Archive for self doubt
Would this be an epic blog fail, or just a minor blog fail? I think I suffer from boringlifeitis. Which isn’t meant to imply that my life is actually boring. More, it is meant to imply that whenever I contemplate blogging again, I talk myself out of it, thinking I have nothing of interest to say.
Regardless, I think it is important to write, and write often. I’ve been blogging for years (if you haven’t been, here is my old blog), and most of it has happened when absolutely nothing of vital interest was going on in my life. And to be honest, I love my old blogs- I find them funny and insightful. Or, at least, an interesting chronicle of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and how I felt about things at various times in my life.
That sounded kind of self centered. Oh well, I’ll go with it.
Yes yes, I am guilty of long blog hiatus. What can I say? Having a baby eats up a lot of time.
In some strange way, I feel as though being a stay at home mom means spending a lot of time doing “nothing”, and yet, at the end of the day I haven’t blogged, worked on my novel, read that book I’ve been promising myself I would. I have laundry to do and bathrooms to clean.
What do I do all day? I play with Parker, feed Parker, occasionally feed my husband. I attempt to keep up with the housework and then play with the baby some more.
OK, so I am not devising solutions for the economic crisis, or thinking deeply about the global climate. I am not working toward a thesis, or plugging away at a desk for 8 hours. But I am doing something important. Are we all hardwired nowadays to see some kinds of work as real “work”, and others as nothing but wasted time?
I do try to tell myself often that rolling around on the floor like a beached whale in order to make Parker fall over laughing is a worthy enterprise. And a little bit of exercise.
The truth is, that a lot of the work that goes into motherhood is indefinable, indescribable and often, unnoticed even by mom’s themselves. I don’t know any mom that doesn’t question her decisions and actions constantly. Any mom who feels like they have the answers to the myriad of problems that crop up daily. Any mom that doesn’t feel like they could just do it a little better. And this, this is exhausting work. The constant worry- am I talking to him enough, teaching him enough, letting him play independently often enough to encourage his independence? Is he ready to be disciplined, is this bad behavior, do all babies say “Uh oh” as they hold a handful of food over the edge of the high chair and THEN drop it on the floor, laughing hysterically when you say, “oh no!”
And then there all of the logistics of raising a baby from the ground up, so to speak. No matter how good that book on parenting is, you will never have all the answers. Things that seem completely obvious and intuitive aren’t. I cannot tell you how many times I have found myself asking, “God, where is the handbook?” Teaching a little guy how to eat, for example. Seems pretty easy. We eat food. We digest food. Food is good.
Ok, when do you start? What if they won’t eat it? What if it upsets their stomach? Why does he insist on poking his eye with the pointy end of the spoon, and how do I stop that? Once you have the baby eating his watery mix of rice cereal (which to me, looks like watery snot, thank you very much), then you are onto other cereals, then puree’s, then horror of horrors…solids.
Then you worry, is this enough fruit, vegetable, fiber, dairy, red, blue? Is it too much? How do I get him to eat something other than oatmeal and bananas? How do I get my husband to stop feeding him nothing but oatmeal and bananas when I am not around?
This all sounds pretty easy, but trust me- when you are the person entrusted with the sole responsibility , day to day, of feeding, caring for, loving, teaching a brand new person, it is exhausting and terrifying, and mostly, mystifying.
So I say again, “God, where is the handbook?”
I think it must be in the air. I’ve been reading others blogs and there seems to be a general feeling of suppressed creativity. I think most writers (and I speak for writers because that is the only art I really know. I would say all artists, but I can’t be sure), feel this way at one time or another. As if something is rising up through them, but they don’t know what it is just yet. I can feel this today, inside. I have a story to tell, words to place. They are unfamiliar yet. I don’t know their shape or meaning.
There are times when I love feeling this way. It is a feeling that reminds me that I still have it. I still have the drive and desire to write. That there is still something tangible that I want to grab a hold of. I don’t know if all writers feel this, but I worry that one day, it will be gone. That I will wake up numb and not even realize. Not even miss it. Does that make sense?
