You can’t just give someone a kiss goodbye and leave for work and walk back in the door five weeks later and expect there to be dinner on the table. “Where the fuck have you been” is a lot more likely than “Make yourself a drink while I pull the roast out of the oven, dear.”
So, pretend I just strolled in the door. You toss me a dirty look that means “where the fuck have you been” and I just stare blankly. The truth is I wasn’t at work. “So, where have you been?”
And the answer unfolds like a teenage explanation for being out past curfew. I went to the pool a bunch of times and I joined Costco and everyone knows that Costco takes forever because you have to eat all of the samples and I have had a few super fun triathlons and actually did I mention that I ran my fastest mile ever and Emily did a kid triathlon but it rained before she could run and speaking of the kids Lucy is getting so big it is crazy, really big, I mean we took the kids to an amusement park and she went on a water slide by herself. Oh, right. Where have I been? I don’t know. Just hanging around, doing whatever.
This evening we had dinner with friends and they mentioned the blog and I felt myself flush. “Well, yeah. I mean, I have a blog…” and I felt the rest of the sentence forming in my mouth like bile. But I haven’t written a damn thing in months. I showed you some pictures. I prattled on a bit about triathlons and birthdays and anniversaries. But I haven’t said anything worth a damn in a long, long time.
It’s scaring me. Do you lose your voice? Your courage? Do you just shut your laptop one day and then when you open it back up it doesn’t fit like a pair of jeans that used to be your favorite and then all of a sudden they feel like they belong to someone else? Something is changing.
The kids are changing. I have not wanted to spend time in front of the computer while Em is home from school. I painted the kitchen and we finished a pretty big kitchen project. But those are all excuses. A bunch of excuses that add up to “I don’t know what to write about right now.”
For a long time the things that mattered to me were Great Big Things. I was falling in love, I was finalizing my divorce, I was afraid to try and have a baby, I was pregnant, I had a newborn, I was learning to be a wife and a mother to two children. This is Big Stuff, big, dramatic, relatable, meaningful Stuff that I needed to say out loud so I could understand it.
Somehow the blog posts about Tempo Runs vs High Intensity Interval Training or Painting the Inside of My New Kitchen Cabinets Sucked Ass but I am Glad I Did It just don’t bubble up inside me and demand that I make the time to get them out.
Don’t be fooled. I have passion for scribbling triathlon training schedules on notecards and I have graphs showing the number of miles I have run this year (graphs, people!) I have tremendous zeal for Purdy paint brushes and I could talk about them all day. But I don’t need to write it down. I just don’t.
Funny things still happen. I bought MQD a pack of underwear a few weeks ago and I thought Emily was going to die in the store. I tried so hard to just be cool, casually strolling up and down the aisle, avoiding eye contact with her. As we left the final endcap and all of their male pelvic area glory she quietly says “That was very weird. I am never going near men’s underwear again.” When I turned to look at her and contemplated making a joke she went on to say “It’s just weird seeing men I don’t even know standing there in their underpants looking clueless.” The post almost writes itself. That is some comedy gold right there, but it is her story. It’s not mine.
Poignant things happen. A kid pushed Lucy on the playground the other day and I had to pretend that I had something in my eye when Emily whipped around and scooped her up and said “We don’t push our friends” loudly. I have never in my lifetime seen Emily’s tiny self so filled with rage. I could write about that.
Potty Training. That happened this summer. I was afraid to say anything about it for fear that publicly announcing our success would result in a cosmic shitstorm.
I take zillions of sweaty selfies as I am beaming, grinning ear to ear. I have run my ass off this summer. I am proud of myself. I am cobbling together a game plan to take on a Half Iron Man before my 40th birthday. I sit down to write a race recap and think “Nah, I am not a “fitness blogger.” And then another voice says “Right, you have no niche at all you just do what you do and you write it all down, you just write shit down, so write it.”
But then I make another trip to Costco and we go to the pool and I have wine for dinner so I can’t exactly write after the kids go to bed and then we have company again and then…
Long ago I decided it would be therapeutic to write but I didn’t want to pigeon hole my subject matter. I decided to tackle “This Book Will Change Your Life.” I petered out after Day 93: Practice Cosmic Humility. Writing had become a habit and I no longer needed the book to help me practice hysterical living.
But I need a kick in the ass. I am losing a part of myself. I am filling up my days with tasks and letting those tasks define me. I am a mother, a triathlete, a volunteer, a part-time employee. But I am losing my grip on Kelly, the girl who needed no additional instruction when it came to hysterical living.
I am calling this Day 94: Avoid Electromagnetic Energy. I have avoided my laptop for much of this summer.
It’s time to get back in the saddle. I am rusty. And unsure of where I am headed. But I promise that I will embarrass myself again soon. Thanks for hanging in there with me.