Over the past few months, I have said to myself many, many times: I want to write a blog post about x or y or z, but I can't. I have been stopping myself. Of course, I can always write about food or running or swimming or the races I'm thinking about signing up for in the upcoming year, but that isn't really what I've been thinking about.
I want to write everything I have felt over the past year, but it is raw and confusing and sometimes contradictory. Most importantly though, it is a story that is not mine alone. I want to write about divorce and what it feels like to go through it, about visiting the courthouse to fill out forms, about using language like "plaintiff" and "defendant" and watching a huge part of your life turn into a pile of papers, stamped in red ink with loud clunking sounds that echo in the courthouse halls.
I want to write about how, when you are divorced, when you have your kids with you (physically, that is) only half of the time, that people assume things about you as a mother. And about how I probably assumed those same things about divorced people before. People talk about what is best for you, or what you should have done, or what you could have done differently. I want to write about divorce without sounding defensive.
I even hesitate to write about happiness, because I have this sense that people don't want to hear it yet. At once I feel happy and guilty about my happiness. I hear the critics in my head. I imagine it makes some people uncomfortable when I am feeling awesome, or confused when sadness bubbles up again. Maybe it's all in my head.
I want to tell you all about how I have moved forward in my life, and that I have found new love that is really freaking incredible, but I hesitate and (over)think about how it will be perceived.
It seems there is an acceptable time-line for emotional shifts, that there is somehow a right amount of time to grieve, and a right amount of time before you should rightfully recover from a loss. I still, when I talk about how deeply I miss my dad, sense that some people are thinking: "are you still talking about your dad after 9 years?" Is it true that people think this? Or that I may have had this thought about someone else? I hear from people (and from my own brain): Do you think it's a good idea to post about ____________ or too soon to write about _____________ or to show photos of you with _________________? I really don't know, actually. Have I ever overlaid my own personal time-line onto someone else's life? I hope not. Where is the line between moving on in a healthy way and being insensitive to others?
What I can or can't or should or shouldn't write about begs the question: Who am I writing this blog for, anyway? Great question. I am very aware, maybe too aware, of who is out there and that you all bring your own feelings to the screen when you read. A lot of you are supportive and kind and loving, but some of you are quietly suspicious of me, or not sure you think I deserve to be happy just yet. But am I writing this for anyone but myself? Well, if the answer is no, then I would just write in a diary and keep it in my dresser drawer.
I do know that as a writing teacher, I preach how important it is to remove the self-critic, to disregard the doubt, to be brave, to write from a place of honesty and integrity, and that often our very best writing will make us take a very deep breath before we share it, before we hit "publish."
I wish that I had thicker skin sometimes, and that I didn't feel everything so fully.
I definitely can't write about what happened in Connecticut on Friday. I can't because I'm a mom to elementary school-age kids, and because I'm a teacher. I can't write about it because if I think that hard about it, my heart will break or I will die.
I can't write about how I have dared to go all the way in my imagination to the moment when I stand at the door of my classroom and come face to face with a gun, and my students are behind me, under my care. I can't write about what it felt like to read in the newspaper the names of the kids who were killed. I can't think about how their names were written all over that classroom, above coat hooks and on cubbies and on little job charts and on paper cutouts in the shape of pumpkins and butterflies. I can't think about the little outfits their parents dressed them in that morning, or the way they turned and waved as they climbed up the tall steps of the bus that morning.
And I can't tell my kids about it, either.
|The kids had a half-day on Friday. They were hanging out safely in my office on Friday while there was utter chaos in Newtown, CT.|
I feel it all. I feel it all deeply and my heart is sometimes too tender.
I just wanted you to know that I'm still here. I'm not blogging as often right now, but it's not because I don't want to or don't have a whole lot to say. And, as friends remind me, "if anyone doesn't want to read what you write, they don't have to read the blog." I'm just going to keep drinking coffee and keep thinking and over-thinking.
I write on the blog because it's a part of me now. If you stuck with me, or if you continue to do so, I am honored and grateful. Bless you, thank you, and go hug your children.