Reboot

Um, hi. It’s been awhile. Like maybe a year-and-a-half while. Which is totally my fault. Obviously. I stopped writing. And I probably worried some of you, and I am so sorry. I’m okay. I’ve been (mostly) okay since my last post in the fall of 2017. I’ve had a couple of really not okay moments and I will get to those eventually, but for now I wanted to try and explain why I stopped writing and why I am starting to write again and how I hope you’ll be interested in reading.

I stopped writing, largely, because I started to feel better and I felt less and less like talking about being sick. I didn’t have to think about or feel my illness every minute of every day for the first time in over a year. Continuing to blog about it felt counterproductive.

While I could have written about getting well, frankly, it felt boring and also more like purposeless navel-gazing than writing about being sick. Writing about being sick felt like it might be helpful; it made some meaning out of the madness (pun aboslutely intended). Without that larger purpose, I felt lost in terms of what to write about or why to write it.

I also had a bit of a shame hangover (hat tip, Brené Brown). I shared a lot on this blog, about my mental health, my guilt/fear/shame as a parent, partner, and human, and my struggle to accept and make my way through life as a person with “late onset,” or at least late-diagnosed, biopolar disorder. I was broken when I started this blog and I stopped writing when I had reassembled enough pieces to feel capable of moving forward from not exactly where I left off but close enough to be my life.

And I did move forward, and I do, but I’ve also taken like a million steps back and fallen once so hard I almost died. But I didn’t and I’m okay but not always or in the way that I’d like to be. Being well is a struggle, every goddamn day, it’s a struggle. And I’ve found some things that are really, really helpful to me. Also, things that are particularly unhelpful. I’ve got some thoughts and ideas and tips and tricks and questions and answers and questions without answers that are still useful to ask. I’m back at work. My oldest is about to finish kinder and the twins will start pre-K this fall (?!). I am the ringmaster of the shit show that is our family of five. I’ve started taking epic hikes and gone to two meditation retreats and one in-patient psych ward and my weekly pill organizer could kill a horse.

I am okay and not okay every day and most often at the same time. And I’ve been thinking I’d like to write about that. That it might be helpful to know that getting better is always just that and sometimes it involves getting worse, at least for awhile. I have absolutely no answers to Any of the Things, but I can point them out and write about them in a way that might make them more approachable, less scary, sometimes funny, and always shared. It’s not just me and it’s not just you and none of us can do this alone.

So, if you’re not still totally pissed at my for disappearing for 19 months, please come back. I promise I’ll write as often as a mentally-ill, working mother of three kids six and under can, which I hope is often. XOXO, A

Back to myself 

  
Before mama, before Ms. Blair, there was just Alison (Killen, if we were close). A backwoods All-Star misfit, with an MIP and a 4.0. Valedictorian with a record. Arranging for her class to pass condoms to the school principal as they crossed the stage.

Clothes from Goodwill, haircolor anything but natural, nose ring and more ear piercings than you could count. Skipping class to take naps by the lake. Secret handholding with teachers fresh from college. The perfect topic for that night’s poor attempt at poetry.

Somewhere along the way that funny, brave, strange, young woman got lost.

She went on to college in the (relatively) big city. Stopped shaving her head and started shopping at the mall. Graduated summa, then law school with high honors. Engagement ring by 3L year, just in time. 

Then bar exam, wedding, and clerkship. Husband’s MBA at Cal then off to Colorado.

So many choices, big and small, along the way from there to here. 

Still have the nose ring. Pretty much everything else has changed, except for maybe the way I feel when a certain song comes on the radio, the way my body pulls towards a past that no longer exists.

Something to call my own

As previously mentioned, I love the blogger Girls Gone Child (girlsgonechild.net). In one of her posts the other day she articulated a sense of longing that I’ve been experiencing for weeks now. A desire to have even one small thing about my life that is fun, secret, possibly dangerous, and mine alone. She writes of her own secret bad behavior:

I will be the first to tell my children that smoking will kill you. That even one is a terrible idea, but that will not stop me from buying my monthly pack at the newstand… driving up in my minivan, under the cloak of night to sit on the stoop of my home, watching my breath float away. 

We do what we think is right for our families but also for ourselves, even when it’s dangerous. Risky. NOT ALLOWED.

….Because the longer we try not to light the thing on fire, the more it consumes us.

This does not make us bad parents or people. It makes us human beings who are willing to accept that we exist beyond our spouses’ peripheral vision. And our children’s. And our audience’s.

There have been many days, and particularly nights, lately when my heart has ached with longing for something, some one small thing, that is mine alone. A secret joy to smile at when I might otherwise feel like crying. Something to look forward to when moving forward feels impossible.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what this thing could be. And sometimes I’m afraid of what might happen if I don’t figure it out.

I can’t live my life for my kids alone, I just can’t. I need my own life, too. And I need something in life that does not relate to my kids. It doesn’t have to be bad or illicit, but it has to be something that is for me alone.

I go to yoga, and I blog, and I nap when I can. I do all of those things they tell you to do, but it’s not enough. I need something more. I don’t know what and I don’t know why, but I know that I need it and I know that that need scares me. Because it won’t be ignored for long. And it can’t be drugged or drunk away. I know, I’ve tried. Not this time but in the past. 

I have got to figure this out for me, for all of us.