The land of blogs and twitter and pinterest are places where some people spend hours searching for inspiration, direction, and a pretty picture of what they want their life to be. But they are also places of dishonesty, self-denial, and jealousy. There are so many voices out there, that sometimes it becomes difficult to hear your own over the loud hum of ten thousand photos telling you what you are supposed to wear and eat and think. An open invitation to compare yourself and fall short. It is overwhelming, and over the last few months I have had to question where my own voice was heading with this outside influence. (from the second link above)
The internet is so problematic for me. On one hand, I love it, because I’ve been introduced to people and things and thoughts that I never would have been otherwise. On the other, it’s a damn noisy place. An addicting place.
Blogging is particularly problematic for me. I like that I can put myself out there and that others appreciate the things I say and/or the way I write. It’s a huge ego boost for someone who often doubts herself to the point of being so anxious she can’t sleep at night. What I wish, though, is that I had the courage to trust the sound of my own voice.
I used to blog like a madwoman but all that changed after Simon was born, for some reason. I can’t even point to one particular thing that made me reevaluate what I was doing. Maybe it was just a lack of time, I don’t know. When I started this blog, I wanted it to focus more on my writing (as an art) rather than just my life, only with all the posts I’ve done this month, I find myself posting more about my life with little regard to the writing itself. And there’s nothing wrong with talking about my life; it’s just that I want to be proud of the writing I’m producing, and I’m not. I think the best writing is a perfect marriage of form and content. This is not my best writing.
I think I want to be more of a writer than I currently am. I have this old dream that I’ve carried around with me my whole life and I want to do something with it, you know? I’m not really interested in fame but I have come to realize that words should be shared. As much as I write for myself and always have, at a certain point other people need to read it. It has taken a lot of courage for me to post links to this blog on my Facebook page. It’s inviting people to take a look at me, the real me, and that is uncomfortable and scary. But it’s necessary. Let’s face it, I don’t want to be the next Emily Dickinson. True, she was brilliant, but she never shared her writing with others.
For most of my life I’ve put a lot of attention into making other people feel comfortable with my choices. I chose to do things that were pretty ordinary and safe: go to college, take a 9-5 job that would look good on my resume, etc. I remember being 20 and dropping out of college. I had run out of classes to take at my local community college and I ended up being out of school, just writing, waiting tables, and living, for two years. I wrote some of my best stuff back then; part of it was because I was incredibly angsty but most of it was because I was so passionate about what I was doing. Part of me wishes I would have just continued on that path and another part of me knows how much I gained by going back to college and finishing what I started. Even the safe 9-5 job that I hated with the intensity of a thousand suns taught me so much. I can’t really say that I regret any of my choices, even though those choices led me away from the type of writing I wanted to be doing and my commitment to it.
My passion for writing – or for wanting to write, at least (because there is a difference) – was reignited once I had kids. All of a sudden, there were little people who, just by being alive, required me to be brave and give this life my everything. It is crystal clear to me what I am here to do. It is not crystal clear to me how to make that happen. Roy and I have been talking about this for quite some time, but it feels like I’m just talking and not really doing. I often don’t know how much I can expect of myself at this time in my life, considering how young the kids are, how much attention they require, and how exhausted I am (and have been since 2008). And I often don’t know how much of that is an excuse and how much of it is legit.
It’s not that I feel like I have to be writing a Pulitzer Prize winning novel right this second. It’s more that I don’t want to get so entrenched in being needed by others that I forget about myself and my own dreams. What scares me so much is how often I have thought that I need to stop thinking about my writing dream and what that might entail so that I can focus on getting the boys into good schools, etc. Call me the worst, most selfish mother ever, but this dream isn’t something I want to let go of. Ever.
All of this is to say that I understand why those two bloggers I linked to at the beginning of this post made the choices they did. And that I admire those choices and their conviction and courage. And that the internet is sometimes more of a hindrance than a help. And that I’m no closer to knowing what to do but I also know that the thing to do is what I’ve been doing all along: writing, even though I hate the sound of the words.