It’s been a long time since I opened the Add New Post tab on my browser. And even longer since I actually finished and posted a blog entry. There are a few drafts that never made it very far, withering on the branch.
Some seasons of life are fertile and some are fallow. This has been a long, cold, slog of a season. Ever since September, really.
Last month, on January 20 to be precise, this blog celebrated its 15th anniversary. And I wasn’t here to note it. Fallow? Or like a mole hiding in a hole under the earth, quivering and afraid to poke its head out to see what big thing is stomping around up there?
What is this blog meant to be and what has it been and what will it be? It began as a place for minutiae, the bits and bobs of daily life and what I was reading and thinking; but all things change and like any good tool, I’ve repurposed this blog many times. In the past few years as social media has become more and more an outlet for my minutiae and also for daily conversation, I’ve still found that I need a safe hideyhole online where I can explore bigger ideas at length. And so this blog has continued, albeit in a much more threadbare way.
But… it’s sort of an illusion of safety, isn’t it? In reality Facebook is actually much more locked down because I can set me posts to friends only. Whereas this blog is in truth open to anyone and everyone who passes by. Even if they leave no comments and no trace of their passage. And this is probably why most mommy bloggers become pretty scarce as their kids grow older and more independent– they have their own lives of which they will become the chroniclers. My words become more circumscribed as I take note of what record I’m creating here in this place and I draw a veil over some of the doings of our little family. (Dom and I do have a podcast, Raising the Betts where we talk about our weekly doings and maybe that’s also scratching the reporting itch a bit?)
Anyway, I’m dancing around the point because this is the piece I’ve been Not Writing in my head for months because I’m butting up against that barrier in my head: family privacy vs my need to write to process, to share, to live at least a part of my life in this space, whatever it is. I don’t fully understand why it is but unless I tackle this topic head on I cannot skip over it to talk cheerily about books and adventures and whatnot.
So, as discretely as possible, because only part of this is my story to tell– but it is also partly my story and I need to tell it — at least glancingly–for whatever reasons I cannot articulate even to myself. I’ve been buried by mental illness for a season. Anxiety, not my own (and not Dom’s)– and yet also my own because family means bearing each others’ burdens. It’s been a long haul and accessing mental health services feels like it is more complex and drawn out process than it should be. But there is treatment and there is light and things are getting much much better.
Anxiety grinds everything to a halt when it becomes a tidal wave that traps someone you love into an inability to sleep normally, eat normally, leave the house and go about everyday activities normally. An overwhelming weight like a blanket that has been smothering me, smothering us. It is an essential part of what it means to be family, that the sickness of one pulls on the fabric of the lives of all.
So there have been many small battles, many small victories, and I simply cannot record and recount them; but I must acknowledge that they have been and that they’ve kept me silent with the weight of words unspoken, unwritten. I simply haven’t known what to say. And other things, books, poetry, art… they’ve been pushed to the margins and I’m having a hard time taking them up again and figuring out how to reclaim those fallow fields. How to plow and uncover and plant and nurture words in ground that has been slumbering.
A new year, a new season, days lengthening and lightening. We are past the darkest time of the year and I am hopeful, looking forward to new life, growth, fresh leaves poking up from the cold soil where everything was buried at the downturn of the year when everything seemed to go up in flames. A phoenix rising from the ashes, as they do, thanks to God.
Maybe now I can get past this dam that’s been keeping all the words blocked in. Maybe, perhaps, there will be more words here. Watch this space….?
Join the discussion