So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

26 April, 2010

Ghost in the Dwelling

My lion asked me yesterday how I was doing, and after a lot of circling around the subject and trying to figure out how to say things, I finally hit the revelation:

"I'm angry with my mother."

(No shit. I live in a universe of angry with my mother. But, he quite reasonably asked:)

"Why? She hasn't been all that much in contact, has she? I mean, what's she done?"

I tried to explain. Explain that every time I talk to her, if I mention that something is hard with taking care of Little Foot, that I'm feeling in some way hemmed in or tired or stressed or any of the normal things that motherhood brings, her voice takes on this knowing cast, and she says something like, "Yep, that's what it's like. That's what it'll be for the next twenty years! You gave up your life."

This parenting gig, it's hard work. It is one of the most wonderful, rewarding, bloody difficult things I have ever done in my life, because it's a thing that I have wanted to do, that my heart has yearned for.

And every time she says something like this, it gets just a little bit harder. Or maybe a lot harder.

Because I am still a person, no matter how much she wants to turn me into the negative phrasing of the Angel of the Household, the madonna of self-sacrificing motherhood. I still have things that I want to do with my life - that I am doing with my life - even if I have to wedge them around the crevices. And I have to wedge them around the crevices because there's still that legacy of Victoriana, the two spheres, the "real world" and the domestic area that I, as a nursing mother, preside over with my apron and wooden spoon, only I haven't got an apron anyway and Little Foot wants to play with the spoon.

I resent the way the culture surrounding me sets me up to be an unperson now. I resent it, and I wish to change it, and I do things like thinking about joining a church to expand the base of my support structure, to maybe find a community with like-aged children so that Little Foot can grow up with friends, to do all the things that might shore up the slumping walls of my Fortress of Unsolitude that I inhabit as the not all that super mom. I am, since Little Foot arrived, more driven to be political, to find community to be active in, to do all of these things that people do, as well as my own work (terribly neglected in the perpetual onslaught of the nine-month-old), and that politicality comes with a keener awareness of the way that I am marginalised.

Oh, I am doing So Many Things Right, with the breastfeeding and all, and isn't it nice that I'm dedicating myself to being a good mother, and now I can be completely glossed over as a person because I will be off doing BABYBABYBABY, right, that's not something that real people have to bother their pretty little heads about, they can go do real people things. Like work, and have relationships, and achieve things that matter in the world, and 'things that matter' don't include 'raising a loving and loved child to be a healthy human being'.

And that's what my mother tells me, over and over again. That I've given up any chance I had to be real for a good long time. This velveteen rabbit will not breathe and bleed and hop on its own, no matter how much it's loved. Because all my real gets drained away, magically, into childrearing.

What you see here is a clever fake.

So that's why I'm angry at my mother right now.

18 April, 2010

But I Try, I Try

(I've had fragments of "Modern Love" stuck in my head all day, yes.)

Today Little Foot and I went to church.

It was our second time attending this particular church - the first was their family Easter service, where she got to pet a rabbit - and I think we will be going back somewhat regularly. I'm thinking of joining the choir; I miss doing music with people, regularly. (It'll have to wait until I can leave Little Foot with other folks of an evening so I can attend rehearsals, but...)

I miss a lot of things.

I'm lonely.

It's a weird sort of loneliness, not one that can be fixed with family, or close friends, the people who have sustained me for so long; it's the sort of loneliness that can only be healed by a broader community, a different layer of system. If it takes a family to make a healthy person, maybe it takes a community to make a healthy family. Maybe. Maybe now that I have Little Foot, that's what I need.

And I'm lonely.

I'm lonely for fellowship, for shared religious feeling. I have my own work, I have the people I share small group with, and I'm alone. And my work is as much soul-devouring as it is soul-feeding, it consumes all of me in order to meet what I need, and there is nothing left to cradle me and give me rest. There is nothing left for me, no temple that holds my first time anymore, and the shells claiming the names of temples all have Top's Disease and I. Will not. Rest. With tyrants.

We went to church, and watched from the balcony (where there is space for littles to run around without disrupting the service), and when the sermon turned to youth participation she said, "AAAAAAH!" and was audible downstairs.

I searched for local Unitarian Welcoming congregations, and this one has music up front, music and other pagan members and a stray poly-activist, and it is friendly. And maybe I'll be able to be at home here, shy me, awkward me who is afraid of joining things out of the surety that I will not be wanted. But yet it feels friendly, even to me.

Today I filled out a card to get the church bulletin.