Last night I was at the Zubhaus NYE party, and my bestie Stacy told me that I should write more. This is a foundational engine in our relationship, which was born of simultanious online experimentations in the written word and cemented with a constellation of mutual friends, cookies and love. I always wish she would write more. And I suppose, ever since I stopped taking my writing seriously, she started wishing the same thing.
I’m trying not to think too much about it. I’m trying to see this as a blank page, rather than a guilty resumption of a story that veered from higher learning to dark clubs to hasty marriages to mothering. It’s too daunting. I need to start over.
So, let’s pretend that you don’t know me.
I’m a high school teacher with an abiding passion for the written word. I tend to underestimate myself intellectually, a habit that started in middle school and dropped down thick roots in university. Sometime in the last 6 or 7 years, I discovered a latent jockiness, and now I feel positively at sea if I don’t walk or run or move. I have tried a bunch of hobbies; the only one I dropped almost entirely is belly dancing. I like to make things.
I’ve been married twice. I have three kids, or two kids, or one kid, depending on how you count. No matter how you do the math, though, there are kids lurking behind my eyes and on the fronts of my legs when I don’t have a lap. I carry them in my pockets all day.
This year is the second in which I have very nearly suffered a mental breakdown, triggered by a huge uptick in professional demands. I had lashed myself to the mast, determined to ride out two more years of the same, when I was told last year that I wouldn’t be needed. Two years of sweating blood somehow bought me a reprieve, a parole.
This year I get to find out what it’s like not to be quite so brave every day.
Another new thing: every year since my daughter was born, I have taken a picture of her wearing a year banner. This year my good camera is dead and I can’t revive it. I suspect that it would be impossible anyway; she delights in foiling my attempts to take her picture.
This year I want to find the battery charger and bring my good camera back to life. I want to run with my sons. I want to sing with my daughter. I want to just be with my husband. And I want to write.
Last night I rang in the New Year with a room full of strangers, my love, and three good friends. I very nearly didn’t make it to midnight; at 11 I had a panic attack and hid myself in the basement until it passed. Today I am writing and I am not panicking.