Thursday, October 27, 2016

If I were a turtle...

I'd have a sprawling gait. My bones would be thick. My vital organs would be completely enclosed.


I would never feel the pressure, nor the desire, to come out of my shell.


.....................................

Monday, October 24, 2016

Dance

A new session of Beginning Ballet started tonight, and there were 13 dancers in a studio that really fits about eight, maybe nine. When I started dancing again, two years ago (I thought it was one year, but my teacher thinks it's two and I don't argue with him) there were four of us. Fifty-percent of the class was named Sarah then, and I remember the rond de jambe combination made me want to cry. Now it's one of my favorite things and I look forward to it.


Ballet is a reset button. I spent all day with a tension hangover from last week paired with premenstrual exhaustion. I skipped a mid-day nap in favor of a three-protein-bar lunch and a few minutes to work on Ivy's Halloween costume. I went into class tonight  kind of sluggish and grumpy from not enough sleep and no vegetables, but all that disappeared as soon as I started focusing on my tendu.


Something about dance just clears all the bullshit away. It might just be that it's wonderful to be in my body when I'm doing something, and dancing is my favorite something.

.....................................

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Library Meditation

The Library might be my favorite place in the world. Not any specific library, but all libraries, everywhere. The general concept of The Library.


But I also love my library in particular, which is how I think of the branch in my city. Its name, my address...like we're related.


That's where I am tonight, trying to write something and prove to myself that writing is like riding a bike, except this is one bike I might actually have forgotten how to ride. I even went searching for a list of "third grade writing prompts" which is exactly what I'd do if my child told me he thought maybe he wanted to write but didn't know what to write about. It was some of what you'd expect ("If I were the President..." and "My Family" and "A Favorite Vacation") with a few oddities thrown in ("If I were a turtle...").


I suppose I could write about myself as a turtle. I'd be on the beach right now, instead of in the library, probably. Maybe. I don't even know what kind of turtle I am. I'd better figure that out, I guess.


It's hard to be a turtle when I keep getting distracted by the sounds and smells of the enormous printer next to me. I parked myself at a print station on purpose because the computers there have a 30 minute limit instead of 60 minutes. I think there are 120-minute computers around here somewhere, which is my sad little stay-at-home-mother dream vacation right now: 120 minutes, on a library computer, surrounded by other people typing and working and studying. And the occasional squalling baby.


Poor squalling baby. And poor squalling baby's adults. My turtle-heart goes out to you, squalling-baby-family. I hope you all sleep deep, beautiful sleep after you leave the library tonight.


.....................................

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Beheld

There is so much right and good and wow in my life right now.


I've finally hit some sort stride with parenting, where I'm actually getting things right occasionally! I have more patience, and even when my patience isn't there, I can act as if and still feel like I'm giving my children what they need. My relationship with my partner has never been stronger. (Our current struggle is that we really like hanging out, just the two of us, and we don't get to do that often enough.) My health is improving by the month.


But.


There's always a but.


My body image sucks. It's awful. It sucks so hard.


Despite doing right by my body (and acting as if on the days I have the brilliant idea to maybe, just, like, not eat breakfast), I'm still mourning the re-gain of "the last ten pounds." And I keep asking myself why.


Why?


I believed for so long that those last ten pounds were the key to finally being attractive...to other people.


The thing is, other people find me attractive now. We can discuss later whether or not being attractive to others should be the destination. The fact is that I'm there already! I have arrived! My friends, my partner, the women in my ballet classes have all told me that I look great! Recently, one of the most gorgeous, intelligent women I know called me beautiful. My heart soared for thirty seconds. Beautiful. And then I was back in the old thought-rut.


No. Not good enough.


Why?


All the people who actually matter to me think I'm beautiful. (They also love me for dozens of other reasons, that I often remind myself are the reasons that actually matter.) So who is left to impress? Only the assholes who think women have to look one Certain Way to be attractive. Why do I want to be attractive to assholes?


Do I want to attract the assholes?


God, no. No. Please, no. Keep the assholes far, far away from me and my friends and my children.


But that raises the question: if I can't see what the people who love me see, am I one of the assholes?


I'm afraid I might be.




.....................................

Monday, October 10, 2016

Weaned

Ivy nursed for the last time on the evening of her fourth birthday. Which means she nursed exactly two full years longer than I expected her to.


Weaning was not really her idea, but I could see that she was easing into being done. I noticed her going to bed without asking to nurse more and more often, and as we inched toward her fourth birthday, I thought that might be a natural cut-off point. In the week leading up to her birthday, I don't think she asked at all, and I thought she might've actually weaned on her own. But when she cried "I wanna nurse wiff Mama!" on the evening of her birthday (after a day filled with cake, party, and lots of presents) I went in and nursed her. And I knew it was the last time.


I was done. I'd been done for two years. Breastfeeding was easier with Ivy, and I even had little moments of loving it, but it was never my favorite thing. And now, of course, I kind of miss it.


Ivy still talks about nursing, usually in the context of "when I was a baby and I was so cute!" conversations. She has asked a few times since August, and I've explained that while we don't do that any more, I will still hold her, and hug her, and kiss her.


A few days ago, snuggled into my lap, she said something about wanting to nurse. I hugged her close, told her I loved her, and that she could always have hugs and kisses: "Hugs and kisses are so nice."


She sighed a little. "Yeah," she said. "But not as nice as nursing."


.....................................