Take one daily. That’s what the directions say. I follow them closely and read all the warnings. But the seasons creep up on me, out of the blue. I can’t blame it on mourning my mom because that’s all done now, I’ve already admitted to that. I can’t blame it on Jesus because Jesus and I had a conversation last night. It’s not the stuff, or lack of stuff some people have. It’s the frenzy, the inability to be joyful about Christmas when my president is starting a holy war, when he is riding sea biscuit to a world of war and blood money. Under the cover of religion, politics, it’s all gone mad out there. I am having a meltdown, I need to start taking two daily. The other thought is maybe I’v done the work around Christmas and religion and politics and I’m OUT. I really think I shouldn’t even stress. I’m not robbing my children of anything if I don’t go Christmas on steroids, or Christmas at all. Who says I must celebrate Christmas at all? My husband and his family and most of the world love Christmas and think it’s in the child’s best interest to go with the status quo on the subjects of Christmas, Children, and God. I’m just not in that group. I have a stomach pain and jitters just thinking about it all. I want to hide away until after Christmas.
I’m having anxiety lately. It’s hard to just sit here and not worry. Are other people feeling this way too? I am worried about the people getting hammered by hurricane season. I am worried about the Trump administration. The horrible things I worried about when president Trump became the Republican nominee are coming true. The worst things I thought he would do are happening. Thank god for our judicial system, at least things can be slowed down a little. I worry about the Earth and Global Warming. I worry about nuclear war. I worry. The furrow between my eyes becoming deeper. The lines around my lips. We all die someday. Will I be alive to see the collapse of the world as we know it? What future is there for Jack and Fiona? I live in the moment when we are together, like it is the most important time in the world. My worries slip away when I am with my children. I cherish those moments, even the annoying ones.
I am forcing myself not to turn on the news again today. I must force myself. I am consumed by the bad news, the fires, the racism, all of it. I need to not watch the news and not look up facts about places and weather systems and wars. This morning when I was walking Billy, passing the Mission, I read the Church Services Schedule. I noticed there was a Haitian service, one Sunday a month at 6:00 PM. I thought about taking Jack and Fiona. I imagined the Haitian Priest conducting the service in French, and how beautiful it would be. Then imagined Jack and Fiona making too much noise and maybe the church goers would be mad at us and think we were rude. It felt good to know there is a Haitian community in San Rafael.
Outside, a sea of noises. Dogs barking, Blue Jays cawing, the Sycamore tree leaves rustling. The chimes-chiming. I finally take a deep breath. Fiona and Jack will be home from preschool soon. Older and wiser than when they left this morning. I’m going to try not to worry this afternoon. I’m going to give myself a break. Drink a glass of Sake, take my sign language class, take care of the kids and go to bed early. I want to turn on the T.V. so bad. I should unplug all of the T.V.’s. Turn off my phone. Let it all go. Except my sign language class. It’s a webinar!
Murky Waters. Today. Loss. Death. Strange quiet highways. Nap Time. Jack and Fiona will be up soon. House still quiet. Today is the anniversary of my mom’s death. Paintings Murky and dark. Mind murky and dark. News not good. It’s impossible to remove myself from politics and what’s happening in the world. I try to not get affected by it and think, “Maybe it’s going to be O.K.” But then I hear another piece of the puzzle. The picture on the puzzle says War. I hung out with some friends the other day, people I don’t know super well. I started picking up on some things so I asked them who they voted for. “Trump”, my legs get weak. I turn pale. So many thoughts are running through my head. They are nice people and they said they did it for fiscal reasons. They are two out of three people I know who voted for Trump. I’m stumped up on Trump. I think what’s going on in politics is frightening and extremely sad. Today I thought about a conversation I had with my friend’s Israeli mom, she told me Trump was her pick for US president. I asked her why, she said “He will protect Israel.” When I heard the news today about David Friedman becoming the US ambassador to Israel, I realized Palestine was the next Target. It’s sad. We are in a War, and America’s not the good guy. A lot of people around the world are dying and suffering because of us. Trumps agenda will have lots of collateral damage. He’ll align himself with the most powerful, most rich men of the world. They are power hungry, they do not care who they take down along the way. Guns and money always win.
November engulfs me. It enchants me, spider webs, dampness, creepy crawlies, the cold achy sad bones, memories. Sad ones and happy ones. Mostly quiet ones. Make a few changes, put in the effort. Two paper plate turkey’s look at me with bobble eyes, the dishwasher hums. I worry about my time running out. I worry about what’s ahead of me again. Christmas. I am not a Christmas person. Last year it was definitely cute, seeing Jack and Fiona open their presents. All the sentiment was good. I did the Christmas tree two years in a row. It was beautiful and fun to decorate, see everyone’s excitement. The tree was up last year for two days until Jack and Fiona pulled of the lights and started biting the bulbs. I don’t want to go through what will surely be worse this year. I’m trying to minimize stress; as it is, I feel I’m telling Jack and Fiona “no” all day long. A tree will times that by 100!
