Holy cow. It’s been weeks. Multiple weeks since I sent out that email about being Russian-Canadian, and what it all means to me right now, and it turns out that it’s kind of hard to pick up the conversation after “I belong to two countries, and one of my countries is currently attacking yet another country?”. You know? So, I’ve been in this holding pattern, where I want to write you, dear friend, a letter, but then I don’t know what to say, because everything just seems so incredibly inconsequential, but then I kick myself for giving in to overthinking and perfectionism, and then I kick myself for kicking myself, because compassion, and round, and round we go.
Every writing advice book says that when you are stuck, you should start with the small details. To break the holding pattern, start where you are. What you are doing. What you are seeing. The little things that life is made of.
Few weeks ago my husband drops off the kids (both!) at one set of grandparents, and returns home solo. Empty-handed. Kidless. Free as a bird.
We go to a bulk foods store, and get a bunch of snacks - peanut butter Easter eggs, caramel popcorn / pretzel mix, crunchy garlic knots . “We should probably leave, eh?”, he says, as I rip off another plastic bag from the roller, and put in a scoop of yet another crunchy salty sweet something-or-other. “Yep”, I nod. We finally pay for snacks, along with very grown up purchases of buckwheat flour and whole wheat couscous, go out in the parking lot, and giggle hysterically. Apparently all we needed in the last two months or so was a kid free day and a bunch of snacks. I know parents everywhere reading this are nodding enthusiastically.
There is another thing you can do to break a holding pattern. It is to pivot into the ridiculous. This is why satire about the darkest topics can work so well (when done well).
As I typey-type, delete, and type this email, I pivot into a freewrite rabbit hole of all the ordinary things I find ridiculously weird as an immigrant. Gilmore Girls and apple pie are on that list. I chicken out in the end, and take it out, only leaving the wholesome story about snacks. If you are sorta feeling the whole ridiculous vibe, let me know, and I might just include it in my next letter.
I have much to tell you, because it’s spring, and spring brings spring energy. I feel it, you feel it, and the trees are about to burst with green. I. Cannot. Wait.