The Trouble with 2010

For the past few months, or perhaps even lover, I’ve been fantasizing about a time in my life that seems so much simpler in retrospect. I imagine me as young mother a decade ago, tending only to my child and home. I wasn’t worried about things like websites, homework, personal branding, getting older, social status, professional development money, etc.. I cooked meals for my family and spent days watching the clouds roll by as the laundry danced freely, drying on the line beneath the sun. I was naive at the time. Yes, but naive is such a nice thing. In the last ten years I’ve experienced some terrible things, I’ve been exposed to some dark struggles of this world, many of which don’t belong to me and in many ways I’m much more tainted than I was a decade ago. I’m hardened, critical, forthright, somewhat selfish and not afraid of confronting uncomfortable things. So it’s natural to long for a time that I was softer. We are talking about a lengthy phase when I secluded myself to my home, wasn’t apt to splurge on myself and I weighed less. I’ve since strived for these things, in fact, letting go of insecurities, attempting to be frugal and binding myself to putting my heart into my home space versus personal indulgences. I’ve been very home and family minded, and all of this is in this mythical promise that I might be as pure and amazing as I was ten years ago.
Today was the day I was reminded. Today I was looking for a poetry book I wrote years ago, one I believe I have since thrown away (one tragedy of self-doubt). But instead I came across a journal from 2010 – 2011. I was avid at journaling from about the 4th grade, throughout high school, college and into my early parenting years. I was so honest in expression, pen to paper fervent with sincerity, explanation, always seeking an understanding. 2011 was the last journal I ever maintained which co-incides with when I downloaded an app called Instagram. You may have heard of it. I won’t go into any woe of how social media destroyed my journaling. It’s only transformed into a new form of expression. I think, and hope, that I continue to be honest, sincere, always seeking understanding. But it could never go without saying that my best foot is always forward, and that, in every way could never be as honest as I’d like to be. Not with myself, or others and certainly not my future-self. I have to say, folks, my journals are easy reads. The half-cursive lettering just flows off of the page, like a quickly moving story through time. I’m good at this. This was indeed a basic and beautiful time for me; a period of vital self-discovery while I focused solely on my humble home and young child. But what was also revealed to me is how truly lonely and ill-prepared in life I felt at the time. Within the words are financial woes, weight insecurities and constantly feeling upset with my husband and annoyed with my friends and sister. Frequently wrote about my persistent struggles with insomnia and always longing for a second child. The words I read from this girl who used to be me made me so sad but also delighted at the same time, as I can see an arch in my personal growth. The boundaries and voice I’ve established in my most important relationships has helped me resolve conflict and protect my feelings. In being able to read my old growing pain of working through a new dynamic as new parents still figuring it out, makes me feel such gratitude how things continue to improve in my marriage, how much we’ve matured and achieved balance. The fact that I still don’t have my bank account or body image figured out after 10 years is an unfortunate thing. Perhaps a reminder that you can’t take these things too seriously, or be too hard on yourself, because peace in these things is likely something from within. But also between the scribbled recording of my life is the promise my now-self can see, and if only I could tell that girl that everything will be okay. Growth will come, struggles will stay, your babies will grow and grow (and perhaps, so will you). What I think the old me would like to point out is that I can still have the simpler things anytime I wish. It’s a matter of stepping over the messes and stresses, turning off the screen and just being. Outside. Inside. Being with. Being without. Being true. Being honest. And finally the importance of the words. The written words, the ink staining blank pages no matter how bitter or bland they come out to be. Write the words, Kelly, they matter, they make you feel good. This was true then and this is true now. Write and write, and acquire that understanding that you are always, always seeking. There was one entry that embraced how I imagine this old time, that dreamy, home state. I think that perhaps this was the way I left this time in my mind to be remembered, the imagery I would treasure for years to come and most importantly, the things that truly mattered. July 15, 2010 Elias and I have developed a nice daily afternoon routine, “climb trees” he calls it. We go out to the plumeria tree and Elias clubs and I sit on the rock wall of my mother’s garden and watch him. Meaning, throwing the ball for relentless Nellie. Dori is getting faster too, and figuring out “fetch.” So, once Elias has had enough climbing, he usually traces the garden by following the rockfall on foot, leaning into the ti-leaves and says “something-something dinosaurs over there,” while peaking through. Then he goes beneath the mango tree, picks up lots of sticks, little ones, about 8 inches long and we have a “camping trip.” sometimes, we stick leaves on the en dog sticks to go fishing, sometimes the fiascos are a mini-tent. Today, firewood. So wonderful!

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