May 31, 2011

The Unwritten Path

Wife, mother, friend, writer, knitter, gardener. These are all ways I describe myself, ways that other people might describe me. And they are true, of course they are. But there are so many variations of that truth, so many adjectives that can be used to modify and describe those nouns.

The one adjective that has fit most precisely in front of all of those nouns recently is unhappy. Wait, let me edit that - discontented.

For a while now, I've felt my unhappiness discontent physically, or to be more accurate I've been unhappy discontented with my physicality. I was sluggish, tired, stiff, achy, slow, and soft. I couldn't keep up with my son or my husband. Last summer, I was pregnant; it was a great excuse to not keep up with an active three-year-old boy, to laze on the couch while he played trains, to rest in the shade while he rode his bike. "Mommy can't." became my most often uttered phrase.

Then I had an unwanted but medically necessary c-section. I was "in recovery." I was sleep deprived. I was often hampered by the infant in my arms, or strapped to my chest. I loved when she fell asleep in my lap not just for the sheer joy of holding a sleeping baby, but because it meant I didn't have to do anything but sit and rock.

These were also great excuses to not turn any of my self-designated labels into verbs. I've described myself as a writer and editor for over a decade, but it has been at least three years since I've written or edited for any reason other than fun. (Yes, fun!) This is yet another year I've failed to mulch or weed my garden. Our household budget is a disaster. My stash of planned and unstarted knitting projects fills two Rubbermaid bins, which are now in the attic because they've languished so long.

But now my post-partum fog has lifted. The person I see is not the person I want to be. Wife, mother, friend, writer, knitter, gardener...those are hard and fast nouns that will always define me. But the adjectives I see now - lazy, fat, tired, slow, neglectful, angry, impatient - are ones I'd like to see left behind.

The path ahead is still unwritten, and it is up to me to choose the words.