It's therapeutic. At times it is poetic, and others it is just plain psychobabble. But it's there for me whenever I need to use it which has always been a comfort, and since I've been home with the munchkins I've found moments of solace when I'm able to retrace through steps of time transforming into a person of another moment as I reflect on my journals, all eleven of them to date.
I picked up my tenth journal a week ago and thumbed through pages documenting my pregnancy with Mason and shortly after he was born. It was a pile of endearing transcrptions about the newfound love I had for my first child. Suddenly when he was about four months old the newness and wonderment tapered off.
Maybe it was post-holiday blues. Maybe it was the encroaching Spring track season when I knew Jason would be gone for 60+ hours a week. Maybe it was both.
Maybe I was also beginning to struggle with a new identity. Women don't talk about how hard that is- to go from professional extraordinaire to diaper changing guru. It is a change. To go from water cooler talk to goo-goo-ga-ga one sided conversation is equally different.
Sometime in February 2007 I honed in on an urge to reconnect with old friends. So me and Google became good partners and I managed to track down a few. I was home with a baby who I loved so unconditionally, yet I felt so alone in every sense. I yearned for connections, and starved for good conversation that so lacked in my daily life.
"Yet more than finding these connections [with old friends], I desperately yearn more than anything to find myself," I wrote.
Those words made me ache inside because although I know it's something I still struggle with, I'm doing much better. But that initial shock of... loss, I suppose, was a feat to overcome. I have since acknowledged this identity issue in the same regard as an ongoing acne problem. It's there. It's not very attractive, but it comes and goes as it pleases. I know it's an inherant problem that constantly remains. I just deal with it.
I reconnected with friends.
I became a huge fan of Rachael Ray cooking. And that's a delicious reward itself.
I took up the position of chief landscaper at my house.
I dove into books. Good ones. Not parenting magazines. Good plot thickening books.
I gave birth to this here blog.
I succumbed to the relaxation of power yoga.
I commit to my 5am gym compadres five days a week.
I take pride in being the photographer of the family.
I enrolled in an art class at our local musuem.
Just last week, I picked up my brand new pack of charcoals and put my fears aside that this new sketch would NOT turn into a stick drawing of my kids but something decent. After two mediocre attempts I got something down that was workable and I went with it. Unforgiving and challenging, charcoal is something that is truly difficult to work with but when I finished this morning it felt amazing.
Do I still struggle with who in the hell I am? Absolutely. I shared drinks with some good friends from high school last month and one of my fellow moms shared a quote with us about just this topic.
"Motherhood brings as much joy as ever, but it stillWhatever length of time it is before you arrive at the conclusion that you don't know who you are anymore besides Mom, I can say that finding some well-deserved time for you is both priceless but necessary.
brings boredom, exhaustion, and sorrow too. Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired. For nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop his own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own." [Marguerite Kelly & Elia Parsons]
It might keep things in check for some of you, but for me it's been a saving grace.
Your husband and your kids will thank you for it. And more importantly you'll thank yourself.