Mother vs. Writer

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I am currently reading Stephen King’s On Writing. I never thought I would read that book because I was pretty sure none of it was going to have any zombies or vampires or aliens or ghosts. The reason I finally decided to read it is because Stephen King is a master storyteller no matter what the theme is. And I was right. So far, I had just read the first part, “C.V.”, and I was transported.

As I finished the part, I started thinking about my own experience with writing. Sometimes I look back at my writing life and it feels like I’m looking at someone else’s life. I filled pages and pages, drowning myself in metaphors and similes and tea-refills. I lost track of time. I forgot to eat, sleep and shower, and sometimes even breathe. I would write an essay, then move on to a journal entry, followed by a blog post, and then an article to the entertainment section of the Jerusalem Post. And I would still be left scratching my fingers down to the bone as the writing adrenaline was rushing, and I burned to write something more.

Looking back at these old writings, I marvel at how brilliant it is. I discovered a girl with endless inspiration and hope for a glorious future in writing.

Now I can make excuses about why it hasn’t happened and say something cheesy like “life got in the way” but the honest truth is that I simply don’t want to. I rather spend time with my daughter. The drive and the elation I felt when I was writing pales in comparison to the constant unyielding ecstatic joy I feel when I’m with my daughter. She makes me happy in a way that nothing else can. Even when she cries, even when she refuses to sleep, even when she flails her little hands at my face when I try to change her diaper – my daughter is the light of my life. Even mundane activities that I sometimes complain about, like endless piles of laundry, can make me happier than any journal entry or personal essay can. When I dress my daughter in her fresh new clothes, and see how beautiful she looks in anything she wears, I thank the Goddess for the piles of laundry and wish for more.

Back when I had a constant flow of words pouring out of me at any given time, I was only a writer. I wasn’t a wife and I wasn’t a mother. I changed as a person. My list of priorities has changed. My identities changed. When I added wife and mother to the list, they went right to the top.  While back in the day, my mind was running wild with more ideas for writing, now it is running wild with more ideas for what children books to buy, what toys to get for my daughter, what new food she might like to eat, what new things I should teach her, what I can do to make her life better and happier. Basically, anything that has to do with being a mother is the only thing I am interested in now.

I might still create something or write something here and there (if this blog is any indication). My daughter is a year and a half. She loves books, she loves to draw, she absolutely adores music and dancing. Teaching her about art and writing is definitely something I want to do. So maybe I can lead by example.

Stephen King says that art is a support-system for life. And this was true for me for most of my life. I can safely say that if it wasn’t for my art, my writing, my music and my zines, I would undoubtedly be a maggot-infested, decomp-ridden corpse, six feet under a cold tombstone right now.

But today, it is my daughter that keeps me going. It is the intense desire to see her grow up and learn new things and discover her own unique passion that keeps me scratching my fingers down to the bone with anticipation. Motherhood is an adventure. Any mother would tell you that. But to me, motherhood is, like my art was in years past, a support-system for life.

Peace, love and all writers begin with ABC.

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As I Was

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Yesterday, I made a few lists in my journal to see how my habits and hobbies have changed from my pre-maternity to my post-partum time. I wanted to see if I would be able to reclaim some semblance of my pre-pregnancy life.

Things I regularly did before pregnancy and motherhood include:
– Zines
– Tai Chi
– Baking/cooking
– Reading books
– Writing letters
– Power walks
– Playing guitar

Things I do now:
– Laundry
– Raising my kid
– Sleep

Despite that enormous shift, I have managed to engage in some of my earlier activities. I made a zine and am working on another one, I baked cookies, I read two books and am ordering a few more, and I wrote some letters. This is not bad at all considering parenting is a full-time occupation. And yes, I did most of these while neglecting laundry and sleep.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that all these activities will never take a front row seat in my life ever again. I’m under no illusions about that. My life right now is all about my daughter and everything I do is for her, and I love and cherish every minute of my life as a mother. So these other activities that define me in every other aspect of my life will not be regular activities as they have been before.

But since they are important as part of my self-care, I will still try to find/make time to do them. I think it’s also important for my daughter to see her mother engaging in self-care and doing things that she likes. I want to lead by example and teach her that she too should take care of herself and do things that she enjoys and that are important to her, whatever it may be. If she grows up to love art just like her mother, that’s great! I will be thrilled to make art with her. If she grows up to love playing basketball like her father, that’s amazing! I’ll sign her up for lessons or encourage her to play with her father in the backyard or the park.

I think it’s especially important with activities that promote good health, such as Tai Chi and power walks. I want my daughter to lead a healthy active lifestyle and make exercise a regular part of her weekly routine.

SO! The next item on my list of things to reclaim is my Tai Chi exercises. I seriously need to get my ass back in shape, dammit. Not to mention my back, my legs, my arms, my neck, my abs… I feel completely wrecked. Integral Tai Chi should do the trick. I am attempting to make it a weekly thing as it was once before. But instead of Friday mornings (during which I am too busy with my daughter) I will set it on Thursday mornings.

Fuck sleep. Sleep is for the weak. The Dragon will devour any shred of my drowsiness and The Phoenix will team up with The Tiger to make me own the day and fuck shit up.

