Saturday, July 20, 2013

The things I am not.

I am not a writer.  Or I am one, but I am a writer who does not write.  It's the kind of lazy, self-indulgent, self-torturous condition that seems to be my specialty.

* * *

I am not well disciplined.  I never have been.  I like to blame my parents for this. But by one's mid-thirties, one is no longer permitted to blame others for one's shortcomings.

Still though, it is all their fault.

* * *

I am not a daughter.  I am, of course, in technical senses.  I have parents; a mother who became impregnated with and gave birth to me, a father who did his best to roof and clothe and feed.  But there are connotations to the word, "daughter," that have never felt as if they fully applied to me - either in that they were not bestowed upon me or I have not earned them properly.  Not fully understanding what it might mean, it's difficult to put much of a fine point on it.

* * *

I am not a mother.  I am, to my fur babies: four rabbits and a half-grown cat.  I love them and care for them, despite and sometimes because of their bad behavior.  I feed them, treat their illnesses, worry about their feelings, and wonder if they are warm enough at night.  But they are fur babies, not people, and no amount of my talking to them as if they are in fact people will make them so.

In my mind I am a great mother, a wonderful mother; not perfect, but perfectly imperfect.  Caring and involved, doling out just the right amounts of "tough love" and discipline tempered by an understanding ear and unfaltering love and support.  All day, every day, I imagine scenarios: This is how I will teach my children to cook and do laundry and build things and drive a car.  Here is where we will come, early in the morning, to take photographs on real film, plus silly ones on a cheap digital "for posterity."  Here is where I will mark their heights on the door jamb, on the first day of each month, and write their initials next to the date next to the score mark and measure it with a free yardstick from the hardware store.  Here is where we will sit after school, eating pieces of fruit and doing homework, where I will read the books that they are reading in school so we can talk about them together.  These are the fluffy pancakes and real maple syrup that I will serve up on lazy Sunday mornings as we all watch cartoons and read the paper together, sipping coffee and steeling ourselves for the chores that lay ahead.

Ghosts of the children that I do not have - birthed, adopted, fostered; toddler and teenager; black, white, Hispanic, and Asian - wander through the halls of my too-big house, whispering to me: someday.

* * *

I am not disabled, nor am I completely abled either.  I get by, and make do, always feeling that I am straining - but not straining enough to warrant real, permanent rest.  I long for a time when I no longer have to work, but know that without the structure of work I fall apart.  The body I've been given to live in may be why I so despise the in-between places.  I try to see it as a learning experience, a test of character.  But often, it just feels like a big "fuck you" from the universe.

* * *

I am not beautiful.  For a time, when I was young, I thought I might be.  Or I could be.  Or maybe I was, or would have been, had I not been so wretchedly against myself.

* * *

I am not a smoker, but I desperately want to be.  At 35, it may be too late.

Lately I find myself wishing for rain

Lately I find myself wishing for rain most days.  Perhaps it is just for want of relief from the July sun of Louisiana.  Or perhaps it is to remove the affront that lovely skies seem to issue: It is beautiful outside!  You must enjoy it!  Squander it and perish!!!

And when the rain finally comes, as it does so often on summer afternoons, I feel relief in the sadness that comes with it.