i complain a lot lately that i never get to be alone with my thoughts. so you’d think when i do get that chance i’d make the most of it, yes? no. in true scribblette fashion, i make the worst of it.

i first noticed this habit during my bout with grief therapy after effie died. i was supposed to be working on being mindful–and i suppose i was, for what i discovered is that when quiet, my mind goes to bleak places. its favorite pastime is to script imaginary conversations with women from whom, or toward whom, i feel something negative: resentment, judgment, jealousy, you name it. so i would find myself washing dishes, staring out the kitchen window, thinking about the wife of a friend and how hatefully condescending she is. or in the shower, hot water beating blissfully on my neck and back, conjuring a judgmental mother-in-law’s opinions on my housekeeping skills (never my strength) or my cooking (no longer such a joy) or my general demeanor (getting blacker by the minute).  it was nice to realize that i had a habit of imagining people and their personalities and that i could quit mistaking my imagination for fact; good, too, to realize that this habit might not be such a good one.

but then a lotta life happened and i found myself far too busy to be alone with my thoughts, since every waking moment was taken up with a new baby, or a big move, or a new job, or a new house, or a new pregnancy, or another new baby, or yet another new baby….and there was so much busy-ness in my brain that i couldn’t really take deep breaths (literal or figurative ones) and, as a result, things seemed kinda quiet. but only because i didn’t have psychological space for imaginary insults. (wow. i could get nostalgic over that one.)

unfortunately, lately i find myself back in that place. i am desperate for even 10 minutes to shower by myself, but then when i get those 10 minutes i spend them beating myself up. i expect the worst from everybody, i assume that innocuous or even genuinely curious questions are somehow veiled passive-aggression….and i don’t know why. i don’t know what i’m processing, but it’s obviously a doozy.

i’m not usually one to get emotional around the holidays. but now that i’m thinking about this, sure, my bleakness could be the result of the yo-yo that has been this holiday time in my recent past: in december 2004 i was pregnant. for most of december 2005 i was a grieving mother, and then on december 24th i found out i was pregnant with bitsy, making me a grieving, anxious, and hormonal mother. in december 2006 bitsy was here, and still new, and the world was a glorious place. in december 2007 we were in a new house in a new city in a new state and were mourning mae’s recent death. and now, in december 2008, boo is here.

huh. come to think of it, maybe that *is* enough to send a girl spinning.

spinning or not, i need to reclaim my mental space and adjust this bad habit, before i make everybody in what’s left of my world a miserable wreck — either in my imagination or worse, for real.

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