Peace, love and Corpse is for the Living

chakras

 

Room 101

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Hello EdenToday, I struggled to organize my daughter’s room but got frustrated because no matter how many things I put away, it always seems so cluttered.

So I sat on a chair looking around the room, pondering on the evolution of this room.

We moved to this apartment when I was two months pregnant. We haven’t even started considering a nursery, much less how to set one up. At the beginning, we used that room as a storage room until we found a place for all the stuff we had. Soon thereafter, it became my work room as well as a guest room.

We kept postponing setting up a nursery. My husband finally suggested we wait until two weeks before my due date. But then two weeks before my due date was when I finally gave birth. And so it was that we had a baby and nothing else – no diapers, no bottles, no clothes, no toys… we had a broken crib and a used car seat. Of course, even before we brought her home, we got a bunch of gifts and my husband went shopping with his sister for a whole stack of things we would need.

So as it stands, my daughter’s room is now a cross between a child’s room and a guest room, with a touch of a zinester’s work room and a goddamn storage space.

And we can’t unclutter it.

  1. We need the guest bed because my mom sleeps there when she comes to visit (plus there is a large compartment under the bed for storing more things).
  2. We can’t get rid of my work station because where else would I lament my lack of time to get any zinestering done? Plus it’s a kickass desk which my daughter could also use later on.
  3. We can’t get rid of any chest because my daughter has no closet and that’s the only place where we can keep her clothes and bedsheets.
  4. And as broken as the crib is, we still use it, even if my husband is so annoyed by it he said we should burn it once our kid graduates to an actual bed.

Above all that is a small bedside table under the desk, two guitars, three radiators and a laundry basket.

So feeling completely hopeless by this room being on the verge of explosion, I closed the door and am now planning a door sign with a nice frame.

Peace, love and only a metalhead would understand that title

What Vacation?

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This year’s holiday season has been the absolute worst one I’ve ever had.

It’s ironic that on one of my previous years’ holiday posts I said something along the lines of “I like holiday season because it’s my birthday and when the zodiac turns to Libra, the stars tend to align and all is right in the universe.”

Well this time, the zodiac and the full moon of Tishrei must have been in some kind of retrograde because goddamn! First my birthday and the fact that, first, my dog got sick, and then my daughter got sick. Then the back and forth rides from Jerusalem to Givolim, then Be’er Sheva, then back to Jerusalem and back to Be’er Sheva, then back to Jerusalem and all the way to Zichron and back to Jerusalem. My daughter constantly being confronted with people she doesn’t know, and being strapped to a car seat for endless rides, completely screwed up her routine and sleeping patterns and finally ended up being sick with a fever and eye infection for the entire fucking holiday.

My husband came back home from work yesterday and said that everyone kept asking him how was his vacation, and he’s like “What vacation?”

Seriously, vacation? What the fuck is that anyway? If holding your kid and feel her going up in flames is a vacation, then yes, we had a blast. If sticking a thermometer and a bunch of suppositories up your kid’s bum and rubbing antibiotic cream into your kid’s eyes and having her hate you as a result is a vacation, then oh boy, that was one hell of a vacation! If spending every waking hour at the doctor’s clinic turning your kid into a guinea pig being poked and prodded all over and having her hate you even more is a vacation, party on because my vacation kicked your vacation’s ass.

I don’t want any more vacations. I want my routine. I want my daughter to be healthy, have fun with her friends at daycare, and go to sleep at a normal hour and not wake up at 2:00 a.m. due to a body temperature of 40 fucking degrees.

This traumatizing holiday season is making me dread Passover and dread next year’s holidays even more.

On a brighter note, I got a new Stephen King book to keep me busy and hopefully make me forget about this steaming pile of horseshit known as a vacation.

Peace, love and here’s to a silent baby monitor

Holiday My Ass

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The Jewish Holidays.

Usually, they’re crazy. But this time, they were super crazy, with a twist of wild and the added element of insane. It was the first time I was to spend a holiday with my married family (my husband and my kid) and not my born one (my parents).

My parents decided to spend Rosh Hashana on the other end of the planet (Los Angeles). And since we were going to spend most of the holiday at my husband’s family’s house in the south of the country, my parents let us stay in their southern house while they were gone.

This however, didn’t prevent us from endless travels in the car, to and from different families’ houses. My 10-month-old, fearing anyone she doesn’t know, which is basically everybody, was attacked from all sides by people who were complete strangers to her.

“OH MY GOD SHE IS SO CUTE WHAT A BEAUTY LET ME HOLD HER JUST A LITTLE COOCHIE COOCHIE COO WHY IS SHE CRYING!!!”

She’s crying because you would too when complete strangers come at you from every side while screaming and making faces and trying to touch you. Put yourself in her tiny shoes for fuck’s sake!

She likes kids but they were all older than her and I kept having to shield her from the tempest of older kids who were running around like mad.

Being attacked by adult strangers and nearly being trampled by kids makes for a terrified and overstimulated baby and a worried mother who will know no sleep that night. My daughter didn’t fall asleep before 2:00 a.m. and I cried myself to sleep wishing I was back home in Jerusalem, where it’s quiet and comfy and where sleep is actually possible.

