Take out a blank piece of paper. Take a look at it. Isn’t it lovely? It’s so fresh and so clean. Last year, I was reacquainted with the beauty of taking out a blank piece of paper. I was hesitant to get that new piece of paper out. I had worked so hard to put the right words in the right places on the other piece of paper I had been writing on for so many years. I was allured by the blank page; I wanted to hold it with every fiber of my being, but I had also feared the blank page just as much. Was I giving up? Would I be putting everything at risk? Could I create something better?
I listened to my heart. I took a chance. I held a blank piece of paper in my hand.
Take out that fancy pen you’ve kept hidden in your desk, and give your old pen a break. Notice how your hand holds your new pen so naturally. On June 7, 2013, I finally took my fancy pen out of my desk. It was a bit heavier than the one I was used to holding. I held the pen, I pressed it against the blank piece of paper, and I began to listen to my soul. Again, I was hesitant. Would this story turn out any different than the other? If I had worked a little harder on the other story, would I have arrived at a better ending? Could I create something new?
I listened carefully to my soul before writing the first word. I took a deep breath, Muriel Rukeyser, and then I breathed out poetry.
Well, I didn’t start writing poems, but I did start writing this blog one year ago on June 9 after leaving my job. I started living my life with more joy and less worry. I started my new, unpaid but very rewarding job as a stay-at-home parent. I started to enjoy cooking. I was given more time to bond with my children and to explore more of the lovely city of St. Paul with my kiddos by my side. I started a part-time job at a salon so I could continue to build on my professional skills (and spend time in an adult-only setting). I began to fall more in love with my husband. And I started to love and appreciate myself more, too.
I began to understand that my journey in life would continue to evolve, but maybe not in the way that I had planned prior to motherhood, prior to being married, and prior to graduating from college. I began to understand that my journey didn’t have to be linear. I began to write my story.
Some days when my husband comes home from work, I instantly feel guilty for leaving my job one year ago. I see that he is tired. I see that he is stressed. I see how happy he is when he finally gets to see his children for the first time that day at 6:00 p.m, or for the first time in two days after having night class the previous evening. I wonder if he is jealous that I am able to spend my days at home with the kids. I wonder if he thinks that what I accomplish in one day at home is meaningless compared to his work. I wonder if he thinks that I am less motivated. I wonder if he wishes that our family didn’t solely depend on his income to pay the bills. I wonder about all of this when I see how tired he is after work, or night class, or a weekend of studying –and it makes me feel sad. My husband has a story to write, too. Am I in some way interfering?
I worried about this more right after I had quit my job. Looking back at this past year, though, I see that many positive changes have taken place in our home. Being able to have more time with my children has been a blessing. Being able to explore my interests and purpose in this world has given me more confidence and strength to pursue the goals that have always been in my heart. I am happier. And even though my husband is tired, I can see that he is happier, too. We are taking care of each other, and our home is happier.
Last week, all of my worries were washed away with these simple words that my husband had written on a piece of paper before he left for work:
Thank you for taking care of my children.
One year ago, I would have never imagined that I would be sitting at my newly painted desk, writing this story, and sharing it with you. It has only been one year. There is so much blank space left on this page.
Are you ready for a new piece of paper? Are you using your fancy pen? Are you breathing out poetry?