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BY Jenny

04/01 Direct Link
Opportunities. Theyíre all around us. My dad said problems are opportunities. I usually think heís right, but some problems are heavy and big, deep and broad. I donít need an opportunity to practice my patience...but itís not up to me. Iíve got an opportunity to choose what I study and practice. An opportunity to act like a child and complain about being an adult. An opportunity to eat cereal at night. An opportunity to stop what Iím doing, decide it doesnít matter, and pick up my daughters, smell their hair, hold their sticky hands in mine, and keep them.
04/02 Direct Link
I had one of those moments. Truly: ďis this really happening?Ē It wasnít because of a news story, so unbelievable yet dull, falling on jaded ears. It wasnít the coffee. It was that part of mind I canít grasp, the part responsible for assembling dreams that put my daytime imagination to shame. The part of mind that guesses the moments couldnít possibly have added up to this. Senseless, I cannot comprehend. It comes in on another plane. And itís gone just as fast. Trying to explain is like my high school self describing love: necessary but sorely lacking in wisdom.
04/03 Direct Link
Sheís 10 months of power, thought, fury, and love. Miss Maeve, Lady M. our Badger, my bunny. The Smaller One who began as Bea. My mother compares her to Kierkegaard: questioning her own existence, itís trueó no one consulted her. But sheís consulting us. I knew she was a daredevil before she was born. Her movements have held up: she climbs up my front and starts down my back. Sheís famous for The Diveó going instantaneously horizontal. Sheíll catch your eye from across the room. And her smile will lighten your step. Always elegant, sockless. My determined darling, my Maeve.
04/04 Direct Link
I have no choice but to breathe it in. The exhaust appears a moment behind each car. I hold my breath for one count, two, then gasp. But the pollution travels with me one beat longer than I can wait. I tell myself itís not hurting me. Other smells are friendlier, brief. Backyard grills, the forever open door to the Pizza House, the pot smokers with their idiotic dryer sheets, and the ones who just donít care. Sometimes I smell field hockey practice: the grass, my sweat, late summer, dirt. Memories strong like a jab of fear. I push on.
04/05 Direct Link
I dodge people now like the plague. The old expression has new life, a nightmare revisited. My pace isnít fast, but itís steady and measured. I gauge the passing of a walker. When faced with a sudden oncomer, who will move first? Today I turned a corner and met someoneís gaze. I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around and ran away. Suddenly, another one. I dipped into the street, he stopped, backed up, stared me down as I passed. Not a smile. I waved wildly at him. Boo. Believe me buddy, I donít want to be near you, either.
04/06 Direct Link
I run on sidewalks when I have to, pavement when I can. Sometimes I wish my music wasnít a crutch, but itís hard coming back from where Iíve been. Hard having two babies back to back at age 40 and 41. Hard gaining so much weight my knees grew resentful. Itís like carrying another person, but me. The weight of experience and hard work. The weight of giving myself entirely to another. And another. And another. And Iím not sorry at all. But I do what I have to do to keep going. Music lifts me up, propels me forward.
04/07 Direct Link
The first run of the week is hard. Almost always hard. Thatís if the Sunday run happened and went well. I feel so good that I know that a hard one is coming. And it does. My legs feel heavy like lead on Tuesday, my heels hurt, my lungs scream too soon. Everything aches and creaks and my mind spins, why am I doing this? Why should I bother? I canít do this, it hurts, itís all wrong, Iím too old, Iím too slow, Iím too big. Somehow, I calm my breath, I imagine lightening my step, I keep going.
04/08 Direct Link
It gets easier a mile in. Just have to get there. I get there. I run through the doubt. I run until it feels good. Until it catches. Then Iím drawn, pulled forward by a force that seems extrinsic, but isnít. Still, itís not the same as it used to be. Maybe itís too soon. Maybe itís just going to take longer, like everything does when youíre older. My face sure doesnít show Iíve been running again for three months. Itís slow going, like this monthís writing. How much more will I have to wade through before it gets going?
04/09 Direct Link
Harder/easier, whatís the difference? Each day I work. It is work to serve a family, to keep a house in order, to show up, get dressed, nod your head at the right moments, hand out papers, ask questions, judge behaviors and responses, push thinking, clean up spills, teach skills, itís all just work. Itís not bad, thatís not my angle. Iím not that simple, but it is simple. Itís all just movement and thinking. The only way I could imagine not working is if people handed me things and cleaned up around me, made my decisions. Who wants that?
04/10 Direct Link
Rainy and cold; the last day of the month. It feels like my graduation day. A let down day of epic proportions. A day Iíd like to forget. Iím unsettled and with good reason; plenty of reasons in fact. Yet I did my tasks, my work, corresponded, reached out, did my part, acted normal, and here we are. Some things left undone and others tied up. The mundane feels safe. I want to keep my daughters away from the excitement I chased. Iím not naive but the enormity of experience weighs on me like a heavy, wet cloak. Consider that.
