Warning: Read on if you are in the mood for something more “downbeat” than upbeat.
To set the ambience for this post, let me share a picture with you. Remember the fresh herbs from the community garden I was so poetic about here? Well, take a look at them now.
I just discovered them again in the basement. I took the picture, wrote about them in my blog, and then forgot about the herbs until now–five weeks later.
Lesson #1: Not every picture you see in a blog shows the end of the story.
Moving on then… a dear friend of mine emailed me last week. She wrote about how she enjoys reading my blog and then she wrote this:
“It seems like you post a lot–even with your teaching job! I don’t know how you do it (and still cook, can, harvest rosehips, garden, etc., etc., etc. You’re unbelievable.)
I wasn’t going to include the last sentence here–the unbelievable part–but then I realized it illustrates my point exactly. Unbelievable.
Instead of responding personally to my friend, the only honourable thing to do is write my answer here.
For starters, I’m not sure why I keep up with the posting. There are always so many other things I should be doing, but I can’t seem to keep from scribbling the scenarios/thoughts down in my writing notebook I want to flesh out here, in this space. When I look at the time and see that an hour (yikes!!) has passed while I’ve been uploading photos and drafting a post, I often shudder. My practical side chides me for wasting time that was so full of promise and production while my creative side breathes deeply with relief. Releasing the churning, mixed up words inside of me and bringing them onto the screen, all dancing in line, is too rewarding to pass up. I like to compare this process of writing to vomiting or diarrhea; it is hard to endure while it is happening, but the feeling of relief and overall ease afterward is worth it.
Lesson #2: Writing about life does not save you time; it saves you the discomfort of keeping the words inside.
Let’s dissect the next part: “even with your teaching job.”
Picture a newly born foal, all wobbly and shaky. That is exactly how confident and capable I feel managing my family, community involvement, house, and work at the same time. Because I am so used to being at home full time, I feel the difference in our current situation sharply. I yell more, and touch the kids less. Fresh produce rots in the fridge, and I buy more packaged goods. I spend more time on my own appearance, and less on the girls’.
Me: Wow, your hair is so knotty Susanna! We need to give you a bath, we just have to! (More muttering to myself while I try to collect it into a ponytail.)
Susanna: No, I’ll just bath right before my birthday so I’ll be aaalll clean!
You might think this is humourous–her birthday is more than half a month away–but to me it is more terrifying than anything. I know the probability of this happening is greater than I wish to disclose.
Lesson #3: Nobody is doing it all.
Now the part about keeping up with cooking, gardening, cleaning… although she didn’t write “cleaning”, I think it belongs in the mix. The picture below is actually of a table, only you can’t see the table. It is covered with the odds and ends of our life; some important, like bank statements waiting to be filed, and others not so important, like the yarn that rolls through one winter to the next without ever becoming a scarf.
Lesson #4: Yes, it is the same as #3. Nobody is doing it all; certainly not I.
There are many more pictures that could be added to this post, and even more admissions to make. Instead of viewing more shots of dusty, hairball-filled corners or my languishing garden, you’ll just have to take my word for it. Perhaps the little I have shared is somewhat comforting for those of you whose lives are not so different from mine.
Thank you, dear friend, for letting me use your email as a writing prompt. And finally, thanks to the rest of you for reading my long-winded confession.
Go honestly into the week!