Sunday, May 26, 2013

Writing at the bookstore

One of my favorite and most relaxing things in this world is writing at a coffee shop or bookstore with cafe. The best is Atomic Coffee in Fargo, ND, but at this point in the parenting journey, I am not picky. Currently I am at Books-a-Million in Concord. There are groups here in the cafe, of knitters, discussers, and many singletons doing all manner of whatever on their laptops. Glorious! With my overpriced mocha and chocolate chunk cookie to spur me on, I join them, blissfully, and child-free, many thanks to my husband.

Writing is my emotional release, and an excellent way for me to find out how I am doing. The extrovert in me benefits tremendously from the talk-to-think concept, in which through words, I can locate my truths. Talking it out, even in this current state of not many friends to get together with, helps me sort through my ideas, formalize my goals, and sift through my tangled emotions. At other times in life, I used piano playing, yoga, meditation, or a very long walk up a country road. At this point, I carve out an hour here and there, with babysitting or dad at home manning the fort, and race to the bookstore to have these peaceful moments to myself.

I thought a long time about parenting...fifteen years to be exact. I pondered the need for selflessness, and over time, began to welcome the ending of The Allison Chapters. There is only so long one person can focus entirely on themselves, using each moment of the day to "self actualize" or "find oneself." She is found, already! Enough!! I know myself, as much as anyone really can, and I have seen with open eyes my unfinished projects, my fear-driven actions (or inactions), and my personal growth. I have looked deeply at what I want out of this life, as who knows for sure if we have more than one. I want to create meaningful days and years. I want work that is more vocation than career. I want to contribute, to make a difference in the lives of others.

And during those years, I thought I would travel, get out of debt, do some crazy things - like join the Peace Corps, live on a fishing boat, and ride the train across the Canadian Rockies. Well the reality is, I did almost none of those things. I spent several years doing irritating and frustrating jobs, then spent several years finishing my college degree and pursuing more education, new careers...and subsequently ended up just about where I started, doing administrative work [read: being someone else's glorified secretary], a role I finally came to terms with.

There are things I am good at, like loving, cooking, reading and writing, and thinking up creative games for the kids in my life. There are things I suck at, like making money, pursuing my greatest dreams, cleaning my side of the bedroom, and using my infamous sewing machine. I have pages and pages of notes for other ideas (some even written), sewing projects, dog training, and organic farming. What?! For some reason, yes, I always fancied myself an organic small time farmer. Do I buy organic? Not always! Do I garden? Not more than a few pots of herbs every summer that end up overrun. Am I even good with plants? I would call mine a "grey thumb"...I rarely kill my plants, just mangle them and render them unrecognizable. They all grow crooked, weird, and end up as "bad hair day" plants. (Reflecting my inner self??) But oh, do I love them...yes, probably too much! I recently went back to work after a four month maternity leave. The plants in my office are blooming flowers and look better than they ever have...they appreciated a little Allison-free time, I suppose.

I have twenty-seven minutes left on the Me Time clock. My minutes these days are precious, I tell you. Every one is spoken for, with two babies at home, a husband, and a part-time job. Even the cat vies for my time. He does not get a lot of loving these days, as Mama usually feels "used up" at any given moment.

People keep telling me that as the children get older, I will have time again to focus on my interests and goals. I hope this is true. There are still things I want to accomplish that don't have to do with my children. Even some goals that are about them need to be done when they are not around, like planning educational activities to enthrall their creative senses.

What I was getting at, is that ahead of time, I knew I would need to put my self on hold, and I was emotionally prepared to do this, or so I thought. In reality, when that particular rubber hit the road, it proved to be much harder than expected. Mama still wants moments to be a woman, an individual, a wife, and a person outside her milk-providing, ass-wiping duties. Mama still wants to be Allison.

And so I will write. It is the least I can do right now. To prove, if only to myself, that that girl is still in there. Thoughts continue to swirl. Ideas continue to erupt. And Allison is alive and well. Waiting for a few moments to herself. And she's okay, for the most part, with waiting.


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