You see, the thing is, the less you do, the less you feel like doing. The moment I stop writing is the very moment paralysis begins. When I’m head in the books, like I was this summer, biking to university and reading and taking notes, my mind was full of thoughts and ideas and I ran about like someone with a basket trying to catch them all. I felt alive.
I’ve read Rufi Thorpe’s essay twice. The first time, it was a relief to recognize myself in the servitude of motherhood. How often I have felt this way. The second time, more recently, I was happy to find in its conclusion the word ‘worthwhile’. Here is this giant tension between art and motherhood, between selfishness and selflessness and I have not escaped. Instead, here I am, so lucky to feel it, to know it, to read women who put a name to it.
No one likes being forced to go slowly, to hold back, to be trained in patience and steadiness. Today I face the tyranny of toddlers who dictate the morning walk, or the trip to a park, and I abandon wish list to-dos, I consciously let go. Being at home is not a bad job. My bosses don’t berate me. The stress is slight and self-imposed. I could go on finding productivity in shopping sales, chopping ingredients, and hopping around, but I soon miss the quiet development of thought. I start to daydream of an empty house, me and a cat, an end of day meal, a materialized husband, and an uninterrupted conversation. For now, all I have are small packets of time like islands of respite upon which I build stories and good habits by the sliver. The days and the course through them don’t change much, but I figure that this is exactly the lesson I need right now. It is slow and the repeated efforts are incremental but already I can see that when I look back the view has changed.