Reasons it doesn’t matter if no one ever reads this

This blog is a big deal to me. It always has been.

Only for the past year or so, though, have I attempted to care if it were a big deal to other people too.

It’s something about me I’m not fond of – this apparent need to be liked. I never thought I had that very much. I’ve found myself censoring more, saying less. Trying to appeal…and for what?

The pull of my blog has always been that it is mine. That when everything was reduced down to work and play and manifesting your dream, that I had something I had done for myself. Just for the pure craft. Except I wasn’t. I was writing hoping to be popular, hoping for someone to notice me.

There were all sorts of levels of bullshit surrounding that revelation. I was ashamed. I was embarrassed. I was not surprised.

Earlier this week, I found a document that brought me to sobering reality. The-Writers-Manifesto (that’s a pdf link, and if you download it you need to tell him how great he is). After reading it, I wanted to slap myself and write books at the same time.

So with much pain and heartbreak, I’ve come to the realization that it’s okay if no one reads what I write.

Why?

I’m not writing for anyone else.

I will have a record – a concrete one – of days, months, years. However meager it may seem, I am shaping my legacy on my own terms.

I can be honest. I don’t have to be afraid of offending anyone, because I’m not depending on them to read what I say. In itself, this is amazingly freeing.

Whether I move on with my ideas or simply do this and nothing else, it’s okay with me.

And by being myself, whatever happens, this piece of me exists. No one can pay for that.

 

Check yes or no

In flipping through my blog planning calendar (which, obviously, I adhere to like the chiseled script of Yahweh), a topic from last week…kind of stung.

Best friends day, or some variation thereof. I didn’t look at it too intensely.

The majority of my life I have defined myself by the friends I have and don’t have. By the way other people perceive me. I don’t know when exactly it came about – because I remember not being that way. I remember in second grade, when I traced out Lisa Frank designs reading “Hot lips” onto a piece of wide ruled notebook paper and, along side it, authored a deep and meaningful inquiry along the lines of “Do you like me?” (actually, along the lines nothing, that was exactly what it said. I can still see it. In recalling this scenario I am struck by the realization that this is completely something my oldest daughter would do. Right now.) and sent it via elementary express over to Alcorn County’s second grade version of Ryan Gosling who not only was the dreamiest of dreamy boys, but he hung out ON THE TREEHOUSE at recess. He was the cool that cool wishes it could be.

The note came back quickly, with smudgy, grimy boywriting on the bottom of the paper.

“NO.”

I remember that because I am fairly certain while this incident did not immediately send me into a downward spiral of insecurity, it was perhaps the first time I remember realizing that maybe some people might not think I was awesome.

As I got older and learned that people are, indeed, judgmental and different and not likely to think everyone is wonderful by default, I was glad to have people I could relate to. I had, like every other girl my age, a “best friend” with whom I was inseparable.

I had friends. That was a constant. People to share clothes, talk to, send stupid nonsensical pages to on our purposeless beepers.

It was only when I got married in 2000 and embarked on what I assumed would be my life that I realized – I had never really learned to like myself.

I’ve cycled through friends through the last twelve years, but I always come back to that. My definition of “best friend” has evolved until the only person who fits that description is too tall for me and annoyingly sarcastic and makes me squeeze his back zits.

I’ve decided, though, that things are as they should be. Maybe I don’t have a full dance card of dinner parties and girls’ night outs and wine smellings or whatever, but the people who matter think I’m the shit. Most of the time. And for the most part, so do I.

Which, I suppose, means I’ve come full circle. I like myself enough now not to have to send Hot Lips Yes or No Notes because I really don’t care. Even if you do look like Ryan Gosling or have the breasts of Christina Hendricks – I’m a catch.

The people who matter already know.

 

 

How to be condescending

If you are on Facebook (and if you’re not, WHO ARE YOU?), chances are you’ve seen a link circulating recently about how your fascination with your electronic devices can make you miss your children’s lives.

If you haven’t seen the link, here it is. It appeared on my facebook wall more times than I can possibly tell you, always accompanied by “OMG, you must read this,” or “I’m crying. So true.”