We spent the second day at my extended family’s place where there were still more strangers but also two other babies, so that was ok. We slept rather well that night.

On Friday we had lunch and headed home.

I can’t even begin to describe the amazing and relieving feeling of being back home. I felt like I do after I come back from a longass overseas trip.

“Thank. God!”

I think we were all relieved, including my daughter. In fact, she was so relieved she slept from 10:00 p.m. until 8:45 a.m. which is far longer than she normally does.

This upcoming weekend is the first time I will fast while taking care of a little baby. I can only imagine how BORED OUT OF HER MIND she will be since I won’t be able to do much. I don’t think anybody can do much when running low on fluids and nutrients.

My coworker suggested taking her to the park which sounded like a good idea at first until I thought about what that would involve, i.e. pulling a heavy ass stroller with an even heavier child up a flight of steps, walking to the park in the scorching sun, struggling to keep child away from yet another tempest of children riding bicycles, walking back home and dragging heavy stroller and child back down the flight of steps, and pass out.

I love the holidays. Really I do. But then again, not so much.

Goddamit

Peace, love and impending winter sucks too

 

Happily Married

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This past week was my boyfriend’s sister’s wedding… or as my coworker came to call it, my future sister-in-law’s wedding. Not that it’s completely far off, I heard that wish in some slight variation from everyone at the wedding. And from my own family as well. More on that later.

It was a wonderful wedding. It was one of only a handful of weddings I attended and truly enjoyed. However, it must be noted that the music repertoire of wedding DJ’s is so limited, it’s a wonder that they have any room to maneuver at all. The evening started off with a wide range of popular tunes covered by unknown artists in a genre that is completely different from the original. Some were not completely horrible, but when you hear REM’s Losing My Religion in a jazzy cover, or Guns n’ Roses’ Sweet Child of Mine covered as a cha-cha tune, you can’t help but cringe. That was in the huppa room.

Moving on to the party hall, the range of songs usually starts off with Middle Eastern music, then some popular Israeli tunes, and later in the night, 60’s Rock n’ Roll, international pop, R&B, world music and trance. Middle Eastern tunes appear every now and then in every category which is a total buzz kill.

I wonder if, by some miracle, one day I will attend a wedding where the DJ does not exist (because they’re all the same anyway), and the only tunes played are off a computerized pre-prepared Windows Media playlist by the bride and groom, and include songs that are not usually played in weddings nationwide.

I mean, why were there no Madonna tunes? One lame Lady Gaga remix cannot compensate for the lack of Queen Madonna, seriously. And whatever happened to the counterpart King, Michael Jackson? Even Billie Jean didn’t warrant a lousy cha-cha remix.

Personally, I wouldn’t even have minded some Destiny’s Child or Janet Jackson. And I would have given anything for Rammstein’s Du Hast. But that was not my wedding, and as long as the bride and groom enjoyed the music, that’s really all that matters.

And that’s all that will matter if the bride in question will some fateful day be me. I will undoubtedly refuse to suffer through more than 5-10 Middle Eastern songs at most throughout the night. If such tunes will make an appearance at all, it will be solely to please members of the older generation of my Moroccan family.

And therein lies the problem. Apparently, my family thinks that I owe them a wedding favor. My own wedding. Recently, my grandmother told me:

“Do your parents a favor and get married already. Do me a favor! Bring me some great-grandchildren.”

So basically, if I get married, it’s to make my parents happy. And if I have children, it’s to make my grandmother happy. Did anybody consider my happiness by any incredible stroke of luck? Well, if I happen to marry for my parents and give birth for my grandmother, and somehow manage to live happily ever after with this family that will ultimately be mine until the day I kick the bucket, so all the better. But if the time isn’t right, and I’m not ready, the music played at the wedding will be the least of my problems. Getting married and having children will be a tragic mistake if I am not ready to do so and I will be the one to suffer the consequences – anything from a nasty divorce to a complicated custody matters, legal issues, possible second, third, fourth marriages, and other related fuck-ups.

All of these will be my own problems because I am 29 and that makes me an adult, at least in the eyes of the law. In the eyes of my parents and my grandmother, I am still a child who can still be told what to do, when to do it, and who to do it with. But of course, my parents and my grandmother will not suffer any of the consequences brought about by my hypothetical marital disaster and subsequent demise. The only problem on my family’s mind will be feelings of guilt at most.

So why don’t I just tell my family what I feel and get them off my back already and get them to stop badgering me about marriage? Because chances are they won’t understand. My grandmother will certainly not understand. She will just think I am being arrogant and selfish.

Well, you know what? If I’m the only one in my family who gives a shit about my happiness, and that makes me selfish, then so be it. I am selfish.

I love my family to death, but I am not about to ruin my life by hurrying into a marriage I am not ready for, for my family’s sake. And this is not solely for my happiness, but my boyfriend’s happiness, too, as well as any potential offspring we may or may not have.

I just wish my family could understand that this is about my life and I wish that they will let things flow as I see fit. Not as they do.

Peace, love and mazal tov to Avishag and Ron!