I am having a difficult time organizing my thoughts to write.
I have a notebook of graph paper next to me, as well as a black sharpie, a blue papermate, and a black v-ball pen, just in case inspiration strikes in another form, because this whole writing thing isn’t working out for me.
I have nobody to whom I can express my distaste for my writing. Everyone says they love it, but I am not sure anyone would tell me if they didn’t like it. I can’t even imagine what that would look like. I can’t even imagine why anyone would want to read my writing, because it is essentially just a lot of this. I am literally reading my own thoughts on screen, as I’m having them, and that’s what the reader gets from me too, in a way. Why would anyone want to waste their time just observing someone else’s thoughts? Weird.
I struggle with finding topics to write about. Matt says I should write a fiction novel. I don’t know what fiction is. Everything is fiction to me, so I just write about what sounds like a story to me. I see artistic elements in interactions, machinery, and nature. When I recognize patterns in people, or see emotional intelligence in “real time” where most aren’t cognizant of what is truly happening, I try to capture how I would deal with the same circumstance. I used to not be very emotionally intelligent. I remember what it was like, and wonder if other people see things like that too. Of course, they have to. Or else there would be nobody to teach it to me. But why isn’t it more common? Emotional intelligence is right up there with disease and natural disasters, when it comes to human demise.
I don’t write self-help, because I don’t feel that I’m in the position to help anyone, because I don’t have any of my shit together. My shit is living in separate houses, separate neighborhoods, different zip codes, diverging paths in the future. My shit doesn’t want to get together. My shit wants to be happily separated, providing multiple Hells for me to suffer.
Some people say I should write a book about being a parent. That is a mistake, and I can’t believe anyone would say that to me. What they really mean, is that I should document my parenting mishaps and surprises from the past 16 years, and relay them in a hysterically relatable way, because I have no problem with divulging the bad stuff. I don’t care about the pretty stories as much as the real ones that people encounter like “What?! Literally none of my friends put this on Instagram! What’s happening?!” That’s what I tell people about. I have nothing to hide. That’s probably why it’s a terrible idea for me to write a parenting tale. I’ll sum it up here: Having teenagers is like getting to the end of Chutes and Ladders, only to land on the slide that kicks your ass back to the beginning. You know why? Because teenagers are a special kind of rude and inconsiderate; a kind that saturates your insides with boiling blood, because they are quite capable of being considerate to you when they want something. But you love them anyway, and that makes you even more furious, because I can tell you that (at least for me) you don’t want to show the love when you’re trying to be a hard-ass.
It is possible to have a respectful and considerate teen. I just haven’t had that experience, so I can’t speak to that. If that describes your reality, please let me know what medication your kids are on.
Just kidding about that medication thing. I take the over-medication of American citizens very seriously, as it -ironically- sickens me.
I have done a lot of things in my life, which would more than fill two autobiographies, but then we would have to go back to the whole “sharing too much” aspect of things, because I would need to mention quite a few people, who would undoubtedly be described too specifically for it to remain any sort of a mystery. As long as I don’t use names, all bets should be off, and I should be able to plunge cleanly into the not-so-clean waters of my past. What could go wrong?
I have survived situations that could have been the end of me. I would have died, surrounded by idiots who may have weighed their options between getting help or dumping my body, and chosen the latter. Nobody would have heard from me again; not my parents, my grandparents, my siblings. I was so selfish, I very well could have passed on a life of my kids explaining why they don’t know their mother, years of sadness and confusion, filling in the blanks of who I was. I was their only reliable parent, and I shook the dice on abandoning them. I was in such a dark place, that I put myself in danger, and I am lucky to have come out alive. Ever since, I have decided being present in my kids’ lives is the only thing I care about.
Things are mounting in my life right now. I don’t have a job to go to, where people can tell me I’ve succeeded at something, or “hey, good job.” I don’t have much of an existence outside of taking care of my family, so while they are all away, I don’t feel like I’m powered ON. I feel like a robot that someone drags out of the toybox when they get home, and then I have meaningful purpose again. I sit here and stew on the things that are going wrong. And then at night, I stew even more, on things that may go wrong in the future. Or, they may not happen at all, and I just torture myself all night. Waking up in the morning, is like being pissed on by a volcano. I know I’m going to somehow manifest these hypothetical scenarios that are rooted in my imagination. That’s probably why I hate my writing so badly. It just reminds me of my negative outlook too much. Puts me in my own head.
I know I am a victim of my own circumstance, as I chose to take advantage of the opportunity to be a domestic wizard (or “stay-at-home parent” as some people call it; like a woman doctor, or a male dancer, because you have to remind people that even though you’re doing something crazy -such as being a woman- you can still be a person -such as a doctor- just the same, or even be a parent despite the fact that you’re staying home!) I did choose to stay home, for the benefit of the teenagers I talked about up there a few paragraphs ago. I do my best work alone, and prefer to be in control. I don’t work well for other people’s success, especially when I’m taking my stress home to my family, so I eliminate any chance of that, by immersing myself in things I can control. I can make my home the way I want it, I can cook whatever I feel like cooking, I can plan things for the future, I write, I draw, I paint, I design houses, I take pictures of things that draw my eye. I let my creativity guide me, but far too often, I revert back to stresses as a parent. After all, that is my #1 purpose in life. Why do I sound so defeated when I say that?
I wonder if people think I don’t like being a parent. I’m strict, I’m unreasonable about certain things, I’m unwavering on principles, I expect my kids to do the right thing without being told, all despite the fact that I know their brains aren’t fully developed yet. I understand they are teens, and I try not to rush them into growing up, but they need to learn that the real world is a cold-ass place, and I don’t want them to learn it by getting hurt. Of course, I can’t avoid that, and now I sound like every parent before me. They have to get hurt. They have to be treated like shit by people. They have to be let down. They have to be told what to do. They have to be unfairly judged. They have to be stolen from, taken advantage of, and betrayed. All of these things will unfortunately occur in their lives, and it pains me to think of this, so how do I prepare them? I want these years to last forever, so they can experience love and care for as long as possible, but that won’t teach them to form any sort of tough exterior, and they’ll get eaten alive in life.
People with smaller children aren’t thinking about these things the same way. Obviously they don’t want any harm to come to their kids either, but it’s a different kind. Acceptance among peers, forming bonds, learning at a “normal” pace, are all things parents of young children are focusing on. Suicide, hopelessness, lack of direction, pregnancy, internet predators, college finances, learning how to drive a deadly weapon on the road, violence, truancy, drug use, problems with the law, are all things that a parent of teenagers must think about. At any point, my kids can make up their mind to get into one of these situations, and there is nothing I could do to prevent it. The best education about risk and danger, the biggest net of love and support, the most open mind, the strongest bond, the deepest trust, can only go so far. They make their own decisions, and their brains haven’t yet made the “Don’t do that” connection in a lot of potentially dangerous areas. It is absolutely NOT easier or better when they start to gain independence; just because they’re not eating small objects that aren’t food, doesn’t mean they aren’t making equally poor decisions. Their perceived “free will” encourages them to explore unknown things in environments that you can’t always predict. At least with a small child, you’re hip to pretty much everything they can possibly do, and you’re much faster than them, so you can prevent a lot of accidents. If you’re reading this, I don’t think I need to tell you what teenagers are capable of doing. We know it’s worse.
As much as I complain about how difficult and unrewarding it is to be a parent, I wouldn’t trade it for all the writer’s inspiration in the world, because to me, they are LIFE inspiration. They keep me going, by ensuring that I struggle and grow, and never let my brain or nerves rest. You couldn’t fill a library with that kind of art.