Monthly Archives: November 2014

Finding Myself

Writing is about memory. What is research but delving into the past that you or I lived through and recorded. Perhaps I spend too much time in the past but I cannot deny it since it is the journey that brought me to my present. However, I know it is time to take a break when the past becomes a burden and my lonely occupation makes me mute. Then it’s time to travel or be with my children, or friends, live in the present and enjoy the release from memory.

There is nothing quite like children to tie you to the here and now. That’s why, when my children were small, I have very little memory of myself and the events in my life. I remember some events but I don’t remember me. Women lose themselves in the dream world of pregnancy, the numbing sleep deprivation, the squalling of babies and the demands of husband. In the seventies, when divorce became rampant, bewildered husbands were tired of the phrase “I need to find myself.” All of a sudden the devoted wife and mother was on a quest to find herself – a quest that did not include the husband. And since men rarely lose themselves, their identities, to love, to children, to that delicious smell of a tiny baby, the wife’s reason for divorce is incomprehensible to them.

It was a brand new reason for divorce, rarely used before the seventies. The birth control pill liberated women from their bodies and their minds were free to roam into uncharted territory. Up until the seventies, the only reason for divorce was violence, alcoholism or abandonment. Women divorced in droves to find ourselves, to take back the lives we lost, to become aware of ourselves as poor but powerful, proud, working-like-slaves, single mothers. And then, in the nineties, women started ignoring the plan to first get married, have children, then divorce. Now the plan is to establish a career, become financially independent, and travel to a sperm bank for the children. Or women without financial opportunity just become pregnant and depend on the government for support, which is not a good idea since daycare has now become prohibitive. Throughout history, and in no matter what era, the price women pay for the joy of bearing children is unreasonable. Nothing ever really changes because men still run the world and are not able to bear children. Pity.

Moving The House

Every person on the planet goes through similar events in the circle of life. But if you don’t keep a journal you are missing out on some amazing experiences. I hereby testify that the memories in your brain are not the memories you wrote down ten, fifteen, even two years ago. Granted, some things are best forgotten and when I re-read a passage in my journal, I often have to wade through a ton of crap. But then I read a paragraph or two that makes me laugh at the folly of chasing this brilliant idea or that crazy dream. All those seeds I scattered and thought would bear fruit, but fell on barren ground and came to nought. We do not travel alone. We are altered, detoured by others, children, lovers, friends, colleagues, who cross your path, travel with you, help or hinder.

The passage below was lifted from my journal two months after my mother died. I had just moved into my new apartment after living with her for a year and a half. There’s nothing like moving to shake you up. I have wasted a lot of time putting things in boxes and taking them out again. But everyone needs a house for your house, a roof over your head, a floor under your feet. For two to three months you are in chaotic limbo until your life is sorted, the boxes are gone and everything is in its proper place. You can carry on once again as though you were normal.

May 16, 2000

Day begins exceedingly foggy. I’m having a lonely wobble today. I had a feeling that once the move was over I’d feel worse, and I do. Surrounded by old books I’ll never read again and old photos of dead or soon to be dead people. They’re not very good company.

I’m enjoying the gift of not having to leave the house for one thing today. We are such slaves to the body. The time it takes to buy groceries, prepare the food, and then feed the body. The exercising, washing, manicuring, applying lotions and potions; the aches and pains that must be attended to; the clothing and housing it needs. The body is a selfish house. It’s too damned sensitive to stress. The food we love best makes it ill. The body is so limited compared to the incredible leaps our minds can make. And the very worst is when our minds finally become attuned to this strange instrument, it starts falling apart! This body, on good days, feels pretty good. But the spine is badly designed. The female organs are prone to misery. If only something could be done about the horrible differences between men and women. If only the emotions weren’t in such conflict with autonomy. Enough if only’s! Stop moaning and take your house for a walk.