Thursday, July 9, 2009

Pacing the Cage

I recently heard a song that spoke to my heart. It broke my heart, and whispered it back into repair. Every now and then, you feel as if an artist is speaking directly to your soul when their voice comes to you over the airwaves. This was one of those times.

I was on my way from somewhere, or maybe to somewhere, and it stopped me in my tracks. Not literally, since I was in the car, but the toddler knew right away something had just dawned on me. He probably sensed I didn't quite know yet myself what exactly I had stumbled upon, but the look in my eye, catching his, told him something. And, me too.

It's an artist called Bruce Cockburn, and the song was "Pacing the Cage." This is me, a lifetime leading up to this point, in three words. Pacing the cage.

I've been pretty emotional lately, which is why I've been holding off blogging about life while under the influence of pregnancy hormones. But this morning, after hitting what we'll call "really hard bottom", a trip to the gym to 1) take advantage of dirt-cheap childcare, 2) run the body ragged and 3) cleanse the mind, I had a bit of a turnaround. I believe it's an opportunity to write while I'm under this influence, because I'm at such an interesting crossroads in my life. How could I not?

So, I'll write about my days. My sleepless nights. My emotional misery and my ecstatic highs. Thing is, I do feel like I'm caged in this current "stage".. "occupation".. "job". What is this? Staying home to raise a child? Of course it's a job. It's something to occupy one's time, so, an occupation. It's brutal for an extrovert. It's heaven on the good days. It's a form of inhumane torture for an addict of human companionship on the bad.

But why can't I just .. enjoy it? Because I'm human. And I had an exciting, blurry, stress-ridden quick ride up my career ladder, a pleasant plateau, a sudden wish to dabble into the artistic side of my brain, and.. had a child. Here I am. And here you are, reading me.

My emotions are there for the taking, you can turn and smile and bring them out of me. You could take my parking spot, glare at me across the aisle, miss the potty and pee on the floor, walk out of the room before I'm ready, make an offhand comment about how perfect your life is, or become my family and break my heart into a million pieces with nary a backward glance.

It's with this emotional context that I fill my head, my heart, my days. It's why I wrestle with the "what am I doing?" question.

I want to start another blog, a local resource for stay-at-home-moms in Northern Virginia. I want to go back to working on a trading floor. I want to write a book. I want to be paid for my photography. I want to learn another language. I want to quiet these emotions. I want to destroy all emoticons. I want to be a better wife and mom. I want to put it all out there, and I want to hide it all away.

So, here I am.. pacing the cage.

12 comments:

septembermom July 9, 2009 at 2:04 PM  

You are wonderfully human. I think it's a terrific idea to use the blog as a forum to get out all those emotions and thoughts. I can understand that feeling of "pacing the cage" as a stay at home mom. Let the blog be a place for you to just say what you're thinking, feel what you're feeling and express your creativity. You always provide wonderful thoughts for all of us to ponder. You have so much to offer this world. You're just beginning to shine!! (Now I better take my own advice and stop pacing so much in my cage:) Feel well!

Kitten July 9, 2009 at 2:34 PM  

We all have moments when we're pacing our cages. I've been in my field of work for eight years now, and I'm starting to get restless. But in this economy, job-switching is risky.

I need to find the lyrics to "Pacing the Cage." You've got me intrigued.

buffalodick July 9, 2009 at 4:22 PM  

I recently "retired". It has raised many conflicting emotions in a life-long, hard-working, get ahead kind of guy.. It has forced me to look at, and revaluate my wants, my goals, my values.... These are a few things I have figured out...
1. Nothing is more important than your family, and helping them will never backfire..
2. Know your worth, and forget about what worth used to be when judged by other people that were using you.
3. Accept that you and everyone you care about is going to die.. Value everyone you know like it might be the last time you will ever see them.
4. Your job was what you did, not who you were.
5. Success in living is not solely measured by your monetary worth.
6. Don't waste your limited time on Earth being or listening to negative thoughts..
7. Love yourself, then love the others around you... they will know you are happy, and will be happy with you, for you, and because of you.

grammyof13 July 9, 2009 at 5:32 PM  

Well written, and very thoughtful. I had forgotten just how harmonal life can be when pregnant. It has been 41 years since my last one. See what I mean? Things will get better. One day you will be as I - with all the time in the world - needing to be needed - and they are off enjoying their lives of which I am proud.
I guess in the long run 69 year olds get harmonal too.
Again, just love your blog. Blessings.

High Heeled Mama July 9, 2009 at 5:58 PM  

Feeling every word of this - thank you for sharing it. I've never felt more like a mom yet less than the mom I want to be than since I got pregnant this second time around. The struggles I have about work/outlets/personal space all came crashing down when I realized I was starting at ground zero again.

But take confidence in knowing it's the hormones that make us crazy, toddlers who push our buttons and family that ultimately makes us stronger.

I read somewhere that this is just another season. So embrace this season in your life and know that another is around the corner full of its own surprises, challenges and rewards. Hang in there.

Casey July 10, 2009 at 4:51 AM  

Ugh, I could have written this post myself. I loved my job and the decision to stay home with the kids was not an easy one. It's so incredibly lonely to be a SAHM, believe me. It got waaaaaaaaaaaay worse after Elliot was born but once she was big enough to tote around, it got better. Now I want to pull my hair out still but we have a lot of good days. Hang in there.

Debbie July 10, 2009 at 8:18 AM  

You are so refreshingly honest. I have experienced that restlessness and those feelings of wanting to accomplish so much but really not knowing how to even begin. Thanks for sharing this with us.

K July 10, 2009 at 11:09 AM  

It's a beautiful post.

Maybe the sharing will help?

I find my blog to be better than therapy.

Jeanne July 10, 2009 at 3:24 PM  

C, I'm with you, whatever you choose to share.

Keely July 11, 2009 at 6:47 PM  

I feel like that a lot. I feel like I'm just putting in time. I feel like there's no 'goal', what's my goal, there needs to be a goal!

Of course you should write about it. Writing about feelings is helpful, and it's never engraved in stone. You don't have to write something so 'perfectly' that you'll re-read it later and think "I still feel that". You only have to capture the moment so you can re-read it later and think "I remember feeling that".

Also, anybody who makes an offhand comment about how perfect their life is, is totally lying.

Diane July 13, 2009 at 6:19 PM  

Maybe all those raw emotions are there so that your wordswill come across more powerfully. A new writing style may emerge???

Mama Kat July 13, 2009 at 9:44 PM  

Makes you wonder what women did before they had outlets such as blogging. I'm home with a house filled with kids everyday and I find myself reaching for the computer for a quick hello out to the real world. It's the only way I keep from feeling caged...and it only works sometimes. :)

I love your hormonal posts.

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