Category: Confessions

Getting Dressed

This week, I did something I haven’t done before. I removed two blog posts. They were public for about 24 hours, and then I took them down. I’m still not sure whether it was the right decision.

I love this blog. I love recording bits and pieces of our life. I’ve also loved talking more about my writing life; that’s been really good for my psyche, I think, and has allowed me to “come out” as a writer–to myself, as much as to anyone else. Writing about it, not in a journal, but online, somehow changed how I saw my own identity. I used to hate to identify as a writer (and I’m talking about AFTER I published a book, not before). I never knew what to say when someone complimented me or wanted to talk about writing. If I’m to analyze it (and how could I possibly stop myself from doing that!), I would say that I was afraid. I was afraid of public failure, as much as anything, because the writing life is nothing if not loaded with criticism, judgement, and rejection. Which feeds doubt. And any success was never quite enough to counter that. I felt like I was the embodiment of an elaborate ruse, or dressed in someone else’s clothes, or wearing a mask. I don’t feel like that anymore. You know …. so be it. I’m a writer. It’s not a big deal. It’s just what I do. And I honestly think that blogging about it helped get me to that point–over the mountain of fear, into a pleasant valley of normalcy. If you give me a compliment now, I’ll just say “Thank you.”
Which brings me to the blog posts that I removed. Both were confessions, of a sort. Confessions of failure and doubt. Something about them–their confessional nature? their tone? their introspection? (yes, more than usual)–made me feel naked. Not naked in body, but naked in spirit. I do question, like a lot of bloggers do, why I am doing this. Why not a journal beside my bed? I’m very comfortable, now, thinking of my blog as a family scrapbook, as a record of our mundane ordinary every days which would otherwise blur together and be lost in memory. I’m even comfortable thinking of my blog in a professional sense as an extension of my work, and a place where I can talk about my writing life. But am I comfortable getting spiritually naked online? Does it serve any purpose? What am I looking for?
I question my motivation. And I question it enough to remove those posts permanently. There are a (very) few people in my life with whom I’m most intimate, and with whom I might naturally share the progressions and failures of my spiritual life. Does sharing it in a somewhat anonymous way online bring me closer to people I might not otherwise connect with or get to know? I consider that. But it’s (mostly) a one-sided relationship, online. It’s like undressing in front of a window at night; seeing your own reflection and not seeing who might be walking by the street below. You can see how my thinking loops round and round on this point. I don’t think I’ve nailed the right answer, it’s more that I don’t want to do something that makes me feel this uncomfortable.
So, for now. I’m staying (mostly) clothed. In spirit. You know what I mean.
:::
Yesterday’s yoga class was wonderful. Following the difficult class on Monday, it was also a relief. My brilliant thought-of-yesterday’s-class was: My body is my emotional barometer. It’s taken me 35 years to figure that out. And yoga is like taking a stress-test. It’s an instant read thermometer. I know almost immediately whether my mind is calm or stirred, whether I am comfortable with the choices I’ve made that day, or whether I have some work to do. And sometimes the work gets done right there in class, and I emerge at the end with an unexpected thought or perspective, more open to the world. And that’s when I’m most likely to come home and write a blog that the next day makes me ask: should I close the curtains?

