1. I went to a tennis clinic at Knoxville Racquet Club with sister-in-law Casey last week, and it was great. Put the baby in the club’s daycare and worked really hard for an hour, then sat down for the last half hour and caught my breath. Had run out of the house that morning without eating or drinking anything, so was starting to feel sick, too. But it was so great to feel free and active again, and to get off a couple of good shots—even if they were accidentally good. Part of my new life as a mother is gonna include planned physical activity, and I’m way more excited about learning tennis than trying to run/jog. I really want/need to start yoga again, too, but I don’t know how to do that with a baby who doesn’t nap reliably. I’ll let that balloon blow around on the ceiling for a while, catch it later…

2. Baby went down for the night earlier than ever, tonight. Which is why I’m blogging. For such a long time she went down so late, like anywhere from 10:30pm-1am. How would life feel if she were to start going down at 8:30 every day? I’m not getting my hopes up.

3. An old friend got married this weekend, one I had a falling-out with many years ago, but with whom I had, at one time, a lovely, rich, formative friendship, one I remember now with equal parts pain and gratitude. It’s very complicated, and I’ve spent most of the past few years not thinking or talking much about it. I think she was the first close friend I ever had. I wasn’t invited to the wedding, but I saw photos, and the feelings were thick and a little choking, and then they were easier, and sweet. I’m not who I was, no-one is who they were, and I’m trying to grow up out of my past. It’s hard. The past is never really past (Faulkner).

4. Marriage, when it’s not a pissing contest, is very sweet. Having a baby, feeling the resultant changes in our bodies from lack of sleep, lack of solitude, from hormone spikes/surges/troughs (me), and inner ear damage (him)—we feel sometimes like we’re crawling across no man’s land, dulls thuds of unexploded shells and bodies falling all around us. And then, like they always do, the clouds will move on over our country of marriage, bathing us in sun. Some nights, like tonight, we lie in bed after our baby has settled in her bed, thinking of her tiny breathing body lying in the dark near us, her body growing and her mind somewhere else in dreams, and feel befuddled—in a mystical way. Now that our days aren’t solely devoted to keeping her alive, we’re starting to be delighted by her personhood, her humanness. And we’re looking at each other again.

5. I haven’t listened to music or read poems in six months. With a few exceptions, that’s true. If you know me, you’ll probably be shocked. Maybe if you’ve had a baby, you won’t be. I’ve been semi-unstable for these past six months, and haven’t felt up to any extra emotional blows, which good music and good poetry nearly always deal. Yeah lots of good art is also essentially healing, but to be healed you have to be open, and I’ve been under construction since my girl was born. I’ll know more about that later, when I’ve come back around the mountain, but at least I can tell, now, that I’m moving forward from week to week, and feeling less and less anxiety and frustration and preoccupation. Space is opening back up in my mind, bit by bit. I read a book last week, what, and I’m listening to Mark Kozelek’s Little Drummer Boy album right now on the bed with Marshall, which I would never do on my own—this music rearranges my soul, and I really haven’t been brave enough for soul-rearranging at home alone with the baby. Yet. Moving forward, moving forward.

6. I was feeling lonely and pathetic yesterday, so while I was nursing the baby down for her “nap,” I tried to take a flattering selfie. I don’t know how people do it. I looked so weird in every single one, and I probably took in excess of a llottt. I felt really bad about that, after deleting all attempts, and came into the bedroom where Marshall was and threw myself down pitifully on the bed. Failing to take a flattering selfie after failing to feel valuable is just a dope slap. Salt in a wound. Lemon juice on a paper cut. Insult to injury. I know all the millenials will get me. Though all the millenials know how to take a good selfie, so maybe they won’t get me. I’m just between a rock and hard place, here.

7. And then I sighed the sigh of the suffering desert wastes, and tried to not need to look good to value myself. I am an adult after all.

8. And now I will take care of my one and only hardworking beautiful body by doing some stretches and breathing some conscious breaths. Holding twists, holding stretches, and lengthening my spine while I fill my body with stillness—I need it. Postpartum has invested seated twists with new meaning, for me: I can wring the anxiety and regret and disappointment from my entire body, twisting myself up like a wet dishtowel. I let the body instruct me, I learn from it how to be. Somehow the holy spirit is working here, I’m not sure exactly how.

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