Better Aim

So, I am recovering from blog block – or something. In truth, I have been rather paranoid about writing anything in this space since so many online magazines and whatnot only want unpublished pieces. Yet, the irony is, I am not even writing anything, period. I am not submitting anything anywhere.

It’s been  a summer of feeling stumped, of feeling like most writing pieces don’t come together, after publishing two pieces in late spring/early summer. I think it’s just intimidating to try to keep up any level of writing that someone else has claimed is: good.

At any rate, I am back for a minute to check in with you. How is it going?

The itch and sting of moving has descended upon me, not exactly like locusts – more like poison ivy, I suppose. I have never had poison ivy, though, so don’t hold me to that.

At this moment, our house is a disaster. Wrapping paper (the beige kind that goes around dishes), boxes, random magazines, paper clips, lost pens, and formerly missing jammy bottoms surround this joint. We’re up to our knees in “which box does this go in?”

But it passes.

I’ve started my third year at the college feeling more at ease and somewhat detached. I suppose when you have something outside of work that is all-consuming and stressful, the work stress feels much less intense. You’re suddenly like, “And I thought this was hard? What was I thinking?”

I have accepted so many things about life in recent days. (But I don’t want you to think I have it all figured out or anything. Not that you would.) Especially the reality that you have to go through something hard in order to get better at it. I have been reminded lately how moving is one of the most stressful things a person can do, aside from losing a loved one. My husband likened humans to cats the other night. In the same way our cats hide under the couch when boxes and books are strewn across the room, we too feel unsteady and panicky. And if we had an enormous couch to crawl under, we probably would. It doesn’t seem to make sense, except that it makes total sense.

I have resisted being the animal that I am so much of my life. Resisted my needs, my self-perceived weaknesses, really the fact that I am so completely human. This has bothered me to no end much of my life, but I am getting better at opening my arms to the grittiness, to the eternal flaws.

Hitting middle-age really puts certain things in perspective, and as I approach turning 44 in a few months, I see more and more of a new landscape in front and ahead of me. For instance, I have accepted that I will likely never be the kind of runner to run in the Boston Marathon, even though exercise keeps me committed to life and feeling optimistic. I have also realized that I will likely never live in the desert with an unnamed horse, Georgia O’Keefe-style, as I once imagined myself. The possibility of dust storms and rattle snakes are real threats, people. Not to mention, my husband and kid wouldn’t be able to live in the tiny trailer I used to envision. Nor would I subject any of us to a tiny house experience despite my total desire to be that kind of person. I am just. Not. Her.

There are so many things I am not. And that becomes more OK. In fact, it is actually a relief because time is more immediate. The urgency of now is a real thing when you’re 43, not just a slogan. Thus, knowing my limits helps me focus on what I am good at and work within my means. Accepting that I am not the Buddha, for example, or the teacher from Dead Poets Society, helps keep me grounded and real. Striving is still necessary, but I am getting better at which target to aim.

Thank you, life and aging. Thank you, imperfections. Thank you, love.





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It took me a long while to consider the title for this blog. I wanted something that defined me both as a person and a writer. A name that would also perhaps speak to a particular audience. Why “The Astronaut Wife?” Since my early days of blogging, I have leaned toward more of a confessional style of writing, to some degree. I write as much truth as I can muster at each phase of life. In addition, I also come from a conservative Southern family, and I have grown very far from those roots. You could say I have rocketed to the moon in terms of my upbringing. I have rocketed away from debilitating family dynamics, from worldviews that held me beneath a rock. In my thirties, and now my early to mid-forties, I have learned to live more comfortably with both sides of the moon and write just as much about the raw, dark places as the light ones. Don’t quote me on that, though. It’s quite likely I will lean more heavily toward one or the other depending on which way the wind is blowing. Then, we get to the wife part, and quite frankly, this is where the feminist in me bucked and brayed. Identifying myself as “wife” has felt simply stymieing, particularly since becoming a mother six and a half years ago. But if the truth is going to be told, being a wife to my particular husband has altered my entire shape and has given voice to much of the inner deep. So in fact, becoming a wife was the singular most life-changing moment for me in my journey to the moon and back. Fellow travelers, you can feel safe and comfortable here. What matters more than what you might “get” about me is what you might take for yourself.

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