The morning smothers. The sun, already high above our traditional November fog bank, filters down as a sickly and distorted parody of itself while familiar landmarks waver like shadows. My head feels no more stable than the ground shapeshifting below.

I finally cut back a bit on working hours. Dan had to convince me that it wasn’t worth losing myself to make a few extra euros, and he’s right, but now I find myself in a sort of No Man’s Land of perceived failure. I’m not available enough at work or present enough at home, and my contributions to our family’s wellbeing seem paltry at best. I don’t know how to find my niche through all this fog, my mind continually swirling in and out of focus. I hardly even know how to find my keys these days.

Even with a full morning off and strict instructions to myself to spend it tapping into the live feed from my heart to the keyboard, all I seem to be dredging up are flecks of rust. This time last year, I was working on a book I haven’t had time to touch since, and the comparison presses in more heavily than all the murky skies this week combined. I wince when I think of this dearly neglected little blog and the stories I would love to tell. Despite my neuroses over the word, I have to give time and importance to the writer in me or else… well, the previous two paragraphs give a pretty good idea of what happens.

And while I can keep my laptop closed and ignore away the blank-page aching, I can’t forget that I am still mother, wife, and friend. No space on the margins equals me treating loved ones like half-slots in my calendar, rushing through each thin patch of minutes because I can’t afford any other pace, and honestly, it leeches the color from all of our lives. This is the shadow-world of stress and overcommitment and lost perspective, of self-smothering and fog that stretches much, much farther than the eye can see.

If I had to pick my ideal life right now, it wouldn’t look so very different than the view from this comfy pomegranate sofa that coaches (couches? heh) most of my blog entries into existence. I would still choose this house with its tall windows and delicious ski lodge vibes. I would still choose this city-town with the tree-lined parks and chatty friends within walking distance. I would still choose these two exuberant little girls and this dream-chasing husband. Really, the only thing worth changing would be myself… from a harried shadow wraith to a human [learning] [creating] [enjoying] [loving] being.

I just have trouble believing that cutting back a bit on working hours is sufficient to blaze away this gloom.

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  1. sending oodles of love, sweet friend…
    thinking about you every day and believe me, i know what you are going through…here’s to hoping that shafts of light will illuminate your path and warm your heart.

  2. I love how you write about even the little things: a decision and how it plays out, how it affects you, how it breathes through your life. It’s been literally foggy here most of the week: it’s VERY depressing. I am hoping for some rays of sunshine soon. Luckily for me, finding a blog post from you on my reader is one of them!

  3. Every time I visit your blog I feel like I must give you a hug. Not in a pat-pat-there-there sort of way, but in a gosh-I’m-glad-you’re-in-this-world sort of way. I like that line from Lord of the Rings about “butter scraped over too much bread.” I feel like that. My personal, private writing has been nonexistent the last few days and my soul feels it, my man feels it, I feel it. Today I’m taking some me time just to write – even if it’s five minutes. I need to get my soul on order so I can feel human again too. 🙂 Big hug to you. 🙂

  4. I am so happy that you posted. I have been wondering how you were doing. It sounds like it has been an up hill climb, but it also sounds like you have been keeping to the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other that needs to happen. Even though it is not exactly how it was, or how it needs to be. I am glad that you are trying to attain some balance, by cutting down on some of your hours too. Your words are so valuable and beautiful. I love coming here and getting swept away into your life and your world. I know you are going through a painful time right now, but I am confident that you will prevail, and with your words…triumph over whatever life throws at you. Sending you LOTS of love and a big fat hug and smooch. xoxo

  5. Rain – Thinking about you too, dear. Our paths have always been very close, haven’t they?

    Liz – Oh Liz, most of the time I’m absolutely positive I have nothing to say. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for insisting otherwise. Here’s to some sun in both of our Novembers!

    Krista – Sometimes it takes a kindred soul to remind me what makes me tick. And you know, for all the gloom of this entry, I felt a thousand times better after getting it out on paper screen. Much love.

    Megsie – Your comments are like the most perfectly timed gifts. Scratch that, they ARE gifts. <3

  6. your flecks of rust are quite poetic, i have to say.

    much love!

  7. i was brought here by the comment you left on my post at Deeper Story. Then I read the quote on the header of your blog and thought, wow, this blog as some depth and poetry. So I stuck around a bit and read this post, which I totally could have written at different points in my life, though not with the same word pictures you so eloquently strung together. you are a writer. make no mistakes. and i know you will continue to find ways to make space for the words to pour out. best wishes!

  8. Before Small Boy was born, before I was even pregnant and had an excuse, I up and quit a job I hated. And although my harried mother of children in school with crazy short hours self looks back at how badly – inefficiently? casually? – I used my time after I up and quit the job I hated, I never regretted quitting. It’s a particularly debilitating and depressing kind of stress to feel compelled to do something that doesn’t rock your world all the while being kept – by that very thing! – from that which does rock your world. Cutting back on the work hours might very well go a long way, if it’s financially do-able. (Cuz finance induced stress sucks too.)

  9. Beka – Poetic rust? I love it. 🙂

    Mandy – Wow lady, do you ever know how to encourage. Thank you!

    Jennifer – You nailed it with the world rocking line. I too look back at pre-children me and wonder what the hell I did with all that time, and I’m hoping the efficiency I’ve learned since then can carry over to a job-less me.

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