On Sunday I woke in the night from a disturbed sleep. I had been hovering in the in-between state for a while – that space between dreams and being awake, conscious that if I just opened my eyes, the thoughts that were haunting me, would end. We’d heard the news, of shameless attacks on humanity in London the night before, but we didn’t have all the details, mostly b/c the intelligence that goes into finding the culprits were looking to solve whodunit. But also, in this house, I turn the radio down when the news comes on.
My anxiety over world events is one thing, but I’m cautious of what my four year old will hear and digest and ruminate on. All in due time, I think. I was/do/attempt to hold a space for the spirit of childhood. To create gardens and tell stories and build towers while counting to 50 or higher, to learn in a warm (and by that I mean humbled, safe, not sheltered) space as much as possible. We see it all, he’ll know it all to well, soon enough. In due time.
Tonight I sat and cried on my living room floor. I had a case of post-pardonne-moi. My three-year old crawled into my lap and offered me a hug asking, “What’s wrong mommy? What happened?” I couldn’t tell him that it wasn’t one thing in particular, that the accumulation of the grind of the day, of driving across town to and from his daycare and my work, that sometimes I felt soulless these days and that the mail that I had just opened, a rather large bill, just put me over the edge. He’s three, I’m the adult, I should be able to keep these emotions at bay. I can self-talk or vent with anyone else about any of the things, but not with him, a child.
Sometimes I wonder if this is a form of post-partum. Waves of sadness, of listlessness, of running on absolute empty, in my otherwise happy day. Days where I long for hours without a schedule, to not think about food, to not plan a meal, because I feel like I am constantly in motion, or as a good friend, a mom of two said, I’m always working, but I’m getting nothing done.
I read Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running over the winter and thought it would jumpstart my writing and running. Both had been on hold, or rather, been left to the Weekend Warrior category of things – once a week, twice if I was truly dedicated and focused and actually got of bed in the opaque black, drank dark coffee and got out the door or down to work. It’s May though, time of so much change. It’s not pitch black at 5:30am, through closed windows you can still hear birds happily announcing the sun’s arrival. It really does magic for the soul. I signed up for a run a while back, on the suggestion of a friend, who, like me, looks ahead and plans and sets goals that, in February offer excitement on the promise of spending time outdoors without down-filled jackets and heavy winter boots. In February, May seemed far away and a 5km run for Mental Heath seemed like something that wouldn’t require too much effort. It’s days away now, and though both writing and running occur on a more regular basis, neither take up the time I hoped they would. It’s in these times, the challenging times of editing, of getting out the door and running when it feels like you are stuck in mud, that matter. Every half an hour makes a difference. This Saturday, when I run 5km, I will not focus on the time it takes, I will run, and do what I tell myself when drafting something for the first time, stop focusing on the end, just let it be, let it run, free.
For anyone in the Chatham, Ontario area looking to run or walk the Run for Mental Health 2016 go here:
Photo credit: http://blog.theclymb.com/tips/6-tips-transition-road-running-10k-trail-run/
Join writer/editor Kim Harkness and writing mentor/agent Sam Hiyate for 3 hours on 3 Saturdays on the idyllic setting of the camp-like environment of Muggs Island, off Centre Island, home of the Island Yacht Club. We will: look at your piece with new eyes, taking you through a series of questions and exercises that will inspire you to get your piece ready to publish. What you’ll need: A story idea you’ve been pondering, a first draft or a piece that you just can’t complete.
For more information & to register:
Kim Harkness is the founder of White Space Black Art, a writing and editing and mentoring service that produces well-crafted stories and communications. Kim holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has edited fiction and non-fiction works throughout North America, working closely with independent authors. She has been a ghostwriter for an array of topics and has created non-fiction book proposals with Madison Press Books, and edited Sex for Busy People for Elwin Street Press, UK. She is a regular contributor to UpParentingCreek, and is the Story Editor of BeSpoke a quarterly published by CAFTCAD (The Canadian Alliance of Film Technicians in Costume Arts and Design). Her novel Cravings is forthcoming in the fall 2016 from Foreverland Press in the United States.
Dear Mrs. Ghomeshi,
We’ve never met, but I saw your picture the other day of you walking into Old City Hall where your son stands trial and I thought I’d say hello.
How are you?
Exhausted no doubt. I don’t really know your son, beyond some Art Gallery dinner we shared a table at. Of course I knew his voice from Q when he was host, and I think I actually saw him on stage in the Moxy Fruvous days one time in Halifax when I was in undergrad. None of that matters.
What matters is that as a mother, I really wonder how you are.
Mother to Mother
Are you’re taking care of yourself? Is there someone you confide in? Are in your therapy?
I really don’t know what I would do in this situation. If my son were accused and standing trail, would I stand behind him, no matter what? What kind of a mother would I be if I didn’t?
On the eve of 2015’s longest night of the year (Dec 21st) I sat among girlfriends to celebrate a birthday. As we gathered to leave one friend pointed out that some of us have known each other for 27 years. These are women who’ve seen me at my worst and my best and women who, no matter how far we travel, always feel like home.