I am a woman in transition.
Stay at home mom to working mom. I find that when I’m in seasons of transition, I need lots of alone time. Alone time is my newborn-sleep; it’s when nourish my growth, recover from all the input and change. I’m very existential, for better or worse; a lot goes on in my head.
When I am with people, I’m usually looking for points of connection, ways to relate. I tend to be totally in the moment. When I am alone, I reconnect with myself, and this is good. It feels good to draw a little circle of quiet around myself and remember who I am. I am good company for myself, mostly, except when I get all wound up and anxious and neurotic about stuff, and then I have to remember to be kind to myself.
Sometimes alone time hurts people, especially extroverts who cannot understand the need for it. But it makes me a better connector/relator/friend/mom/human when I have time to check in with me. Occasionally in the last eight years, I have had too much alone time, and then I need the fresh air of others to breathe new life into me. It’s a delicate balance.
Now in this transition, I’m dusting off the reader/writer/teacher side. Because when your day consists of diapers and dinners, you don’t really need to have read The Awakening by Kate Chopin or Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck. But then you do and you start looking at your children like little characters and wondering how you’d write them. This may be the best way to understand characterization because you don’t actually get to choose who they are. They write themselves and you sort of fumble along behind them, trying to understand what is happening. And I’ve heard that this is what the best sort of writing is like, and art too. David is freed from the block of marble under Michaelangelo’s chisel, as though he was patiently waiting for someone to find him there. Writer Anne Lamott says you must get out of the way so you can hear what your characters are telling you.
My children are telling me many things each day AT THE TOP OF THEIR LUNGS, so it’s not hard to hear them, but still. I think the metaphor stands.
So, I’m thinking about change and the question Can people change? And yes, of course they can, day by day and season by season. Only there must be different decisions of course, to get a different outcome. And in seasons of change, you find yourself very much like the Very Hungry Caterpillar because sometimes you work too much or eat too much or stress too much and then you get a tummy ache and you must eat a nice green leaf and get some sleep to feel better. And I went through that exact progression this week, only it was a nice green salad with my husband instead of a leaf. And then you remember that this is just part of the process of becoming. Even the TOO MUCH is part of the process and you must go through it to learn and become a beautiful butterfly, or an early thirties English teacher, which is after, not so very different. 🙂