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self-indulgence

October 19, 2012

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while, but now it has to be sort of different than it would have been earlier. First, because today marks two years since Mara (sort of) entered our lives and so I’m thinking back about those years. The one-year anniversary was horrible and I won’t link to anything going on then, the strain to our relationship over how Lee couldn’t handle having Val and Alex in our home. Now the smaller strains in our relationship is because of me, because I’m so grateful for all Lee has been doing but then there’s this bitter misery that surges out of me sometimes and I’m sad/scared/regretful/lonely. It’s not like any depression I’ve ever felt, but I know I’m not being fair to her by crying at bedtime or lashing out angrily out of nowhere, so I’ll be talking to our counselor about what I need to do.

That was the part I hadn’t really expected to have to write, but I’m not doing as well as I want to be. I’m doing fine as a mom, but I’m worn out and worn thin by stress on our lives and by how isolated being a parent (at least the way I’ve done it) has made me not from people but from ideas and time and quiet. I need to recharge somehow. Lee is a wonderful partner in so many ways, but nurturing my overthinking and introversion isn’t easy or comfortable for her. Working on the idea that maybe what I need is more of other people who aren’t Lee, I’ve been making myself go out alone to some event once a week or so. It was great to see my friends at the knitting group and I had a lovely time at garden club, but it’s not the same as having intense and meaningful conversation or whatever it is that I want and am not getting. Sleep, too, is something I’m not getting enough of, but that was so bad when Alex would wake me up all through the night that a few hours of Mara kicking me or being sniffly and miserable doesn’t seem like anything to complain about in comparison even if in reality it’s a problem.

What I wanted to say about all of this before the mopey part is how grateful I am for the friendships I’ve made with all these people who know me through words on a screen. One friend pushed me to start a little self-indulgence fund for myself, and I think of his catchphrase when I make little purchases of lotion, a new pen, some gin. Another friend thought of me (and the rest of our friend group that’s still somehow holding together years after leaving the messageboard where we met) while overseas and sent me some beautiful waistbeads. I’d already been wearing one set (well, two sets but I’d almost immediately broken one of them by accident) that were a little too bulky for my taste and clear, but I like waistbeads for the way they remember to be in my body. She sent tiny seed beads, the blue of my eyes and then one that’s a yellow and grayish blue that’s actually my high school’s colors. I put them on the day I brought Lee to my high school reunion, again trying to put myself into a new situation with people who are both familiar and unfamiliar. Since then, the dark blue has split on its own while I was lying in bed, maybe because I’d tied it more tightly than turned out to be comfortable (and yes, I’m aware that this is the thing that symbolizes me and also being aware of and situated in my body and yet I haven’t fixed my alienation from it, right) and it’s sitting on my bedside table waiting for me to find a needle that will let me put the missing beads back on the string and retie it around my waist.

And I bought a bedside table at an antique mall where the girls were amazingly well-behaved. Now Lee is happy because she wants my side of the room to be tidier and it really is nice to have something that’s mine where I keep my pens and my books and the journal where I’m doing some writing about all the things that can’t go here. I am still reading but not writing in any context as much as would probably be good for me. Maybe I’ll do more here, but I spend more time wondering about what’s appropriate to discuss, what’s worth saying.

In case anyone was wondering, the post2 title is from Lisa Germano’s “Happiness” when I say it in my head, because that feels more accurate than the “self-care” that’s the usual phrase. It can mean the same thing, a quiet lunch with a book, a hot bath, but I’m deliberately giving myself little luxuries and enjoying them and do want to be honest with myself about because I’m not ashamed of it.

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8 comments

  1. It’s great to see an update from you. I’m sorry things are hard, or at least not where you want them to be.

    Hang in there.


    • Things are also very good in a lot of ways. The girls are amazing. I love Lee so much. I should have put this in the post, but I’ve joined an international sewing bee and I’m getting so much joy out of doing that. But right now I’m sort of drained, too.


  2. Are you getting any real alone time? Time by yourself, when you aren’t likely to be interrupted, when you can actually sink into it? It may be you need some not-Lee people but it might be that you need some more-inside-Thorn’s-head.

    Also, sleeplessness / interrupted sleep sucks even if other people have it worse. When the elderly dog wakes me up in the middle of the night, I am not comforted by the fact that my sister probably has a hot toddler glued to her side.


    • Oh, it’s definitely that I need more time to myself. The trouble is getting Lee to take the kids and leave the house. She’s much more comfortable with me leaving and her staying home with them, which she does well. But yes, that’s absolutely going to be key to making things work. I need to get my attic room finished so I can retreat up there sometimes.


    • Oh yes! I find having a space that’s just mine, one with a door, is huge.


  3. Some of my closest friends, that I can share anything with, are those I know through music or crafting – but it takes a really long time to get to that stage.


  4. It’s so complicated, tending to ourselves, our partners, our relationships, our children…..I’m glad you’re working on the taking care of yourself part, and thinking through what you need that isn’t something you can get from Lee. Good for you.

    (plus, thanks for introducing me to waistbeads…I hadn’t seen those before.)


  5. I am also glad to see words from you. I hope you find the combination of things you need to grow through and surrvive this period. Your writing really helps me look toward what I imagine some of my future may look like. A lot of what you write mirrors my life. I am so glad I found your blog and due to your post am surprised I’ve been reading for over two years. Hang in there and feel free to email me at rivers.mj@gmail.com. We chatted briefly when I first came to your blog. I would love to be an ear and love deep conversation.



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