I have spent years and years going over the same events in my head. Wasted years when I could have been focused on something else, like my future or my family (and I mean my family: my husband and children) or my career and education. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up and I still can’t quite identify myself the way other people do – good mother, pretty good former technical writer, pretty good fiber artist/spinner/knitter – because most days I still feel broken and I worry that I’m not responding to things the right way, that my whole life is an act and that someone will eventually figure this out and call me out on it.
The last few years I gave up trying to fit in with the other parents in my suburban DC neighborhood. When we moved into our house, I recommitted myself to my family and my marriage after a few difficult years. I wanted to make things work and part of that, I felt, was fitting in to what I thought my husband wanted (I was on the mark with some of it, off on most of it) and what I was supposed to be. Playgroups, cookie exchanges, PTA events, volunteering at school – I even briefly reconsidered church and God. None of it has worked – I simply don’t jive with many of these families and instead of pretending, I’ve finally admitted (once again) that I’m weird and that’s okay.
When my father got sick and died in the spring of 2008, my brother and I ditched our families for a week to support him through diagnosis (pancreatic cancer) and getting his affairs in order. A month later, my family took our planned, week-long FL vacation. I didn’t go home with them and stayed with my Dad and stepmother until he died (probably of a heart attack) 3 weeks later. My brother also came down for most of those final 3 weeks. Dad was lucid and funny and (mostly) his old self, a man that I hadn’t spent a lot of time with in the previous 20 years. My stepmother was acting like a sane person, handling the situation surprisingly reasonably for her, even including some early morning shouting matches. There was time to explain, time to forgive, time to resolve everything, and let it go. And I swear, I let it all go. But things have a way of rearing back up – life goes on and reminds you – and I am back to square one on a lot of this stuff.
So I’m blogging all of this instead of writing in my journals in the hopes that it will help me set these things aside again, hopefully for the last time, but also so that they might help someone else. The issues I have, the stories I’m going to tell, don’t just involve me. They are stories about my parents, their parents, aunt and uncles – my extended family. And I understand why all of these things happened, I understand how people can do the things they did – I really do – but I still cannot forgive that like everyone else, they had a choice and they made one that hurt someone else. Maybe whatever spills out of me will help someone make a better choice or at least think all the options & their effects through.
One last thing – this is not going to be a journal and it is not going to be serious fucking bizness all the time, at least I hope not. I wanted to call this blog My Golden Notebook after Doris Lessing’s novel The Golden Notebook (“…the story of writer Anna Wulf, the four notebooks in which she keeps the record of her life, and her attempt to tie them all together in a fifth, gold-colored notebook,” according to Wikipedia) but it was already taken. Little Golden Notebook also reminds me of the Little Golden Books that I read as a child and now read to my children (The Tawny Scrawny Lion is my favorite).