Testing the boundaries of personal writing.
Maybe the reader paradox is that we don’t notice if you’re not writing as much - we’re just happy when you do. I appreciate the malaise and writing about it and honestly would gladly read about trying to get a newsletter out through PMS.
I think you've described something I've been feeling but couldn't identify. I've written about the loss of my brother and dad and at times it seems easier at times than writing " wow I'm drowning in the minutiae and repetition of raising small children."
ps. my freshly minted middle schooler and her friend googled me during computer class recently--a reminder to keep untangling what's mine and hers to keep!!
Maybe part of the issue of talking about medium unhappy is because it’s always a both/and and we fear people won’t see that. Parenting is hard and I love my kid. I’m unhappy and I have so many privileges. Both/and is tricky to talk about in our world right now, especially if we fear judgement online.
I really relate to this. And bringing up a child is a wonderful privilege, but it’s also gruelling & involves a lot of routine & repetition and, in many ways, curtails freedom. While I’m so grateful to be where I’m at now in my life, I also - in some ways - strangely miss the intensity of the time I had cancer. Not that I wish to go back there, obviously...Yet it was a time when life was so heightened, and I had so much time & freedom, so many opportunities to reinvent my life in its aftermath.
Wanted to say it doesn’t feel like “bearing” with you, but instead coming along for the ride of life--electric or dull. ❤️
Loved this, and all the comments posted. Whether it be death, birth, inspirations, mundane every day-ness, I feel like we are in the doldrums of a post pandemic; a political division; and the reality of climate changes.
We are still trying to navigate this new world that has been birthed because of all of it.
I liked that there is a name for the paradox we are going through, but when it comes down to it on any given day, we are just doing the best we can to string along each individual “in the now” moments. Eventually there comes a story of, about or from them. This is life on a planet called “Earth School”. Some of us have been in class a bit longer--I’m fast approaching my 71’st run around the sun--more like a slow saunter now though. Yet, I still have dreams, desires and yes, dodgy days of PMS even though I’ve not had a period for close to 22 years. Now my PMS days are more of the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual sort. With each passing year comes wisdom, and more wisdom, and regrets, yes those too but we still learn from them. Or, as I used to tell my then newly “minted” adult children, when they’d look at me incredulously over something I said that i thought was profound... “What? I didn’t get to be this age only to stay stupid all my life!”
I'm so sorry for your loss, Katie. I had a similar experience when I lost my brother. Writing was a way to unknot the pain and remember the moments I'd forgotten. Beautiful post.
I’ve been feeling stagnant, too, and have this sort of imposter syndrome about it. Like, why should I complain about feeling sad and lonely and bored when my husband had a bad day at work, or my friend’s dog died, or another friend is moving across the country?
I guess mundane woes of existence just aren’t as flashy as the big, life-altering ones. Even though they can be similarly (albeit less) impactful.
Thank you for always sharing what you’re thinking and feeling. 💕
I really felt engaged by the piece. Brilliant!
I want to say that our boundaries are our own and that we get to decide what we can and should write about. There will always be someone who wants to read - needs to read - what we have written. But, as someone who has been written about (my wife is a published memoirist), I will say that I hope our boundaries are defined by love, or at least compassion, for the people who populate our work.
Medium-unhappy describes what I'm feeling. This is a poignant share. And whatever you write, I'll read.
A beautiful account of how you're feeling in this moment. Stagnant phases have their own significance.
I'd love to read anything that you want to write about! I'm here for your brain's wonderful take and your beautiful words. ❤️
I feel like you’re writing from inside my brain!! Exactly this. All of it. The stories poured out in the early days of deep grief after my divorce. Writing felt like a matter of survival.
But now, life just feels more like.. life. I’m no longer single. There are new characters in my life who open up new questions of permission.
Which is great! It’s what I’ve been working so hard towards! And! I have no idea how to write authentically about this current phase. I question whether I still have interesting things to say.
All this to say, I’m glad you wrote it. An everyday story is exactly what I needed to hear.
Full disclosure: I'm 62, and all 4 of my children are now grown up and married. I have to say, especially after reading many of the responses here, that I've noticed something about parents over the last 5-10 years. They tend to have the kids SO involved in organized activities that both the kids and parents can't help but be exhausted. I remember well the years of having small kids. With 4 over a 10 year span, we had them at all "kid stages" at once! Please give yourselves and the kids a little bit of a break. First of all, give yourself a break - raising kids doesn't come with a how-to manual. And yet 99+% of us do a great job! Second, while letting the kids get involved in whatever, remember that they're still kids. They need time to play and explore independently in order to figure out this whole big world, and to let their bodies and brains develop. And last, and most important, ENJOY EVERY MINUTE of having them around. Soon enough they'll be grown up and on their own. Cliché, but oh, too true.
I am feeling something similar now--I moved in with my partner last month, and while it's been great, there are parts that are bittersweet--like the loss of my routines, my writing time, my alone-at-the-kitchen-table-with-coffee-and-my-dog-and-the-morning-silence time, the feeling of doing whatever was good for me. It feels a little bit like losing a part of myself, but then feeling bad about thinking this way since this is what I've wanted for a long time. Life. It's all so cyclical.
Thank you for articulating this so well. This feeling of stagnation is insidious precisely because, like you said, the "unhappy medium" doesn't feel as dangerous as more clearly painful experiences. But it is something we should pay attention to, to make sure we continue making the most of this one precious life we have. Thank you for continuing to write this newsletter and sharing your thoughts with us!