Now, the content of this article is very heartfelt and very to the point. She talks about how being lost in one’s digital gadgets can be harmful to your relationship with your children, how the children learn that whatever is happening is more important than them, all sorts of statements that had just enough truth seeded into them to make any modern-day, smartphone toting, social media savvy parent feel like dog shit gone white.

Now, to be fair – she does dedicate a couple of sentences to how this is the modern world and sometimes we have to be accessible. Sometimes it’s necessary to allow laptops and smartphones into our lives.

Generous.

May I offer my point of view? I’m gonna.

I’m a blogger, and a full-time online student. I’m also married to a podcaster who is also a full-time student. Technology and the gadgets involved are completely enmeshed in our lives.

I love my iPhone. My iPad. To a lesser degree, the computers and such which inhabit my house – and there are a lot. I love to text message. I love to steal a few minutes in the day to check facebook, tweet something random, or peruse my blog stats for the day.

Certainly, as a society, we are more interconnected than ever before. I talk to my husband while he’s at work. I always have a camera because I always have my phone. And yes, I check my phone before I talk to anyone in my family because EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IS USUALLY STILL ASLEEP SINCE I WAKE EVERYONE UP.

Some people escape into books. Some into painting or gardening or building rockets. This has always been the case. I don’t really see any difference.

Of course it’s important to acknowledge your family and the others in your lives. To look them in the eye, listen when they talk, and be fully present when they need you – but I don’t see that as having anything to do with being less connected. I see that as being a decent human being.

So, my response to the article is as follows:

I am a connected mom. I interact constantly and I learn constantly. My children know they are important. They know because I’m their mom. I bandage scrapes and icepack bumps and come running when they have nightmares. They do not have some woeful mourning inferiority because I sometimes play Jetpack Joyride.

Because I show them moderation, they learn that I am, as they are, members of a continuous mechanism. Everyone is connected, everyone is important. I don’t have to throw away my iPhone to be a good mom. I just have to use good sense. And I think that’s a better example than anything else.

 

Running on…

Off and on over the past few years, I’ve attempted to become a runner. With varying degrees of intensity. My sister has also become a runner, but she’s for real, yo. She runs miles and miles.

I haven’t gone running in a long time. I do yoga pretty much daily and I haul around a 500 pound toddler, so I like to think that I’m not totally out of shape.

This weekend, the Coca Cola 10k happened.

I was inspired. Maybe a little depressed because there were children I could have birthed streaking right past me.

So, Josh and I have decided to embark on a runnerly journey, and it starts this week.

It starts this week because on Saturday, I’m pretty sure we are going to do the Gumtree 10k in Tupelo. I fully realize that I will walk the majority of the race, but I’m good with that. It’s a start.

Sometimes

I picked the iPad up this afternoon and this was in the camera roll.

Sometimes you just have to sleep late.

Sometimes, after you sleep late, you have to hope that the lunches the kids packed for themselves have at least one thing in them that isn’t chocolate.

Sometimes at 3:30 in the morning you go in to investigate crying, and find your weepy almost 10 year old shuddering from a night terror. One like he hasn’t had since he was two.

Sometimes you watch his baby sister climb next to him and reassure him that she’s right there beside him.

Sometimes, at 3:30 in the morning, you tell your kids to just turn on the TV until they get sleepy. Because they just damn deserve it.

Sometimes you have to shave with a dull razor.

Sometimes you have to let go of something or someone you love. Because it’s just not worth it anymore.

Sometimes you have to be a dick.

Sometimes you have to use impolite language.

Sometimes you forget who you are.

Sometimes you have to realize that you forget just so you can remember.

Sometimes it’s okay to let the baby run around naked.

Sometimes coffee is all that sounds good.

Sometimes you eat pizza after midnight.

Sometimes growing up is growing apart.

Sometimes following your dream is hard.

Sometimes the path is lost.

Sometimes you have to listen to Adele on repeat, no matter how cheesy.

Sometimes you have to cry.

Sometimes you have to laugh.

Sometimes you have to recognize that love is in spite of instead of because.

Sometimes Oprah is right.

Sometimes everyone is just tired.

Sometimes you have to wait for the rain.

 

Confession: being unthankful makes me a bitch

I realize that my life is amazing.

