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Month: March 2008

NEWSFLASH: I am updating my blog.

NEWSFLASH: I am updating my blog.

This past week I put in nearly 40 hours of school volunteering. (Or maybe eleventy hundred. I lost count.) Some at home but most at the school. Does this mean they have officially “gotten” me? Am I now a Stepford? Let’s say no. I did have fun doing it, though. I know. The first step is admitting there is a problem. So really? I don’t really have a “new” post worthy of a Newsflash, but I do have something you may not have read yet. Seeing as I know you don’t all follow me around the ‘net to see what I have to say. And the links in the post? Follow them. Some amazing women writers were quoted. You may find a great new read!

The past week I have been adrift in volunteer work, a new freelance job, house cleaning and one other thing. What was that? Oh, I remember. Celebrating my eighth year being clean from a painful and life altering drug addiction that nearly took away everything I cherish and love. I’ll be honest. I wanted to find be around at least one person who “got it” and would realize what I was going through on that day. It was a day that I desperately needed to be understood and on familiar ground with another person.

Blogging is much the same way for many people. Some people read blogs as a way to find others that are going through the same life issues, have the same interests or maybe even just because they entertain them. And then we have the bloggers themselves. Those who put themselves right out there in front of the Internet and share to let it all lay bare. Those writers who dig deep into their souls and pull out a part of it and share it. Hoping it connects with someone else. Sometimes hoping someone else will connect with them.

It is not surprising that in this week I found Redsy. As she began her Odyssey to stop drinking she posting these words that so resonated with me that I wept remembering the feelings she described.

I’ve found a place to go every day to talk about my problem with drinking. To listen to others talk about their struggles and fears and recovery. And it is a complete and total miracle. If I’d known how great these meetings would be, I honestly would have stopped all this wine nonsense a long time ago.

But of course I wouldn’t really. Because outside of those wonderful comforting loving meetings, life is once again scary as hell. And this time I’m standing there without my favored weapon. Facing an army of tigers with a pea shooter and one bean, which is how we’re supposed to feel at the beginning (I’m told).

And I feel like the outside layer of my skin (the adult, fake-put-together part) has been taken away and I’m this sea creature –shell-less and shaky–lolling around waiting for sunlight to reach all the long way down to the ocean floor.

I read through her pages and found her four months later with these words:

So it’s been 75 days since my last drink and nearly 4 months since I began this odyssey — to sober up, wake up to my life, start a daily spiritual practice something like worshiping a higher power, something like trying to be a more loving person.

As slowly the cravings, mental and physical subside, replaced by new rituals and people and habits, hope increases. Hope that there is more that I can give, more to experience, and a greater sense of gratitude folded into the dailyness of things.

All is not perfect happiness by any stretch, but broken down into 24 hours segments, I can say I haven’t felt this hopeful and resourceful for years and years.

I cheered for her. I wanted to shout to her that I get it and I am so proud of her. I remember hitting each milestone month of being clean and you can damn well bet it is worthy of a celebration. She is now 5 months sober. I am 8 years clean. We are alike and we can both learn from each other. That is the beauty of putting it out there. I don’t know her. But really? I know her.

I also came across a post about loss written by Jenn of Breed ‘Em and Weep that caused me to suck my breath in and hold it as I read it. I cried with the writer as she described her feelings. I felt my own anguish over losses in my own life (though different from hers, losses nevertheless) and I felt her pain as she knew that things would never be the same. I could feel her anguish as she knew the lives of her children would never be the same after this peaceful night of sleep– not knowing.

Tomorrow we will tell the girls about a difficult loss. It is a peculiar thing to sit on the edge of your child’s bed, watching her sleep, knowing that tomorrow you will say something that will stop her heart briefly and force her through a door she would not have chosen herself. Children do not take kindly to loss, and why should they? As adults we can barely stand it, barely have the ability to comprehend the who-was-who-now-isn’t, the what-was-that-now-is-lost.

I watch her dark profile. She is a beautiful girl, as still sometimes in her waking hours as she is right now, asleep. I think, This is her last night of not knowing. Tomorrow we take away the not-knowing.

When I first read the post I didn’t even know what the loss was but it did not matter. I felt it. I felt her loss. I felt the losses in my life. I felt her turmoil as a mother. I remembered that late night knowing I had something to tell my own children that would forever bring them from before to after. From innocence to life-changing. Her ability to open up and share from the bottom of her heart was so universal while still being so personal, you were not only there with her, you were at that place in your own life where you went through your own loss. That is the incredible power of blogging.

