My own intuition tells me to be skeptical about the stories of birth and raising children that I hear all around. Sometimes I feel I know nothing about these things but, on the other hand, I have all the natural capabilities of giving birth and raising a child – that’s (one of the things) I’m made for. Too much information would only distance me from myself and from what I know in general – what I’ve inherited from the generations of women before me. What I simply have in myself as genetic, biological, divine information.
I also want to soften my edges. Actually, I need that. To become more self-confident but also “softer” (people with many edges have never seemed self-confident to me; it’s an armour that keeps their fragility safe). What was it? A woman should be as soft as butter. This way you can’t hurt her with a knife. Only now do I understand the meaning of this metaphor. Soft and confident > a woman.
I was thinking about a children’s book idea – a story about Christmas. From there I recalled a film in which the father dies on Christmas and turns into a snowman and then I put myself in the place of a woman who’s being announced her husband has died. I imagined myself trying to explain it to my child. I guess I found a good explanation: every person will eventually go to heaven anyway. That’s not a bad thing because heaven is his true home. It’s just sad because sometimes people go “home” without saying goodbye to their relatives and friends. And even when they do, it’s just as sad. And my son will ask, “Then can’t we also go to heaven to Dad?” And I will tell him that we can’t. That our life is something like a “game” in which we cheat if we decide to end it ourselves. We must live it till the end that’s assigned to us in order to learn our lesson and “go to the next level.” Those who end their own life, I’ll tell him, will have to go back and replay the same level (but with other people because their relatives and friends will have already moved forward) in order to learn their lesson. I think this is a very good explanation but I hope the occasion for it won’t be the one I was imagining while lying in my bed.
Why don’t children come with their names? After all, although made from one cell of mine (hers) and one of his, they’re unique persons. Maybe even souls with many past lives, ready for their next lesson on earth. Why must we give them their names? Or maybe, giving them names, we wish them something that’s coded into the name. No names mean something bad anyway. All names are good wishes. But they’re just names – it’s either that name giving doesn’t have the power to shape up the personality or the name is just too little a symbol (avatar) of the person who bears it and can’t express his entire nature. I think I’ve read that within some cultures (Indians?) the name comes later when the child has demonstrated his personality. I think that’s quite logical but also incompatible with the age we live in.
When your expectations aren’t big, it’s easy for your day to exceed them.
I wonder if I will have to take out the winter coat I have washed again. I’ll try not to do it. I’ve always thought putting the winter coat into the wardrobe is symbolic – it puts an end to the cold. If we take it out before next late autumn, we’ll draw the cold back.
I think I have much more to “give” (in terms of advice and lessons) to a girl than to a boy. Boys’ life is a bit unfathomable to me. But that doesn’t scare me so much – instead of me teaching him, my son will teach me and unveil the peculiarities of boyhood that I know about only from books. I wish him to have a childhood like Douglas’s from Dandelion Wine or like the children’s from Astrid Lindgren’s Bullerby books. I need to provide this to him somehow even in a home without a garden.
I like how fast the notebook fills up when you write morning pages. I imagine many such notebooks to go back to during the years and which will carry the smell and taste of these days. These smell and taste always intensify with time. The memory seems to condense and conserve them. Now days look even, calm, special with nothing but in a few years’ time the memory of them will sometimes prick me slightly. In a slightly happy or a slightly sad way. It will prove that I wasn’t indifferent to the things in life. That I was able to feel.
I wonder, if dreams are a parallel reality, do we suddenly disappear when waking up and how do the rest of the “participants” in the dream explain this to themselves?
I think about our relationship with Lukaš recently and recall Elizabeth Gilbert/Shopenhauer’s theory of the prickly animals (porcupines). About how when they get too far from one another, they get cold and start craving for the closeness of the other/others. And how when they get too close, they prick one another. Gilbert defines this as a “dance”, symbolizing love and its paradox – a wish to simultaneously preserve ourselves but also contribute from the warmness of the other. A step forward and then a step back. That’s our love. Porcupine love. I guess we’re both animals of the prickly kind.
