People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

My (not so) Triumphant Return

A long sabbatical from blogging leaves a blank space where there should be thousands of words. Non-bloggers probably don’t know about that vacancy, but every writer knows what I mean.

The words of the past months are starting to crowd my skull, but fortunately, a happy thing happened last week: when I thought of No Points for Style, I felt, instead of guilty (Oh, my God, I’ve got to post something! I’m losing subscribers! My advertisers are going to dump me! People are giving up on me!), a sense of longing.

I finally, after all these weeks, got lonely for my blog.

All those words crowding my skull deserve several dozen blog posts all their own, but in the interests of brevity, I offer you a list! Why? Because I’m a cheater. Also because lately, my grief-and-depression addled brain seems to operate that way – in semi-connected snippets of thought, working at turns sluggishly or at break-neck pace, but never in the long-flowing lines that good writing requires.

  • Even the most fractured of families can have a lovely holiday together if all the adults involved are willing to lay their anger and wounds aside for a little while and enjoy the celebration.
  • Kids aren’t great at laying things aside, so the adults must also decide to let the children’s unpleasant comments slide past without response.
  • That letting-it-slide part might hurt like a motherfucker for the target of said comments.
  • Teenagers are fickle beasts.
  • For blended families, it’s best to assume that the holidays won’t bring much joy with them. We take pure joy wherever we find it, but it’s much more likely to happen on a Tuesday in May than during the holidays. In-laws and ex-spouses don’t usually bother you on the average Tuesday in May, but Christmas? It’s like some kind of cosmic convergence of familial woundedness with the remarried parents (that would be Brian and me) at the center of the storm.
  • Part of protecting the kids from all the shit is not telling them about all the shit. That leaves the kids free to continue hating us.
  • Happy happy joy joy, she said sarcastically.
  • Taking the high road is not for sissies. Few people will admire you. In fact, other people are, as they see it, also taking the high road. You see how fucked up this can get?
  • Some people are not capable of understanding that there isn’t always a right person and a wrong person when two people disagree. Usually, differing perspectives means there is some right and some wrong on each side.
  • Being divorced now, 14 years after the split, sucks far more now than it did back then. In fact, it sucks more now than it ever has. Some days, I really hate that. On better days, it’s at least confirmation that divorcing was absolutely the right decision.
  • Emotional pain makes me tired in that overwhelming, I-can’t-possibly-keep-my-eyes-open-another-minute way. I want more than anything to escape my pain by descending into deepest, darkest depression, where everything is awful but, at least, predictable.
  • I am so fucking tired of crying.
  • Jacob and Abbie’s absence is so painful, I feel like someone has used a melon-baller to remove parts of my soul. Or like I’m being stabbed to death by thousands of toothpicks. Or any number of other colorful metaphors.
  • As painful as their absence is, the hurt and anger I see in them is even worse. I took the kids out to do some shopping and after we bought Jacob a new pair of shoes, I had to get a wildly out-of-control Carter home before we could go get the things that Abbie needed. When we got in the car and I was making plans with her to go another time, I could see her sink into her seat, defeated, feeling rejected as I, yet again, chose her little brother over her.
  • I’m not favoring her little brother; I would much rather shop with Abbie than go home and help Carter manage himself. From her perspective, though, I chose Carter over her. Again.
  • I’m so full of guilt about all of that, sometimes I wish I had died before I ever managed to procreate.
  • My friend (who is also living separate from one of her children due to mental illness, though hers is a very different set of circumstances) and I agree on this: no matter what is for the best, no matter what the practical solution may be, no matter how appropriate and reasonable it may be for one to release one’s child to a life without one or both parents, it’s never right. It will always be perverse to me that I gave birth to, nurtured, and loved my two eldest children, and then had to let go of being their all-the-time, everyday mom so prematurely. Knowing that I’m doing the “right” thing is no match for my maternal instincts.
  • I do believe, however, that I will come, if not to peace, than at least to some kind of acceptance. This is my reality and I can learn to live with it, but I’ve stopped trying to convince myself that anything about this shitty situation is good or right.
  • We still haven’t taken down our Christmas tree. Please tell me we’re not the only ones.
  • I have read an outrageous number of books in the past few months, mostly biographies, memoirs, and histories, but I also stumbled across a book I loved as a girl and spent an afternoon with Mrs. Wintle’s Little Wonders. Eleventy style points to the first person who tells me the name of the book.
  • Bonus best friend status if you tell me that you, too, want to gouge out Dulcie Wintle’s eyes.
  • See? I did read something besides Little House on the Prairie books when I was a little girl.
  • Brian changed the ringer on my phone to the theme song from the Little House on the Prairie TV show. Every time it rings in public, I make a new friend.
  • If you take a break from blogging, the blogging world will keep going without you.
  • This might make you inexplicably sad, like the little girl who has been left out of the games at recess time, in spite of the fact that you did it to yourself.
  • Two of our computers went down at the same time. I’m pretty sure it’s a conspiracy.
  • FYI: if you take a prolonged blogging hiatus and are, finally, feeling ready to return to your online life, it’s a virtual guarantee that when you sit down to write your post of triumphant return, your computer will freak itself the fuck out. The computer will then require three days of coaxing, cajoling, and sustained attention before it can do what it’s meant to do: act as a conduit between you and your ether-people.
  • While you are coaxing and cajoling said computer, you might remember that your stepson is not allowed to use his computer (more on that in a moment) and, therefore, you have a usable machine for the interim.
  • Your stepson, sadly, does not know that he should regularly update his computer’s security software and so that computer, too, will need extensive coaxing, cajoling, and attention before it, too, can act like a computer.
  • I fixed both computers. That’s because I’m a ninja.
  • Spencer, home alone one afternoon after school in early December, decided to practice juggling.
  • In the house.
  • With baseballs.
  • In front of our flat screen television.
  • This ended about as you’d imagine it would.
  • After we pooled all of Brian’s, Spencer’s, and my Christmas gift money, and with some help from Brian’s dad, we got a new TV. This would be a less bitter pill to swallow if I didn’t need a new computer really bad.
  • The bright spot: Spencer, if sullen, is a reasonably thorough cleaner. It’s the harshest punishment we’ve ever given any of our children: two months of housekeeping, plus the standard stuff of grounding.
  • I don’t mind admitting that I’ll be sad when it’s over.
  • I’ve spent some time lately thinking about how I can blog and engage in other social media (which I enjoy immensely) in a way that’s more sustainable. I’m not great with that thing called balance, but removing blogging from my life isn’t the solution. I’m happiest when I’m putting words down in rows and making stories.
  • Happy as blogging makes me, I’m raising a child with multiple disabilities which is not only time-consuming but emotionally taxing. I have to make some choices about where I spend my time online.
  • I’ve also thought about some changes I want to make to my blog and the way I write it. I may or may not make any changes at all.
  • Except for more leading with the chin; there will definitely be more leading with the chin. I have opinions. If I can’t express them on my blog, then I’m writing the wrong kind of blog for me.
  • In fact, I think I’ll add a new category called Leading With My Chin. That way, when you want to give me a virtual punch, you’ll know where to go.
  • And cursing. Enough with removing the f-bombs and assorted other colorful language because I want to be – what? The good girl of blogging? I’m not the good girl anywhere else, so it seems kind of silly to censor myself here, in the space I created!
  • Speaking of which, maybe I’ll be more me. But we’ll talk about that later; it’s a long story.
  • I’ve missed you!
  • Feel free to use the comments section to fill me in on what’s happened in the ether-world over the past few months, especially if you have dirt to dish. I hate to miss out on the dirt.
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