Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Responsibility

I’m in that anxious, want to make changes place again. Usually, it’s a very uncomfortable place that I get to, and feel I have to do something about it.

Not this time.

Yes, there are some changes I want to make. I am slowly backing off a number of commitments I have made. Not dropping them like hot stones, rather easing my way out. I signed up; I need to finish what I promised.

Part of that is my mother’s voice in me- she did believe in following through. But at the same time, she let me quit things I had an intense distaste for- like girl scouts. I hated girl scouts. I hated glue, I hated crafts and none of the girls wanted to go hunt for toads in window wells.

I mean, what was better than finding a big, fat toad?

She let me quit, maybe because she hated to deal with the long drive to the weekly meetings. She let me try other things- different musical instruments, every sport except football, overnight camps, long weekends away with other families.

I loved that. I actually loved most of the things I tried. Some, I had no patience for, like the musical instruments. Some, I credit for my ability to try new things without a tremendous amount of trepidation.

If I didn’t like it, I didn’t have to do it.

That may sound like I was allowed to wander and not follow through- nothing could be further from the truth. She hammered home, over and over, the need to be responsible to everyone else.

I didn’t have to be responsible for myself.

Which leaves me here, today, realizing I follow through with things that take care of other people. It might take me a while, but I always do what I said I would do. Even if it is a miserable experience.

But I don’t follow through when it comes to me.

I don’t honestly think my mother ever really took care of herself, either. She did so many things that made her miserable because she felt she had to, or it was the “right” thing to do. Even with great friends, a rich life, she was miserable most of the time. I know part of it was the alcoholism, part of it a life long depression, and she did not have the tools to conquer those things.

When she laughed, though, her deep, throaty laugh, her belly would giggle and you knew it came from a very real place. It’s a sound I miss very much.
This anxious place, the need to move, change, I can’t help but think comes from a place inside that is uncomfortable with getting close to being responsible to myself. It’s like watching a fire from the distance, wanting to get closer, but afraid to be burned.

There is a spot where I can be warm, though. Safe. I can hold my hands up to it and not catch fire.

As I clear my plate to work on my book, I feel the anxiety grow. Can I do it? Will it be stupid? I’ve written a book before- it took a long time, and intense discipline. Do I have that in me anymore or am I destined to write 800 word essays forever?

I’m not sure. I won’t know until I stick with it for a while, till I’m done with the first fifty pages. I do know one thing, though; my mother wanted to laugh more. I know it touched a place that gave her some peace, even if just for a moment.

I need to go sit by the fire. Sit with the anxiety. It’s not going to kill me. (Right?)

It’s about being responsible to myself.

7 Comments:

Blogger Sue J said...

That's a great post. I don't know what else to say right now, because you've got me thinking about some pretty deep stuff.

But I'll go hunt toads with ya!

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Jeffrey said...

I miss that laugh, too. I think you have it yourself.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Casey said...

You know this stuff comes from our childhood, because I suffer from that a lot too. What is it about us that makes us think to move, or to run will make it better?

I mean we didn't get to do that in our childhood. If we did escape to a friend or neighbor or summer camp, we knew that we had to go back and it would be the same.

Is it that when we were gone, and it was so nice to be someplace normal and safe, that we came to think by just changing our local it would change everything? How crazy is that!?!

It's funny that you should post about this today because I had this same exact conversation with Dave last night.

I talked a lot about running to Tombstone and then running to Tucson to get away from the mess I had created there and then moving across the country yet again to get away from both those messes!

Truth be told, a few months ago I was an absolute mess wondering why I had moved here and knowing I had yet again made a huge mistake, and I almost drove myself crazy trying to figure how to move back to Tucson! And I hate Tucson!!

It comes from not believing in ourselves and our decisions. And for me it comes from not taking enough time to make my decisions so that it is inevitable that I am unhappy in the long run! What would life be like if we were happy all the time?!?

Don't let this book thing get you all freaked out. It is time for you write it. It doesn't matter if your book produces the results all writers hope for. What matters is that you made a decision to do it and then did it! And you will! And it will be awesome!!!

Where is the freakin spellcheck option?!?

10:36 PM  
Blogger Suzy said...

I will go hunting toads to i could really use the distraction right now :) but here you don't have to go very far so anytime you have a hankering its an excuse to come visit. Book, Book, Book you go girl omg did I just say that I have been hanging around 12 yr old girls to much. You can, you know, do it. love ya
ttfn

11:24 PM  
Anonymous donald said...

guess i better get that house open, sounds like you are coming north soon! too bad the road is still snow covered, or you would be up here now!

7:56 AM  
Blogger Ulla said...

You do know, I hope, that the depression was caused by the alcohol?

4:29 AM  
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9:05 PM  

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