I haven’t written in a while.
To be honest, I haven’t written much in the last 4 years.
I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer, but I don’t create well under pressure. And the pressures of Motherhood are intense. Especially right now.
“Especially right now?” You ask with a funny, sarcastic smirk on your face.
Look, I know it might not seem like I’m under any pressure. Here I am in Bali, the island of the Gods, on a 10 month sabbatical with no job, and all the time in the world to process and write and drink lychee cocktails after yoga class and a good cry. But it’s not exactly like that.
I wake up every morning to a four year old. A wonderful, strong-willed, hilarious, energetic, brilliant, defiant, bold, and spritely 4 year old. All day, every day. It’s she and I. For those of you who don’t have kids, let me ‘free birth control’ for ya. It’s pretty fucking constant. Like, four year olds still don’t wipe their asses after they shit. So, anytime she wants a snack, to poop, to play (which is all day, every day), she needs someone to do that with or for her. That someone is always me. And kids don’t just give ya a minute when you need one. In fact, the more you need space, the more they try to crawl inside of your literal earlobe, try to show your breasts to strangers, or insist on smelling your armpit. I’m not making these things up to be funny. These are real life examples of unordinary events that occurred today. And yes, she’s also absolutely lovely and this experience with her is crazy magical and intimate and I’m SO blessed to have this with her… AND #truthspeak, it’s also fucking exhausting. So, when I do write or grieve or yoga, I do it in leu of sleep. It’s 12:45am right now. This is why Mom’s are so haggard and Love coffee a bit too passionately.
There’s also another piece to the pressure I’m feeling. Time and money. Obvious and cliche culprits, but worth looking at a bit deeper for me.
I had pretty lofty expectations coming here. I think I needed to believe that Bali would open herself to me like a sticky honeysuckle to a hummingbird, otherwise I never would have done something so bold as to come here. I believed that $1k a month was a reasonable budget for Bali, and so I came here with just over $10k, for 10 months. It is becoming wildly evident how wildly UNreasonable that expectation was.
As I meet new friends here, I learn that almost everyone, especially ‘my people’ here in Ubud, is on the Bali kick of daily yoga, ecstatic dance, writers workshops, tantric healings, womens groups… People come here to be nourished, to be healed through self-care. I didn’t know it a month ago, but it’s why I came crawling to Bali in the first place. It’s why She calls so many people here. It’s a place of deep nurturing and sweetness. But as I meet these new friends on their way to their daily massage, I can’t help but feel isolated by my lack and my inability to join them, to accept what Bali offers, or even to be understood or seen in my walk with this struggle. Massages and yoga classes might only be $7 each, but they are always more than double that when you have to pay a sitter. This is a ‘single mom’ reality that, so far to my awareness, I sit with alone here. I felt daunted by a different version of this same ‘lack’ in Sonoma County. Here I am again, just feeling lost, lonely, & actually quite ashamed in this experience of single parenting on a shoestring. I have found myself feeling defeated, asking, “If I can’t delve in, why am I even here?”
So, I tuned back into my familiar program, my dissonant soundtrack of the last few years.
“I can’t travel as a mom.”
“I can’t afford to live in Sonoma County.”
“I can’t start a career that I Love and expect it to sustain our lives.”
“I can’t take any big risks because I can’t afford to lose.”
“I can’t raise a kid & raise myself into success alone.”
“I can’t write or do the things I intended on doing here because I can’t afford childcare.”
“I can’t enjoy the luxuries of self-care that are quintessentially ‘Bali’ (yoga, massage, dance, classes, etc) on my budget.”
“I can’t forge deep friendships while Lilith is always needing something from me.”
“I can’t expect Bali to offer me anything more than CA offered.”
“I can’t belong or be Loved.”
“I can’t accomplish all of the business developments I’d hoped to in a mere 10 months”
“I can’t go ‘home’ unaccomplished”
“I can’t go dancing, can’t afford to explore the island, can’t dive, can’t date, can’t build anything extraordinary…”
Damn that’s a lot of heavy shit to sit alone with.
It is pouring rain. Monsoon season. We are inside a lot of most days. We are both getting stir crazy. I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself in the last few weeks to FIGURE SOMETHING OUT. And, to give myself some well-deserved bad-ass points, I have. I have found us a clean, affordable home surrounded by magical walking paths through the surrounding jungle. I’ve found Lilith a wonderful and affordable nanny. I’ve finally made up my mind to just pay her & go do the damn yoga, to indulge in a bit of self-care, even if that means I run out of money & have to come home early. I’m doing it. I came here to heal, damnit. Bali has a path for that. I’m taking the steps in front of me. Sitter is coming tomorrow. I am going to my first yoga class. I’m going to get a $7 massage.
With that resolve, I can already feel the pressure softening and transforming into something a lot more nurturing and therefor motivating. We’ve only been here a month, and I’ve already spun through phases of bliss, frustration, fear, hopelessness, gratitude, and the accelerated manifestation and learning that comes from both travel and island magic.
I am making new friends. (Hurray!) Some of them have kids!! (Super hurray!!) I am aware that I have the CHOICE to be jealous of them for all their yoga and massage and freedom to do what they want to do when they want to do it. And folks, I choose jealousy sometimes. I’m not gonna lie. It’s hard being the one who used to Love yoga and dancing and all the juicy self-care she could drown in, but just ’can’t’ anymore. It’s real hard. But, I’m starting to choose to become inspired by them instead. I’m meeting people doing BRILLIANT things with the internet to fund their absolutely fabulous lifestyles. I’m starting to convince myself that maybe I CAN come up with a brilliant idea or two myself, that maybe I’m looking at my own spectrum of possibilities all wrong.
So, I know there’s more coming. Some new spin on this pattern I’m committed to shedding. I wrote in an earlier post about how touched I’ve been by my daughters bravery. Well, surprise, I am also starting to be touched by my own willingness and openness. I’m starting to see more from myself than my vulnerable wounding. #supermomgonnamakesomeshithappen
Every morning I watch my family compound set their morning offerings and say their prayers. I’ve still SO much to learn about the way the Spirits are fed here, but for myself, I’m finding that I don’t just pray these days. I’m really re-learning to listen as well. I’m seeking the call and response. And I am very excited about the answers coming to me.
What next Bali?