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16 Mar

The Un-Rant

I started this blog for the usual reasons: maintain a record of the Wonder Years with WonderBaby, share that record with farflung friends and family, keep up with the practice of writing (which, yes, could be done by finishing the last two chapters of my doctoral dissertation but whatever), etc, etc. But it also became a way of clearing my mind of the complicated muck that attends to new motherhood, that muck that pushes the brain cells aside and makes it impossible for new parents, new mothers especially, to have conversations about anything but baby. I’m not talk about our fully understandable fascination with the beauty of our children – most human beings appreciate that particular fascination – but our full distraction by the grotty, mundane, sometimes ugly details of life with messy little beings who have not yet fully developed the faculty of reason. This distracting muck was, I felt at times, threatening to smother my brain.

Yes, she’s gorgeous. Adorable. Loved beyond measure. But guess what? She shits! A lot! Spits up! Forgoes sleep! Makes Mommy crazy!

But by pushing the muck out onto the screen, it became much less, well, mucky. All mushed up in my head, the details of new motherhood melted together into a sort of swampy mess – shitspitsleepshitswaddlespitshitsleep – but out on the screen, out in front of me, those details broke apart and became less like muck and more like particles of rough-grained sand, little glimmering nuggets that sparkled if I held them or looked at them at just the right angle.

And so those details became sort of fascinating to me, in a way that transcended my simple, base interest in sorting through the muck of new motherhood. The shit and sleep and swaddle, removed from the murky depths of my addled brain, could be seen and appreciated more fully, as details of a much bigger and (switching tropes here) beautiful picture. Not, I want to stress, in the banal manner of appreciating the “beauty” of a plastic bag blowing down the street. In the manner, rather, of appreciating the complexity of the details in a painting by Bosch or Bruegel, where the details themselves are absurd, appalling, mundane, or even ugly, but the larger picture is breathtaking, awe-inspiring, extraordinary, beautiful.

An important, probably crucial, part of the process of deconstructing and reconstructing the muck to better see its complexity/art/beauty has come from seeing the deconstruction/recontruction that other parents do with the wonderful muck of their lives. Watching other women and men weave the grotty details of their lives with children (the stuff that makes meanie blogtards post comments like ‘zzzzzzzz’) into fascinating, and sometimes magnificent, tapestries has helped this mother peer through her own grot and find the beauty there.

Why am I babbling on about all of this (apart from wanting to articulate, however convolutedly, a thanks to other blogging parents)?

Because the other day I was struck, full-on, by a shitty volley of anti-parent meanness. And I really, really wish that I could take this particular mound of shit and work it and spin it and weave it into this tapestry that I’ve been talking about, the one that I’ve been carefully deconstructing and reconstructing in the blogosphere. So that I could better understand it, and my reaction to it. See where it fits, and why it fits. Put it in its proper place. Maybe have someone come forward and share how they dealt with that particular shit (because, I fear, it’s not a particularly unusual story.)

But I can’t. Doing so would implicate someone who knows about this blog, who could come across the story, and get hurt. I know this much, that the meanness had something to do with hurt. I don’t want to make it worse. It’s killing me: telling the story, sharing the story, weaving the story into my bigger picture would go so far toward demuckifying those corners of my mind and soul that got smeared by that shit-volley of meanness. But I can’t.

So I had to rant a little, or un-rant, about the benefits of creative ranting, by way of compensation. And it’s helped. I feel a little bit better now.

Thanks for listening.