There was a beginning to all of this. It was one year ago, and a world away. It was 10 feet from where I am typing now.
Being the over-thinking, sentimental–overly dramatic–person that I am, milestones such as anniversaries uniquely satisfy my craving to examine, regret, and wonder at the bizarre details of life.
This year, unlike most years, I did not have one or more babies; we did not move; no one changed jobs; and we didn’t deal with a major renovation, moldy wall situation, mice and/or bedbugs. (It would seem I have enough reason to celebrate right here.)
One year ago, I came back to writing and back to myself. It was one year after we moved back to Manhattan. I was angry and frustrated. We had moved into a beautiful apartment and discovered bed bugs. My life was physically upside down–washed, dried and in sealed garbage bags; it mirrored my emotional confusion. Much of life was exactly what I had dreamed (bugs excepted)–I was back in my city, my family was thriving. Our friends and community were growing. And I was still chasing something that had long ago belonged to me. Once, I had been a writer; I had owned the frustration of demanding inspiration that won’t come, and the perfect joy of having given it all to the page. I was chasing something that hadn’t actually escaped.
Over the years, on the way back to writing, I have tried different ventures: tee shirt designer; commercial actor; dog groomer (this one never blossomed passed my initial research); nutritionist; online college instructor.
Although those were not careers I was meant for, I understand where my anxious searching takes root. I was, and am, always looking for a way in. I need to connect with people. Sometimes for comfort. Sometimes for validation. Often for laughter. Always to revive in me the knowledge that we are in this world together for reasons, for this moment in time.
Once, the work and craft and mystery and narrative of poetry connected me to the world and to my spirit. I have said I am a writer for as long as I can remember–in college, in graduate school, throughout my career, and then after my children were born when I was no longer working or writing. There was a long space in which I did not feel like a writer–telling stories–my story–with an audience and the hope of immortality in mind.
So one year ago, I sat in my living room, my children nowhere near sleep, surrounded by garbage bags holding our possessions, without any end to the bug trauma in sight, and I felt hopeless and without options. And I decided to go “live” with the blog I had been drafting for months. And this blog has given me, to an oddly large degree, power and hope. It has given me a world I never suspected–other moms, dads, writers and activists. My friends from blogging are truly friends. I think often of the women I wrote to and met and leaned on for advice. A few offered enormous kindness by just answering my emails. Several gave me opportunities to write for their websites. They continue to prove to me how relevant our small efforts are to both friends and strangers.
This is just a blog. Living proof of my family’s life in the city–our three small children growing up with playdates and preschool and green markets; a marriage always tested and glued back together by humor, humility and desperation; a journey through the imperfection of motherhood; and an honest attempt to find those brightest stars in the dark skies.
And in that, are the life and the anniversary I savor.