It’s the day after the US presidential election and I don’t feel like puking.*
Seems as good a time as any to start things back up.
For the last two years November becomes the Thirty Days of Thanks in this space. On the surface, this practice was in deference to my favourite holiday, Thanksgiving. As I contemplated doing it again this year I realized that it is also a coping mechanism.
The first year I was in a very, very dark place. I had put on those post-wedding/post-PhD pounds and lost momentum in the job market. But the real clue I was stumbling was finding myself on a week’s holiday to Paris, completely paid for by my husband’s work, hiding in a hotel room in the business district.
I was in Paris!
Not my favourite of cities but not my least favourite. I had all day to myself and was one train stop away from the centre of this beautiful city (I mean I could see the Ferris Wheel in the Place de la Concorde from our hotel room) and I was hiding in the room watching BBC daytime programming (reality programming seeking out ‘cowboy builders’ and various ‘benefit cheats’). The housekeeping staff felt so sorry for me they started delivering free macaroons to the room. The situation is obvious in the posts I threw up in this space. I was thankful for ‘stolen apples’ and ‘my headtorch.’ I was so far down my hole I couldn't see beyond my daily situation to find things to be thankful about.
Shortly after that trip I joined Weight Watchers and started CBT therapy and by the time the next November rolled around I was feeling good.
I was 30 pounds lighter and regularly running 6Ks. We just returned from Morocco, a trip we dreamt about for years, and I started volunteering at a place I hoped would jump-start my working life. I threw our first Halloween cocktail party and then headed back to Cleveland for a month.
Last November I learned you can’t go home again. It’s a cliché, but it’s true. At least for me. Going back to the US causes me all kinds of stress. When I left the US six years ago I was flailing.
I was going on my third year of flailing.
To be honest, I was running away and trusting to another cliché (love conquers all) that everything would out. The girl who left is not the woman that returns and Cleveland is slow to catch on. Or maybe we both are playing catch-up. I was counting the days until I got to go home, my home, the home I had built with my person. Once again, November’s Days of Thanks became painful and difficult to write and turned into a kind of therapy.
Which brings us to this year.
Following the pattern, I find myself with a need to cope but for completely different reasons. In September my world changed drastically (and I guess that’s where this long-winded post is going).
In September we moved into our very own house. A few months earlier we made a concrete decision for our future. Finally stepping away from some abstract, what-if, if-where, future shaped by the demands of our families. This was for us. Just us and everyone else would have to deal.
Two weeks before we moved we found out we were pregnant.
That’s what happened to us as well. A double-take and a long HOLY SH*T-type pause.
Shortly after the move, the year-long volunteering gig I hoped would jump-start my working life ended leaving me with a lot of ‘experience’ but still tragically underemployed.
Prior to all this change I was blocked. I had the words, but I couldn't get them out on a page. I write best when ‘improving’ the truth of my day to day circumstances and I had become a bit of a bore. So the universe served up the perfect writing prompt:
new mortgage, knocked up and unemployed.
Is this my life or a sitcom premise?
This is all to say that the Days of Thanks will most likely take a backseat to new house/preggo anecdotes.
I hope you’ll stick around.
*see what I did there?