You see, when bloggers really open up and share, we find a way to connect, find support and feel as if someone out there gets us. To those of you who bare your souls, thank you. I appreciate and understand how hard that is. I have found bloggers who write about just about everything. They share what they know with people who may need or want to hear it.

I can find bloggers who help me with support for my addiction, the death of my Mom, my stillborn son, and my frustrations and dilemmas in parenting. And when I read the following quote from Mamma Loves, I realized that there is a certain type of blogging that is harder to find.

Mamma Loves called it to the carpet when she wrote:

What I’ve noticed though is that there seems to be one topic that remains fairly off limits (unless addressed anonymously). I understand why. Many people have discussed their reasons for not talking about it. I see this in my real life friendships too.

I just have to ask though…when will we all stop pretending like marriage is easy??

I love that question. I would love more people to just say it. “This marriage thing? Good. Love it. But, damn, it can be hard.” I know many divorced bloggers who will talk all about it. Or bloggers who openly admit they are in a bad marriage. But what about those of us who are in good marriages and are happy? Just something she asked that I thought I bring to the table since we are talking about baring our hearts and souls in blogging.

The bottom line is blogging has power. A mighty strong power. Blogging connects people. We can find others who get where we have been, where we are and where we are going. And that is vital at certain times in our lives. So, bloggers, it is okay to bare your soul. Some of us need it. Most of us admire it. And there are even a few of us who are counting on it.

Comments are acting wonky so if you try to leave one and it won’t let you, please let me know.  You can always email it to me and  I will post it for you.  No idea what is wrong.  Sorry!

Cross posted on BlogHer

Celebrate 8 with an addict

Celebrate 8 with an addict

8-year-medallion1.jpg

Today is my 8th birthday. Oh, sure, I don’t look a day over 6, but trust me on this one. It has been 8 years today that I gathered up every ounce of courage I had and checked into a detox/rehab facility. I had hit rock bottom and knew it was literally do or die time. I wasn’t ready to die.

Eight years clean. Eight years without using drugs to get through a day. Eight years of trying to live life on life’s terms and not my own. Eight years of not giving other people the power to send me right back into a place of using and losing. Eight years of giving my children a drug free mom.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t like I hit a perfect number of years and all is well. The urge or knee jerk reaction to find a fix when I am really hurting still pops up. When someone I trust kicks my feet out from under me, I want to use to make myself feel good. I mean, really, who wants to feel anything but good? But life is not all about the good stuff. And as an addict, I have to figure out how to make life work when I am hurting, angry, lonely and sick and tired of life on life’s terms.

Yesterday was hell. My body knew I was jonesing for something but my brain didn’t know why. I would love to say I woke up this morning to birds chirping as I danced my merry way around the house singing as I did my chores. Not even close. I woke up and dreaded facing the day. Any day. I wanted to stay tucked under my covers and be as far away from people as I could be. It didn’t help that once I dropped off the kids it began to rain and become very cold. A perfect day to snuggle up and hermit myself.

But like any good addict, I knew where I needed to be. So, I forced myself to get dressed and get out. Even though it was raining and sleeting and they were calling for more snow and ice, I still made myself go. Where? Where every addict and/or alcoholic should go when they have a day like I had yesterday. And when they need to have a day like I wanted to have today.

8-year-medallion-color.jpgI went where I belonged. To a room full of addicts. They applauded my 8 years. Understood my angst. And supported me when I cried for reasons I didn’t understand. When I walked out of that room, I felt better. I was better for having been in that room with a bunch of drunks and druggies. They keep me sane. And clean. For 8 years.

And now? Now I want to celebrate.

EIGHT YEARS, people!

Celebrate with me! What accomplishments are you proud of that you want to share. Toot your own horn here, people. I want to share my celebration with you. Because? I worked damn hard to get here!

Jenn and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Jenn and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Ever have one of those days. You know. Those days. The kind where you want to hermit yourself and stay away from anyone and anything? If by chance you do come across another human being you will most likely snap at them or (worse yet) cry?

Nothing could go right today.

I was sad.

I was depressed.

I was hurting.

I was angry.

I was so very lonely yet wanted didn’t want to be with anyone.

Nothing made sense.

I couldn’t sit still but didn’t want to do anything.

I didn’t want to talk but I really wanted someone to listen.

I needed to write but didn’t want to say anything worthwhile.

I wanted to reach out but wanted to be left alone.

I looked at my husband and begged him pathetically through my tears, “Please just help me to not feel things so deeply! I hate it so much. Please. Please I just don’t want to feel.”

