Colorful Coleslaw of Consciousness

This is a 10 minute Timed Writing from the chapter in Writing Down The Bones about First Thoughts. (I always hand-write a timed writing. I like the feeling of pen to paper.)

“Explore the rugged edge of thought. Like grating a carrot, give the paper the colorful coleslaw of your consciousness.” Natalie Goldberg – Writing Down The Bones.

The rugged edge tonight – the coleslaw strewn on the paper is feeling a lot like sickness. Not really for me, I’m not sick. But my husband is and it’s the baby’s birthday. He turned three years old today. It was all a little defused because of Scott being ill and in bed all day.

Bean was so excited to get his presents. He got the most thrilled by a package with a book and a writing tablet that had tucked into the packaging, as if it was an afterthought, a t-shirt. The t-shirt was what he grabbed to his chest and in his little, high-pitched, sing-song voice he cried, “You got me a shirt?” with so much delight that it was hard not to run right over and grab him and kiss him. I knew what he was thinking. T-shirts were always what his Fresno Grandma gave him almost every time she saw him, which was frequently. We have just moved from Fresno three months ago, and being far from our Fresno Grandma is tough on all of us. We will see her in a week.

Why on earth does my writing sound so domestic and boring? Because I’m a mommy. That’s okay. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I just miss feeling like there’s any amount of sophistication in my life. I’ve become one of those moms who goes to the store looking completely undone – ratty, frazzled hair, no make-up, crinkled pillow case creases on my cheek – bedraggled and homely and torn. I used to feel sorry for women who had let themselves go to this degree. I’d wonder if they even cared, if there was a mirror in their home at all?

Now I know that it isn’t about not caring. We all wish we could smooth our frizzy hair and put on a spot of makeup and look darling, but if we leave our toddlers unattended for one second, they will dismantle the DVD player or try to wedge a cheese stick between the sofa pillows. They are quick and impulsive, and their impulses have nothing to do with what would be safe or sane, and they run our lives ragged. We love them to pieces, and are enjoying every moment of this period with them as much as we can, while still silently daydreaming about the day that we can all just breathe a little and have at least bathroom time alone again.

Today I feel privileged that I am no longer searching for a man. I am blessed to have one who somehow finds me ravishing no matter what I do. That seems like it would make me try harder – and I do. I try my darnedest to be good at what I do. The funny part is that I look ridiculous when I try to look good and often better when I don’t try. So, what is the point, really?

I don’t know how this turned into a piece about my looks or my dark body image, and not a more poetic or cerebral ideological interpretation of coleslaw on the page – but there you go – all my ragged edges and perhaps that was the point.

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