 

I have three kids who are healthy, smart, beautiful, and a lot of the time, they are flat out hilarious.

 

I know this. I know that something like 90% of the globe would be shitting in their pants to wake up every day (in response to a too-smart smartphone) in a climate controlled house, next to a heart-burstingly beautiful husband, to wake my children and make lunches from a full cupboard. And then send them off to get an education in a safe and nurturing environment. While I stay at home to play with the baby and watch educational tv.

 

I know that by having ANY complaints I am a mindbending bitch.

 

But I have to be able to say it somewhere – things feel so worn. So generic. I feel like I make as much impact as a sandpapered rubber stamp.

 

My husband works so hard. He works and does and makes sure we have what we need. He’s a dad and a podcast-er and my very best friend. Being anything less than doting and Stepford is, I realize, a failing of mine.

 

But basically I sit at home and wait for something to happen. Anything. My days feel like a series of wait.

 

Waiting…

 

For the bus

For the kids to come home

For Lucy to give me five minutes

For the dryer to finish

For the coffee to brew

For Josh to come home

For the oven to heat

 

I realize I’m being a big whiny baby, but I just feel like I’m missing something. I feel like I’m a week or so away from talking to the car upholstery, but if I up and say something like, “I just wish something would happen,” then someone will die or get sick or blow up.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I love my life and everything about it. I am grateful.

 

But, I admit, grateful is sometimes boring. Even if that makes me a bitch.

 

From both sides of the uterine wall

If anyone had told me three years ago that I would soon be a mother of three, I can think of a whole host of replies I would have had. They would have included distance, laughter, and a healthy dose of profanity.

To say that the news of your pending arrival was a surprise? Well, that’s one way to say it.

But it happened, you came.

And now it’s been two years since I met you. And not a day has gone by for the last two years that I have not slept with you by my side. Held you when you cried (and at first, during the colic days, it felt as though you would never do anything else). I know the way your weight changes in my grasp as you finally give up and start to dream. I know how many refusals it takes before you relent and take the juice instead of milk (three, sometimes four).

None of this should be new to me. I have, after all, done this twice before.

But this is different. I have never been this intertwined with another human being. If I had known this type of connection existed, I would never have been able to go back to work with your brother and sister. For 730 days you have changed everything. Daily.

To see you now – to watch Max and Ava and to see how they both stumble over themselves to be near you – I realize I had no idea how incomplete we were before we met you. You have filled a hole in our family we never knew existed.

I guess, Lucy Grace, what I need to say more than anything else, is thank you.

Thank you for the giggles and the sass.

Thank you for the kisses and the curls.

Thank you for turning my husband into a daddy.

Thank you for giving your brother and sister someone to be an example for.

Thank you for needing me more than anyone ever has.

Thank you for being my baby.

I love you so much, my big two year old girl.

Love, Mama

;

—————

(I’m so terrible with things like this, but thanks to my wonderful wife for letting me have a part of her blog today. I’ll go back to being geeky over at http://justusgeeks.com)

For the rest of my life, no matter what happens, I will always remember seeing you for the first time. I heard your first sound. I counted your fingers and toes at least ten times. At least. On a day, which I admit I was not at my best, you were perfect. Perfect.

One of the things I worried about was that even though your Mom and I had thought Lucy Grace was the perfect name for you, you’d be a Mary. Or Janet. Or something else entirely.

But there you were…my Lucy Grace Steen.

And how right we were. As you’ve grown up so much in the last few months and weeks you say that name with a certain authority. You are becoming your own person, and there’s not a lot your Mother and I can do about it.

But why would we want anything differently?

You amaze me on a daily basis. You’re learning more, getting smarter, and you somehow know that you are what makes us “go” on a daily basis.

I’d do anything for you. Anything.

Your Mother and I talked not long ago about just how perfect for us you were. One day we’ll explain to you about how we never thought we’d be able to even be anyone’s collective Mom and Dad, let alone yours.

And how you saved us.

How you saved me.

No matter what happens on the rest of our journey together, Lucy Grace Steen, I will always be in your debt. And although you might not always act it, you’ll still be my perfect little girl.