None of this made sense to me. Why? I was either crying or angry today. And then I looked at the calendar and it all made sense.  It is the experience of being a dry drunk.  (Or in my case, a drug-free druggie.)  Climbing the walls for an invisible fix that I haven’t had for years.  Acting out like a user but not using.  It’s the timing.

So I am going with it. I am feeling what I feel. I am riding the wave. I am living it as it comes yet not letting it take me down. Today I will cry if I need to. Laugh when I feel it. Be alone when I need to be. And forgive myself for not reaching out when I so desperately needed to reach out.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow will be better. Experience tells me tomorrow will be good.

It is today that I feel unworthy and risk throwing it all away. And you have no idea how close I came. I am just in that bad of a place tonight.

Tonight I think I am going to go to bed and cry. Because I need to. Because I hate being where I am and know I need to not let it simmer inside. I am going to be angry, hurt and sad. But just for today.

Tomorrow I will share with you the Wonderful, Awesome, So Good, Very Big Day.  And why I know it will be a good day.

But tonight, I’m gonna cry.

I roll my own. Want a hit?

I roll my own. Want a hit?

[Update at the end]

Okay, after years of going without, I am giving in to temptation. Throwing caution and my better judgment to the wind, I am going to start rolling again. Blog rolling. Dude! What did you think?

So, if you think you should be on my blog roll, let me know. I am hopefully adding to it this week. Let me know why you want to be on it. You know reason like:

  • You want people other than your mom to read.
  • You have something on me and I better add you or you will release it to the world at large.
  • You need validation and I am just the blog to give it to you.
  • Because? Why not, beyotch?
  • You know I read you. I may even comment so why the hell are you not already being linked?
  • You have been removed from another blog roll for some dumb ass reason and are looking to not screw up your whole Technorati ranking so I need to make up the loss by adding you.
  • Your sister’s friend’s cousin’s hairdresser’s mailman’s next door neighbor’s aunt dates this dude who once read your blog and said it kicked ass so you should for sure be on the list!
  • You once commented and so there! Add you! Now!
  • You have anger issues and that in and of itself should scare me into adding you.
  • You deserve it because you know what movie this line came from: “You’re a neo maxi zoom dweebie, what would you be doing if you weren’t out making yourself a better citizen?”
  • Because you are about to kick my ass for trying to get anyone to jump through hoops.

That about covers why I add people to my blog roll. Oh, and of course because I read you and think other people should, too. But is that really a good enough reason? This is 2008 baby. Justification is the name of the game. Good writing will only get you so far. Inane bullshit carries you the rest of the way.

[Update to screech:]  Seriously?  Not ONE of you know where that movie line came from?!  Are none of you teens of the 80’s.  First person to tell me gets top billing in the blogroll.  I am so saddened that no one knows where neo maxi zoom dweebie came from.

*Shaking my head in shame*

A Bloggess gets Kawasakied. We Digg a Queen. And Mommybloggers take back their title and add Hussein.

A Bloggess gets Kawasakied. We Digg a Queen. And Mommybloggers take back their title and add Hussein.

As you may or may not know, I post regularly on BlogHer. This post has received a lot of attention from other mom bloggers, so I wanted to share it here seeing as I know not all of you read BlogHer. I know…cross posting can be lame. Sue me. Well, don’t really. I just wanted to share how far we have come, baby.

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It has been one of those weeks. A week that slams you against a wall. Needless to say, I fell behind in my blog reading. What is an editor to do? Why she just hops onto Twitter to find the latest buzz. And, oh, there has been buzz!

Take for instance the newest addition to the Urban Dictionary. When Jenny of The Bloggess found her group blog Mama Drama on Alltop.com, she emailed Guy Kawasaki (the creator of the list) to thank him. From there, the hilarity ensued. In a must read exchange between Guy and Jenny, she found herself the topic of a Tweet.


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And then Guy twittered about me, which is like winning an Oscar for best design of a battery-operated series of fog machines. Totally amazing and kind of embarrassing all at the same time. Also? Nothing to sneer at make hay about.

Anyway, I’d just like to thank Mr. Kawasaki for being the one of the first genuinely nice celebrities to not make me feel like a total douchebag and I plan on sending a copy of this to Ken Hoffman who could certainly take a lesson from Guy and needs to realize that just acknowledging a fan letter won’t mean that I’ll get all delusional and suddenly be convinced that we’re now ”best friends forever” and show up at your house on holidays. It’s too late now, Ken, but it would have meant a lot to me way back when I was just some random chick to you. Back when I wasn’t engaged to Guy Kawasaki.

