In The Meantime

All month, I haven’t been blogging.

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been writing other things: my GIRLS recaps and other pop culture/film pieces for Cinapse, my assignments for my writing class, my pieces for GGMG mag, and, for a new project, a piece about parenting and race. That last one is a doozy. Talking about race is one thing – you are able to see how each thing you say lands with the other person, and you can explain yourself if you feel you’re being misunderstood. Writing about it is a whole other thing: there is no baseline of acceptance for the existence of racism in this country, so when you’re writing to an audience that is beyond your friends and family, there’s so much groundwork to cover. I’ve been writing about race in a very personal way, as well, talking about my own family and things that have happened to us, how we’ve responded and how I want to respond in the future. It’s been so stretching for me to do so, and I know that when the piece comes out, that will be another hurdle to scale. But I can’t stop writing about race and parenting, because weird micro-aggressions keep happening, all the time. The fact that some people won’t understand the piece is the exact reason I needed to write it.

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been looking for jobs. Is there anything more demoralizing than filling out a form resumé, that you highly suspect no one will read, for a job you’re not even sure you want to begin with? On Downton Abbey this week, the tenant farmer thanks Lady Mary for his new job with the pigs, and then, when she tells him he is the one who should be thanked for taking on the work, he says, “Work is like old age. It’s the worst thing in the world, except for the alternative.” My biggest freelance project just ended abruptly, taking the biggest source of my income for the past six months with it. So, I’ve been doing like I do: hustling little jobs reading Tarot, copywriting for friend’s businesses, doing childcare gigs. Honestly, I am so ready to be done with this grappling to pay bills, though. I feel ready for a jobby-job, so I hope one comes my way soon, no matter how many dehumanizing resumé forms I have to fill out! The problem is that looking for a job, and stressing about bills, takes up a vast amount of my previous blogging time. So, forgive me, dear readers. I haven’t forgotten about you. Mama’s just trying to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been taking Instagram photos of Olive. It has become a tiny obsession.

photo 5 (1) photo 4 (3) photo 3 (4) photo 2 (3) photo 1 (4)

I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been writing out poems for my poetry swap, and sending them out all over the world. I am not complaining about this one at all! Please keep them coming. These poems are saving my soul right now.

Here is one that came to me recently, and is worth more than gold:

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is a way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples, and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.

By William Martin, from The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents.

Big thanks to Liza Fox for pointing me towards this poem.

Readers, what you have you been up to? I’m curious, like Elijah on GIRLS is about Hannah, “What’s wrong with her, and what she eatin’ and who’s she mad at?” Enlighten me in the comments.

13 thoughts on “In The Meantime

  1. Rhea, we need to talk. The job search is so demoralizing, but people who aren’t in it don’t understand what the fuss is about. When you mentioned the form resume online, my insides leapt, “me too!” I just interviewed for a job I didn’t want last week, and it was so hard to pretend enthusiasm.
    I’m looking forward to the article you’re writing. I’m currently in the throes of Americanah, and it is blowing my mind as far as racial assumptions go, not to mention it’s simply captivatin. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Woah…that second picture – is that all natural optical illusion or did you do picture magic? Because it looks like Olive is holding a red string only the red string looks like a rope on the ground in the background. It looks like she’s tiptoe-ing around but she is also floating above the street.
    It’s all so cool!

    You DO need to write about race and keep writing about race because you are educating people like me, as well as people who are even more unaware than I am…and people who are actually against you, too. People like me, people who suck at race, who say and think all the wrong things, who can’t seem to figure it out on our own because we’re probably socially stupid a little bit, we need your help because you are more aware and you are also compassionate and can make those bridges from what needs to be said to how to make it heard. You’re good at that.

    Good luck and patience with the job search. I don’t know that it helps, but Gabe (husband) landed a job in December after being unemployed for most of three years. It’s not a job he wanted, but none of the jobs were jobs he wanted. He got super lucky, though – while it’s not a dream job in any sense, the company is wonderful and they care about their employees. It’s refreshing to hear his stories about how management will come down to the floor and help out in a pinch or how they bought food for everyone all day on SuperBowl Sunday and turned all the TV monitors that usually show stats to the game so the employees could still participate. The moral of this story, I guess, is: Keep plugging away and grinding yourself down because it yields something good eventually.

    • You are such a great, meaty commenter! Olive is not holding the red thread in that photo, but she is jumping. Thanks for pointing out the illusionary qualities to the shot!
      Your paragraph about race made me laugh and was really refreshing. I think if more people said, “I suck at race,” and put themselves in the position of a beginner, we’d be in a much better place with race relations in our culture. I really appreciate your perspective and encouragement to keep speaking up about it.
      Thanks as well for the job encouragement!

  3. Love this! The poem was just what I needed! I continue to read Mary Balogh romance novels like they are the air I breathe. It’s a guilty pleasure/ obsession!
    Can’t wait to read your piece on parenting and race. I love that I can relate and learn something!

    • So glad the poem resonated with you. I love that you love romance novels! I think it is a good guilty pleasure – adds to the love in the world, ha!
      I really can’t wait for you to read the piece, too. I am pretty nervous about the wider public reading it, but I guess what really matters is what the people who know you in real life think of you, and your opinion is so important to me!

  4. Anyone who can weave together “Girls,” “Downton Abbey,” and parenting/race in the same blog post gets my vote! I hope pig wrangling is not your future, and that your considerable writing and other talents soon are rewarded with a paycheck.

    Also, I can’t wait to read your article on parenting and race. When my daughter was 3, I was horrified to hear her say to her African-American friend, “I’ll be the Queen and you be the slave.” Where had she picked this up? (She also asked, “Does Santa have slaves?”). I was completely flummoxed, not knowing whether saying anything would make it better or worse. They were 3, after all. The best I could come up with was to suggest they trade off roles. Completely lame, then and now. Wish I’d had your guiding light.

  5. great piece, just finally go to it in my inbox. agree the picture is magic and so are you. and thanks for sharing the poem and your struggles! I’d love to add your writing to our parent resource section.

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