Sunday, January 25, 2009


I'm in the middle of a solo-parenting stint. Norm's in the UK. Emily has a cold, so we've spent more time indoors than normal.

It's cold outside.

I can't get out to walk the dog every day. He suffers, and so do I. I need to connect with the earth, even in winter when the ground is frozen and the snow whispers around my boots.

I've grabbed a moment to myself by letting her watch a Dora DVD. Later we're off to her friend's birthday party.

There is a huge amount of work to be done and I can't get started. I'm so overwhelmed that I don't know where to start. Do I pack? What do I pack? Do I organize and throw things away? Do I choose paint colours and hope that someone will show up to help me?

I am very afraid that I'm going to end up doing a lot of the work to get the unit ready all by myself. And I can't even go in to get a feel for what colours I might want, because I have to arrange to pay the rent, et cetera first. I'm stalled.

Emily is a pretty demanding kid at the best of times. She needs to be entertained constantly, having not figured out how to amuse herself. So when she's home, and awake, nothing gets done. She's worse when she's sick. She doesn't take no for an answer. And when she's asleep, I need to grab a few minutes just to vegetate...or lose my mind.

The house is a shambles.

One of the friends that I tutor called me in desperation. She needs help. This week. Next week will not do. I told her that I couldn't come this week, because N was away and I didn't have child care. She accepted my response. And called back and hour later, asking if she could come to me.

Well, yeah, after 9 pm on a weeknight, this dissolving any hope I have of snatching a moment or two of relaxation before bed. I should have said no.

I didn't. I couldn't. I know that her English skills are poor, and without my help she could fail her course.

Writing? What?

I know that all this work, the preparation, the planning, is supposed to get me somewhere. I'm starting to lose sight of where that is. I've become bogged down in the mire of details and peripherals. And yet, I can't move forward until the boxes are packed, the rooms are painted, the furniture is arranged, and I can sink into my soft bed in a room that's truly mine, in a home that's mine, with the comforts that I love to surround myself with. A house that is big enough to hold everything I value, and small enough that I can keep clean, without undue stress.

Part of this stagnant feeling comes from having no time for anything. Emily spends a lot of time with her dad, ordinarily. They miss each other. And in many ways, I miss him.

I would miss him less if I actually lived with him, and his way of suppressing what is not important to him. His subtle digs at paganism, belief of any kind in life after death, his declarations that classical music is the only worthwhile musical pursuit. His affirmations that my writing should be about earning more money. His denial of global warming, his fiscal conservative mindset. So not me.

But away from him, not being his partner, these things matter less. We are quite comfortable with each other. We confide and plan together. We know that our shared connection, the child we created, will keep us together in some measure for the rest of our lives. And we're both okay with that.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and wonder...what if....what if I felt even the smallest iota of physical desire for him?

Only now, at the age of forty-three, am I beginning to explore the concept of desire and what it means to me. For me, until now, sex was always something performed upon me...I was passive, I knew that certain things would give me pleasure, I had to have them in order to get through an act that really held nothing for me.

I though I was frigid.

The year after Emily was born, I think we had sex twice. And then we returned to some kind of weekly or bi-weekly perfunctory routine, that I would attempt to escape by feigning sleep or something, because as soon as his hands strayed to my hip as I lay on my side, I knew what was coming next, and I dreaded it. Oh well, if I have to....

After my surgery, I slept in a recliner for months. My back was so bad, I couldn't sleep in a bed....but how much of that was psychological? How much of that was my body rebelling against what my mind would not admit?

I never felt desire for him. I never looked at him in wonder, admiring the lines of his body, waiting for moments alone so that I could touch...there was nothing there.

I suppose, I could have kept on pretending. After all, who really knows if I'll ever be with anyone else? I could spend the rest of my life alone. People do. And then the things I had, mostly material, would still be mine.

But I would wake up at night with this strange body humming that would not go away. And I would ache to touch... me, who waited passively, to actually act, to take part....touch smooth skin, female curves, feel heat beneath my fingers. I had to take the chance, trust that somewhere out there, I could find what I have been denying myself all my adult life.

And he never really had all of me. It wasn't fair to him. He deserves more than my automated attempts at feigning passion. It's just easy to lull myself into a sense of comfort when he is around....he is so familiar, supportive, solid.

But I can't go back there. I know it would be wrong for me.

While every chaos imaginable has been thrust upon me, my mind is turning poetic again.
It's time for me to write a poem for Brighid....for this event(will add link later...blogger is misbehaving), which takes place every year at Imbolc. Sometimes I post something that inspires me, written by someone else. This year I'm determined to post something that I've created myself. I have images bubbling through my brain....must write them down.

The fog in my heart will clear as the week moves along.


Propane Amy said...

You wrire so beautifully. I get lost in your words. SO many things you say remind me of myself and the struggles that i have went thru. It makes me even more determined to move forward, to find the hidden meaning in my life. the one thing that everyone else sees in me that i've yet to see within myself. But i'll do it and i'll see it and i'll cry as i embrace it. And so will you my friend.

Maria said...

This response may surprise you. I think you need to work on concentrating on doing one thing at a time. Give it your total all. Unpack that box. Pick out paint. Whatever. Because until you nest will be stuck. So...nest.

Camlin said...

Amy - thank you.

Maria - you are absolutely right. Moving house is the key to moving forward. I need to pack and paint. Both.

Earth Muffin said...

I was going to say that getting the house things done will help you to feel your journey moving in the right direction...but you figured that out already! Good for you!

greg said...

I hope that things have gotten easier for you by now since it's Wednesday already (this week is flying!).
You are doing so well and moving along just fine, I think that looking back and wanting comfort (such as you had with your ex) is absolutely understandable. You know that you will not go back and you also know why - keep forward and it will get easier. There are bound to be really scary and frustrating moments for sure, but you are such a strong woman and will get through them with grace, just as you are now.