About ghrn

Wife, stepmom, corporate grunt, quilter, liberal, dork

An open letter…

(This is not intentionally vague – just protecting identities while still allowing myself to write to expunge loneliness and doubt.  I am changing and part of that change is expressing to the void.  Please look away if you want to – but know it really isn’t as bad as I make it out to be.  All hyperbole is my own and doesn’t reflect the opinions of the network.)

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Dear You of the Finest Beauty,

I know I am being childish.  But the hurt is so deep I don’t know how else to behave.  A real mother would sacrifice her pride and her fear to get along.  Or a real mother would scream until you acknowledge the true horror that she is.  A real mother would pound on the slammed door.  A real mother would not sink into the shadows.  But I am not a real mother.  I know what real mothers do, I just can’t do it.  Your beautiful, precious, beloved face – your tiny triumph over the entire universe – gave me the look three times.  And I am out.

Just as I am a fat person who knows how to diet but doesn’t, I am a woman who knows how to mother, but doesn’t.  I feel I need to prove my point to the universe – that I could, that I can be a mother, but I am not going to.  I have loved and sacrificed.  I have looked away from the pity of others who wonder why I invest in a family that is not mine. I am as stark a sadness as every other childless woman – my loneliness is as old as barren wombs – a bloodless artery through all of history.

But I have my pride.  My stupid, selfish, pointless pride.  Or maybe it is my fear.  I am not going to kick the football.  You can’t make me.  My womb and my heart are not going to wait for your beauty to bless us.  You have what you need from the world, I am not going to try to sell you what you don’t need.  Maybe you will come back.  Maybe you will see the point of letting me in.  Maybe my legacy will be something.

But Maybe doesn’t have me to kick around anymore.  I am joy and I am light and I am funny and I am loving and I have more to give than anybody could ever imagine.  But for sure I am not strong – I am not courageous –  I can’t bear the pain of reaching out again to be met with beautiful blankness.  Beautiful heartbreaking silence coming out of a heartbreakingly beautiful face.  It hurts too much.

As the kids say, you do you.  And I am going to do me.  And maybe someday soon we will meet again.  In the meantime, I am going to try to pick myself up and dust myself off and find an outlet for all that is me.

With all my love and all my heartbreak,

Me of the Giant Goofy Face

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Touchstones

IMG_4031Today was hard.  I felt easily bruised, easily offended.  One of those days where being a grown up and choosing not to take my toys and go home was hard.  I have a pit of anxiety that I can’t quite place.  And I am oh so hungry.

I have learned in my baby-steps meditation practice to expand the feeling around anxiety.  Don’t dig in, but notice it generally, as if from across the room.  I am trying to do that with my anxiety and my hunger.  Notice, but don’t fall in.

I am working on having touchstones – everyday activities that can ground me.  Tonight I exercised, sewed, and now am blogging.  I think those transform my evenings from eating or thinking about eating to something else.  I don’t feel exhausted and ashamed right now.

I made this block during my hour of sewing today.  A fairly wonky thistle.  I made every mistake – put the green strips wrong side up, sewed the leaves upside down and then backwards.  When I got everything facing the right direction with the right side of the fabric, I called it.  A little bit wonky, but done.  There is a metaphor there that I can’t find right now.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Mocktails and inventory

IMG_4029There was this brief moment when I was perfectly together.  At least that was my memory.  At the time I am sure I felt like I had many things to improve.  But I was healthy (thinner) and had almost no debt.  I remember wearing a crisp white shirt and fixing seltzer water with lots of ice and citrus in a faux vintage antique glass from Martha Stewart’s line from K-Mart.  (Yes, this was a looooong time ago.)  I remember driving to meet a friend and sliding that glass into the cupholder of my Oldsmobile Alero and feeling very… something.  Chic?  Probably not – it was a glass from K-Mart in an Oldsmobile.  But maybe it was chic – or together – something that eludes me now.

The cultural start of fall was accompanied by cooler weather today.  Not freezing cold to kill dead the mosquitos that I HATE.  But that is too much to ask of September.  But a fall chill-ish in the air.  Fall always makes me feel relieved.  And it always makes me want to be more “together”.  I will be chopping off my hair soon and pretending I like to and am able to cook.

I have a closet to clean out and a ton of work and e-mails to get through – plenty of stuff I could tackle to be more “together”.  But tonight I made a mocktail and went through my scary sewing works-in-progress stack.  I have 28 projects that have been started but not completed.  28.  28!  TWENTY EIGHT!!!  Definitely not chic.  Martha Stewart would demand her fake vintage glass back.

So, like any reasonable twenty-first century girl, I made a spreadsheet.  I identified 17 projects that I can reasonably finish this year – one a week.  My criteria was ridiculously old (a baby quilt top I finished three years ago) or ridiculously close to being finished (a wall hanging that has one more side of binding to sew on) or both (my Advent calendar that I have only three more ornaments to make!)

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This is the nice neat stack of quilting work I will get done this year.

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When I have a lot of time to sew, I often choke.  This weekend I had two glorious days all to myself to sew.  And I. wasted. time.  But yesterday I hunkered down and finished this quilt commemorating our vacations to Colorado.  It was well-liked on Instagram.  I am not sure.  It is overly cheerful – but it will make a happy car/travel quilt.  I need to iron and send off to the quilter and that will be one of 17 done.

