It has been six months since my last post. I have thought about coming here many times. But procrastination is a downward spiral. After a while, the guilt gets too overwhelming and it becomes easier and easier to lose yourself in the business of everyday life and let things fall further and further away from you. There is always some new reason not to face the fear.
Because it is a fear.
I started this blog as a form of therapy after Katrina. Drifting and disjointed, I needed a way to process the great enormity of having my entire life uprooted and plunked down in a place I had neither planned for nor wanted. Then I kept it fueled on the pains of infertility and life as an older mother, and finally it nursed me through marital crisis and into career ambivalence.
And life took over from there.
Life – messy and busy and beautiful started happening without asking my opinion and I was moving too fast to keep up with it and write it down. My thoughts on my own life became complicated and the same clear voice I heard in my head when I sat down to write with my baby son in my lap is now muddled and hard to pin down now that he’s a walking talking reading and full fledged boy.
This is no mystery to me. My life has also become muddled and hard to pin down. Like most of my life, I straddle two worlds, one foot in each, but never wholly in both. I am a professional with a busy career. One that takes me away from home frequently and requires me to work independently and manage a staff of people. But, truth be told, I am not the hard-driven executive type. I bank most of my earnings. I buy most of my business clothes at J C Penney. I don’t have a single pair of shoes worth over $100. I don’t vacation in Europe, or even the Bahamas. I refuse to take my work home if I can AT ALL help it, and I don’t spend every off moment of my time engaged in career enrichment activity. My cars are old, but paid off. I have a small house in a modest neighborhood – also almost paid off. I don’t have a maid and my carpet is in dire need of replacing.
But when I sit down with the mothers of my son’s peers, I am the odd out. I am not a classroom mom. I don’t volunteer at the school much, because I commute to work everyday and I am often on the road. I am not up-to-date on the neighborhood gossip. I spend my days immersed either in regulatory guidance or pharmaceutical toxicology and I have no opinions on any controversial child raising topic. Not one. I have no commercial television, so I have no common cultural references. I don’t follow any sports teams. My understanding of intelligent or even polite conversation is skewed to the point where I know I must come off as faintly autistic to a normal person in casual conversation.
I am younger than many of my business colleagues, but I am older than most of the other moms, and some days I feel it. I am lucky to get dinner on the table, homework done, and the dishes washed and clothes cleaned every night, let alone spend one second of time on anything approaching interior decoration. Some of the mothers see my son more at school than I do. My house is, generously put, lived in. Clean, but worn; happy but a wee bit disheveled.
I had a beautiful house once, I really did. Straight out of Better Homes. Then I had a kid. And a storm. And my priorities were completely and utterly upended.
So here I am. An over-educated underachieving intellectual. Living in a working class neighborhood and jetting to Washington to discuss public policy every few months. Neither here nor there, but stuck somewhere in the great in-between.
And trying desperately to find a new voice.
And desperately afraid that I won’t.