dude, Sylvia Plath put her head in the oven over this shit

by renegademama

I usually only feel sorry for myself on Sundays, but today is clearly an exception. I have no reason to feel sorry for myself. In fact, my life is so good that if anything actually bad happened to me, I’d probably combust spontaneously due to shock and confusion. Today is just one of those days when I fail to find meaning in motherhood and the whole exercise just feels long and monotonous and silly and boring and I don’t find it deep or joyous or wonderful or even fun and what I want is for my life to be about me again. Just me.

I’m aware that what’s in it for me? is not an effective mothering principle, but I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m too selfish for motherhood. Sometimes (like right now) my selfishness catches up with me and I find myself seriously wondering if anybody would notice if I just ducked the hell out – moved to the Caribbean and started over, when nobody was looking.

Do you ever feel like a mouse running on a wheel?

I do. But more like a mouse with amnesia. Or an idiot mouse. A mouse who looks up at the wheel ahead of him, fixates on one spot and says “as soon as I get there, things are going to be different,” forgetting that he’s already been there, that it’s all the damn same and no matter how promising it looks, once he gets to that spot, he’ll look around and realize not a goddamn thing has changed. New day. Same wheel. And he’s still a mouse. And this is still his wheel. Things won’t be different, not tomorrow. Or in a year.

I’m not fulfilled. There’s so much undone and incomplete and this isn’t all of me. It just isn’t. It’s not enough. There was going to be more. It wasn’t long ago when I was sure there was going to be more.

The other day I was talking to Ava about working hard and focusing and not fucking up your life and I realized I was giving her the “don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made” speech. How is it that my mistakes have been made? I want to go back to my early twenties, when I was still actively making my mistakes rather than reflecting on them morbidly. When did I reach the other side, where my parents and old people live?

When did my dreams fade into helping my kids realize theirs?

When did my life become so damn defined?

When the hell did I grow up?

And why am I not where or who or what I envisioned when I was a little girl and my mother told me not to make the mistakes she made. And I looked at her with pity, a hint of disgust and the ever-present there’s-my-mama adoration, 100% fully convinced that it would never be me because I’m learning from her and how is it that people ever just screw up their lives anyway? I mean shit, it’s all so simple when you’re nine or twelve or sixteen or twenty-three. And you’re young and beautiful and FREE and you’ll never be too old to change things, redirect, make a new plan.

I’m not even old. I’ll be 32 next month.

But I’m old enough to know that life crashes forward in wild hideous abandon, whether or not I’m paying attention. And damnit sometimes I just feel STUCK– watching the world roll by and me, on my wheel, trying desperately to get to some spot that doesn’t exist, where my dreams are realized and I’m the person I always wanted to be. But there are kids to raise and babies to nurse and mortgage to pay and weight to lose and there’s fear and I’m so tired and I should just be happy serving these children. But I’m not. Not always.

Today I got to work and my colleague for some reason told me about the day the chaplains came to her house to tell her that her son had been killed. As if she knew I was feeling sorry for myself, even though I was doing so silently, in my characteristically immature self-centered way.

And I feel like a shithead for complaining.

At the same time I hear Langhorne Slim singing to me, his words like a banner across my mind: “I’ve had it better than some and i know that i shouldn’t complain – though my grandfather told me once that all pain hurts the same.”

Ah, fuck it. I’m going to bed. It will be better tomorrow.

11 Comments | Posted in I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING HERE. | February 9, 2011
  • Amanda

    Oh my, Janelle. You hit the nail on the head. That’s me every other day. So many ups and downs. I should be content. I should feel so much gratitude. But so much of the time I don’t and it’s really annoying and frustrating. Thanks for posting this.

    • renegademama

      Thank you for your comment. It’s amazing how hard this whole motherhood deal is…and I look at you and you just seem to have it all figured out – you and M are like my standard of “great parents.” You two have such a loving, functional household and you’re always doing the coolest shit w/ your kids! Glad to hear even a super SAHM like you has doubts and just hates it sometimes. Makes me feel so much better.

  • Shan

    I’m getting up to dance. You’re singing my song!

  • anastasia mcdonnellism

    I love you so much. It’s like you’re pouring out my soul for me. I wish you lived next door so we could throw all of our kids in a pile in the yard and drink wine and do some whining and hug it all out.

    Dude, seriously, I know all I do is come to your site and make pop culture references in response to your incredible writing, but in the eternal words of David Byrne & the Talking Heads…”HOW DID I GET HERE?!”

    • renegademama

      Just saw this comment. Thank you so much. Isn’t it amazing that two people can have such a connection, via writing? It’s one of the reasons I read, a lot, so I have those moments of being hit squarely with the truth of my experience in the words of another — by somebody who doesn’t know me, or maybe lived 100 years before me. It’s proof that we are all connected. This human condition is not unique to each of us….huh?

      Anyway, thanks again. I love that you come by here and I love your comments and someday if you’re in Northern California, we shall meet for sure and contemplate how the hell we got here.

      • Kathleen

        Hey I’ve always read your blogs but I’ve never responded. You are fucking awesome. Period. I’ve been feeling like your “Sylvia Plath” blog all month. Yesterday I even told my husband, “Ugh, I don’t want to be an adult anymore. I don’t feel like being a mother this month either. Just sayin'” Anyway, you fucking rock. Keep it up, sis. Are you really in NorCal? I’m in Sacramento…what about you?

  • Kelly

    Just found your site. I love this post. I feel this, too. I try to force the issue of making things happen and change in my life and end up feeling like either a bad mom or I give up and go to bed. I don’t think I ever understood why women took so long to get rights in this country – it’s because of this exact shit. And yeah, if you think about it too long, you’ll stick your head in the oven. Which won’t work, since ovens don’t work like that anymore. You’ll just have a high gas bill. Jesus, keep the oven door shut while it’s on, all right? We’re not millionaires.

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