Half-assing and My Woman Cave

Sometimes we just get off track. We go off the rails, so to speak. Something just shifts; the tectonic plates deep inside our core decide to move. When this happens to me, I withdraw. And it can be hard to return to the fellow humans around me.

I am reminded now of the typical man cave thing and how men are often described as retreating to their respective caves. Well, I am here to say that women have caves, too. Only they smell better and might even have a skylight somewhere.

I am in my proverbial cave these days, and I am having a hard time sharing thoughts with you, reader. I tried writing about the political stuff for a few weeks, but that seemed off somehow, like I didn’t want this space turning into yet another source of political commentary. You deserve better, and so do I.

So I am gonna talk about half-assing it because this is where my stream of consciousness has led me. I am currently reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. As usual, I am reading one of the hot, trendy ones that are probably on Oprah’s list a few months behind everyone else. Nonetheless, I want big magic in my life – more, please – and a way out of the cave. If you read Eat, Pray, Love, you are aware of this woman’s accessibility, wit, and humor. She inspires without trying to inspire. In fact, it’s almost like she’s telling you, don’t be inspired by me; be inspired by you. And I need someone to say that to me right now.

Now back to half-assing it. Gilbert tells us that dreams don’t wait for us to get it right. They don’t wait for our perfect little type A selves (my words here) to fly in V formation. This is why we need to learn the art of half-assing it, doing good enough. Not waiting until our most eloquent, poetic selves show up before we write our novel (which applies to all creative endeavors in life).

I can relate to this idea very much as a teacher. In the classroom, sometimes you half-ass it for a few semesters or years before you finally begin scratching the surface of mastering the art of teaching a particular course. There’s no way you can do anything but be a half-ass teacher if you want to be one at all because most of it is trial by fire. You learn as you go. Make it up along the way. And then, you begin accruing “A-ha!” moments. After a while, you even build up a bank of “A-ha” moments, and this is the scratching of the surface.

This post serves as a reminder to you and to me, that we can’t ever wait to be brilliant and disciplined before we write a master’s thesis or become meditation practitioners. We can’t wait until our hearts are healed from one romance before we try out loving someone else. We can’t wait to be the most ideal parent before we start disciplining our children or giving them advice. We have to jump, even with only one foot in. And sometimes just with one toe.

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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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