I've been stuck. Frozen. Paralyzed. Waiting and hoping for something to click. To break through. To shift. It isn't happening on its own, so I'm breaking down the walls...
I can't get this song, Apocalypse Lullaby, out of my head.
It's so achingly beautiful, isn't it?
I'm really trying to feel happy and hopeful. (So, yeah, that doesn't work.) It isn't authentic. I want to be a source of joy for my daughter. A touchstone that she can turn to when she is sad or lost or scared. I'm a mother, of course I want to be this for her. But I also want to be real and accepting of my own feelings and flaws. To show her the world I've come to know. To teach her to see the beauty and the chaos. Because we live in a place full of both.
She's about to turn one and I feel as if I should be giddy with party planning. Sewing felt birthday banners and crafting paper pom-poms. But, to be honest, that seems absurd to me right now.
I keep thinking about that tornado in Oklahoma. And how unnecessary it is for people, for children, to suffer. So many of the blogs I read are beautiful and sweet and lighthearted and uplifting. I read them because I want to live in that world too. But, I'm going to be honest again here for a moment, most of the time I don't. Many people don't.
See, the reason that I've been stuck -- on this blog and in my life -- is that I've made a real attempt at being neutral. For the first time in my life, I wanted to avoid confrontation. After my mom died, I wanted to slip quietly into the background. I wanted to knit and cook beautiful food and have a baby. I wanted to exchange my ambition for happiness.
It sort of worked for awhile. I had been working really hard before my mom got sick, so I was ready for a break. I bought a Vespa and cruised around town. I made lots of stuff for our house. I scaled back my efforts at work. I declined opportunities to travel. I got pregnant and became obsessed with preparing for our daughter's arrival. And this past year, I've been all-consumed with this crash course in motherhood. (And with moving from Seattle to our little town in North Carolina.) But now that my baby is turning one and our boxes are unpacked, I realize that i can't stay in this haze.
There's nothing wrong with living a life focused on beauty. I've loved setting up our home and nurturing my daughter. I can say with complete honesty that this is the hardest thing I've ever done. There is nothing that could have prepared me for the challenges of motherhood. But at the same time, I know that I am much more than a mother.
Yes, I am an attorney. In fact, I have too many degrees to discuss here. (I loved school, or perhaps the way that school uniquely channeled my particular brand of ambition.) But I'm not talking about that either. I'm talking about the song. Apocalypse Lullaby, indeed.
I know way too much about climate change to ever forget. To spend even one single day truly living in that blissful haze. I have spent too much time studying and working in war zones, regions ravaged my famine and drought, and places where young girls are traded in (by very desperate families) to become sex slaves. I've spent my entire life working for social and environmental justice. I was quite foolish to think that I could ever be neutral. Especially now that I have a daughter.
I wanted so desperately to be like the other (seemingly) happy, crafty, healthy bloggers. But I would open up my laptop every day and promptly close it again, my mind blank or unmotivated. But this morning felt different. I decided that I can't avoid controversy anymore. Because in my attempt at being neutral, I've silenced myself. And what kind of example is that setting for my little girl?