04/11 Direct Link
Aging parents, aging dogs. Tough stuff. I worry about all of them on the stairs. Itís easy to forget the numbers. Then I do the math. The dogs are 11 and 13 this year. Each has, like cars I owned, gone through rough patches. Things seemed to be breaking down or ďgoing,Ē then those things slowly fade and normalcy is regained, if for just some time. We have our routines, lots of coaxing, cajoling, reassuring, cuddling, apologizing, encouraging. Soothing. Reminding. Iím glad I can be home with them. I wish I could be with my parents, too. I miss them.
04/12 Direct Link
When I run, I turn around quickly to see if anyoneís coming. Like checking the blindspots when driving. I hope my children donít have to live their lives looking over their shoulders or wearing a mask. Itís hard to figure how weíll ever get out of this; weíre in so deep. But I have to trust that certain systems work. It appears that many systems donít work. The resentment and the unfairness is palatable today. Itís like someone keeps shoveling something my way and I canít hold it any longer. Gratitude takes work, donít tell me any different. Press on.
04/13 Direct Link
Know your audience. Donít talk to people without babies about babies. Donít talk to people who donít run about running. Donít talk to poor people about being rich. Donít talk to rich people about being poor. Donít talk to a child about being old. Donít talk to an old person about being wise. Donít talk to your husband about your entire past. Donít talk to people who name their kids with all the same letter about how annoying it is when people name their kids with all the same letter. Donít talk about the disease to people who arenít sick.
04/14 Direct Link
Before. I opened up the door to the basement and walked down the steps, flicking the light on as I descended. Ducking wasnít necessary but the low ceiling over the stairs always caused the involuntary movement. The air was damp; the dehumidifier was full. Tiptoeing around boxes, I arrived at the washer. I popped open the door and pulled the cold, damp, sweet-smelling lumps out of the machine. I pulled as many as I could into an armful, careful to avoid dropping any onto the bare concrete. Armful after armful I projected them into the dryer. I worked in silence.
04/15 Direct Link
After. As I approached the basement entrance, I felt the cold, damp air escape underneath the door. It sent a twinge of fear through my socks and up my back. I slowly turned the doorknob, then flicked on the light, the buzz of the bulb loud against the silence of the kitchen. Walking down the steps, I heard the creak of the old wood. I instinctively ducked where the ceiling grew low; the joys of an old house. I wondered what it would be like to get trapped down here. Or worse, if someone was down here, waiting for me.
04/16 Direct Link
After. No, no one is down here. I pushed the thought out of my mind. I tiptoed across the uneven concrete, avoiding boxes and support columns. I popped open the washer and the sweet, cold smell of clean laundry distracted my thoughts momentarily. Pulling out wads of damp clothing, I piled it in my arms, careful to avoid dropping them onto the dirty floor. When it was empty, I grabbed a dryer sheet and threw it in. The wind growled outside and I wondered if the rain would turn to ice before morning. A rustling behind me. I spun around.
04/17 Direct Link
A question I wish someone would ask me. I looked up just in time to see a black and white cat walking down the roofline on the garage three houses straight ahead. When possible, I pepper my calmness with quiet observations. But if I donít physically move, my head spins and my thoughts get stuck like feathers in a fan. I long for peace, and I often have it. I didnít used to, though. And I wonít forget those days. Back to questions. I loved being asked--all kinds of things. Used to love it. When someone showed curiosity, interest, intrigue.
04/18 Direct Link
Writing my life story. When I was little, I became afraid of forgetting. Iíve written about this before, probably much more poetically. I used to write things down, anywhere, scraps of paper. I was famous for unfinished diaries, my teachers called me ďinconsistentĒ -- wise sages they were. Seeing into my future, putting a diagnosis onto words, making me forever refer back to it. Anyway, as it stands now, I find myself referring back to certain parts more than others. I hope for much more time to put things in order, but it canít hurt to start. I love to remember.
04/19 Direct Link
What is wrong with my writing? Where is all that Iíve learned? I canít turn off the self editor, the backspacer, the one who used to let go. Wild Mind is trapped under layers of lists of stress, fears, circular worries about financial prospects and aging realities. Monkey Mind is enjoying quite a stay in hotel me. I hope it doesnít last much longer, but I have yet to break through the ice of this covering, this thick thing Iím surrounded by. I can barely describe it, obviously. Keep pushing and writing garbage until something makes sense or breaks through.
04/20 Direct Link
When I want something done, I do it. So the things I havenít done, I havenít wanted, right? Itís not that easily explained. But I can say: doing things is the only way. I canít be around non-doers. They make me confused, angry, resentful, jealous? No, that canít be right. They fill me with pity, because they donít know what Iíve figured out. That itís the thing of life to do. To stand around and talk is crap. Except if you want to talk about being. Iím a human doing not a human being, they chide. Sometimes I just am.
