Monday, May 17, 2010


I haven't written in quite a while. I try and I keep getting interrupted, or I don't even try at all. But I'm not discouraged! Far from it, actually. Writing this blog has helped me bust out of the fog I was in last year. I am able to see more clearly now the kind of life I want to live. Being with my mother and grandmother over the weekend - yes, I did end up going after all - crystallized for me the kind of life i don't want for myself. Their poor choices are a cautionary tale for me - for anyone. I sound unkind, and I feel a bit unkind as I write this. I, without reservation, love my mother, and despite the distance, emotional and physical, I do love my grandmother. But they live lives filled with fear and uncertainty, regrets and instability. Life is uncertain for us all - we do not know what is up on the road ahead - but there are choices in life and ways of thinking about the world that lend themselves to more positive outcomes.

I feel so blessed to have married my best friend, to have dug myself out of debt, to have the physical good health to have run a 5K. Choices I made - and continue to make - propelled me to those good things. Never have I been so keenly aware of consequences as this past weekend, trying to remain sane amongst family squabbles and the destruction of my grandmother's house in the Nashville area floods.

I have some choices ahead of me soon. The whole baby thing figures most prominently on the list. I decided, as I talked to myself on the elliptical trainer last night ("You can do this, Laila!") that I want to embark upon the Healthy Mama/Healthy Baby Project. That's what I'm calling it. A two month "program" in anticipation of trying to conceive. Exercise, healthy food, water, rest, meditation, writing. The essentials in life! I rebel against "experts" telling me what I need to do with my body and soul, so I'm just operating on instincts here. Right now what I most crave is a sense of peace. I need quiet time. I feel like the world is pressing on me too much - I think it presses on all of us too much, whether or not we're conscious of it. Too much noise, chatter, gossip, news, opinions, vulgarity, flash, marketing, spiritual disconnect. We're indoors too much, plugged in too much, staring at screens too much.

To that end, Eric and I agreed to try two new experiences. First, we're going to have a "quiet weekend" sometime this summer. No TV all weekend, try not to answer the phone. He's going to work on his music, I'll do some writing and pondering and reading, and we'll see if we can take it for two whole days! Who knows, it might drive us crazy. But it might be invigorating.

Second, we're going to make "summer reading lists" for ourselves and read classics! I don't think I have it in me to read only classics all summer long, but I'm going to read as many as I can. I want to have to focus on a book, savor it, and hope that the pace of a different time seeps into my consciousness. I know I romanticize earlier times - I gloss over polio and smallpox and women not being able to vote or wear pants, stuff like that. But part of me wants to have a Caddie Woodlawn-like experience of living on the prairie, hearing only the wind and the birds, depending on the seasons and daylight and darkness for my body's natural rhythms and the food I ate. There's got to be a way to blend the saving graces of modernity with a way of being closer to nature and solitude. A simpler life. I think we can find it. It may be a lifetime's work, but it beckons appealingly.


  1. laila -

    hooray for healthy life choices! being healthy only makes clearer all of the places in our lives where we and others cling to what becomes destructive, life-sucking, and un-fulfilling. and when we begin seeing those sore spots, we not only come to identify them more quickly, but we can also address them more readily. kudos to you, woman.

    also, with talk of preparing a sacred space (physically and emotionally) for a baby, might i suggest you consider adding this to your summer reading list: "ina may's guide to childbirth." it was - and continues to be - my birth bible!

    sending you love from kansas city -

  2. Thanks for the suggestion and support, Pakou! Love from Alcoa to you and yours!