25 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me (Part 1)

 
 

So I mentioned in my last post that I'm taking a Brave Blogging e-course with Andrea Scher. I note it's not called 'Dull Blogging' or 'Safe Blogging' or 'Make Yourself Look Good Blogging.' Nope. It's called BRAVE Blogging. The prompts she is giving us (and the point of the class, really) challenge us to go deeper, to be real, to be transparent.

She gave the first prompt yesterday and it was the title of this post. I sat with it for awhile, thinking 'this sounds more like something for Facebook, not my blog' and thought I'd just skip it. I figured it was the kind of thing where I could put 25 interesting things out there to convince you that I was amazing, talented, worldly, or super cool. Kind of like we do on Facebook, right?

I've thought about it more, and decided that I owe it to myself (and to you, if you're still reading) to try on this brave blogging thing. It might fit like a bad pair of skinny jeans, with my muffin tops spilling out over the edges. But then, at least you get to see the real me, right? And isn't that really the whole point of this blogging thing? Let's see.

  1. This came up in the discussion from this e-course: "Real is more important than perfect." Yes, yes, yes ... I believe this. I do. It's so much more interesting to read REAL than to read about PERFECTION. But yet, so hard. Why is it that? (Can I blame the Facebook culture?) I suppose it's about being vulnerable. I'm working on being vulnerable, not perfect. But real. Will you still love me, warts and all? I worry.
  2. I've been WAY too worried about what people think about me since second grade when I moved from Ohio to California and bought the same Trapper Keeper as someone in my class and everyone decided to hate the new girl for the next two years because she 'copied.'  Did this really happen? I don't know, but it's still with me 32 years later, so does it matter? It was a puppy and a kitten cuddling together on a grassy lawn.
  3. Speaking of puppies and kittens, I do not love animals. I am not an animal person. I don't always like to say that because I think people might wonder whether I can be a good mother/counselor/person if I have no empathy for animals. But I just don't. Maybe it started with the Trapper Keeper. Maybe it started when every. single. animal. I had when I was small died of something tragic. Or could've been when a dog jumped up and bit me on the nose. (it was probably a playful nip, but I remember the dog being bigger than I was at the time). I don't know. But I do know I am dreading the day the boys ask me for a pet.
  4. I am proud of my writing. Sometimes I don't know where it comes from, but when I've done it, I look back and say 'wow' and 'thank you' to the universe for the inspiration.
  5. I wish I was a more avid reader. I would love to be able to quote more authors in my writing (Like, oh, say, Rumi, Rilke, Einstein, Thich Naht Hanh, Aristotle, etc.) But let's be real, I don't read them, so how can I quote them? Every time I read a good book, I fall in love with reading again. Kind of like I did with the Sweet Valley High series when I was nine. But then I don't pick another one up for months, and it's like I forget how.  I have this idea that if I am not learning something, it's not worth reading - so you'll mostly find non-fiction, how-to books on my nightstand. (But the same ones have been there all year, so I'm not even reading THOSE!) I also don't prioritize reading and get sucked into the vortex of social media, Netflix or the chaos otherwise known as life with two boys and a husband. I'm trying to change this. But I do love my chaos.

I might have to do this in parts - it's exhausting and kind of scary. But mostly because my boys are down at the pool with my parents and I don't want to miss all the fun! I'd be honored if you'd share something I Probably Don't Know About You in the comments below! Go ahead, be BRAVE!

So why blog?

Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure of the answer to that question yet. I’m still thinking about it.

On good days, my thoughts go something like this:

Why the heck not? You love to write, you’ve got things to say, you enjoy the commentary on life with two boys, and it makes you a more observant person. Why not blog? Who cares if no one reads it? Mom will read it, and that’s enough, right? And anyway, you’re not doing this for anyone else. It’s purely for pleasure. So just get on with it. You can do it.

And on bad days, my thoughts can go down the black hole like this (and let me just say, this is a very modified version of what the black hole sounds like):

Who do you think you are? You don’t have anything interesting to say. Everyone is going to think you are arrogant and vain, are you seriously calling yourself some kind of genius? Please … do you seriously think this writing can amount to anything? And even if you start, are you going to keep up with it, or is this just going to be another thing you don’t finish? Get real. Just buy yourself a few nice pens and stick to your journaling.

So as you can see, it’s taken a few months (years) of wondering whether I should just take the plunge and do it.

But you know, I’m forty now. (have I said that already?)

So I’m just gonna go ahead and DO IT. All this thinking is just getting plain old, like me.

But here’s the deal (and I’m really talking to myself here). I am doing this for ME. If you like it, great! If you follow along, fantastic! But I’m writing for myself, because I like to write, because it’s a creative outlet I might otherwise let wither. Because it’s a space for me to work things out. To remind myself that I am woman first, mother second. (despite the blog's subtitle). That I DO have opinions, thoughts, ideas. So I am claiming this space for me and mine. Enter at your own risk please. (and thank you!)

Did you just call yourself a genius?

 

make·shift

ˈmākˌSHift/

adjective

adjective: makeshift; adjective: make-shift

1.    serving as a temporary substitute; sufficient for the time being.

 

gen·ius

ˈjēnyəs/

noun

noun: genius; plural noun: geniuses

1.    exceptional intellectual or creative power or other natural ability.

***

I am decidedly NOT a genius. Let me just put that out there first before you think me arrogant and click away immediately. I am FAR from a genius. But I am a mother, and I am a writer, and therefore, I makeshift a hell of a lot. I have to. Don’t we all?

So I call it my makeshift genius.

I love the idea of a makeshift genius. Not the real genius, the kind with exceptional intellectual or creative power – but the kind that is temporarily sufficient. The kind that will do, that will allow us to survive and – if we’re lucky – kick ass and take a few names along the way.

I like to think of this makeshift genius as my muse. The one I ply with dark chocolate and red wine after the kids have gone to bed to keep her happy and working for me.  

The first few years I sat on this concept, I thought of it in terms of the creative ideas I’d come up with in a pinch. This was before the BuzzFeed and Pinterest era that gave us all the solutions for life’s problems in the form of chewing gum, or cardboard toilet rolls, or dryer sheets or maybe bacon. Strokes of makeshift genius, if you will.

More recently though, the idea has morphed into something slightly more meaningful to me, even if that means it’s less BuzzWorthy.

If motherhood has taught me anything about myself, it’s that I know how to get shit done. I always got shit done, don’t get me wrong. But now I can do it with less sleep, more patience (a-hem, mostly), and two kids hanging from my neck.  

And that’s a very good lesson, but there’s a better one.

Motherhood continues to remind me that it is not cool to judge. Not that it ever was. But I see more than ever now that most of us are just doing the best we can to get by, makeshifting our way through life. 

We like to pretend that we’re genius. And our social media encourages us to share the genius. But really, we’re a little more makeshift than we let on.

I sometimes wish my genius was a little less makeshift, but I’m forty now, so I’m going to own that which I am and that which I am not. I’m okay with that.

I am indeed exceptionally sufficient at most things.

And creatively genius at a few.

Aren’t we all?

Don’t get me wrong, I don't have this down. No sir-eeeeee.  I judge. You bet I do. I'm not proud of that, but I'm human. I’m working on it though, trying to remind myself all the time, that there is not a single right way to do this mothering gig. Even if sometimes, I can be obnoxiously self-righteous in my opinions.

So here is my space to share my makeshift, my genius, and everything in between. I hope you’ll share too.