Justine Musk (moschus) wrote,
Justine Musk

we shall not cease from exploration


My first baby son Nevada was born on May 18 and died ten weeks later.  This is the space of time when his memory for me is especially primal and vivid, experienced on multiple levels. It's tough to explain.

The worst years of my life (in order) would be the year following Nevada's death and then the year following my separation (and, in a distant third, the year of junior high.  For is junior high not hell?).  What amazes me is that, when I was actually going through these experiences, I thought I was coping just fine.  And it's not that I'm not strong and resilient -- if there's one thing I can comfortably say, I am as resilient as hell -- but that the mind has some fierce protective mechanisms, including the ability to deny the depth of what you're feeling.  

Now that my life is on solid ground again, the real emotions start to surface.  I can allow myself to feel the grief and sadness and anger.  Someone once described anger as "hurt pulled inside out" and there is truth to that. 

I can also admit to love.

The other morning I was sitting at an outside table at Urth Cafe in Santa Monica with Dude.  He was reading the newspaper and I was reading a book called THE HERO WITHIN by Carol S Pearson about archetypes (I have become fascinated with archetypes and how you can tap into that mythic power in your personal life, your creative work, even your social media marketing and branding).  And I felt a great sense of contentment, well-being -- a.k.a. 'happy'. 

It also reminded me that the happiest moments of my marriage took place in the earlier years, on the Saturday and Sunday mornings when E and I went to the bookstore, then took our purchases to a cafe and read over coffee and just hung out.  Somewhere along the line we stopped doing that.  Hindsight tells me that our marriage suffered for it.  But the ironic thing is, for all the glamour and adventure of the jetset lifestyle, when I think about happiness with him I don't remember the south of France or St Barts or the Google dude's wedding on Richard Branson's private island (in fact, we had wicked fights and I sounded some true depths of misery at all those places).  I think about lazily strolling down University Avenue in Palo Alto, our arms around each other's waists, in the sunlight.

So now I am lucky enough to have that again -- with someone else.  Which reminds me of the T.S. Eliot quote --  "We shall not cease from exploration/ And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And know the place for the first time."

Funny, that.


When you first come to Los Angeles, you're completely disoriented: you think it's this massive urban sprawl scattered with palm trees divided by mountains that all looks the same. Spend more time here and you start to recognize it as a group of villages, each with its own personality, tied together with ropes of highway.

The first time Dude and I went to brunch was in Beverly Hills.  "Everybody here," he said, looking around, "is so groomed."

When we went to brunch in Venice some weeks later, I saw what he meant.  Everybody there had this cool, rumpled, disheveled thing going on. ("And you," he reminisced later, "were in a full-on outfit." Yeah, well, habits die hard, although I was glad to let that one go.)

My new house puts me west of the 405 and out of Bel Air.  I was meeting with inspectors and general contractors at the property and then driving the long sloping streets down to Sunset.  My first impressions: 

1. I will no longer be risking my neck on a daily basis (or scratching up my car) on the blind turns and narrow winding pothole-filled tourist-bus-crawling, sportscar-dive-bombing roads of Bel Air, and

2. Throw a rock and you hit about fifteen yoga studios.

These are not bad things.

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Since I've known you, you've been the epitome of effortless chic. (Although I'm just now starting to realize that there is some effort that goes into that, too. Gotta get on it one of these years.)

Happy Mother's Day to you, little mama. I am not much for holidays, but I salute any of my sisters who has taken up the charge, with a special note of wonder for those who, like you, have done it in multiples, and well.
The people you can hang out with, without talking are your best people, always. True for everyone. I've begun to think quiet companionship is actually a learned skill these days.
I wish I had a profound comment or something, but all I want to say is that I really enjoyed reading this.
That is my favourite TS Eliot poem, too. I wiki'd it and discovered it was actually about the war and England, but I love that it has so many meanings to others.

It's nice that you have come full circle to sitting and hanging with a special person in a cafe. Your past experiences will serve well to remind you to make different choices based upon those experiences. I think we can appreciate the good when we've gone through bad.

What's also pretty cool is what you've written, about just hanging out and being, is great advice for your kids when they grow up and are choosing partners.

Good you're getting out of snootyville. I think places like that are harmful for people. I find the areas i'm attracted to have a nice mix of different cultures and people arne't fashion plates. I just hate that gentrification causes the wanna bes to flock over and do a designer Disneyland version of what made the place special in the first place.
I'm very sorry about the loss of your son. My baby boy is 10.5 weeks old today, and reading your post made me cry.
The picture is a perfect encapsulation of the context and tone of your entry, which I enjoyed tremendously. You seem to be doing so well now -- hearty congrats! It's very cool to hear these details of emerging from a tunnel in your life's journey to experience happiness again [maybe for the first time : ) -- with greater certainty because of having known pain and loss. That's such a profound truth and very deftly expressed. Perhaps sometime you will relate how little Nevada died. That part seems incomplete, but of course quite understandable -- maybe it will be in memoirs after a few more years have softened the edges. Your five little boys are very lucky to have you for their mama.
...thank you...

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