what it was like to be me in 2016
I’ve reached the halfway point of nablopomo and I’m shamelessly dipping into their writing prompts because, well, that’s what they’re there for and I’ve run out of inspiration. This one, “What was it like to be you in 2016?”, caught my eye.
This year felt like I was in a maze, blindfolded, with cotton wool jammed in my ears and boxing gloves for hands; trying to make my way through the twists and turns of 2016 without the use of my basic senses; searching for a light switch. A maze where maybe left was right and down was up and walls were actually openings and doors lead to nowhere. Part of it was simply navigating the unknowns of motherhood, stumbling around, tripping on roots and cracks in the sidewalk. But mostly it was the void beyond the next step that I was afraid of. The more Wren grew, the more I could feel the time for change looming ahead, the pressure mounting. You know you’re going to have to wean her, right? Have you found a nursery yet? You really have to start looking for work. You need to find a nanny, you need to make time to look for work. When are you moving? Why haven’t you found a job yet? What are you going to do about money? Are you turning left or right? Why are you turning left? Are you sure you should be turning left? Don’t look at me, I don’t have the answers. Who are you anyways, voice in my head? Do you ever shut up?
Some days I felt like Dorothy spinning in the tornado, witches and furniture twirling around me, trees and chickens and grandmas in rocking chairs, cows and men in canoes. Not ever really landing. I still don’t feel like I’ve landed. I am in limbo land.
The waiting room in limbo land has no reading material. The people who run limbo land don’t want you to get distracted. Sure, they want the voices in your head to stop harassing you but they don’t feel that procrastination is the way to get there. There’s a ticketing system. You take your number and you wait. And you wait. And then you see an adviser and they tell you that things will happen in their own time and you just need to wait some more. You are in an intermediate state and the only way out of limbo is to trust. To trust that the right decision will be made, that resolution may not be swift but will be just. Trust. Trust in yourself. Trust in the limbo system. But don’t just sit there and do nothing. For Pete’s sake, do something woman. “What do I do?,” I ask, I implore. “That’s not our department, ma’am. That’s for the department of internal affairs,” the receptionist says, clicking her red fingernails on her keyboard. “Next,” she calls.
I think I’ve done what I could. I’m still waiting.
But 2016 has also felt like a huge blessing. A blessing that I had to remind myself of every day. With all the what-the-fuckery, between Brexit and Trump, so much death and so much hate, I got to spend my days watching my kid grow up. At a really special time in her life. I got the extra months that so many other mothers don’t have. I will never, ever forget this year for that. And for the opportunity to check Italy off my mom’s bucket list. I have my husband to thank for both. So that part of 2016 felt a bit like being wrapped in the biggest, warmest hug you can imagine. A bear hug. A friendly bear hug. In a meadow somewhere, where the sun shone every single day, even if it just poked through the clouds for a few minutes. A flash of joy. Every single day.