Lately I've been repeating the phrase "trust the process of my life" and/or "it's all related" because, for whatever reason, I have been yearning for a tidy life. No, not a clean house, although I always want and crave that, but a life that fits into the byline on my Facebook profile.
Natalie Christensen. Studied at: Harvard. Works at: Blah Blah and Blah Blah, Attorneys at Law
See how that life fits into one sentence?
But that's not my life. And of course it doesn't matter if one's life is concise, not one little bit, not even for a millisecond, but that doesn't mean that my mind hasn't spent some time thinking a concise life isn't desirable. Minds will do that, take you down a long twisty road of thought that has absolutely no bearing on one's happiness or reality. Lately I'll catch my mind grabbing at the threads of my world - Feeleez, blog writing, parent consulting, art/illustration, Fairy Food, parenting, home-making, lover/partner, homeowner - and trying to mush them into a basket, or weave them awkwardly, forcefully into a coherent object.
Why? I don't know.
I told my friend Rachel Turiel that although not enrolled in school I want a Senior Thesis show, right this second, so that I could hang all of my endeavours on the white gallery walls with titles and dates and a clear artist statement. I'd hang a show title over the whole thing, something that tied it all together.
I suppose this yearning is for my own sanity. Like when things go crazy at our house and everyone's fighting I always draw my hair into a ponytail and start picking up toys. It's a jerk response, a desire to instill some sort of order to the chaos. In trying to organize my life into a succinct Facebook byline I am attempting to wrap a hair tie around the whole thing, add some coordinating element.
But that's not who I am.
That's not who I am.
How can "who I am" ever be the source of angst?
The other day my friend Romy and I coordinated kids and dogs so that her dog would get exercise, my kid didn't have to take a walk in the cold, and I got to move my body. When I returned to her house, with her dog, to pick up my child, Romy was going through her wedding items, letters and lists from that time of her life. I fell right into that activity. The letters from her mom and brother and sister! Sweet words to be read the morning of the big day. Tear jerkers. We then graduated to the photo album and spent most of a wonderful afternoon in that wedding world.
I liked, again, how concise it all was. She was unmarried, then she was married, then they had children.
I spent longer than I'd like to admit wondering why I didn't go that straight-forward route, with a clear before and after, a trail you could easily trace. Then I remembered. Oh yeah! I didn't want that. Nathan has asked me to marry him twenty times and every time I say yes. And yet, we also make no plans to get married. And when we fell in love Nathan had an infant and a three-year old. Our life has never matched the old nursery rhyme - First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes teh baby in the baby carriage...
And what's wrong with that?
Nothing. Of course nothing.
That's why I keep reminding myself to trust the process of my life. Who I am is perfectly fine. I didn't follow a straight path because I am not drawn to that kind of path. I like to have many interests bubbling at once. I like to mother and create and write and then do a completely different combination the next day. This really doesn't fit in a Facebook profile. My thirty second elevator speech that describes my life just wouldn't fit in a thirty second window of opportunity. We'd have to keep on riding to the penthouse to squeeze it in.
So I return to trusting, not only who I am but also who I was before. The girl that studied veterinary science and then switched at the last second to art. The girl that could ace a chemistry test in the morning and then build strange abstract enormous sculptures in the afternoon. The young lady that worked her butt off in grad school only to bail out halfway through to work in a bakery and move to Cuba. The woman who moved to Montana on a lark. The woman who fell in love so completely as to never look back and the woman who dove into raising another person's children without even a glance at self-preservation. The woman who dreams big in several directions at once.
I am trusting that person, the one who is learning that tending to several loves simmering at once is just as worthy as one who can sum themselves up in twenty words or less.
I guess that trust is the only pony-tail holder I'm going to get.