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Month: October 2010

Forgiving myself

Forgiving myself

This is the 3rd in a series of 30 days of truth. (I never said I would do them in 30 consecutive days, did I?)

I can practically hear the intake of  breath some have in anticipation of what I may say that they may have to hold against me.

What did she do that she needs to forgive herself for?  I hope it’s juicy!

And that is one of the reasons I sat on this one.  I could do 30 Days of Forgiving myself if I so choose seeing as I carry a lot on my shoulders whether I need to or not. I thought about writing something regarding my addiction but that is in my book so I am keeping that one back. I could write about letting toxic people into my world when I was warned by so many people not to do so, but I have moved on and realized when I wrote the previous post that I have indeed already forgiven myself for that.

So what does she have to say? Tell me it isn’t about her bad 80’s perm!

There is something I have been holding on to. Something I have lost sleep over. Something I have shed tears over. Something I have turned to friends about in hopes they have the miracle words that would bring me my own forgiveness. But it still gnaws at me.

I have to forgive myself for stepping out of the blogging ring when I was at the top of my game and the top of the heap.

Seriously? Lame!

You have to understand, I was blogging long before there was a flood of mommy bloggers. (Hell, I founded the site mommybloggers.com!) I was blogging before PR and marketing even glanced in the direction of bloggers– especially mom bloggers.  I was in on the ground floor of an amazing *organization that has become a huge, worldwide site for women. I worked for them. I wrote for them. I helped launch an ad network with them.  I was courted by more than one organization to be a founding member of an ad network.  People came to me and asked me to blog for them professionally for good money when that was really rather rare. I had television news crews come to my house to interview me about blogging and what it meant. I was asked to speak at conferences. I was a mom blogger before Dooce (our apparent “queen of the mom bloggers”) was ever pregnant. I was at the top of my game and had ideas that had never been done before. Ideas that could have taken off and become huge. (I know this because I’ve seen others do it on a model I helped create.) I was approached to submit essays for anthologies. I was published and republished several times in parenting magazines both nationally and internationally. I had a few columns appear in the paper. I was a top mom blogger. I was good. I had it all in the palm of my hand.

And I stepped away from it.

And my heart shatters a bit every time I think about it.

I’ve tried to jump back in other ways. I worked with amazing women who started a new **community and it was great. I loved working with them. I helped with some amazing projects.  But again, I wasn’t ready to be back at that time and life hit me like a 2×4. And I stepped back. Again.

Silently stepping back sounded like a thousand hoof beats in my heart. Felt like hot iron searing my soul.

One of the reasons I stepped back this last time was because I was getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter and I wasn’t able to deal with it. It was the year of being broken. I was ashamed to admit I was dealing with depression of a multitude of things and I couldn’t come online and write the fun, the funny or the every day when I was broken.

So I stepped away.

I have a book to finish. And I am so close. I want to shout, “The blog hasn’t been doing great, but HEY, look at the book I have been working on! Look at the skeleton of the second one I’m writing! I AM doing something! Doesn’t that count?”

It doesn’t. Not in the blogging world.

Twitter can overwhelm me. Goodness, with ADD you’d think I could keep up but the truth is, it makes me feel like I am so far out of the loop or out of the conversation because HOW DO YOU LISTEN TO 1500 PEOPLE AT ONE TIME?! (And that’s just people I follow.)

Facebook can be a good outlet, but even there I have to be “careful” and that is not who I am when it comes to writing.

So I stepped back.

And it broke my heart.

Broke it into a million little pieces.

Because I love to blog.

Because I loved being one of the bloggers on the cutting edge.

Because I loved being asked to go on junkets or work with amazing people.

Because I love to blog for the love of the blog.

And I stepped away.

Now? I don’t know if I can ever get back to close to where I was. I don’t know if I can get another chance with the first blogging company I worked with or if I can ever get a second chance with the amazing women who are really doing amazing things with their community. I don’t know how to go from top to gone to a blogger that can get back in the game.

Because? The game has changed. I have changed.

What do I have to forgive myself for?

I have to find a way to forgive myself for stepping back when I was at the top. I have to forgive myself.

Because it hurts so damn bad to think of the “what if”s…” the “should’ve been’s…” and  the “I could have…”

I have to forgive myself because it tears me up inside when I think about it.

I had legitimate reasons. I had real life that had to have me totally present. I didn’t step back because I was flaky but because I had to for my life.

And I really hope that one day…. some day…. I will forgive myself for stepping back.

Because it hurts too much not to forgive myself.

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Pondering: To reveal or not to reveal? That is the blogging question.

Pondering: To reveal or not to reveal? That is the blogging question.

This 30 Days or Truth project has really had me thinking.

How much do I want to reveal?

How intimate do I want to get with y’all?

I’ve never held back before. My honesty has always been what has brought people to my blog and kept them here. Hell, it even brought me an agent. I don’t hold back. Like in life, it is all or none with me. It’s just how I am. Anything else feels phony.  The truth is I’ve never really had a reason to hold back before now.