Somehow I feel that I’ve recently begun to lighten my ideas and lower my expectations. I give up on perfection and on blindly believing that a particular thing is exactly made for me (and what if it turns out that it isn’t?). It’s difficult to ease your grasp once that you’ve set your mind on doing something but I think it’s also quite wise.
For the past months I seem to have been quietly saying goodbye to it – to my youth. I seem to be really preparing myself for a new stage of my life when I will have to leave something behind in order to free space for something else. (But do I really need to, I keep asking myself.) I don’t want what I leave to be an inseparable part of me which I’ll be inconsolably looking for in the future. Perhaps I don’t want to leave my youth behind. After all it would only help me take care of my child. Maybe just as much as the wisdom of adulthood will.
I like browsing through the written pages – they give me the feeling of filled days. Documenting every day – an old unfinished project of mine. Having been written, the pages make the notebook look thicker and softer. They fill it up. Just as days fill up life with content when they’re lived consciously. It’s easy to enter and exit from each new day without paying attention even to the opening of doors. However, I’m interested in what’s between two doors. I can never know if the door of today isn’t the last one. If beyond the doorstep there isn’t a vast light space waiting for me. It’s worth spending at least some time in the rooms between the doors…
Looking at the written pages, I get the feeling that life is a book. And even that I am writing it.
Yesterday Lukaš and I finally got to talk, although not for more than twenty minutes. In the car, again. Really, our conversations go much better when there’s only the curve of the road in front of us and the things to the sides which it’s dangerous for us to be looking at anyway. At home, where the setting is immobile, that’s not possible. We really need to spend more time outside and on the move – this helps with everything. Movement just makes us accepting, sharpens our senses and even opens the little windows to our souls.
It’s proven by dozens of philosophical conversations I’ve had while hitch-hiking: people, especially those who drive, are just more relaxed when their eyes (have to) follow the road and need not be turned at the other person speaking. Something in the monotony of the road makes us go inside ourselves and take all our feelings and thoughts out to share them.
I’m now thinking about the psychological interpretation of three women’s attitude to their winter jackets in spring. I refuse to take out the coat I washed on the very first warm day (striving for the new, for the future, power in the face of the past which refuses to leave). L. hasn’t yet put O.’s winter jacket away, just hers (the attitude of the mother who puts her children at first place even before herself). And Lukaš’s mother who hasn’t washed hers yet (fear, hiding in the well-known comfort zone). I shouldn’t interpret things this way, I know, but I just had this thought.
I also recently discovered Dorotea (Teya Diya?)’s blog [in Bulgarian only] which affects me in a “feminine” way but a bit more differently and delicately. A way that is more realistic but at the same time poetic. More painful and vulnerable but, despite of that, keeping itself on the surface above the despair and somewhere under the must-have feeling of power. She writes quite well. And openly.
And when I read her I imagine a woman who lives alone with her child in a flat with slightly aged furnishing (white kitchen shelves perhaps?) and often smokes with a window opened out of which a green tree is seen. And despite the dates above the posts it’s always May because Sofia smells in the most poetic way in May.
It smells of green chestnut trees, of the slight humidity and the thin cold in the Borisova Garden at twilight. It smells of the clank of coffee cups which could be at Starbucks but would still have an authentic, purely Sofian look, sound and aroma. Sofia in May is so full of promises (to me). Although, promises of what? Of a summer which I’ll spend away from it anyway? I don’t know. But there’s promise. There’s also nostalgia. Because Sofia in May also smells of seats in little theatre and cinema halls, of flower-patterned dresses with buttons and high necks, of old women with big green or brown stone rings and thin lipsticked mouths, of records and of a china set for coffee brewed at home in a moka pot.
The world I imagine when I read Teya Diya – Sofia in May – fits in the square frame of a photograph made with a medium format camera. With noise in it. Unpretentious. With not much avant-gardeness, if any. Static and thoughtful. And always with an open window in the background out of which – in the bokeh – a green tree is seen. Out of which the Sofia air enters the small/big old flats, filtered, and carries both nostalgia and promise.
I started loving in Sofia and so I’ll always love it too (in May).