Empty and Full


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Empty and Full.  All at once.

I feel so empty and yet so full.

Frustrated, tired, but blessed at the very same time.

How do I write about that?

Why would I write about that?

Let me start with why.  I’ll try to capture it in writing because if I don’t it will eat me from the inside out.  I’ll try because I need to frame my thoughts and my emotions and my fears; if I don’t, they become too big for me.

I’ll write because its the only way that I can have even the illusion of control.

So now to the question of “how”.

I don’t know.

My jumbled thoughts and feelings can’t be easily shaped into one of the accepted “genres” of writing that I am told to teach.  They don’t really lend themselves to a “story arc” or a “main idea” or a “conflict/resolution” paradigm.

My thoughts and feelings this weekend are as looped and whirled as the knitting that I cannot seem to master.  They are interwoven and as contradictory as the weeds that so far are the only life to show itself in my garden.

So how do I write it all down?

I’ll give up any pretext of “story form” and I’ll rely instead on my “stream of consciousness”, a writing style that I loved in my pre-rubric past.

Here I go.  Try to hold on for the ride.

I love my family, and am so incredibly grateful to have them in my life.  I love my children more than I ever thought I could love anyone, and they are as always my greatest pride and my greatest source of strength.   I love my family, including my sisters and brothers and mother and even my now gone Dad, who keeps his hand in every major decision and his loving arms around every worry.  I love my family, even when they are no blood kin of mine.  This weekend I have found the magic and strength in family who are tied to me through the marriage of a sibling.  Tied to me through love of that same sibling and her husband, through our shared love of their children.   I love my family.

I am tired. I need a chance to refill my well, to gather my thoughts, to refresh my strength and my stamina.  I am so, so tired. I wish that a night of sleep could fix it, but I know that it won’t.  I am simply out of gas.

I love my job. In spite of the frustrations, the sadness, the struggles to remain relevant.  The truth is, I love my job, my students, my role in their lives. I love the moments when I laugh out loud with 24 children I love.  I am so grateful for the daily smiles, the hugs, the twinkling eyed humor. I am so lucky to spend my life in the company of children, to whom the world is entirely new and always amazing.

I love my life, but I still don’t know how to be what everybody needs, what everybody wants. I still don’t know how to balance the needs of those I love with my own limitations in strength.    I love my life.

I need a rest. I need a way to get it.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

15 thoughts on “Empty and Full

  1. Even wonderful times with family and dear friends and meaningful work can exhaust us. I too know the feeling you described. And I am left with questions as I read this post…What do you need to have more of in your life? What do you need less of? What can you bring yourself to say “no” to so you can allow more of what you need in?

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    • You have hit all the right questions, Jamie. I am trying to figure out the answers to each of them. Sometimes life just conspires to load us up, and then it give us a respite. Hoping for the latter very soon!

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      • What happens to me is that I forget to ask the questions and don’t even realize that I have choices to make as they seem to happen without me (but really it’s all my choices all the time). Hoping you get the rest you need…and soon!

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  2. Another question is do you need it now (it sounds like it)? How about just one night or one weekend in the woods (or at the shore) with your dogs? Find a pet friendly hotel near some trails and wander and relax. Take a bath. Listen to tunes. Look out at a nice view.

    That always does it for me. Better yet, send everybody away and enjoy your hot tub alone.

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  3. Great post. Been there. I find two things work. 1) Change it up. 50-60% of what we do every day is the SAME. Need to inject change. A walk on a different route. A different way to work. 2) Write about the truth. I thought this passage captured it:
    ———–
    “I don’t know how to do this,” I told Chuck, meaning the book I was trying to write.

    “Turn it into a novel,” he said.

    “I can’t write a novel,” I said.

    “You do it by evading the truth,” he told me, and he wasn’t laughing.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said.

    “It seems to me ,” he emailed me later, “that you start out with what you know or what you think you know and you work within those ‘truthful’ boundaries until you reach some sort of wilderness of not knowing, and then you find a way through until you see an end, or you find a way through until you find the end that you’ve already seen. It can work either way: running away from the truth, or running out of it.”

    ~ Abigail Thomas, What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir (Scribner. 2015)

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  4. For now, a weekend away, by yourself, no husband, no dogs. And start planning a week away by yourself during summer vacation.
    In the meantime, lower your standards a bit. Not everything has to be perfect.
    I lost my sweet, smart, gentle yellow lab mix, Megan, on March 31 from kidney disease. Appreciate every day with your dogs, they are gone too soon. Megan was only 11 1/4, the last five with me.

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