When I am unhappy, and strangers on the street tell me to smile—or well-meaning friends tell me to focus on all the good things that are happening—I want to throw things at them.
When you are unhappy, I tend to tell you… to focus on all the good things that are happening.
Hypocritical, I know.
I think the lesson of all this is when we are unhappy—we are best unhappy alone.
No, no, wait.
I know—you know—that’s not true. That’s what the demons want you to think. They want you to stay unhappy alone, isolated.
So when you are with me when I am unhappy, when I am with you when you are unhappy—let’s give each other’s pain and grief and sad the space it needs.
“I know you’re suffering, and I’m here for you.”
(one of Thich Nhat Hahn’s mantras of loving speech)
That’s all I need. That’s all you want.
Fuck, why is that so hard to give?
The teenagers, my caterpillars, are going through some ups and downs these days, and my biggest job is JUST TO BE THERE, and I don’t think I’ve worked this hard at parenting since they were mewling, helpless babes in arms, except back then, I could solve almost every ill through the insertion of nipple into mouth.
There are no solutions now. There is only—“I am here for you.”
Confession: being there for you is really exhausting.
I want a mocha, a cigar, chocolate, Hafez.
Sean brings me Leonard Cohen.
If the teenagers are caterpillars, Ender is still a pupa or larva. I’m mixing my insect metaphors a bit, and I can’t remember which comes first, the pupal or larval stage—and I’m pretty sure these don’t occur in the creatures that then metamorphose into butterflies. Anyway. He’s still my pupa, and most of his problems can be solved with a hug or a kiss. But while his existential angst is still in the future, what he wants most is… my presence.
Here I am.
Cigar. Turkish coffee. Cuba.
I’m daydreaming about Cuba.
Trying to figure out why it was so much easier to give them all my presence there.
And I’m still not sure. What is the expanse of silence? The relative lack of responsibility? The fact that I really did not put any pressure on myself to perform, to output, to create—to do anything other than be there, with them, and with the experience… and yet I created anyway?
Can I go back to that place again?
Flora: Your blog is really boring now.
Jane: You are sentient and read it now. You’ve affected what I can write about, what I can share.
Flora: Thank you.
Jane: Of course.
I am preparing a writing workshop. One of my points—my big lesson to writers—is—ready?
“You’re just not that interesting.”
Writing about self is excruciatingly boring to read.
I’m sorry. 😉
The kids won’t let me write about them.
And I feel too aware of the transience and fragility of all things to get on a soapbox and dispense advice.
Don’t worry. This year only has 11 or so more weeks. Next year, I’m only going to talk in pictures.
PS The pupa just turned nine. I be in shock.
The year started with a Monday; so does every week (Week 1: Transitions and Intentions)
Easier than you think, harder than I expected: a week in eleven stanzas (Week 2: Goodness and Selfishness)
A moody story (Week 3: Ebb and Flow)
Do it full out (Week 4: Passions and Outcomes)
The Buddha was a psychopath and other heresies (Week 5: No Cohesion)
A good week (Week 6: Execute, Regroup)
Killing it (Week 7: Exhaustion and Adrenaline)
Tired, petty, tired, unimportant (Week 8: Disappointment and Perseverance)
Professionals do it like this: [insert key scene here] (Week 9: Battle, Fatigue, Reward)
Reading Nabokov, crying, whining, regrouping (Week 10: Tears and Dreams)
Shake the Disease (Week 11: Sickness and Health… well, mostly sickness)
Cremation, not embalming, but I think I might live after all (Week 12: Angst and Gratitude)
Let’s pretend it all does have meaning (Week 13: Convalescence and Rebirth)
The cage is will, the lock is discipline (Week 14: Up and Down)
My negotiated self thinks you don’t exist–wanna make something of it? (Week 15: Priorities and Opportunity)
An introvert’s submission + radical prioritization in action, also pouting (Week 16: Ruthless and Weepy)
It’s about a radical, sustainable rhythm (Week 17: Sprinting and Napping)
It was a pickle juice waterfall but no bread was really harmed in the process (Week 18: Happy and Sad)
You probably shouldn’t call your teacher bad names, but sometimes, your mother must (Week 19: Excitement and Exhaustion)
Tell me I’m beautiful and feed me cherries (Week 20: Excitement and Exhaustion II)
A very short post about miracles, censorship, change: Week 21 (Transitions and Celebrations)
Time flies, and so does butter (Week 22: Remembering and forgetting)
I love you, I want you, I need you, I can’t find you (Week 23: Work and Rest)
You don’t understand—you can’t treat my father’s daughter this way (Week 24: Fathers and Daughters)
The summer was… SULTRY (Week 25: Gratitude and Collapse)
It’s like rest but not really (Week 26: Meandering and Reflection)
It’s the wrong question (Week 27: Success and Failure)
On not meditating but meditating anyway, and a cameo from John Keats (Week 28: Busy and Resting)
Hot, cold, self-indulgent as fuck (Week 29: Fire and Ice)
In which our heroine hides under a table (Week 30: Tears and Chocolate)
Deadlines and little lies make the world go round (Week 31: Honesty and Compassion)
That’s not the way the pope would put it, but… (Week 32: Purpose and Miracles)
And before you know it, it’s over (Week 33: Fast and Slow)
Ragazzo da Napoli zajechał Mirafiori (Week 34: Nostalgia and Belonging)
Depression is a narcissistic disease, fentanyl is dangerous, and knowledge is power, sort of (Week 35: Introspection and Awareness)
I’m not gonna tell you (Week 36: Smoke and Mirrors)
Slightly irritable and yet kinda happy (Week 37: Self-Improvement and Self-Indulgence)
It’s not procrastination, it’s process (Week 38: Back and Forth)
Pavlov’s experiments, 21st-century style (Week 39: Connectivity and Solitude)
The last thing I remember (Week 40: truth and um, not really)
All of life’s a (larval) stage (Week 41: Stagnation and Transformation)
—->>>POSTCARDS FROM CUBA
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You: “But how much should I give?”
Jane: “I get $1 each time a sell a traditionally published book, so my bar’s set really low, love. Want to buy me a cup of coffee? That’s $4.75 if you’ll spring for a mocha or latte. Bottle of wine? My palate’s unsophisticated: $19.95 will more than cover it.”
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“You’re just not that interesting” YES. People who understand that are the only ones who interest me ha! The other thing that only a few seem to get is, “The secret to being a bore is to tell everything.” (Voltaire)
Pingback: Damn you, Robert Frost (Week 42: Angst and more Angst) | Nothing By The Book
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Pingback: Again with the silver-tongued Persians, and other stories (Week 45: Silence and language) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: War, Famine, Pestilence, Mornings (Week 46: Mornings and the Apocalypse) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Time flies but the Christmas tree is up (Week 47: Status quo and Change) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: I didn’t kill anyone–it just smells like it (Week 48: Guilt & Poison) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: You have a bad memory, while I want to rest on a flower (Week 49: Mothers and Caterpillars) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: Atheism, Spirituality, Boundaries, Slytherins (Week 50: This and That) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: When everyone’s a special snowflake… (Week 51: Normal and Narcissistic) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: The year will end on a Monday (Week 52: Guilt and Gratitude) | Nothing By The Book
Pingback: 52 Weeks Project (2018 Blog Post Index) | Nothing By The Book