Monday, April 18, 2011

Plopping and Hanging my Head

We just passed the fourth anniversary of my mother's death, and once again I wrote lengthy, detailed memoirs in my head that never made it out.

I am working late almost daily and bringing work home, trying to find some way to quite literally change the course of this one child's life, knowing that the odds are that the System is going to claim him as thoughtlessly as it has so many others. Meanwhile, my agency is facing up to 25% less funding next year, and if I'm not laid off myself, I will be doing the same work I can't get done this year, but with 25% fewer people and resources. And I can't make myself write about it, because it's a recipe that requires too much back story and too little hopefulness.

I am still running, but have lost the focus on letting go of anger and on learning to meditate and am feeling that dull, run-over lethargy and I just don't want to talk about it.

My friend had her beautiful baby girl, on Tankbaby (excuse me, Tankboy, as he recently turned two and is doing things like wearing cargo pants and shaving and calling girls)'s birthday, in the same hospital where I had Tankboy, and the visceral memories of that night and how weird but comforting it is to be the experienced mama...all plenty of writing fodder and I never even opened the Blogger window.

I'm pretty sure you guys have all given up on me anyway, because it turns out that I kind of suck at this being-part-of-the-blogosphere thing.


Today, on the way home, I was listening to NPR, and they had a brief interview with Anne Lamott about Easter. And she talked about Lent and Easter being this "dark night of the soul," when it's time to just stop the crazy head hamster wheels (um, that's my imagery, not hers), and she told a story about going shopping:

"When I was 38, my best friend, Pammy, died, and we went shopping about two weeks before she died, and she was in a wig and a wheelchair. I was buying a dress for this boyfriend I was trying to impress, and I bought a tighter, shorter dress than I was used to. And I said to her, 'Do you think this makes my hips look big?' and she said to me, so calmly, 'Annie, you don't have that kind of time.' And I think Easter has been about the resonance of that simple statement; and that when I stop, when I go into contemplation and meditation, when I breathe again and do the sacred action of plopping and hanging my head and being done with my own agenda, I hear that, 'You don't have that kind of time,' you have time only to cultivate presence and authenticity and service, praying against all odds to get your sense of humor back."
And I almost drove off the road.

"Annie, you don't have that kind of time." God. Damn. How could I not share that with you lovely people, especially those of you raising kids, especially those of you raising girl-type kids? You don't have that kind of time. You don't have time for self-doubting, self-critical bullshit. You don't have time for worrying how to impress other people. You don't have time to be less than yourself, to be not as good as you are, to hold your breath and spin your wheels.

You don't have that kind of time.



  1. You've been missed, and big hugs to you on the 4th anniversary of your mom's death!

    I do love Anne Lamott. She always gets it so wrong, admits it, writes about it, and then gets it so right. Thanks for sharing her this morning!

  2. Oh my heart. You came back with a bang, babe. Jesus.

  3. Nope. Still here. What Andrea and Elly said.

    Thank you for sharing this with us: "You don't have that kind of time." Indeedy! We should all use this as a motto for a more focused life.


  4. Goddamn, you're worth waiting for.

    I don't even subscribe. I just pop by now and then. And you just wrote, quoted, and delivered exactly what I need.

    Thank you for helping that child. Thank you for 'you don't have that kind of time' and thank you for posting again!

  5. Aw, you guys. I'm actually weepy over here. I can't believe you came back, considering how long I've been gone and that I haven't visited any of you in ages.

    Also, I love how you all gave me credit for an entry that is 30% just quoting someone else :)