03 December 2017

the mom thing, and other things

We had our ward's Christmas party last night. Normally I would just show up and babysit my kids, like I do, but last night was different. I performed.

That's right, I performed. There was a variety show, and I participated in two musical numbers for it. The first was a piano duet, and the second was as one of three back-up vocalists in a band covering Guster's rendition of "Donde Esta Santa Claus?"

The lead-up to these performances was ridiculously stressful for me. On Friday morning, I initiated negotiations to call off the whole thing with my duet partner and friend, Stephanie, because from a combination of other factors (not least of which was the fact that I had extra childcare duties in the evenings a couple times so that Tim could do band practice), we had never actually gotten the chance to get together and practice the song! And being a back-up vocalist wasn't exactly my cup of tea, because I am not a great singer and I feel uncomfortable with the idea of being aware that people are looking at me and expecting me to be entertaining. Agh!!

Also driving to the church I turned the wrong way on a one-way road and then also missed a turn and was probably the worst driver ever.

But I played and I sang in the angelic back-up trio of female vocalists, and strangely, I was pretty zen during the actual party and not too nervous. I guess I got all of my emotional energy out beforehand, so it ended up being a lot of fun and made me feel a little more human than I normally feel in my all-consuming role as mother. I usually end up deciding that trying to do anything else outside what I can fit into the purpose I see for myself as a mother (which varies slightly from mother to mother, but for me personally includes pretty comprehensive childcare and household management responsibilities) is just too stressful and too hard and it doesn't usually feel very fulfilling or rewarding in the end, and so I quit.

I did that at my job three years ago, most significantly, and various other things that I've made feeble attempts to get involved in over the years.

I wish I could just be completely and fully satisfied by my role as mother, because it is important work. In some ways, I feel more fulfilled by it than anything else I've ever undertaken because of its importance. But in other ways, it's a little incomplete for me. It has resulted in a narrowing of my world and my brain in a lot of ways! As a result, I feel like I'm always searching for a little something extra, and a lot of times, I try things that I later end up feeling like "Why am I doing this?!" And usually, it's attempts to make money, because I guess I feel weird about pursuing stuff for the sake of my own enjoyment, but I respond well to the pressures I feel to make money and contribute to society that way.

In fact right now I am doing a freelance editing project, and I haven't done one of those for quite some time, and it's really feeling like it's not a good fit for me, but I'm doing it anyway and actually I should be working on it right at this very moment but I'm feeling unable to focus my brain sufficiently on it and blah.

I blame society. Why don't we value the "woman's" work of motherhood in our society? I mean it kind of makes sense that we wouldn't because of how invisible it is, but still . . . I am constantly dealing with the message that I'm not doing enough, as are most women I guess, because I am, at a very basic level most of the time, JUST trying to ensure my kids survive.

16 March 2017

ebb and flow

I wasn't quite prepared for being as alone in the world as I felt I was after moving to NC. I thought that the proximity I had to people I knew in Utah was great enough that it didn't really affect my day-to-day life. I didn't see friends on a reliable basis, and I still felt lonely, bored, and socially bankrupt a lot of the time. But I think I still had some level of confidence and engagement in pre-established relationships to a degree that I cannot sustain from this distance. I do think I've started to learn to appreciate that relationships ebb and flow and have their own seasons. It's not like Person A needs to be texting or calling me all the time for me to consider them a friend. We are past that curious stage of life where people are careless and almost universally interested in social investment in some form or another. It is disappointing sometimes when I realize I've been making an effort to reach out and don't feel like it's being reciprocated, and it's hard to know when it's a good idea to let that go and move on or hold out for when things might be a little easier. There are times where we have more to give in the context of friendship, and there are times when we just don't.

I thought lots of people moved to places where they knew absolutely nobody so it was no big deal. Moving here has meant I abide with an extreme, almost physical level of self-consciousness. I miss that confidence of knowing there is someone who cares about me and I can fall back on our relationship history for connection. I occupy a space where there may be potential friends, but no one I can be confident is reliably interested in having a conversation with me if we happen to occupy the same space at the same time. After eighteen months, my level of extreme self-consciousness is easing a little bit, but perhaps only because the novelty's edge has worn off. Acclimating is a weird process.

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