Saturday, March 14, 2015
Something New Each Day
A few weeks ago I started studying German. It's interesting to be so compelled to learn the language of a country and culture with which I have such a mixed up mish-mash of feelings and associations, but I do, and so I'm doing it. I also had an extra push when I found out that one of the leading Mast Cell Disorder doctors in the world recommends that her patients learn a new language, because she has found that even learning as little as one new word a day helps combat the brain fog caused by the disease. I've struggled with this brain fog, misdiagnosed as ADD, for years, for as long as I can remember. So every single day, I spend between ten and thirty minutes on Duolingo, and one teeny tiny bit at a time, I'm learning the language that has been invading my dreams for years on end. Not only am I doing it, I'm enjoying it so much that I barely even noticed that it is already helping with the brain fog until my stepdaughter asked me the other day if I'd noticed a difference, and yes, I have.
Another hobby on my list of new things to try in 2015 is learning to crochet, and unlike German, which doesn't interest my wife in the least, this is one that we share. We've been talking about learning to crochet and knit together for ages, and today we decided to stop talking about it and start doing. We're both writers, and it's lovely that we share that, but this feels different. We were both writers before we even knew of each other's existence, so while it's cool that we share that commonality, we would have been writers with or without each other. This is intentional. We wanted a shared hobby, one that is brand new to both of us, that we can learn together. So today we braved the treacherously artificial scent-laden aisles of Michael's to buy a beginner's book, a package of hooks, and several skeins of yarn.
As I was winding yarn around my fingers to start a ball, I thought about how these little things can be so easy to write off as unimportant. How many times have I pushed them off, bumping them so far down the priority list that they fell completely off the bottom? I've done it my entire adult life, over and over and over again. Doing this for myself feels like sort of a big deal. It feels like part of my self-reclamation process, to say, "Yes, I am learning a new language. Yes, I'm learning how to crochet. Yes, that means I'm dedicating time each day to do things that aren't obligatory, don't bring in money, and aren't in any way focused on what other people want and need. For these little chunks of time, it's about what I want to be doing."
It's about what I want to be doing, and it's about spending time with my wife, hanging out, learning, growing as a couple by trying new things, and just enjoying each other's company while we create. It's about moving through that moment when we approached the cash register when I felt the lurch in my gut as my brain started calculating all of the other places we could be putting the money we were about to spend that would have been more selfless and practical. It was about reaching the other side of that moment and realizing that we keep plenty of food in the house, the bills get paid, everyone is clothed, and the kids get all that they need and then some, so spending a small amount of money on something for us to do together is hardly an act of irresponsible hedonism, and why the hell would it have even entered my mind that we shouldn't?
Because I'm a mother, and everyone knows that to be a "good" mother means to put yourself last. Because I was poor for years upon years, and everyone knows that poor people shouldn't get to spend money for enjoyment. Because guilt. Because shame. Because unworthy.
And I'm so over it. I'm adding Get Over It to my 2015 to do list. Because life. Because living. Because growth. Because pleasure. Because I want to.