Lately, I've been asking myself a lot of questions. Life-changes (especially those in the box of surprises we call marriage) seem to generate these questions--or perhaps it's the conflicts created or revealed by changes that give birth to these questions. The questions come in flocks. They descend from the skies, their wings clattering. They leave the ground a mess of droppings and feathers.
One flock is the color of money. Its birds sing about saving, about future expenditures, about how I spend too much. They demand to know why I need so many things, why I want them. They remind me, people are starving in other places. Children are shoeless in the Russian snow, and here I am, my closet floor full of shoes, considering whether I "need" a pair of boots.
When that flock drifts away, another flock settles around me. It pecks at me. It caws about newer clothes, more make-up, a different purse, more care in putting together an outfit. It tells me I am not doing things right.
Like sparrows that fill every bush and peck every square of sidewalk, questions twitter at me about chores. Has the laundry been done? When are you going to do it? What's for dinner? How about breakfast? Is there granola? Is the bread dough going to go bad? Are we getting enough vitamins?
There's a bird that shrieks that I'm not accomplishing anything, that I'm going nowhere. When will you apply to grad school? Why do you expect anyone to accept you for a PhD program? Why haven't you sent out any poems yet?
There is a rooster that crows some mornings: What do you have to contribute? What could you possibly have to say that is worth reading? (This started after I read a couple of posts on how to get more readers for your blog, which introduced previously unconsidered goals and standards into my brain.)
There is a vulture circling overhead, asking, What are you forgetting?
And I keep hearing the questions, Am I a child or an adult? What makes me happy? Why am I here? But at least those questions are asked by my own soul, not by insecurities and fears and the polluting influence of a materialistic, narcissistic, workaholic, kaleidoscopic society.
I constantly need to remind myself: I am not what I accomplish. My worth is not measured in statistics of any sort--in fact, it isn't quantifiable. I am a person, a story, a poem, a picture: not a machine. In solitude, in silence, in stillness, I still exist.
I breathe in deep, and blow out. I blow away the birds.