04/21 Direct Link
Itís not even a relief when I finish one of these entries. Itís like my whole entire life is aimed at bed. The relief to lie down at night in bed. Not even to sit in bed, and certainly not the events leading up to bed. But the final stretch, the reach to the lamp, to set my glasses down on the table, to put the pillows where they go, that exhale. It is amazing, and every night I say out loud, ďthis feels amazing.Ē I canít tell if Iím becoming more boring or if Iíve always been this boring.
04/22 Direct Link
Itís not even a relief when I finish one of these entries. Itís like my whole entire life is aimed at bed. The relief to lie down at night in bed. Not even to sit in bed, and certainly not the events leading up to bed. But the final stretch, the reach to the lamp, to set my glasses down on the table, to put the pillows where they go, that exhale. It is amazing, and every night I say out loud, ďthis feels amazing.Ē I canít tell if Iím becoming more boring or if Iíve always been this boring.
04/23 Direct Link
A perspective shift is all I need for this writing project. Like everything, when you look at it from a different angle, the next day, it changes. Usually for the better. These are just ideas, seeds of potentially well-developed thought. Things are happening I canít find the words to respond to, let alone without a preposition at the end. All my ideas seem so useless but I know itís not true. Iím not trying to be clever or deep, I just want my brain back. Iíll partly blame my kids. But itís mostly my circumstances. Itís part of the process.
04/24 Direct Link
We were promised a thunderstorm, but instead we just got rain. The humidity of the day rapidly cooled and the air came through the windows in a way that made me breathe again. ďIs it going to stay this hot?Ē he asked. Of course it is. We say that every year. What happened to spring? Humans have repeat conversations to comfort themselves, like putting on an old sweatshirt. It smells and feels familiar, friendly. It never changes. Unlike the weather, which always changes. But big picture, itís all cyclical. The cars hiss past our house. Screen door permits a breeze.
04/25 Direct Link
Some of this I must toss. Iíve really surprised myself, not being able to handle this writing thing. I must have been living some kind of delusion all those years I thought I could do it. Or maybe I just surrounded myself with people who told me I could. It is one subject on which I remain on the fence. I guess itís a relief to have found other purposes for my life. It takes the pressure off to be good at it. I never want to go back to being lost. Iím certain I know how to stay found.
04/26 Direct Link
My husband thanks me occasionally for giving birth to our two daughters. I find it amusing, although I know he is utterly sincere. And if youíre going to be sincere, you may as well be utterly. Heís a man of very, very few words. And sometimes he does not know what to say. I know because he tells me this, and also because he does not tell me this. But he shows his gratitude even more than he puts it into words, he lives his dedication in ways I should not expect, but have grown to rely upon, like air.
04/27 Direct Link
Things I think about a lot: making progress, lack of progress, other peopleís lack of concern about progress. Flossing teeth, high school, old houses. Having so much money that hired help would be needed in order to maintain responsibility. Windows on houses, how much I hate vinyl siding. How words containing both I and L are hard to spell. Time traveling, what other peopleís consciousness is like, death. Faith. Fear. Window treatments. Paying off debt and skin cream. Memories, my mind. Metacognition: thinking about thinking. Running. Music, its landscape. What I will pass down. Things I think about a lot.
04/28 Direct Link
Laughing like I never thought Iíd laugh again, laughing in his arms. There was a time I used to laugh like that right before I fell asleep. I tried to tell a story and commented, apparently on things I saw. While the words emerged I realized they made no sense, and the cycle began. It felt good but more so because it was all innocent. Laughing with a clear conscience is something I suppose many people never do after childhood. Itís not about comparison, just what I hear. And anyway, people lie a lot, donít they? It doesnít really matter.
04/29 Direct Link
Is it possible that every single day is just hard, or is it just me, just us, just now? And how long does now last? I wouldnít trade it, no, but it is tiring. Like beyond tiring. Tiring that makes me stupid and not be able to write or be creative or remember things. Tired that makes my back hurt in places I didnít know I had. Tired that makes me invert words, forget ends of sentences, and rename nouns. Tired that, if Iím just tired enough, makes me trip and spill into a laugh so hard itís worth it.
04/30 Direct Link
My ďinterestsĒ included: fighting against the natural tendencies of my brain stem, and in doing so, finding contentment. How self-absorbed, annoyingly introspective, yet prophetically accurate could I be? Very, turns out. I had no idea the path I was on when I wrote that, clearly, but something inside me did. As I trudge joyfully through my very practical daily life, caring for others and forgetting often how to be Deep, Iím glad I got a lot of that out of my system. Maybe itíll return someday, but for now Iíll stay up here and look ahead while enjoying actual contentment.