I am sitting by myself at a table in the Public House, drinking champagne. It’s 8:30pm and two members of a long and established line of Public House fruit flies is hovering around my glass. One is skinny; the other, fat.

I’m trying to take the advice of the writers I know, and write for godssake. I haven’t experienced writer’s block like the block that comes after not writing for two years and realizing at the end of it that I’m completely at a loss. I have never in my life been at a loss when it comes to writing. And when I say things like that, I sound like such a whiny kid. Which I am. Life is horrible. Wonderful, yes; and horrible. We pretend to accept this paradox, we pretend to understand its shape and movement, but then the tornado or asshole comes through our life and we whine. Like Job. Unable to imagine (though we hope, still) future happiness. Maybe I should speak for myself: I pretended to accept this paradox, and then a tornado came through my life. I’m sucking at recalibration.

And I can’t write about postpartum depression or rough marital issues without a thought balloon hovering over my head with “This is common. This is boring to other people.” in it.

Something in me would rather write about the line of faces at the bar—thirtysomethings with limp hair and thick-rimmed glasses, one is drawing sketches in a tiny moleskine notebook, looking pleased. This is what I’m missing. I’m jealous of this guy.
I miss pleasure in my work. A sense that I’m creating something good. That particular sense is why I kept a somewhat still center in my late teens and early adulthood, I think. I made things that seemed to benefit both me and others.

Hanging out with a toddler—while infinitely more rewarding (at least to PPD/PPA moms like I was) than hanging out with an infant—lacks a certain je ne sais pas. Maybe I have fun, maybe I enjoy significant parts of it, maybe I can theoretically grasp that I’m doing a form of creative work by being deeply involved in a child’s formative years. But mostly I hate that I’m not doing a good job, being too internally chaotic, too angry and too lazy and too unhappy and too impatient. And I’m having to come to grips with the fact that I thought I would be a writer, headed to obscure but rewarding success in the world of literature and litmags, boozy release parties, elevated conversation, learned circles, wildly artistic and not necessarily dissipated habits. My habits are basically the worst and most boring they’ve ever been. Though it does feel like things are changing.

Again, I sound like such a whiny kid—but maybe this is what life is: continually running into detours and rerouting and roadblocks and deciding, each time, whether to pull over or keep going. And I think the odd things is, while I’ve met detours and roadblocks before, I’ve never considered just pulling over and parking it, before. The possibility that I could actually give up on this thing that I thought my life was for (not to put too fine a point on it) gives me pause. It’s horrifying. And it turns me to stone. And I continue to not write. And my life continues to become what it is becoming.

Maybe early motherhood is rocky for everyone. Maybe motherhood, for women through the millenia, is, itself, a kind of eternal reckoning of the soul: What do I do, now? In societies that valued motherhood above all for women, it was probably less fraught, I’m guessing. On the other hand, maybe it’s a personality thing: I wanted to do a job that doesn’t jive with [early] motherhood, and which has a form of expiration date on it. The longer I’m out of the market, the worse my resume looks, and the less confidence I have about jumping back in.

That’s it for today.

 

 

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