There was a dark and twisty repost from The Belle Jar (if you don't read her blog, you should. You really, really should. She is all kinds of brave and wonderful).
And I started the day with the kind of intense anxiety that makes me want to drop out of sight and out of the world, resulting in me skipping my writing group and attempting to work from home.
And there was the start of said work, note taking from amazing book by May Friedman on Mommyblogs and The Changing Face of Motherhood (2013, U of T Press - which is, friends, the shizzle of an academic book on mommy-bloggin'). Friedman's journey post-mothering, the one that took her into the world of mommy-blogs and blogging, is so incredibly resonant for me. She writes:
Yet the biggest shift in my sense of self came from my entrance into the hallowed realm of Motherhood, from the insistence by those around me that now I must be different and that my prior self was simply irrelevant. In those early days I lacked to the language to express my bewilderment at the stripping down of subjectivity that I was witnessing – by the baby, as I might have expected, but also by my friends, my own mother, and the world at large. 3
As a feminist academic I sought out feminist writing on motherhood so I could begin to understand the seismic shift that was occurring, and read work by Adrienne Rich (1976), Sara Ruddick (1980), and Naomi Wolf (2001). While much feminist writing had resonance, I found it did not yield the intimacy and dialogue that I craved. Even the best academic writing had a conclusion, which – in keeping with all expert literature on motherhood – was often presented a “right” way to mother. Now, in addition to being bewildered, I was also frustrated that I could not maintain my feminist idealism when it came down to the messy, real-life work of parenting. 3-4And then, of finding the world of blogging, she explains: "I felt a kinship to this mother that I lacked in the embodied world of parents around me" (5).
Reading the above - just the very beginnings of Friedman's book - filled me with such feelings of familiarity and remembrances of my early parental discomfort, isolation, bewilderment.
And all of these convergences this morning got me thinking about stuff. Thinking about thinking. Thinking about me, this blog, my dark-and-twistiness, my mom-ness.
This, for me, is a place where I could always go to share those less than savoury parts of myself: the sarcastic and caustic me, the anxious me, the me bewildered by motherhood, the messy me, the bad-mother me. This space is so different than my public self. My gracious self, my quick to smile and even quicker to please self. Palatable me. Deferent me. Sweet me. Good(ish) mother me.
Though I am often quick to believe criticisms of me as a person in the world, I have protected this blog with my mama-fierceness; the fiery place in me that flares out fearlessly to protect my littles but almost never shows itself in self-protection. And yet criticisms about this space have been shut down staunchly and resolutely and without remorse.
This place has been unabashedly me since I had babies. It has helped me to negotiate being queer and being a mother and trying to find mutuality between those spaces, those two politics. Even when the world at large tells me daily that queers are not mothers and mothers are not queers. And though some queers would tell me that only sell-outs make babies.
This blog has seen me through a divorce. Countless days of anxiety so heavy that I was sure I would be crushed beneath the weight of it. The start of single-parenthood. Embarking on a Phd that I never quite believed I was smart enough for, and then chose to start anyways with several odds working against me. Endings and beginnings, losses and gains, and loads upon loads of Great Unknowns. This place hasn't always made sense. It hasn't always been pretty. But it has always been profoundly full of the parts of me I'm not able (for a gazillion and one reasons) to show elsewhere. My dark and twisty bits. My inner ugly auto/biographer.
I don't have time to come back nearly as often as I'd like these days, though I still go to bed each night with words swimming through my head that I long to have time and energy to write down here. I will again, someday.
Until then, it will keep coming in dribbles and drabbles, fits and starts. It will keep being ugly. Dark and twisty. Sometimes even unpalatable. (And what a relief it will be).