When I was in my 20s and feeling lost (as opposed to when I was in my 30s and feeling lost, or, earlier, when I was in my teens and feeling lost), I had the good fortune of taking a yoga class at Tranquil Space in Washington, DC, where, in the changing room, I saw a flyer for a book group that would save my life.
If it's been a while since you really felt like yourself, I highly recommend trying out these two habits for a while and seeing how you feel.
Musings on an artistic rut - or, getting old.
Don't look now, but I think I'm leaning in.
Yesterday morning, my social media channels were full of people lamenting the end of a four-day weekend. Not me. I spent those four days taking care of my one-year-old in some very, very hot weather. It was not delightful.
Don’t get me wrong – I love her very much, and I usually enjoy my time with her tremendously. But right now, I need a vacation, and taking care of a baby – even a wonderful baby whom you love very much – is not, in any shape or form, like taking a vacation. (For example: on a vacation, one typically relaxes. When taking care of a baby, one typically attends constantly to the baby’s needs. See the difference?)
With a picture of a hipster in an apron with a kid peering out from behind her back, the latest cover of New York Magazine declares the latest archetype in the media dialogue about having it all: The Feminist Housewife (the actual article is called "The Retro Wife"). "Lost in the argument about 'leaning in,'" the cover tells us, "is the new breed of modern women who are purposefully leaning out.'"
But what if they're leaning out not because of the pull of motherhood (or not only because of this), but because, to put a fine point on it, work sucks?
Life's too short for stern.
Sometimes, you just need someone else to tell you something. Isn't that why we need art, in a way? To tell us -- with language or color or movement, shape, or sound -- something we know, deep inside, to be true?
From the beginning of this escapade -- the "escapade" being me getting pregnant and having Alison! -- I have been obsessed with finding balance. With not letting parenthood dominate my identity. With making sure I still have room in my life for making art. And what's happening is that I'm realizing, who I am is not a choice. It really isn't. My need to make art is so strong, I could never ignore it -- or I could ignore it at my peril (translation: I get pissy and depressive). Similarly, when I don't get quality time with Jordan, I get -- well, pissy and depressive. One good date night with him and I light up like a million Christmas trees. And now my need to be with Ali is just as strong. I had nothing to do with that. I just fell in love.
The early weeks were so much easier than this in-between, this straddling the old and the new, the familiar and the alien, as I inch towards re-inhabiting my life beyond Having a Baby.