September 2, 2011

first. world. problems.

I totally just caught myself in the middle of a massive, self-pitying whine. Ugh. I hate it when I do that.

Here's what I said to Charles (yes, I said this out loud):

It's just that I don't feel well, and Zoe's ear hurts, and Quen's foot is bleeding, and I have to go take care of Moses, too. It's too much.

So, before I start on the stupidity of everything in the above statement, let me give you a little recap, just so you can judge me a little less harshly. Here are the items:

1. I have a cold. Not a bad one, just...a cold. Stuffy head, swollen face, you know, the usual annoying cold.
2. Zoe woke up from her nap today with a sudden (or not so sudden...) ear infection, and for the first time ever it's hurting her enough that she's having a hard time sleeping, even AFTER I gave her Tylenol. It sucks when the best answer you can give is, "Just keep trying to sleep, honey. You have to tough this one out a bit."
3. My dog (Quentin) has an open sore on his foot that won't seem to heal. Tonight, it was bloody. I got blood on my bare hand. Yuck.
4. I am dog-sitting for my neighbor's yellow Lab, Moses. Not a problem at all - he's really low-maintenance - but right now it's that one more thing. The proverbial straw, so to speak.

Anyway, that about sums up my troubles, and therein lies the problem with my whine. Because really, all those things? They're temporary, and they're barely even annoyances. Sure, stacked together they can feel a little overwhelming, but so can just about any four items in any circumstance.

The good things in my life far outweigh the bad. I live in a cozy little neighborhood in the 'burbs. I have a house and a husband and a healthy (ear infection notwithstanding), amazingly smart and precocious child. I have a job, as does my husband. We can go to the grocery at any time and buy any food our stomachs desire. There is little to no danger in my everyday life.

Need I go on? Do you see where I'm going with this?

Basically, when compared to the millions (billions?) of people in this world who have no food, little water, and who live in dangerous countries amid war and squalor, I have it SO EFFING EASY I COULD THROW UP.

So I should just shut the heck up, right?

But as I was busily guilt-tripping myself for my lapse into whining, I remembered the Awesome Book Idea I had a while back. I decided I need to start thinking about it again, and once I finish my silly little zombie tale (which I LOVE again, by the way...I've been having fun with it), I may have to focus on this.

Wanna hear it? 'k, great, then I'll tell you. Here goes.

I feel like wars and hardships have been covered from hundreds of different angles. There are memoirs of soldiers; biographies of leaders; diaries of prisoners; letters from all of the above. But what I'm interested in are the stories of the mothers. I'd like answers to questions I have.

Like: how, when you are trying to care for your children, do you weigh your choices and make rational decisions that could mean life or death for you or them? How do you get food on the table when there's no food to be found? How do you decide where to go, whether to hide, whether to send your child away? What do you say to your child when you've lost all hope? I mean, I'm feeling sad Zoe has to sleep with an earache; what do you do when your child goes to bed hungry every night, or when your child has malaria and there's nothing you can do but wait to see if he lives or dies?

This stuff happens, and families survive even in the harshest of circumstances. I have a feeling stories from these mothers would be incredible....educational...inspirational.

I'd love to start talking to women around the world who have lived through hard times. Interview them, record their stories, and compile them into a book. They deserve to be honored, don't you think?

I could do it, for sure. I'd just need time. Funding. Lots more stamps on my passport. Some kind of knowledge about interviewing and researching. Ugh, the list of needs here is overwhelming.

But I could do a great job at it. I'd owe it to the women I'd meet.

So anyway, I'm going to NOT whine about my own troubles tonight, and I'm instead going to take a Benadryl and try to get some sleep. Things always look better in the light of the morning.


Jen said...

Have you looked for similar books that might already be out there? Either compilations or published memoirs, diaries, and letters. It would be an interesting place to start reading (if they exist) and refine your questions.

Another friend of mine wanted to write about women in sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically South Africa, if I recall. At one point she was looking for grants to apply for... to my knowledge the project hasn't gone anywhere yet, but I'm not sure if it's due to lack of funding or because she sold her novel and is busy with revisions.

Leah said...

Your friends are remarkably successful and intimidating. :)

I've researched in the past, but not in the last six or so months. If I get serious about this, I'll definitely start there.

Jen Durkin said...

My friends aren't nearly as successful and intimidating as Jen's, but one of them does have a spouse in the Foreign Service, which means they travel the globe, and are friends with folks who travel the globe and are thus connected to people all over the globe. I'm not sure if they could be of any help to you, but when/if the time comes I'd be more than happy to see what connections I can make for you.

Leah said...

You are a DEAR!!! I would love to take you up on that; just need to get serious about the project first!

Prior to that though...come the zombies!!

Seriously, thanks!

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