I had a fascinating time in my studio today. Although I barely made to my studio day; and almost gave it away by making it a “special day away with Mommy”, (I came to my senses), I painted in blues, forms disappeared into the background. I realized it had been too long since I have painted. Was it Monday? Yesterday was Zoo day. Jack couldn’t wait to see the gorillas and Fiona kept asking to go to the “Family Farm”. Jack looked at the gorillas in all three viewing spots. He was quiet and respectful and observed for a long time. He even stayed behind the rope, after I remined him a few times. We pet, brushed, and fed the goats. We saw: Giraffes, Zebras, Ostriches, monkeys, flamingos, beetles, tarantulas. They played on the playground. It has every different type of slide, climbing structure, tunnels, swings, nets, imaginable. I remember parts of the playground, not that long ago that scared me. I had to stay close by the babies. Mainly carrying Fiona to follow Jack. Yesterday I lost sight of one kid or another several times. I wasn’t afraid of them falling and getting hurt. I tried to keep track as much as possible, but it was really difficult. They were fine.
The other night Jack and Fiona told me they needed to go poop. “O.K. I said, staying in the kitchen. At first it sounded normal. I wondered if I should check up on them, but gave them the benefit of the doubt. I hear laughing, I go in and Fiona has a tiny little piece of toilet paper wiping the toilet seat, which has a thin smear of poop all over it. There is a pile of poop on the floor and poop and pee in the porta potty. Jack is standing in the sink washing poop off his butt.
Jack just called me. They are awake now. Nap Time is over. I am thankful for naptime paintings and writings.
I wake up, I feel rested. I hear jack and Fiona crying, “Mama” I slip on my nightgown, look at the clock, “Wow, I totally overslept, it’s 8:15, just a minute” I say. I take Fiona out first, then Jack. Fiona is crying for her bottle, Jack wants to show me a picture in his book. I take off their dirty, slightly damp from pee pajamas, I better not forget to put those in the wash. The cries and whines getting stronger and louder, “Bottle, bottle, bottle” both babies now. I start to tense up, I’m going as fast as I can. It’s automatic now, kettle on, toast on, grind coffee beans, set up cup and filter, set up bottles, get out milk, cream, butter, honey, almond butter, strawberries, butter toast, pour hot water over coffee and into bottles, give Jack and Fiona bottles. The kitchen gets quiet, the crying and whining’s gone, my body relaxes, I take a deep breath. I have five minutes to eat before the whining starts again and the food gets thrown on the floor. Unless I put a cartoon on, especially The Wiggles CD’s (which has driven me totally insane) I prefer Curious George.
Alan said he thinks I’ve been in a period of anxiety. Linda says she was concerned because I worry too much. I’m just being myself. I think I’m acting appropriately. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me. I try my best, being a parent is really hard work, being a person is really hard work. Alan doesn’t understand why I let certain things get to me, upset me. I told him “I don’t know.” Last weeks Pope visit coinciding with Rosh Hashanah really stirred things up for me. I feel like such an outcast, religion really irritates me. When I heard the clip on the news, president Obama saying “And these gentle but firm reminders of our obligation to God and to one another, you (the pope) are shaking us out of our complacency” it upset me, everyone in America doesn’t believe in God. I don’t believe in God, the devil, heaven or hell. But I can’t talk about that without upsetting people. Now as a parent I feel uncomfortable, like I’m obligated to give my children a religion. I’m not going to be raising Jack and Fiona religious, I won’t lie to them about my beliefs, or anyone’s beliefs. I wish it was accepted to be an atheist, that it doesn’t mean I don’t have morals and values. That my children will be good people without the God factor involved. That I’m a good person. People always say to me, “But you’re spiritual, you do yoga, meditation and that’s good.” As if that keeps me off some really bad list. They want me to say I’m agnostic, maybe just to make themselves feel better. My version of death, as final, as decomposition, is too scary for most people. Maybe that’s it? I never thought of it like that.
In my studio now, the hum of the fan, I can hear the babies running and playing on the floor above me. Yellows and collage, darks, masses, forms on paper looking back at me. I just can’t believe how much imagery comes out in one hour. Where is it stored inside? Where does it come from? When I first got in here today didn’t know what I would write or paint. I spent an hour erasing everything I could off my computer and iphone, e-mails, stupid apps, voice messages, re-doing all my privacy settings. Then I decided to mix up a color, a yellowish color, and do some automatic painting. Things just flowed. Now I’m hungry! For food and more blank paper! And TIME!!