With Some Things There is No Choice
by Tatiana Luna
You have your choices. These are what make man great, his ladder to the stars. ~Mumford and Sons
I just did a google search on “mothers trying to be more than mothers.” A few satisfying results came up. I related to some point, emotion, or thought in every blog I clicked to, and I saw a few things that stuck out for me.
1) I saw a mother who is trying to break away from dysfunction, psychological analysis, and a past that seems to warrant these burdens. Or is she still caught in the cycle? The first blogpost seemed a bit like a pep talk for herself, reminding herself she is okay, life is good, all she has to do is keep these positive things in mind. I saw myself in this post–the part I am trying to get away from, the part that drags me down. At first I felt relieved to read words so similar to my own, but there is something about it that still seems stuck in the past to me, like the present is all about coping and moving on…forever.
2) I browsed a few blogs from mothers — women, I should say — who I admire. I read about a woman who lost her son, and yet achieved a state of mind from the experience that I am striving for. I read a mother who found her self and life in a foreign place when she was young, before the madness. and in this discovery found a part of herself that could transcend the mundane. The first mother related something similar about her time in India.
I also discovered something in myself my first sojourn in China in Spring 2007, and I commonly crave the rebirth that comes from experiences that essentialize ourselves and life. I have had them since coming to China again, but they are not as frequent as I would like. I cannot separate my motherhood from any one of these moments, since the responsibility, danger, exhaustion of caring for Isabelle raised me to new and unexpected heights in capability. If only I can carry these moments with me always…if only I can create a life filled with these moments of self-discovery through action and danger.
3) These mothers are still devoted to their children and being the best mothers they can be. It’s part of the ideal, and it’s what makes being more than a mother so challenging. The mothers I read have jobs, they travel, they read, they write, they cook well. I aspire to all these things as well. And yet I am not willing to send my child to school in any conventional sense. My life will not fit into any formula if I can make it what I want.
This is where I feel unsatisfied most often in my life–what am I doing so far that is different from what anyone else has done? Am I going somewhere different? Right now I admire these mothers just because they find the time and energy to write fucking blog posts, some of which are worth reading. But are they more than multi-tasking mothers? Is that enough? I have set graduate school as my goal — applying, getting in, and managing to get through, something many mothers have done before me. Right now the picture looks monumental to me. I am still learning to manage my time, keep my priorities straight, and keep my state of mind more than just sane, but high up there, where I want it. Lately, I haven’t felt like I’ve been succeeding, I’m letting unimportant things and unimportant people get me down. Can I conquer this mountain that others have conquered before me?
4) I am beginning to see the role of a blog post for these mothers, and for quite a while now, I have thought of my blog as having the same possibility for me. Similar to my high school journal and yet something more in our technological age, I have looked in hope at my blog as something grounding and enlivining, something that connects me to other people and allows me to reflect. Perhaps this blog can be an essential element in the making of Tatiana Luna.
I come back again to that essential discovery — keeping one eye on the big picture helps me make every day something different, beautiful, full of life and more discovery. Now to keep the balance between micro managing my time so that I can get things done, and going with the flow and valuing the unexpected. Is it all paradoxical? Yes, the best ideas are.
Sometimes we make choices in our life that make other choices clear or necessary. Motherhood is an obvious example. But for someone trying to be more than a mother there are some things that are not a choice. It is not a choice for me to be lazy, or depressed, especially about unimportant things. It is not a choice for me to be so insecure and unsure that I cannot act. It is not a choice for me to dwell in the past, and let nostalgia become something as precious as my present. There is no choice but for me but to act willfully and mold my life like a potter at a wheel. In making the choice to be great, I want to cut off many paths for myself, paths I have tread before, and now find wanting.