(Im)possible Change

You’ve moved into a new house and are motivated to make those small changes and home repairs that otherwise would sit on the back burner for years. It starts with noticing the toilet seats need replacing. You plan a happy trip to Home Depot; there’s even a spring in your step. Good-bye old toilet seats. Your bottom deserves the smoothest and cleanest that $20 can buy. They are not hard to find. After all, you only have a couple of choices. Feeling ambitious, you purchase a whopping number of three new toilet seats. You get home and place those seats, still preserved in sterile boxes, on the floor of the main level bath, the one everyone who enters and exits has easy access to.

Three months later, those same boxes still sit there. And every day, you see them, pretending not to notice. I mean, you got busy. There was furniture to buy. There were a thousand boxes to attend to. Pictures to hang. Not to mention the usual daily living that needs to happen. Things like leaving the house for work or getting kids to school. The endless list of daily chores.

This is often the cycle of change in my household and sometimes for me as a person, too. Yet, every new year, we feel invincible again. It’s like our origin story can begin again. Such magic in turning over one page of the calendar.

Despite the ridiculousness of not being able to screw on a new toilet seat, I have begun my new year with some lofty personal goals. And I know perhaps it’s stupid to think I can accomplish it all, but I am feeling super determined this year. Every so often, you just have this internal shift; you understand something is different about yourself. You’re newly dedicated to getting your s%#t together, and you can’t explain why necessarily.

For me, I have just gotten so sick of myself. So sick of feeling awful about the world and where we seem to be headed politically. So sick of feeling weakness in my body and a decade older than my time. Even though I run, so many parts are still flabby, sore, and incapable of screwing on a toilet seat, apparently.

And don’t get me started on negative thinking. My skepticism and cynical nature have been able to dig too many trenches. I have grown much too prone to expecting the worst instead of the best. The tunnels in my brain often look like this:


See, my husband is even running.

I have been lost in a maze, and it’s been growing darker. The negative thoughts only grow thicker around us, if we continue on this path. They take root. You start to feel like that’s all you are anymore, and you’re too tired to find the exit. You settle for resting in sunny spots. That will do. You can get by that way.

Until eventually, if you are like me, staying put becomes more tiring. Is more draining on your energy. So I am not settling for sun breaks this month. (Yes, you heard me. This month. I have got to start small if there’s any hope for success.)

I began the other night by listening to a podcast on mindfulness. I don’t know it well enough to recommend it yet, but there was something about just listening to an expert in energy work discussing energy fields and the need to connect with and preserve our energy that filled me with joy and rejuvenation for an evening. Combining this activity with some yoga stretches and meditation was enough to open up one tiny new pathway. Already, there is a tiny bit of room for more productivity to enter. And it’s still with me, two days later.

This is how it starts. Every time. Just one small decision at a time. Eventually, we find our way out, into the sunny field waiting beyond the thick stalks. And another origin story begins anew.






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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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