Conversely, I dislike this feeling because it feels stuck. Static. I feel like I want to be writing something meaningful and true, but I don’t know what it is yet. And sometimes, nothing happens. I end up crocheting like a madwoman or reading some Sharon Olds and just forgetting about it because nothing comes.
I feel like I know what I want to write- a story idea that came to me in the midst of a 4 am feeding. It might be absolute lunacy, considering my state of mind at the time. However, I’ve learned that I can do it. I realize that sounds completely hokey. But it is true. Completing my NaNo novel in ’07 taught me that I absolutely can write a book. Before I did NaNo, I was always afraid that I didn’t have enough story in me. That I wasn’t creative enough to write a whole book. Especially after years of poetry writing, during which I learned agonize over each word., when I struggled to learn the art of speaking in four words what should take 50. Unlearning and allowing myself to use as many as possible (50,000 ideally), was a struggle, but I did do it.
Ok, so maybe my NaNo novel is no masterpiece. In my defense, it was written on a whim, in 30 days. And maybe I’ll never complete it, and there is a great chance that no one will ever be allowed to read it, but that is ok. Because I can look at it and know that I have it in me.I feel that I must add though, that all this talk about being a writer is making me a bit self conscious. As if others will read it and think, ” How presumptuous for her to call herself a writer.” I’m not published, not many have read what I have to offer, and I may not even be great, good or mediocre. Does feeling something inside make it so? All of my life I have known that this is what I love more than anything. That I have the desire to write. Does this make me a writer, or is that insanity and arrogance?
Now if only I had some spare cash and a room of my own. Instead, I think I’ll go make a bottle and plot my strategy for writing during afternoon nap time.
It has been a while now that I have contemplated whether or not to restart the old ball and chain I so fondly called my blog. A part of me has long thunk, eh, why bother? My blog rarely served as anything more than public therapy at best, and/or a detailed recounting of the daily minutiae I like to call life, at worst. Not the stuff of greatness.I really made few new connections as a result, and I doubt that anyone who read it really got much from it (other than a chuckle or two at my expense). A good friend of mine recently wrote a three part series surrounding her desire to get back to a more creative life. Her words really had an impact on my whole start-the-blog-up thought process. The more I digested what Emily had offered, the more I realized how much more or less I could do with my blog. I could keep blogging the way I had for years- recounting my day, the things that aggravated me that day (and there are many), the small victories. I’m not sure there is necessarily anything wrong with that, and to be honest, with a new baby at home and a thriving marriage I want to keep tending too, I must ask myself if I really have time for much more. Some days, I am so tired from the non stop cycle of 4 am feedings and constant baby-talk that I have little to no brain power left. And I can’t speak for anyone else, but at least I have always enjoyed my blog. Is that enough though?
I guess it all has to do with intent. And desire. Do I want to be just another of the millions of random bloggers out there who think that their word counts for something? Does it count for something just by being? Or does it count when I make it count, when I come to the table with something to offer?
Big questions, I know. Well maybe not for you. Depends on who you are. If you are anything like me- insecure, doubt ridden, and paralyzed by a fear of failure that keeps you from ever reaching as high as that highest bar (just in case you might come short of actually reaching it), then you probably understand what I mean when I say, I just don’t know. I don’t know if I have something to offer that anyone else will want to read. I don’t know if I can inspire, educate, interest others. But I do know that the last four years have been marked by such an intense fear of failure, that I have just stopped reaching.
The truth is, this blog could very well be just a reinvention of the old. But for the first time in years, I’d like to try. I’d like to take a chance at failure- how else could I be giving myself a chance at greatness.
Now, now, calm down. I realize that a simple blog is hardly the realistic forum for greatness. But I am not. Hopefully taking one step will lead to another and then more. Hopefully this is the first step in realizing so many goals I have talked myself out of- finishing that first book, writing more poetry again, going back to school, becoming more active in my community- so many things.
It is interesting how the details of our life are so interconnected. The first blog I ever had was inspired not only by self-doubt and insecurity, but by a few girls who, in the time since, I have greatly come to admire and respect. So thanks Emily, Roz and Lorraine. It seems as though somethings remain the same.