Sunday, July 25, 2004

Put down that People Magazine and pick up a pen!

This used to be so easy.  I would pick up a pen (a smooth pen, not too scratchy), open my cloth-bound journal and write all about my days' events.  I could go on for pages about my crush-of-the moment, some silly adventure with my gal pals (downtown bus adventures, adopting three-legged cats, etc.), or a crazy boss at some menial, low-wage job (communist sandwich makers, pyramid-scheming hippies). 

It was easier when I was sixteen and all I thought about were my long-distance boyfriend, my friends not getting along, and writing stories for the school newspaper.  It seems the more fluffy my life, the easier it is to write about it. 

Now I'm 27, a mom to a spunky two-year-old, love-partner to a spunky 37-year-old, and full-time student.  I like to think of myself as a writer and artist, too.  I am, but these traits seem to lay dormant these days.  It's not easy balancing a family, school and your life passions.  But it's possible.  Moms of small children don't have much spare time, but it's there.  It's all about priorities.  Put down the People magazine and pick up a pen!  Easier said than done, I know.  It's easier to get lost in others' lives, especially if they're more glamorous than your own. 

But some people don't seem to ever wish they were anyone else but themselves.  My love-partner, Raul, is this kind of person.  He has never in his life wished he was anyone else but himself.  This reminds me of a scene from one of my favorite movies, "Corina, Corina."  The little girl, Corina, is having trouble making friends at school so her caretaker, played by Whoopie Goldberg, tells her to look at herself in the mirror and repeat these words: "My name is Corina, and there's no one in the world better than me."  This could be Raul's life motto.  When I first met him, I thought he was a bit conceited.  I thought he was a little too full of himself.  What I realize now is that he was just brimming with self-confidence and an attitude that said, "I like being me," and "I will fulfill my life's dreams."  As he likes to put it: "No one told me I couldn't."

I know what he means, but plenty of times I've been told I couldn't.  To name a few:

  • You can't go to Chiapas in the middle of a civil war
  • You can't take a semester off; you'll never go back
  • You can't have a life outside of family and school

That last one echoes in my mind the most because it is the only one of the three that I'm the author of.  The other two were said by worried family members or friends.  But the third one is all me.  I had a dream the other night that I was talking to my friend Kisa and suddenly, I freeze up with panic and start crying and say to her, "I don't have anything interesting to say anymore."  I didn't have to thumb through my dream dictionary looking for the meaning of that one.  But it's almost true, in a way.  My usual response to the question, "So, what's new with you?" is: "Nothing."  And then I might add something funny or amazing my two-year-old did or said, or a good book I just finished reading. 

You can only have interesting things to say if you start saying them.

This is a good place to start.



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