But for now, while I can, I’ll hold you. We’ll dance and jump. Take Big Steps. Watch Jessie until the DVD wears out. Ride your bike. And get bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

There are so many people who love you; don’t you ever forget that. You may take advantage of that, but always remember that all you have to do is be you and we’ll love you.

On your big big day, know that I love you more than the world. And I always will. I’m so glad to be Lucy’s Daddy.

 

Megamillions

I realize I’m pretty late in touching on this topic, but you know recently how there was a lottery prize of like $640 million or more money than I can even conceive of existing?

We bought a ticket. One ticket.

How much of a gas would that have been, people? All these people spending money they don’t have and being completely ridiculous and buying more tickets than anyone would need, and we win with an output of one dollar.

We didn’t, of course.

Although now that I think about it, I don’t know that I’d tell you if we did win.

What I would probably do is quietly send people I like checks for a couple of million apiece, and then I’d retreat into my compound zombie-apocalypse fortified house and be one of those eccentrics.

Of course, the beans would probably spill when Josh started keeping a pilot on retainer at Roscoe Turner and flying in Gordon Ramsay on the regular to hang out and cook.

But a girl can dream.

What the ?£€¥

Brave Little Blogger Contest

 

See what I did there?

Earlier in the week, I took a stroll through my old blog at Xanga. This is old stuff, folks. The idea of a blig or a blog or whatever it was was completely foreign to me. Facebook wasn’t a thing yet unless you were actually a student, people still used MySpace, and the world, while shrinking, was still pretty big.

I wrote everything I thought in that blog. Insecurities, fears. Reading back over some of the stuff that is still there (not all, though, because I don’t even remember the password, so there’s no doubt all sorts of nuggets hiding in private mode) I was completely embarrassed.

And then I wondered why.

One of my main goals in my writing, whatever format it has been in, has been to be as bald and blatant as possible. To say the things that you might think but never admit. Things like sometimes I have farting competitions with myself and I think I just realized I haven’t worn deodorant in like three days, or that I have coupon codes for sex toy sites in excess. Things that everyone kind of ignores about themselves.

But I realized, in my reading, that I leave a whole lot out now. I don’t post my laments about my relationship…or not as much as I did. I don’t wonder in print about people who talk about Sue Schmo and what they say about me.

I don’t criticize or talk about people I love because I know they’ll probably read it. I don’t say things online that I wouldn’t say to someone’s face….even though I may think them. And while that may be the socially acceptable and responsible thing to do – the smart thing – it makes me feel like a hypocrite.

For instance, I can’t say on Facebook that my best friend’s family hates me or that there are certain people who I keep in my life only because they have to be. I can’t say that there are days I feel like the biggest loser on Earth because I feel like talking to someone and I have only the toddler and the cat. I can’t say the things that annoy me about the people I love most. Not even that I love them maybe too much.

In all honesty, I can’t say which is better. My Xanga posts were lamenty, embarrassing, angst ridden, teenagery blather…but they were straight from the gut. The posts I write today are struggly, observant, sometimes well written, and read by everyone I know.

To be straight, I don’t know where the line is. I don’t find anything appealing about airing marital issues online or sounding like the OMGLOL4RLZ chicks whose posts I ignore on my facebook news feed every day, but I don’t want to feel like I’m being anything less than totally honest.

First world issues, I guess. There are worse problems in the world than my blog. Or so I hear.

Sittin

So I have more things to list.

1. I think the Doritos taco sounds gross. And I even like Doritos.

2. Now I want some Doritos.

3. I think I need a new phone case. Suggestions?

4. While I am not salivating for the new iPad, I think Josh needs one.

5. I guess no one actually NEEDS one.

6. Looking for a job is fruitless. Some days I just want to take copies of my resume and stick them under windshield wipers.

7. In about two weeks my baby will be two years old. This is unreal. She got her toes painted for the first time last night.

8. I should exercise more. These days my regimen consists of some yoga and a grueling course of YoGabbaGabba.

9. I cleaned out my Facebook friends the other day, and I feel a little guilty about it. I’ll feel guiltier when the repeat requests start coming in.

10. Seriously why do people do that?

11. I need to vacuum. But frankly, it’s not really worth the five minutes it will stay clean, especially since Lucy screams like I’m pulling out her fingernails every time she looks at the vacuum.