It wasn’t that long ago when my evening ritual consisted of chick by way of flick. My girl movies added a sense of comfort to my life. Clicking up a fem DVD let me zone out before sleep, muddling the Sunday thoughts as I slipped into a childhood calm. Now, I watch DVR’d TV programming and cannot sleep until I catch up. I’ll never catch up. And now there’s too much to cook, too much to design, too much to write, and too much to edit from my wardrobe and diet.
I feel a little lost, or torn, or in between. Like a middle in the mud. Or worse yet, like a Kelly Wearstler hairstyle*. I know it will pass with some sleep and some exercise and then more sleep, and I know it comes down to pushing myself. Reading this, as an outsider, I’d probably beg to differ and offer that what it really comes down to is not pushing so hard. I’d suggest that I let things play out, calm down, realize that there’s a rhythm to things, that there’s a tide. The truth is that when I awake, I don’t like to set a foot out of bed until I’ve set a goal for myself for the day. I need to set things out before me, to be driven, to feel as if my day brought me one step closer to something other than death.
I get bored and blue when my hand isn’t in enough. And when I’m involved in too much, I feel unsettled, overwhelmed, and like a hamburger with mayo, ketchup, and mustard (Dijon).
Work has been exciting, and I love what I’m working on. Brainstorming is by far my favorite part of the process. What I don’t love is that I haven’t been spending any quality time with friends lately, which isn’t what this post is even about. I’ve been traveling a lot due to meetings and book events, so I’ve had some great girl time (and dinners) with Leigha, Abigail, Colleen, and Sydnee but I haven’t had "home girl" time. I haven’t made phone calls or returned any emails. I haven’t made dinner plans (and I really want to). I feel like I’m going through something, something they should name in a textbook somewhere. Certainly people will be quick to cough up "selfish" or "clueless," eh, but I’m used to hearing that. The fact is, I want time for it all. I want to have sushi dinner with Lesli and Bonnie. I want to have Lacey over for martinis, so we can, as she suggested, comb through my closet to see what’s missing and what’s making it. To have Wendy and Wyc over for dinner with the kids again, and to get some more time with Marcy and Joe. I have to have Natalie over already! Maybe I just need to host more play dates that start at 5pm instead of 10am, that serve sake and sushi instead of soda and sanitizer.
At the moment, though, they’re all just wants. I don’t know when I’ll have the time for it all. How is it already October 22?! In only 8 days I’ll be in DENVER, CO for a book event, then the first weekend of November I’ll be at the TEXAS BOOK FESTIVAL. I’ll be at the JCC HERE IN AUSTIN on Nov. 6., then I’ll be in HOUSTON on Nov. 12, followed by SAN ANTONIO on Nov. 13. And in just one month, on Nov. 20 I’ll be in ATLANTA, GA for another book event. I decided not to go to the Miami Book Fair because there’s just too much else going on with TV, and I have no doubt my December will be hell. I turned down another book event in Ft. Lauderdale that conflicted with the kids’ birthday, and I wonder if I just say this to make myself feel like I’m doing a good parenting job. Like my canceling and choosing to celebrate the day they were born is supposed to prove something to someone. Clearly my making note of it means I’m insecure about it. But at the end of the day, who the fuck isn’t? Who doesn’t question her choices from time to time, to reassess, to make sure her values are where she wants them? Every week is different, and some of them leave me feeling weak.
Today I made a list of activities for the kids (I’ll post it tomorrow), to keep them stimulated. I realize, of course that what matters most to them is spending time with their parents. And if there’s one thing they get, since I do indeed work from home, it’s me. Even on days where they don’t get me for any significant stretch of time, they still get a few bedtime stories, I still sing to them, and I ask about their day. I’m still here, checking in with them, watching them eat their lunch as I write, clapping for them from the sidelines. It’s not an easy game, and as I read the words they sound like rationalizations. Like a string of apologetic words that form incoherent and unconvincing sentences. There will be days like this. Days where I feel guilt. Yet, I still feel incredibly proud of myself. It’s not easy making time for it all. For organized closets and new feety pajamas in the right sizes and organizing a playroom and thinking, still!, about a possible new cover for the paperback version of Moose. And now I have to come up with speeches that I’ll be giving at book events this and next month. It doesn’t end, and seriously, thank God for that.
I feel unsettled and can’t help but point to my Libran scales. I realize this makes me sound like one of those new age woo-woo freaks who might as well tape crystals to her body, but I can’t help it. My space feels disorganized and unfinished. I realize everything can’t be perfect or mine. I realize that children bring disorder. That marriage brings compromise. So I start to make lists and take baby steps toward creating my own spaces, even if it only means wooden hangers all facing the same way. An organized closet, a cleaned out makeup bag, undergarments lined up just so, no longer roped together in a jumbled drawer. I need a sense of order, a sense of everything having its place, and I need a place where I can close a door and find framed art work and scarves, design touches without any purpose other than my liking to look at them.
I need an interior decorator who can create spaces for a family with young children. Who can survey a space and know just the thing it needs and how much it will cost. The thing of it is, I live in a beautiful home. But it’s also a house that doesn’t lend itself to fabrics and wallpapers (which is what I really love). Wallpaper can certainly date a space, though. We all of us have to do the best we can with what we have, and for me, I think it means doing my writing in a hotel lobby. I wonder if the Driskill has internet access. If only it was also baby-proofed, we’d have a game plan.
*While I think she’s absurdly talented and genuinely admire her design aesthetic, there are certain designs that shouldn’t be pushed as far.