My Practice Blog

bruce-eric-kaplan-it-s-easy-the-first-step-is-to-entirely-change-who-you-are-new-yorker-cartoonLast night, I dreamed I turned into a werewolf. Little by little, beginning with two growths on one of my feet, reddish bumps. Then sprouting whitish hairs from my toenail beds, followed by the nails themselves transforming, becoming longer and pointier on both my hands and feet.

As it turned out, the condition had been going around, and there was a certain magician who knew all about it and could cure it. I needed to pay her in singles, and wasn’t sure I had any dollar bills.

Shapeshift much? Or something.

Until I read Patti Digh’s happy birthday post to her wonderful 37days blog, I’d forgotten that yesterday, January 7, marked seven years since I began blogging.

What began as a place to practice has remained a place to practice. So many changes later. Lifetimes: Pearl was nine months old when I wrote my first post, Aviva four. I was a nursing mama in my early 30s. When I began writing here, I never could have imagined or anticipated the ways in which life unfolded. But it did that, because it does that. And I keep learning.

This morning, I fell apart before work. Because I do that, sometimes. I was sad leaving for work. I felt stressed and anxious and resistant. I did not want to say goodbye to Mani for the day. It was hard, accepting things as they were. Letting it out and then moving on. Coat, bag, keys, ignition, errand, office. The world waits sometimes. And other times, it doesn’t, and we shore up and it’s really ok. It just is.

I need to restart my sitting practice, which I will tell you has been nonexistent. I need to set a timer for five minutes and sit my ass down on a cushion.

Whoever invented the past tense was a MacArthur-worthy genius. It’s an invaluable tool for leaving things there. Just be sure to lock the door when you leave, lest the whole motley crew–the werewolf and the saboteur, the addict and the tyrant–pick the lock or just kick the door in wearing ski masks and fancy suits, like some wannabe Ocean’s Eleven cast of the psyche.

I turn forty next week. I’m planning a wedding. I love my kids more than words can say. I live with a woman who treats me with a kindness I do not have to doubt or earn, ever. Life is not necessarily easy.

It’s also not so hard.

Mostly, it’s hard when I make things more complex than they are. Or take things personally that have nothing to do with me. Or don’t speak up when I’m sad or angry. Or make excuses for myself instead of saying, “I’m sorry.” Or torture myself by imagining what other people are thinking when really I have no idea because I didn’t ask them. Or circle back to the past rather than staying put, on these very shores the past delivered me onto. It really was a dicey trip. And dark, some of it. Dangerous, even. Nothing to glorify. And I’m glad to be here, in the relief of not reliving but living. Without pretenses or prefixes.

When I had my big cry this morning, I gestured around and said, “There’s no reason for this.”

This is like saying: There’s no reason for it to be raining. It’s a moot point, to say what is happening shouldn’t be happening. And then it stopped and I stopped at the bank and went to work and then the sun came out and I ate a banana and looked forward to going home and kissing people’s foreheads. My people’s.

Why am I still blogging, seven years and nearly 900 published posts later?

Not to inspire and not to advise. Not to pontificate or sermonize. Not to wax poetic or sugar coat. Not to hit a triple home run or get discovered. Not to change my life, but to take moments here and there to notice where I’m avoiding it and where I’m sinking into it, to hit a reset button when I’m going batshit crazy due to my own habitual nonsense. Not to change who I am, to become someone other or better. Not to hide behind a mask, read lines from a script, take or offer direction, or analyze werewolf dreams.

The bullseye was never the goal, and still isn’t, but rather to show up and write and see what happens. My practice blog has served me well these past seven years. Imagine if I ever decided to switch to a real one! (That is so not happening. Plus it’s the kind of joke that makes Aviva groan and say, “Really, Mama?”)

6 thoughts on “My Practice Blog

  1. writer553 says:

    A werewolf? How exotic, Jena. I’d google a dream dictionary but I stopped doing that when a therapist told me my dreams mean exactly what I think they mean. “They’re YOUR dreams, Tricia,” she chastised.

    You take things personally because you are, quite simply, Jena. Impossible for you to do otherwise. You are probably like me at a party, if one person (stranger) seems stranded amidst the festivities I cannot relax. I think of myself as litmus paper, remember in physics (chemistry?), the piece of filament that reacts in every new situation dramatically, differently.

    Is this where our best work comes from? I hope so, Jena. I tell myself that, makes it easier some days, but on others I wish I could just coast a little and rely on the filters others seem able to call on.

    I continue to enjoy your work immensely. Thank you for all of it.

    Will you come and read my latest? http://www.triciamccallum.com

    Meanwhile, Slainte m’hath, (Gaelic… google it,) xo tricia.

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