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Also, germaine to nothing except my squirrel-like focus for sewing projects.  Here are some cute little baby bibs I made for the cutest boy.  I got a snap setter in order to finish these off.  Is there anything better than a snap setter?  Probably not.  Except of course of the memory of Martha Stewart’s line for K-Mart.

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Ok, well now all I really want to do is make baby bibs.  Sigh.

Things fall apart

IMG_3997Today is hard.  Not six weeks ago I felt I had the world on a string.  Was I too smug?  Was I too sure?  Had I bought into quick fixes and tricks?  Probably and always.

I am sinking.  Away from myself, my family, my goals.  But work is good.  🙂  No, really it is.  The blessing or my work has always been that there is enough and it is mostly challenging and interesting.  I can escape from fear and anxiety and make a corner within a corner of my world good.

But work always has to end.  I have to close the laptop and go home and face myself.  My health.  My choices.

The only way through is through.  When I am not doing well at work, I know the answer is to stop, evaluate, and work harder.  I am not doing well at life.  And I have never known how to fix it.  What does it mean to stop and evaluate?  What does it mean to work harder?  I don’t know.  I don’t know what is wheat and what is chaff.  Do I clean out a closet?  Go to the gym?  Have the tough conversations? Create an awesome meal plan?  I have no idea – they don’t seem like they would help.  So now I am doing this – asking the universe for help.  I am lost.  I am scared.  I know gazing at my navel is not the answer – but what is the answer?

So, here’s my plan.  Shut down my computer – quit hiding from life.  Go home.  Clean off a shelf, clean up my studio, create something, make a meal plan, workout, lay out my clothes for the week.  Or maybe I will just stay here and work.  I don’t know.

I wish I wrote songs

I wanted to be a writer, that’s all. I wanted to write about it all. Everything that happens in a moment. The way the flowers looked when you carried them in your arms. This towel, how it smells, how it feels, this thread. All our feelings, yours and mine. The history of it, who we once were. Everything in the world. Everything all mixed up, like it’s all mixed up now. And I failed. I failed. No matter what you start with it ends up being so much less. Sheer fucking pride and stupidity.” – Richard Brown in The Hours based on the book by Michael Cunningham (clip here)

I have a healthy self esteem.  Maybe too healthy.  I know I don’t appreciate my healthy self esteem enough.  Basically, it it requires me to use my brain, I can figure it out.  I am not a genius and there are lots of things that would require me to work very hard – advanced mathematics, learning to read a foreign language, most physics.  I would have to work harder and take longer than most, but I could figure it out with enough time and effort.  I can do anything that requires patience and study.  As I walk this life, I realize not everybody feels that way.  That lots of people have been told terrible stories about themselves that means they doubt their ability to learn and achieve.

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I am kind.  I am smart.  I am tenacious.  I am generous.  I am lucky. I am creative.

I think I would trade all of that for the ability to write a good song.  Like everybody, music saved my life.  Mirroring my angst, my joy, my hope.  Ani Difranco, Jeff Tweedy, Cake.  A good song makes me feel the flutter of that thing that might be my soul.  I feel my chest tighten and something pushing on my head from the inside – a stress that I can never describe or understand this feeling.  The pain and joy of connection.  The pain and joy of recognition.  The god in your song sees the god in me.

I have been listening obsessively to Sun Kil Moon’s album Common as Light and Love are Red Valleys of Blood.  I have read pieces of articles that say he is rude and a sexist – I look away – that may be true but nothing is allowed in to ruin the peace and inspiration and exultation I get from listening to his music.  His ability to mix his earnest deadpan with music and insight and..«

 

I wish I could write songs.  I can’t find the words.  I can’t share the feeling.

I can’t prove my point through exposition, so if you get a chance, listen to the music…  my two favorites…

Bergen to Trondheim

God Bless Ohio

There is healing in writing poems
There is healing in psychotherapy
There is healing in taking walks along the beach
But never underestimate the healing of music, baby

Some songs are funny and some are sad
Some are short, some are long
There is nothing as healing and powerful
As the power of song

As the power of song
As the power of song
As the power of song
As the power of song

Flowers in the snow

We have gone to Colorado, specifically Estes Park, 3 years in a row now. It feels like our place, our vacation. Hopefully the kids will feel that way too as they get older and remember summers.

One of my favorite parts of the vacation is going up the mountain from warm air to cold air. I love cold – and so the opportunity to be enveloped by crisp air in July or August is relevatory to me. It is a gift for me. The first time we saw snow I kept exclaiming “That’s snow! In August – that’s snow!”

I am working on a quilt to represent Colorado memories. Rainbow log cabins, sky full of stars, mountains, and, of course, snow. This block harkens to flowers in snow for me – wildflowers and snow on the mountains – not that far from each other.

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And I had my toes painted white the first pedicure I got after vacation – just a reminder that not that long ago my toes were close to snow.

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deadlifts and dermabrasion

Small joys can amount to a happy life…

the feel of good deadlifts with real weight

coworkers that make work joy

a challenging and rewarding job

a squeaky clean face

finding my voice in situations where it was once lost

having experience to share

finding other humans who will expose their soft spots

an adorable kittencat who is thrilled to have you home

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