May 13, 2018, Sunday
A quick glance at the clock on my laptop tells me it’s 11:04 PM.
Y’all, it is past my bedtime. And yet, here I am — wide awake and starting a first blog post.
I should be asleep. I’ve got work in the morning. My head plays all of this on repeat, but my body is firmly in summer break territory, despite the fact that there are two weeks left in the school year.
Two weeks sounds like a terribly long time, but ten days sounds nicer. There are ten days left of school. We have two more Mondays until summer break.
Claire, I think, why did you think starting a blog in the middle of the night was a good idea?
It’s a question for the ages. Why do I decide to do anything in the middle of the night? Why do you decide to start projects in the middle of the night?
May 14, 2018, Monday
I fell asleep last night before I could finish this post.
I can’t rightly say that it’s the Sunday night before the school week starts.
Now, it’s 6:00 AM on Monday, and I’ve gotten myself ready for a new day. The dog is fed. Miraculously, my child is awake, clothed, and ready to go to school.
I find myself with a spare bit of time to contemplate why I started this blog.
- I want to document every tiny adventure I take. Usually, I take a picture and make a pithy caption on it for Instagram to remember the fun things I do — and that’s great, it really is, but (and there’s always a but, isn’t there?) I want to share the neat things I do with a little more oomph. I want to have it on record that there are good days. There are so many good days, but it’s also so easy to get caught up in the humdrum of life and the occasional depression nap.
- I want to share the food I eat with others. Like the tiny adventures above, a lot of my food experiences go on Instagram with a what and a where, but I usually don’t take the time to unpack the reasons why. Food and I have a complicated relationship. I love it so much and some of it wants to make my life really difficult. I recently sought out an official — and prickly — diagnosis for all of my food allergies and let me tell you, the list is long. It grows every day as I step out of my comfortable food zone. Even so, I really love food. I love getting dressed up and going to fancy restaurants. I love exploring my local area to find neat eats. Catch me at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday, choosing ingredients I’ve never used before to cook with in the following week.
- Writing (and reading) is kind of my jam. It’s literally my day job: I teach reading intervention in a high school. I’ve made a career of doing what I love. I’m slowly but surely writing a book — at last count, 50,000 words so far! It’s progress, even if it’s not going as quickly as I’d like. I’ve read thirty-five books this year and it’s only May! I like to think of myself as a modern adventurer — and what modern adventurer doesn’t write things down?
- I struggle with mental health. —
May 16, 2018, Wednesday
I stopped my list of reasons why I want to start this blog before I could explain the last reason. Part of it was that I had to get my kid to school. The other part of it was that there’s a lot of vulnerability in stating that one struggles with mental health that I wasn’t ready to deal with on a Monday morning.
In keeping with the structure of this post, it’s 12:12 PM. I took a day off of work and am citing it a mental health day. I feel kind of silly, or guilty, taking a day off when the end of the school year is in sight, but it was needed. The past two days I’ve woken up and felt angry about it. I know that feeling is stress, but I’m not willing to let anger run my life.
So far today, I’ve woken up earlier than usual to straighten my kid’s hair for her school presentation and I’ve gotten her to school. Straightening her hair is no joke either — there’s a lot of it on her eight-year-old head and it curls aggressively. She washed it last night and I brushed out all the tats while it was wet, but by morning her hair was tangled at the ends despite my careful care.
There’s construction going on down the main drag that leads to her school, which causes the bottle-neck in the road to become even more backed up. To avoid the elementary school traffic, I’ve taken to driving down a back road that I vaguely knew about before but had never driven down before last week. The road is one-and-a-half lanes wide, if that, and it curves a winding path between a neighborhood with large houses and farmland. The road cuts over an idyllic creek for which the school is named and skirts the property line of a huge, sprawling mansion that I never even knew was hidden back there. The trees curve over the road and create the lushest canopy under which to drive your car. Horses graze on grass and dandelions in a fenced area beside the road and I point them out to my daughter every morning, to which she replies, “I see them! I know!”
After leaving the dreaded car rider lane, I rolled the window down for my dog to peer out of and drove past my house and to one of the entrances to the Green Way, which sprawls asphalt paths down miles of nature throughout my town. Opal and I took a relatively short walk — two and a half miles — but I introduced jogging to my routine. I know, the horror of it all!
When we made it back to the trail head, we hit the dog park. Opal drank her body weight in water, flopped down on the ground, and eyed her doggy compatriots for a moment. Then, she too succumbed to dog peer pressure and scaled one of the picnic tables to stand on top of it and look over the wide expanse of the dog park.
We stopped by Sonic on the way home, so I could get the largest unsweetened tea possible and so the girls at the window could coo at Opal and offer her a pup cup.
When we returned home, we made a quick pit stop to grab two trash bags I stashed inside the front door and take them to the neighborhood trash compacter. We retired quickly home and have been convalescing in bed: Opal taking up at least a third of the bed with her ungainly sprawl at the foot and me, curled up like a comma, reading a book I checked out last night, listening to an ASMR video, and idly sipping on my iced tea.
I am sure you are enthralled with the details of my morning, but I’m writing this to illustrate a point. I find it so much more affirming to list off all the things I do in a day rather than to list off the things that I haven’t yet done.
My head likes to focus on what I should be doing instead, and I’m sure a lot of other people’s heads do the same to them. I should be cleaning the kitchen instead of laying in bed on my day off. The upstairs needs tidying and I should be doing that instead of reading this book — The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright, for those of you playing along at home. I should be doing laundry, I should be taking these empty boxes over to my brother, I should be — it’s exhausting.
Like I said in my abandoned list above, I struggle with my mental health, and I bet you do too.
I haven’t cooked in my kitchen regularly in a couple months and I’d like to get back to that now. I’d like to get over this slump of depression and the twitch of anxiety.
It’s almost summer break. There are seven days left in the school year. One more Monday until summer.
I’ve got a bunch of things to experience; what about you?