So,here I am actually debating whether or not I should hold back more and wonder if I will let insignificant people put a muzzle on me or if I will push on through. I don’t hold back because I care what they think. I hold back because I cringe at the thought of these people even looking at my site. It’s as if they come into my home uninvited, put their feet on my furniture, act repugnantly and then leave their stench behind. That’s not cool with me.

BUT… you knew there would be a but here….BUT, this is my  house and I will not be someone I am not, hold back from something I want to say or act in any way that is not 100% me. That is a game for posers. Not one I play am willing to play with them or anyone else.  I suppose I am lucky that this blog having been around since early 2003, I have never once felt the need to hold back. I haven’t had the trolls, the haters or the game players come around. I have been blessed.

And I will not go quietly. This is me. I ask just one thing:

If you don’t like my writing, don’t like me or don’t want to read this, go to that little X in the corner and leave. It’ll make all of us happy in the long run.

Am I right?

So I push forth…

Day 2 of 30- Something I Love About Myself

Day 2 of 30- Something I Love About Myself

When Clint and I first started dating, we didn’t see eye to eye on some of our personality traits that were, shall we say, not in alignment with each other. I used to get so frustrated with him when he kept people at arms length or questioned the motives of people until he really got to know them. It made me crazy! I thought he was missing out on so much by holding back any part of himself. He tried to convince me not to wear my heart on my sleeve. He said I gave my heart out so easily and willingly when I became friends with someone. One thing he worried about was how it would get me hurt. But the thing was, I couldn’t imagine not going all in when it came to relationships.

With me, it’s all or nothing. If I let you in, I let you all the way into my heart. I’d give you the shirt off my back. I’d move heaven and earth to help you. I would drop everything to be with you if you called me & needed me. I don’t know how to do half-ass friendships. For me?  I’m all in. I love that about myself.

There is no shelf life on being a part of my heart, either. If you were ever let in, you still have a portion of it. Oh, you may be way in the back corner in the nosebleed section, but you still have your spot. I don’t kick people out.

But what about when someone breaks your heart, tears you down or shatters your friendship or relationship, Jenn?

I’m glad you asked. You see, if you were ever let in, there was something there. There was something about you that drew me to you and that I honestly and truly cared about and therefore, that part lives on in my heart. Here are two examples:

Scenario One: A year or so ago I reconnected with an old friend of mine. We were best friends in elementary school and most of junior high and then it it was all shot to hell (as many junior high friendships can go.) At  first we shared animosity, then dislike, then we just didn’t simply register on each other’s radar. It was a shock when we ran into each other our freshman year of college. We had no idea we were attending the same university. We didn’t run in the same circles but when we saw each other we would smile and say hi. When we found each other after our 20 year reunion, we shared those first “this is what has been going on in my life” emails. As I sat and read hers and read of a tragedy she lived through, I sat there and cried for my old friend. It wasn’t that “enemy” in junior high or that girl I’d share a casual wave as we passed. This was that young girl that was my best friend who had an earth shattering event change her life. And I cried for her and her family. She never left my heart.

Even today, if she emailed me and needed something, I wouldn’t have to consult a calendar to see how long it’s been as to whether or not I would be there for her. There is no question. I’d be there. I was all in when we were friends. Her spot in my heart was behind a wall, in the dark with dust on it since it had been so long, but it was there, dusted off and it was there for her if she needed it.

Scenario Two:  As an adult I had a circle of friends who got together and did casual things with when we could schedule them. At first I was a bit wary and kept them at arms length but I just am not really great at that. So, of course, I let them in and my heart was all in. I would give my shirt off my back for them. I knew it was a risk to jump into an established circle of friends but they seemed open and I let my heart go.  And it did get hurt. Shattered. It’s not a decades old pain like with my other friend. It is much fresher. I went all in and my heart was broken. In fact, I am willing to bet that if I was standing beside a couple of them and was on fire, they probably wouldn’t even spit on me to put the fire out. So that must mean that they are out of my heart. Shut down. Never allowed in again. I wish. Like I said, once you have a spot in my heart, I don’t shove you out. Granted, it may be a corner in my heart that I have well guarded with pit bulls and armed guards, but that corner is there. And even if they needed something tomorrow, even the one who openly and vocally hates me, I would be there. It just is what it is.

I guess my heart is a bit like Hotel California. “You can check out anytime you like, but you can  never leave.” But not in that scary stalker way. Really. You actually can leave but I will never personally kick you out. It’s now how I’m made. It’s who I am.

That is something that, though it gets me hurt, I do love about myself.

It’s my ability to love people with all of my heart and keep a part of them with me long after they have left my life. And be able to open it again if they come back into my life.  And that? That is the greatest gift I could give myself because with the Interwebs like they are these days, you never know when someone from your past might show up. I’m blessed that when I reconnect with old friends, there is nothing ugly or negative to hold me back in getting to know them as they are now. It’s just a part of my heart I get to dust off and revisit. To me? That is a blessing and something I truly do love about myself.