It was from this Tweet and the subsequent emails passed back and forth that Jenny coined the phrase being “Kawasakied.” Now, according to Urban Dictionary that means:

To have your blog linked to or acknowledged by someone famous like Guy Kawasaki who totally kicks ass, but if you told your mom about it she’d be like “Huh? What’s a blog? Hey, is that the guy who invented the motorcycle?”

“Dude. My blog got totally Kawasakied today!”

On a totally different note, the power of a mom blogger and her opinions was clearly observed when political post Erin of Queen of Spain Blog wrote a very compelling and thought provoking article about the upcoming Democratic Nomination and Hillary Clinton. As word of her post got out, people flocked to it and she found it on the front page of Digg. (And the topic of many discussions around the net and a massive amount of tweets on Twitter.) In fact, it wasn’t until much later that mainstream media caught up and you began to read in newspapers the same idea that Erin had already shared with the world.

What? A mom blogger who has a brain, political opinions and dares to share them with the world? She rocked the socks off of many people. People well beyond those who are considered the typical mom blog audience. Erin is not one to shy away from her opinion. Few of us who are in the mom blog category do. We are proving to not only our own community that supports us but to the tech and new media world as a whole that we are voices that should not only be listened to, but respected.

Power to the Mom Blogger who dares to speak out!

While we are on the topic of respect, I have to mention a great conversation that took place today. The question was asked:

“Tell me, is ‘Mommyblogger’ still a negative term in the Social Media space? Has it changed? Do you still look down? Be truthful.”

The response was quick and thorough.

Momologue responded with

Just last week I got a ‘oh your one of those, an MB.’ Complete with a wave of hand. Dismissed.

But was quick to also add:

But I do love the online community we create. It’s the best — and it’s about diapers and changing the world.

Banannie put in her two cents with:

I always felt the mommy-blogger label was too confining, and I shook it completely a year ago when I started a new blog… much of that was because of reaction from others that made mommy-blogging feel second tier- looking back I should have ignored.

For many of us, we remember the time when the very term or idea of mommybloggers was dismissed, shunned and looked down upon. The very first BlogHer conference had a session on mommyblogging that was a “room of our own” and was expected to bring in few people. It was standing room only. Back then, one of the main focuses of the discussion was whether or not the term mommyblogger was derogatory. Today, as I followed the discussion on Twitter, I saw many responses that were along these lines:

Shelisrael shared:

I never knew that mommy bloggers were looked down upon. Not ever. Why do you perceive otherwise?

From Karoli:

Maybe b/c I’m older or whatever, but I never saw it as a derogatory term. Still don’t quite understand why it’s seen that way.

And my personal favorite by Dave Taylor:

I never thought “mommyblogger” was other than a statement of heroic survival ability!

Not everyone was loving the term or category. Lone Sophist stated:

I think that women who are mothers and blog are more than mommybloggers, that’s why I don’t like that “category.”

The point is this. Just a few years ago we were in a small room and felt like second tier bloggers. Today, we are much sought after by marketers, talk shows and magazines. We’ve come a long way, baby.

Mom bloggers are so much more than diapers and potty training. We are taking on issues that are changing the world and the way people view it. For instance, take todays awesome “Just Call Me Hussein” smackdown over at Momocrats.

Why all the fuss? Some ig’nant fools apparently think it’s helpful to their cause to liken Barack Obama to a “terrorist” because his middle name is “Hussein.” And we ain’t havin’ none of that. Why? Because “bitch is the new black,” and we? Are bitches.

We’ve decided to extend the reach of this important blog action by making “Just Call Me Hussein” a meme. If you are reading this and haven’t posted, consider yourself tagged. All you have to do is post your “Hussein name” in the title of your blog and share a story about how someone tried to make you feel bad about your name.

When you post—whenever you post—be sure to link us so we can find you. Now, go! Spread that meme far and wide, sistahs (and brahs)! Bitches get shit done!

Most excellent way to take a situation and make people not only think, but write about it. You see? It extends beyond their blog. Beyond any of our blogs when we get right down to it. At last check, there were thirty-three posts (and still counting) that sprang from one entry on one blog written by moms.

It’s been a long road and sadly there has been some road-kill along the way, but mommybloggers–the term, the bloggers and the power behind them both– are a powerful force in new media.

Me? I am proud to have been on that first panel, that first year as we wondered where we would go from there. I would say mommybloggers are kicking ass and taking names. Count on it. And, yes, you can quote me on that.