was. i have grown accustomed to being in a shared conversation.

what i say and write as a student, on the other hand, is graded, judged.

and to stand up and talk about writing my motherhood to a room of mostly childless people, while i swallow the guilt of yet again missing supper with my kids, is to get naked. to expose myself. to judgement that does not come from being inside the conversation of the messiness of motherhood and identity.

i hope they understand. i hope they judge with the same generosity i’ve found out here.

i hope these stories matter, these stories of writing ourselves into some kind of coherence. i hope i can find that coherence again, by opening this life to that other one.

do you open the Pandora’s Box of your online life with people who know you in the flesh?

« Previous PageNext Page »