Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Whew.

Well, I'm glad to report that after feeling that my last post was the all-time low of parenting, things HAVE in fact improved! We've had no major issues beyond the usual meltdowns over missing shoes and undesirable dinners, and only one anonymous commenter thought I should start hitting my kids! No one had any advice about the dog, so I guess she's really a lost cause.

Life feels really busy but it's really this week and next week and then things kind of slow down. Just in time for midterms and the ramp up to the holidays. Is it just me or does the fall semester fly by and the spring semester drag? Every year.

I signed up for this Last 90 Days challenge thing that is all about ending the year strong on your resolutions, just like you started the year! Except remember how I started the year with bronchitis and coughed so hard I strained a rib and had to put everything else on hold? Yeah. So not like that. Anyway, I feel like the only thing preventing me from eating healthy and exercising regularly and reading all the books I want to read is the lack of a motivational e-mail to remind me I want to do those things, so I should be totally good now!

In all seriousness, I am in a slump because I've been feeling super tired since I got back from California and OMG I should talk briefly about that... I went to a Brave Magic Conference at 1440 Multiversity and it was delightful. The workshop sessions with Cheryl Strayed and Liz Gilbert were engaging and motivating. The campus is a dream--all redwood trees and your basic Northern California beauty. The food was The Best with so many vegetarian options and all of them delicious. I ate things like kale and parsnips and enjoyed them! It was a huge treat for me--and there was plenty of reckoning with privilege because it was very expensive to attend and while it felt like self-care it also felt very self-indulgent. In between workshops, you could attend yoga classes or tai chi or meditation or take guided nature walks or soak in the heated infinity pool. I did a lot of yoga and spent a lot of time outside and left feeling clear about my book project. The most important revelation I had was that all I can do is put my part of it out there and then the rest of it is none of my business. It feels really discouraging when people talk about the impossibility of finding an agent or publishing, but at the same time doing nothing leaves me right where I am now, and not finding an agent leaves me right where I am now... so I guess we'll just see how it goes.

That sounds like I'm all zen about it, but the scary part is that it means so much to me because it's Eliza's story and I want to do her justice. And honestly, I also have really thin skin when it comes to academic articles or any kind of writing. My understanding is that editors/publishers NEVER say, "This is brilliant! Let's print it." Even to people like Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert. So I'm just working on being brave and putting myself out there. And I'm asking for help, which is super uncomfortable! It all felt easier when I was eating meals I didn't have to prepare or clean up and spending time staring up at ancient redwood trees and theorizing how I would do this, but now we're back in real life where I sit in my office staring at my salt lamp and diffusing my essential oils in an effort to recreate that California feeling. Somehow it's not quite the same.

So, yes, I've just felt more tired than usual since getting home from California and really just felt under the weather all weekend, so I'm hoping I'll snap out of it and get back to my daily yoga routine. I did go to a restorative yoga class on Sunday which was super woo-woo and LISTEN I like the woo-woo. Even if I can't get into it 100%, I still like it. I like when people are totally into something.

(Side note: One time in a weird January term class that I co-taught, we asked the students to free write on what they were passionate about in an effort to get them thinking more broadly about potential majors or future careers. The answers were mostly sports (yawn) and then one student who was really adorable and earnest and had a British accent wrote, "I am passionate about cardiovascular health." And for some reason this just cracked us up and to this day my colleague and I will reference our passion for cardiovascular health. I still think it's funny, but maybe you had to be there?)

Anyway, the woo-woo yoga instructor mentioned that he'd heard a mortality test is whether you can get up from a seated position on the floor without using your arms. Ummmmmm, what??? So then we all practiced and it was stressful because it was basically a test of who in this class will die first. And it was this one lady with a bad knee.

Not really. It was a fun challenge. He also reminds us not to take yoga too seriously, which I never do because I love it and I believe in it and it makes my mind calm and my body stronger but it also strikes me as slightly absurd the whole time I'm doing it.

Anyway, what I've been missing a lot since school started is all the reading I did this summer. Oh man I love reading all the things. And what is hard is that even when I technically have time to read now, I won't, because I feel like if I have the energy to read for fun, I could be reading for class (or worse, grading). So I'll zone out to Father Brown but I won't pick up The Woman in the Window which is RIDICULOUS. I need to do better. Especially because there are so many books I want to read! But once NaNoWriMO (National Novel Writing Month) starts in November, there probably won't be any time for that. But that's only 30 days! Anyway, these are my problems.

That and I need to finish a query letter for this book project and that feels Hard and Scary so I definitely graded 30 exams today instead of working on it which tells you how hard and scary it is because basically I'd rather do anything but grade exams.

Zuzu asked me today why Coco is more like me and she's more like David. I didn't really understand what she meant (her dad is a rule follower so she's really like nothing we've ever seen before), but then she explained that she has brown eyes like David and Coco has blue/green eyes like me, and she gets canker sores like David does. Poor little punkin. I reminded her that Coco gets bug bites like I do, so there are trade offs. It does make me think about how we shape their understanding of themselves with these narratives: "Oh, you're just like your daddy" and I think that can be healthy and comforting, but it's also different from just letting them unfold into their own person. We bring all kinds of expectations. It also makes me wonder who Eliza would look like, because Zuzu does look a lot more like David and Coco does look a lot more like me (at least through the eyes). I felt so strongly in my gut that Eliza had blue/green eyes like me and Coco, but I will always wonder. (Zuzu's eyes were so blue as a newborn that I was shocked when they changed!)

Okay. I am ready for sleep but I have 25 pages of Mrs. Dalloway to get through before tomorrow. MW are my longest, hardest teaching day and I will never give myself this schedule again!


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