Whimsical Blogland

Thinking about why I like blogging–because I do–and have come up with a very rudimentary hunch that there’s something mysteriously satisfying about publishing immediately upon typing, and imagining the connection between these words and another set of eyes. Today, I had no internet. This wasn’t a self-driven retreat from the Evil Distractions of the Internet, oh no; a cable in our house went on the fritz, and it was more like being forced into a chastity belt. No email. (There is the phone, you might point out). No internet radio. (There is, um, actual radio). No Facebook. (That might be a good thing actually, as I’ve recently noticed myself updating my status imaginarily at regular silent intervals throughout the day, such as, “Obscure Canlit Mama would like to know why her baby is so impressively wide awake at 6am,” or, “Obscure Canlit Mama has just escaped the library with a small shred of her parental dignity intact,” or, “Obscure Canlit Mama is frying bacon at mid-day. Don’t ask. Or, do.” You can see how addictive this becomes. Where was I?)
Right. No internet–therefore, no blog. No blog. No mundane moment grabbed and translated into words and chucked into the mess that is Blogland. I’m only just beginning to get a sense of what Blogland looks like. It’s crowded in here. Downright claustrophobic. There don’t seem to be filters, just personal taste, and the taste of one’s friends and fellow bloggers. There’s some really good writing out there, and amazing photographs, and recipes; but it feels overwhelming, like being at a trade show in a mosh pit with everyone shouting and screaming and you’re just sort of turning to the next person over and going, uh, what are you here for? And that person doesn’t really know, and then it occurs to you–neither do you.
Oh tumbled, jumbled metaphor. This is why I like Blogland. I can make a real hash of words in here, and not sweat it. When I’m writing a story everything has to fit, I have to be ruthless. I actually think that writing a good story bears no relationship to the metaphor commonly attached: that it’s like birthing a baby, or that the art is the artist’s baby. Pity that baby. Coolly reshaped to fit the parent’s vision, then frozen into position for eternity. But the blog feels more like a real baby. It comes out whole, there’s not a lot of editing, and it grows and changes–every day, or every post, forever replacing what was with what is, and is, and is, this permanent present. Which is pretty much exactly like parenthood. Maybe that’s why so many parents seem drawn to Blogland. We’re already living this, day-by-day, this sweet mundanity, these moments that feel so vital while amidst them, only to disappear, buried by routine; we’re already attuned to the bittersweet pull of time. How quickly a blog entry feels stale–that’s one of its peculiarities. Whereas a story can be read over and over again. I’m not saying old blog entries can’t be read again, and enjoyed (though perhaps mainly by the blogger herself); just that a large part of the pleasure is the immediacy, the realization that what you’re reading actually just happened, and the desire to check in again soon to see what will happen next. Even if nothing much really ever does.
File this entry under Big Thoughts. A favourite late-night-oughtta-be-in-bed-category.
Oh, let’s do one more thing, something new. Confession of the Day: This morning, I convinced Fooey to sit in front of a computer in the children’s section of the library, and signed in on it using her card (adults are not allowed), solely for the purpose of checking my email account. The good news is, I hadn’t missed any important messages.

Carbon Guilt; Six Years

Deep breath. Confession. I just drove the kids to school. Okay, and worse. It made my morning so much easier. Baby CJ slept in, so I didn’t rush to wake him and feed him and change him so he could endure a half hour in the stroller. I just let him sleep. Popped him, pajamas and all, into the car seat. The big kids are big enough that I don’t need to walk them to the school doors and see them inside. I just hopped out and helped them cross the street, and kissed them goodbye (not Albus; he’s too big for kisses–in public, at least). Then we drove home. It was still early. No one was cranky and complaining about being stuck in the stroller.

Oh dear. It was so darn luxurious that I’m actually glad we only have one vehicle so that I will be forced to keep walking the kids to school in the morning (afternoons are different–it actually seems easier to walk than to join the crowd of vehicles being irresponsibly driven and parked on the snowy sidestreets surrounding the school). I wonder why I feel better about my life when I’m doing things the hard way, and guilty when I’m taking shortcuts. Balance, balance. It’s a kind of comfort to know there’s never perfect equilibrium, and therefore always something more to strive for.

Here are my excuses for carbon-burning this morning. One, Kevin is in Ottawa and I am all on my own today, and seeking ways to make the day that much more survivable. Two, CJ was up most of the night, off and on, with a terrible croupy cough, and wide awake at 5am for a good hour. He needed that extra sleep. Three. Umm, apparently I don’t have a third excuse. I wanted to drink my cup of coffee while it was still hot? I wanted a few extra minutes to Blog? In any case, we have a pile-up of other errands to run this morning, all within walking distance (long walks, but nevertheless) … and I’m considering, maybe, just this once … driving. (Something tells me that “just this once” could become my winter phrase, as long as a vehicle is available to me. Slippery, slippery slopes.)

Durn snow.

On another subject: boy are we partied out. We had such a blast with Apple-Apple’s butterfly birthday on Sunday, and another good family party last night; but there’s been enough cake eaten and enough thoughtfully chosen gifts opened and enough candles whooshed out to thoroughly mark the (truly significant) occasion. Six years old. From precocious baby who walked early and talked early (how fascinating to hear what was on the mind of a 14-month-old; she looked up while nursing one afternoon and said, “Daughter”), to determined toddler, insisting on potty-training herself at 20 months, through the process of learning to be a kind and helpful big sister (not easy!), to becoming a schoolgirl and revelling in her independence, in learning, and in being a helpful and thoughtful group participant. My equal parts serious and silly child. My French-language-delighting, yearning-to-play-piano-and-learn-to-knit, Little-House-loving-girl. Six years old.

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