I'm linking up with This Ain't the Lyceum to bring you seven quick takes from my world this week.
Nobody really reads this, nor do I use my real name or too many identifiable details...however, I'm pretty sure I'm going to close up shop here at the blog....again...for real this time. I do fancy myself a writer in some sense. That's how I process things. I want the freedom to write down my thoughts and talk about them with others, while at the same time not invading my personal life with the blog. Maybe I need to privately online journal or open up a word document and call it a day. Maybe I need to share more with people I actually know on Facebook or in real life to get the connection I guess I'm seeking. It just seems like most the Catholics online all seem to be either men doing apologetics or moms who blog, which brings me to point number two.
I am not a mom. We are "trying," and have so far been unsuccessful. It's not my fault that we didn't get married until I was 33, and that was almost 2 years ago. It's not my fault that my parents didn't pay for my wedding because 1) they're poor and 2) it was a Catholic wedding. It's not my fault that we started off our marriage with student loans and unexpected medical debt from an accident my husband had that was a very near miss on his life. That is the way my life has unfolded thus far. I have not given into despair (yet), nor has it been long enough to have to look into infertility treatments. It's totally in God's hands. I have no idea what will happen. However, it's really hard to be bombarded online with mom-talk, mom-blogs, etc. in the online Catholic world when I want that and don't know if or how it'll ever happen for me. I don't relate, aside from being an auntie and being close to many moms. That's not my life (yet? ever?). On the other hand, it's just hard not to be bitter or even jealous, especially when people complain over things that they seem to take for granted, things that I want, things that I think I would embrace. I know we all have crosses and that as much as motherhood is a blessing, it can be a cross too. I just think I need to step away for my own sanity from the overwhelming mommy-sphere of the Catholic online world that I have stumbled upon. I get it - moms, Catholic moms need community. I just feel so left out sometimes. Where is the newlywed community? Where is the married/no kids community? Where is the "we accept you as you are" community? Where is the co-ed, multi-aged community? Which brings me to point number three.
I want community - in real life, online - and I don't think you have to be the same as someone else to have community. Why are so many women's conferences for moms, not all women? Why are there so many retreats that are men's retreats and women's retreats, not for couples? These are my own special pet peeves of life. First world problems. I think it helps to find people in your age and stage of life. It also helps to stretch yourself outside of that. One of the most life-changing and meaningful relationships I ever had was with someone in her 80's when I was in my 20's. All that to say, it's rough out there. In order to get community, we have to intentionally create it. We are doing stuff in real life to reach out to others in our big city and to create a network of friends and family we can really turn to and connect with. And it's hard, but it's definitely gotten better than it was even a year ago. I just don't think the online world has contributed to my need for community, it has (for my own reasons) made me feel more isolated sometimes. I think I need to step away.
I am going through what my husband calls a "Franciscan" phase right now. In other words, lots of donation bags to Goodwill, lots of shredding of paper, lots of de-cluttering, lots of reading of minimalist books. It's been fabulous. I was sick for the first 6 months of our marriage, followed by 9 unplanned surgeries/procedures to my body, so essentially our entire first year of marriage involved medical issues for me. The second year of marriage was spent kind of getting to a new normal and getting my head above water, but lots of it felt like survival mode. One major change was commuting to work on public transportation, rather than driving. In such a large city, I'm still gone for work about 11-12 hours per day, but it's less stressful on me. Having less driving time (not necessarily less commuting time) has given me my life back a little bit. I have been able to do more than just "maintain" at home, but actually de-clutter, organize, and simplify. When you do that with outward things, it makes you want to do that with inner things, and "invisible" things, such as digital presence, social media, etc. Which brings me to point number 5.
Taylor Marshall recently mentioned on his podcast that he and his wife are doing a 30-day social media fast. It has made him more present in his everyday life. He said he has more time to read, feels like he is more focus and relational with his children, and it has been a positive experience.
I've occasionally taken time off or deactivated social media. I think it might be time to do that again, blog included...only I think the blog might be a permanent closure. It just seems like relatively little-to-none ROI (return on investment) for the time and mental energy. There are some high-drama people in my family, and it's hard enough to maintain relationships with them, much less manage their expectations on social media interaction. It's ridiculous.
Not only are we trying to conceive, but I really really really need to get serious about my health. I feel bad on most days. I don't know if this is normal, but it is normal for me. Headaches, exhausted, roller coaster, pounding heart rate, etc. I am 90% sure this could all go away (or at least be drastically improved) if I strictly followed an anti-inflammation diet. Oddly enough, deleting a blog, deactivating social media, and cleaning out my closets help me focus on my physical health. It makes me feel like I have the psychic space and energy to take care of those things. Exercise, eating right, sleeping more. I have been able to detox my body before with good results, but I feel like this will be a lifelong struggle, a lifelong choice to say "yes" to this way of life every single day. It's so easy to go off track (there are cookies in the work break room this very moment).
I feel like all six points thus far are really close to some major self-pity. I don't mean to come across that way. I love my mom friends, and maybe someday I'll get to be in that club. Maybe not. I can't mourn an unknown reality, I just have to take it one day at a time, which has surprisingly been very hard. Feeling so overwhelmed (as I do by life right now) just makes me want to re-evaluate priorities and get serious about living my best life. Maintaining this blog doesn't seem to fit in that equation right now.
In honor of one of my favorite saints and one of my favorite soon-to-be saints, a friendly reminder that it's the little things that matter. It's the small things, the little way, that matters. I need to do those small things with love, great love. I need to step back from all that is non-essential right now so that I have the ability to even attempt the little way.
I wish peace and all good things to anyone who reads this.
~ Mother Teresa, pray for us. ~
~ St. Therese, pray for us ~