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scaffolding

Women who lack the selfless gene take risks because they like to rock the boat. They want their lives to be potent and dangerous. They walk out of marriages to explore other lives. They change careers; they take up flying or scuba diving in middle age. Neither Catharine nor I would launch ourselves into such dramatic new directions – there are too many other people to think of. We have chosen predictability and reliability; but sometimes the scaffolding of our life creaks. We stand in a centuries-long line of women who have sighed ruefully and tried to pacify. We want to keep our citizenship in the country we have made for ourselves. We watch Susanna and her fellow risk-takers with doubt and longing.

– Charlotte Gray, gilding the dark shades

I’m finding it tough to write about life as it is happening lately, because I want to be able to present what others are, the neat, tidy package with loose ends gathered into a tight bow. I want to be able to write a post that sums things up nicely, with that beautiful rainbow of a story arc: beginning, obstacle, solution, ~fin~.

Curtains. Curtsey.

But we’re not at the solution part yet, we haven’t reached the denouement, and it is incredibly frustrating.

I so wanted to make this leap, to do something uncharacteristically me. To take a step without knowing where the next one would land us, and just get going already.

But it has been almost two months since we moved, and all we have found so far seems to be a series of dead ends. Adam hasn’t had much luck finding work, which is sort of the lynch pin in our whole existence right now. I’m not foolhardy enough to sign off on a mortgage without some sort of income, I’m not confident enough to do the same with a car.

So we are just waiting. Still.

Waiting for jobs to surface, waiting for phone calls and interviews, waiting for an interview to turn into a job, which can then turn into the first domino that gets this whole thing going.

It’s infuriating, this waiting. And I do so wish that wives were resumes, references. I wish I could meet with potential employers and be like, look! This guy is your man. He is driven and ambitious and there’s nothing he loves more than working, he is obnoxiously obsessed with it at times. He does what needs to be done, he is strong and smart and capable and, if I do say so myself, easy on the eyes, too.

If I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I’m getting worried. I’m getting itchy and impatient and starting to do that thing where you look around and see everyone else with their shit so together, and wonder what happened.

I’m looking around and comparing notes and finding myself lacking. I’m feeling dumb, like I made a mistake and now have to sit, uncomfortable with its effects.

When Adam bought his business I remember feeling so proud of him. He was 24, full of energy and ideas, and he worked his ass off to turn that business around. Now, eight years later we have come out the other end somewhat shellshocked and no further ahead, bedraggled and struggling to find our bearings.

This is not easy. And we are incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by a family that should exist only in fairy tales. Adam’s parents have been incredibly generous and welcoming and fabulous, my mom has listened to endless amounts of hand-wringing and what-if’s, and everyone is full of helpful suggestions and happy to be our sounding boards, but it is still not easy.

Due to the aforementioned lynch pin scenario, there is a lot riding on Adam’s shoulders lately, and this no-job stress, after four years of too-much-job stress is just… ugh. We are not, as Oprah says, our best selves. I’m not worried about the state of us, because damn, we are rock solid. But right now all I can see are the cracks, and the bickering and stony silences, and moments where we glare at each other and resentment piles up into a brick wall that will eventually get torn down because it always does – by love, by word, and deed, and sometimes by sheer, stubborn will – but right now, it is not easy.

Nor should it be. I fully recognize my privilege in being able to sit here, in this cozy living room with a full belly while my healthy baby sleeps in the next room, pouring out my first world problems onto my Internet Blog.

I am trying to raise my head to see beyond this little sinkhole of a situation, to see how tiny and ridiculous these problems are in the scale of the world, in relation to the fact that I can feed and clothe and protect our child, mindful of our health and our family and the knowledge that this is a temporary situation with temporary stressors.

But oh, it is tough when you’re in the thick of it. And is not easy to admit this stuff, not for me.

When I avoid this topic, when I write about visits to petting zoos instead of the fights that preceded them, I’m never sure whether I am trying to be optimistic, or just presenting a pleasant facade to disguise the cracks beneath, but I was reminded today that others are struggling. I thought I would do my part to say that hey, I am too.

We are, too.

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