Being Brave

03Sep07

[Evan and his little friend Ben, holding arms. Even though Evan looks sad,
this picture makes me infinitely happy. I love the little friendship that’s budding
here, but I also just love the colors, the baby faces, everything.]

I’ve been feeling a little lacking lately. A little bland. A little self-less, by which I do not mean self-sacrificing, noble, or gallant but by which I mean something more like faded. Less myself. Less sure of what my “self” even is.

I’ve been feeling less adventurous and brave, even as I acknowledge that this whole new parenting thing is both of those things. When I let my mind careen through the last ten weeks, and the thirty-eight weeks before that, I am literally astounded at how brave I’ve been. I’m proud of how strong I’ve been. I’m also proud that I have been weak at times during this last almost-year, too, because always being strong and confident would have meant I was faking it. I’m proud of the tears I’ve shed, the complaints I’ve grumbled, the laughs I’ve laughed. I’m proud of how big my belly grew and astonished at how my body accomplished this amazing thing – the growth of a new little person – without any instruction manual. I almost wrote, “without my help” but that’s not true. I am proud of the work I did to help make Evan the little baby he came out as and the bigger baby he is now.

And yet there’s still this sense that sometimes glances off me like the glint of a penny in the sun, just enough to catch my notice before I lose it again, and other times washes over me like grief, settling in for a day or even two. It’s this sense that I am somehow not letting myself be as happy as I could be, as fulfilled as I should be, as in touch with friends, family, and the world as I’d like to be.

 

It feels like I am holding something back, but I don’t know exactly what that something is.

It feels like I need more color. In my house, in my wardrobe, in my writing.

It feels like I am afraid, but not the way you’d be afraid of snakes or tarantulas. More like the way you might be afraid of death. A sort of low-level, back-of-your-mind fear.

It feels like I’m trying too hard.

It feels like I’m playing too safe. Being too careful.

It feels like I’m too scared of failure, or of being thought silly, or ugly, or this or that.

It feels like I’m stuck watching Law and Order when I’d rather be watching Gilmore Girls.

It feels like I have a great joke to tell but I’m not sure I’ve got the right audience.

It feels like I’m spending my time wrong, and my money.

It feels like I need more beauty in my life.

 

I went for a run on Saturday morning. The sun was shining but the air was September-morning cool. I had my iPod playing some favorite songs from my high school days – Dar Williams, The Nields, Ani DiFranco. My shadow was stretched out long and strong in front of me. And I felt so happy. I thought about Evan and Brian, back home, and couldn’t wait to get back to them, but I was also very thankful that they gave me the 30 minutes I needed to get this happy.

I’d like to incorporate more beauty into my life. I’d like to be more responsible about how I spent both my time and my money. I’d like to take more pictures and write more poems. I’d like to make things. I’d like to read for pleasure, not just for my dissertation, even if I get less time with the diss. and only a little bit with the pleasure reading. I’d like to use all my senses more – bathe them in things that make me happy. I’d like to wear a scarf in my hair without feeling stupid or wondering what people think. I’d like to play with my son every single day (this one I do already, and it makes me so happy). I’d like to spend even just a few minutes outside everyday.

What would you do? If you could sit and choose how to live each day instead of just winging it the way we normally do? What would you like to smell, taste, touch, hear, and see? What would you like to wear? What would you like to do? Leave me comments or write your own blog post and send me the link.

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