Why I am always seeking the truth, about myself, about the world, about people, about food, about happiness, about life, about love? What is the truth? Who has it? Who knows it? Maybe I should go back in time and take a philosophy course in college. Wait, I’m sure I did take one. It was during my semester at Brooklyn College, after I had moved from Williamsburg to New Jersey and was commuting three hours each way on the train. I may have only attended three of the classes, which explains why I don’t remember any of it. I still have dreams sometimes about missing so many classes that I don’t get credit for the semester. I always loved school and got good grades, but once I wasn’t stuck in the building all day it was an extreme challenge for me to make it to class on time, if at all. I had favorite teachers whose classes I tried my best to attend, and I did my best work for them. Other classes I just couldn’t get it together. This brings me to a major challenge that is up for me right now: organization.
This morning Mo and I had an argument about a familiar topic, one in a long string of such discussions stretching back to the beginning of our relationship. Why can’t I keep a closet or cabinet in order? Why do I put things in a different place each time? Why did I move his towel/umbrella/pen? I don’t know! Sometimes it’s the kids, but really it’s my brain. Any distraction can derail me from what I was on my way to do. I now know that I have ADD which explains many frustrations over the years, but I don’t really know what to do about it. I have certain techniques like trying to put my wallet, keys, and phone in the same place every time so I don’t lose them. This is helpful, unless I forget and put them down elsewhere. I have some vague idea that labeled bins would be useful, but I don’t know where to put them, or what to put in them. To anyone out there with similar struggles, have you found any techniques that really work?
I manage to get myself and my kids dressed and fed and out the door in time to drive Mo to school most days, so I must have some latent organizational skills. I was a great waitress, and I could always tell when people were ready for their check by their body language. I was, to quote a former manager, “unflappable” during a rush. I am a great cook in many ways, and I love being in the kitchen. I feel at the helm of my ship and I enjoy every chop, stir, and taste. I can plan three meals’ worth of ingredients and shop for them, then cook them in a few hours and clean up afterwards. I know I can because I did it for a client, however I have never done any such thing in my own home because it is exhausting and difficult for me. I am trying to accept these things about myself as part of who I am, and out of compassion, find ways to accommodate myself. I want to love myself and be kind to myself, and also not drive my partner crazy. Thankfully Mo and I truly love each other for who we are, and we don’t want to change that. In order to grow closer, we do sometimes ask each other to work on certain things that are difficult for us. Mo has never said no when I ask him to work on something, so I am trying to do the same. I feel like one of the greatest parts of our relationship is having someone to see me, and reflect back to me what he sees with love. Of course we get frustrated with each other, especially when we’re overworked and tired. Thankfully through therapy we have learned how to talk it through afterward.
I feel like for our family the past two years have been a process of stripping down all the stuff that gets in the way, and slowly making room for whatever we really need. This process started when we moved to Israel and found ourselves back in our cozy neighborhood, different in a familiar place. Everything about living there felt wrong, except for our relationships with new and old friends. We began to really see the cracks in our own relationship with honesty and love. I began to see the layers of self I had built around my core, and began to peel them away and look at them, thanks to deep friendships and group therapy with wonderful women friends.
Now we are here in Miami, the most “surface” focused place I have ever been, and we are delving deeper into our process of self discovery. We are learning how to communicate, how to love ourselves, how to love each other, and what we want to offer our children. We are learning how and what to eat, something I have been thinking about and working on for the past fifteen years. We are, more than anything, learning that we will always be a work in progress, and that it is okay to make mistakes. That really, there are no mistakes, just change, growth, and more and more love.