Today I am feeling nostalgic for my Texas years. Being a broke single mama wasn’t always fun, but goddamn, I read a lot and wrote a lot and danced a lot and drank a lot and loved a lot and tried very hard. It’s not that I don’t do those things now, but that I have a real job, my son is a teenager now, I’m happily married, and so, all these things sometimes get in the way of the reading and drinking and dancing parts, and those parts are necessary, I feel, for the kind of fiction I like to write and read– hedonistic, wild, humorous.
I slipped in the shower today and injured my arm- nothing serious, but it’s enough to be a nuisance– and my hubby ran up to help me. I guess I don’t miss the years when there was no one there to help; no one at all. I have so many friends who are new parents now, and all of them ask me the same question: How did you do this by yourself? The answer is, I didn’t sleep that much, I got fat, I got poorer, and it was fucking hard. Thank god for Planned Parenthood in the years that followed; for libraries and universities and food stamps and low-income pre-schools and therapists with sliding scales and good, good friends.
When my son was seven we briefly adopted a puppy, but 2 days after his residence in our apartment I noticed that I hadn’t run a brush through my hair in 48 hours and that I was too broke to buy it kibble and a leash, so I gave it to a good shelter by the Lake. Fast forward almost ten years: for the last few weeks, my neighbors’ dog has been whimpering and barking and yelping all day, and I wrote them a mean letter asking them to bring it inside. But my son read the letter and said, “Really, mom? Is this your best self? Is this how you want them to think you are?” My kid is obnoxious and a jerk most of the time, but he was able to tell me this, and I was able to hear it. So, I went outside while the neighbor was with her dog and played with them, and gently offered to hang out with the dog while the neighbors are at work. We’re all busy, but I’m home so much of the day, grading and reading and trying to write- why not ride my bicycle a few miles with a puffy canine by my side? It’s become easier for me, because of years of dealing with bullshit, to draw clear boundaries; what’s hard is to accept others’ company.
Also, Wu-Tang Clan released their Enter the 36 Chambers… album 20 years ago. I thought that would be a good way to end this post on nostalgia.