Because the high-pitched whine of your offspring is genetically engineered to shove any thought right off your mind shelf, so trying to ponder anything with 2 kids at home is a joke
Because at the end of the day, when it’s quiet, my brain is a raisin, sucked dry from giving, from listening to “FEE FI FO FUM” 900 times, from constant negotiations with a strong-willed 2-year-old who doesn’t like public potties, from being asked questions on abstract concepts that I can’t possibly explain to a 5 year old, and I just want to binge watch Netflix
Because once they’re in bed, sitting and thinking in the quiet will put me to sleep–and I don’t want to spend my time sleeping!
Because it’s easier to make to-do lists, to organize closets, to crochet, to find recipes for things my husband might eat on Pinterest
Because [retch, gag] incubating a human keeps you at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid
Because all my new material is domestic, feels cliche and less legitimate
Because I’m white
Because my material is probably too confessional
Because I’m from the South, so I’m probably (fill in the blank).
Because I’m a lemming, and I don’t have a dissenting voice against my religion
Because I should be editing the gajillion hours of videos I have of my kids into something for posterity
Because, I know, Dad! I should be doing family history
Because I should be an activist, and if I’m not actively calling my representatives to express my outrage, then I’m doing “nothing,” ergo allowing evil to prosper
Because every poem I read (published and perfect) is brilliant, evokes roils of envy and angst, compared to the cotton, milk, saltless drivel I manage to cough up with any first draft
Because I’ve gotten so many rejections from Southern Poetry Review (to name one) that they probably know my email by heart and the editor’s eyes probably instinctively roll up in his head
Because my grad school professor asserted that you can’t be a good writer if you’re a virgin. And being a good, single 27-year-old Mormon girl at the time, I was screwed. (Ha!)
Because (what my professor really meant was): I haven’t suffered enough–so what do I really have to contribute?
Because even at 40, I haven’t lost children, or experienced sexual trauma, or been discriminated against, or been homeless, or divorced, or betrayed–so why would anyone want to hear what I have to say anyway?
If I could think one
thing, follow it on highway
19 those trees that
pond white arms refract
over the water women
rinse crumbs from their hands
Why I do
Because sometimes, I can.
Because sometimes, I need it.
Because even if what I have to say isn’t unique, it (I hope) builds a consensus. It helps people feel less alone.
What are the voices in your head that keep you from doing what you love? How do you conquer them?