On Refusal

Yesterday I was supposed to write a post on listening to your body instead of the cis het white capitalist patriarchy. It was supposed to be about honoring downtime.

Yesterday was 13 years since my mom died.

I didn’t want to write a damn post about downtime.

I thought, oh, I can write on loss + grief + our fucked up cultural relationship to death and dying.

I didn’t want to write a damn post about death.

This is not a post on pushing through, or on showing up for the work even when you don’t want to. I did not write that post.

I worked in the morning, then I picked my son up early from school because it was snowing. I don’t have a 9-5, which means I often have the privilege of adjusting my schedule. It also means, in practice, that I’m never really off the clock. My parenting situation is such that I’m on 24/7 for the whole school year. It takes active work to take breaks. And planning. I had not planned.

I had remembered the anniversary was coming, but as it approached I didn’t feel like I’d need anything different, or special. I had stacked my schedule full.

We got home, trapped indoors by the wintery world, and I ordered take out and let him watch tv while I sat and did nothing. Then we drew pictures together. I drew an angel that looked like a plant fairy with leaf wings. My son drew a tower, and a baseball player. We watched Planet Earth and ate Thai curry.

I refused to write a post. I refused to prep a class I had planned to that day.

Kiddo went to bed and I sat around doing useless, stupid things, which felt perfectly fine and right to do. (Well, they didn’t, but I argued myself into submission, until all sides of my mind were just too tired to fight.)

I came back to my body after a while of this distraction—and my body wanted water. I drank a glass. I took a bath. I held my body in water. I cried a little. I tried to cry more but I didn’t really need to.

I mourned the absence of my mother and I held the here-ness and aliveness of my body.

I thought about how our culture has no practice, no language, for saying yes to death. I thought maybe I will write about that someday. The idea of consent, and death.

I did not write that post yesterday. I will not write it today. Someday.

I slept.

Today, I write this. This was my doxastic commitment. To honor my emotions over my productivity. My bow to feeling, to living. My refusal to power through.

My mother’s absence, her loss, and her memory, deserve a day. I forgot that, in thinking about cycles: that we must remember our own holidays—of celebration and of mourning. That in whatever way or space we can, we must refuse to sacrifice that, to anything.