Monday, September 15, 2014

The time that is (not) my own

It feels like supreme irony that the second prompt in the August Moon series is about time. It's "only" been a week since my last post. But, as I keep on saying, it feels like an eternity.

My time does not feel like my own.

I started this post around midday when I had a sleeping bambino and a quiet house and a swag of chores that could be put on hold (i.e. nothing urgent). For the first time in a week, I had the time I'd been yearning for to write.

And then...

I answered emails. Scoffed junk food. Bought yet another set of oracle cards. Printed out recipes. Phoned my husband. SMSed friends and family regarding school holiday plans.

In short: anything but writing.

Sure, there's something to be said for easing in. I often putter a bit and get my "house in order" before I get down to the task. But as I sat and phfaffed and watched my precious alone time dwindle, I had to wonder if I was avoiding something.

So many kindred spirits tackling this task shared their hesitation: surely others would find the minutiae of their lives boring? The truth was, their descriptions were anything but.

I shared this worry, for sure. But there was something else. I was afraid I would come across as negative, pathetic and ungrateful.

So many of my waking hours are filled with repetitive tasks that can feel ungratifying.

Getting up with a wide awake bambino at 5am. Breakfast duty. Trying to maintain an orderly kitchen.  Breastfeeding. School drop-off and pick-up. Tidying up toys and artwork and books and still seeing piles of stuff everywhere. Lunchbox packing and unpacking. A lot of nagging in the name of getting places on time. Grocery shopping. Attempting (usually unsuccessfully) to keep on top of emails. Attempting to build some kind of routine with respect feeding bambino solids. Loads and loads of laundry. Finagling a little girl in and out of clothes. Numerous attempts to settled a bambino who's inexplicably reluctant to sleep.

And then, stuffed in every nook and cranny of time between tasks is the worry.

My daughter's soupy cough. My bambino's teeth and/or tummy. My appalling diet. The increasing irregularity of my blog posts. My bodgy back. Watching my New Yorker subscription pile up. Missing out on what's happening on twitter. Irritability at not being able to read a single sentence of the weekend paper without interruption. Never getting enough sleep. Crashing out at the end of each day feeling like I have done as much as I can and how it never feels like enough.

But, at the same time, I know that this is not the full story.

I am grateful.

And I am lucky. And I know that none of this will last forever.

My bambino's mega-watt smile. Sitting outside in the sunshine, letting the heat soak into my eyelids and cheeks as I look up from my book. Making "spoon bugs" out of airdrying clay and cotton buds with my beautiful girl. Receiving powerful and poignant reminders that I am not alone, over the phone, in my in-box and via social media. Going for a quick drive to savour Melbourne's best gelato. Maintaining a new tradition of "screen free Sundays" and upholding my end of the bargain not to do any chores on Sundays so we can rest and play together.

Feeling drawn to nourish myself better, not the least reason being so I can nourish others. And then I see myself get overwhelmed by options, conflicting views, the comparison trap. My all-at-once, all-or-nothing mechanisms start to mobilise... and threatening to defeat me before I start.

I stop and ask myself: what is the one thing I can do today?

I make micromovements towards the life I want to lead. I email a friend for her recipe for almond milk. I get my yoga mat out of the wardrobe. I choose a new slow cooker recipe to try over the weekend. I pull an unused Gratitude journal off the shelf.

In the gratitude, the micromovements I make space for the only thing that is missing: self-compassion.

And somehow that feels anything but boring. Or scary.

This post is my response to Day Two of the August Moon reflective writing challenge. You are most welcome to share your own response to the prompt in the comments below. 

Otherwise, the next opportunity to connect is Reverb in December. Join us?

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