30 Days of Truth: Day One- Something You Hate About Yourself

30 Days of Truth: Day One- Something You Hate About Yourself

Now let’s not beat around the bush and ease into this slowly or anything. Let’s just get right up in my honesty grill, why don’t you. Okay, so something I hate about myself.  This one made me cringe. First, self loathing is not something a recovering addict is encouraged to do or focus on unless you are feeling it in that moment and need to get to the root to eliminate it. We usually don’t go digging inside for it.

And then I got caught up trying to narrow that bad boy down.  Do I talk about physical, emotional or things I do? I mean I can’t stand the way I look right now. REALLY can’t stand it. (Totally falls under hate.) But I’m working on that.  Emotionally, I’m not a big fan of crying every single time I see someone else cry. I don’t even have to know them. It’s like a switch turns on in my brain. It can be very embarrassing.  But really hate?

This is what I really hate…

I am a master at masonry. I can build a wall around myself so fast you won’t even see it go up.

When I need you  the most, I will push you away.

When I need to be around people, I hide behind my wall and isolate myself.

When I need to talk, I go silent.

When I want to reach out my hand and ask for your help, I will instead curl up inside myself and clench my fists.

I am a master at building walls around my heart. When life knocks me down, I get back  up, dust myself off, stuff all of the pain, anger or fear deep inside and move along. The last thing I will do is break down and ask for your help. To ask for you for your shoulder. To allow you to give me comfort.

Many have tried to break down the wall. Many have seen the signs of that wall being built and try to stop me before it goes up and leaves me all alone on the other side. But I am a master at this. I can go numb, shut down and become the version of myself I believe I have to be at that time.

I do hate that about myself. I know it is dangerous for me. It is never good for someone with a history of addiction to isolate and especially stupid to not reach out and talk when I know I need to do so. But there it is. I build walls. I isolate. I am so strong I will push you away with everything in me to keep you outside of my safe place. Which really?  Isn’t that safe at all, is it?

And this post? SO not inside my comfort zone and totally without a wall. For now.

High Fructose Corn Borgs? I’d rather just have 30 days of truth.

High Fructose Corn Borgs? I’d rather just have 30 days of truth.

I take a step back from blogging and what happens? Mud gets slung, we travel back in time to the days of Star Trek when it was actually watched  and name calling ensues. What are y’all drinking, people, because it takes some serious balls for many of those involved to say the things that were said and then step back and continue to call themselves experts.  Go to time out, people. Or as my dear friends and I have agreed to: The Shuddup and Blog movement.

Remember blogging? We told stories. We laughed together.  We cried together. We joined together to support each other in our writing and in our personal lives. We gathered to share ideas and blogging topics. We were a community. Not out to slash each others’ blogging throats. We were not out to out do each other in our doing right, doing good and doing things the way they “should be done” according to a jury of YOU. Sure, things got ugly when blogger A didn’t like blogger B and said something nasty. But we never felt the need to call each other out, call each other names or call each other unethical.

I own my words. My opinions are not for sale. My integrity is in tact. And? I do not have to tear anyone down to back up my own opinions. Sure, I do reviews and if I do, it is because I like the product. I do not do the reviews for money, gift cards or the incredible fame it brings me. (Ha!) If I don’t like a product or the company behind it, I won’t do it. It is that simple. If I feel strongly about it, I may explain why *I* cannot do it but I do not feel it is my place to tell *you* what to write about. For some, they have the words for it, the passion for it and they truly feel it is important to share what they know and/or disagree with about certain companies or policies. That is them. This is me.

Wow. There is a tangent i didn’t mean to go off on tonight. See what happens when I ignore the Interwebs for a while?

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So, yeah, life has decided to kick my butt lately and I have put blogging way back on the back burner. I’ve  been taking care of my family, working on the books, volunteering, and basically trying to play catch up with life. I feel like I am  constantly playing catch up. Yet, even with all of that going on, I have such peace in  my life this year, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m happy. Content. In a great place in my life. One way I’m going to work on getting the blogging habit and mojo back is to do the challenge that many bloggers are taking up.  It’s a way to really reach inside and dig deep into your heart and soul and answer some tough questions.  Can I open up that fully knowing I have people here–right here in my every day life– who would love hearing anything bad about me and who celebrate my every downfall, hurt or failing?  Am I willing to open myself up knowing people like that may be reading? Yes. Because they have no power over me. No one controls how I feel about me, my life or my decisions except me. Me.  Tomorrow I will start this. Join me if you’d like or come back in 30 days.  My goal is to do this every day and in the evening catch up on other types of blogging as well. We’ll see. I’m not going to jump in promising the moon when I may not reach that far. But I am going to try!

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