I want to do better

I think I have reached the point where I have accepted what I am not.  But that does not prevent me from wanting to do better.  

I dread speaking to my husband while he is away.  I have grand plans of surprising him, enthusiastically speaking to him about my day, how much I miss him and cannot wait to see him, dressing up for New Year's and Valentine's dates, all via Skype, but both he and I know it will never happen.  I am not a phone person, even when my husband is deployed for a year, when the phone is the closest, most tangible form of contact we may enjoy.  If that does not succeed in turning me into a phone person, I do not know what will.  Alas, I am a wife who would rather mop her dirty kitchen floors than twirl her hair around her finger while glued to her desk chair speaking to a sleek, minimalist screen.  Steve Jobs did a lot, but his computers do not please me that much.  I am the daughter who almost never calls home, the friend who allows voicemails to go unanswered for weeks until I find the time to respond.  It is not that I do not care, I suppose I simply care about my kitchen floors more.

My fellow graduate students seem to make time for volunteering and community organizing and otherwise generally saving the world.  They truly give me hope for our future, they do, but nonetheless I prefer to fill my downtime with incessant blog reading, TV watching, food shopping, and apparently, kitchen floor mopping.  My floors really should be a lot cleaner than they are.

I look around at other bloggers, and I see beautiful photography, carefully crafted step-by-step recipes, and consistency, and I will never have that.  I feel flashes of inspiration, thinking that I too should learn how to use my camera, to record my impulsive forays--and happy successes--in the kitchen, but they quickly falter.  Frankly, I find photography incredibly dull, tedious, time-consuming and expensive.  Same with measuring and any other documentation of the process allowing for any near promise of replication.  So much for a future career in food.

I think I miss writing creatively, but I think I actually more miss the idea of creative writing than the creative writing itself.  I thought having the blog would motivate me to devote some of my attention to writing for myself and focusing my efforts towards grounded, true-to-life discourse (even my creative writing now sounds like an academic exercise), but instead it merely hovers permanently on my Google task sheet, adding one more mild, low-grade stressor to the otherwise sheltered, artificially anxiety-ridden environment that is graduate school, where we are paid to articulate and reflect upon the world's problems, leaving the actually solving part to someone else.  Yet I feel a need to dissect my sentences--the previous one is too long--and my desire for perfection or at least its near approximation impedes my ability to finish--okay, start--writing.

This is who I am.  I could name many more flaws, and I am sure there exist still more that I have not even identified, but I think these few quests for self-improvement reveal enough.  I struggle relationally at times, with a Messiah complex, or allowing myself permission to indulge in restoration and relaxation, with admission and embrace of my areas of complete inexpertise, with perfectionism and elitism.  This blog bears the marks of those scars and their healing, their fading and remaking.  

This will never be a food blog, although I love to cook.  I cringe when I look at photographs from the summer.  I embrace my amateur photography skills but will not flaunt them.  No one needs or really wants to see them.  And cooking becomes not enjoyable when I attempt to record my every move.  It provides the one, probably the only area in life where I create freely, impulsively, and without self-doubt and -hinderance, and I need to keep that.

Neither will this blog document relationships or provide a means for staying in touch with loved ones.  If it accomplishes such, it only does so peripherally and accidentally.  The blog rather witnesses to struggle between wanting and doing, doing and being.  To the demons of cynicism and perfectionism.  To the dangers of valuing efficiency productivity over relationality.  To the surprising beauty of brokenness.

Creation is fragmentary.  Life is fragmentary.  We are fragmentary.

Some days I try to pick up the pieces and put them back together.  Most days, however, I revel in their existence at all.

Emily Rowell Brown