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!) 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.

* You probably know what site I am talking about but I am not going to link because it isn’t something I want to appear negative or bitter. They still rock and we’ll leave it at that.

** Again, I am not linking out of love. This community kicks major ass and I love the people behind it and the people who are a part of it. So, that is all that needs to be said about it.

18 thoughts on “Forgiving myself

  1. I can understand this. After my divorce I was asked to write a book and get paid! I turned it down because I just couldn’t write about it so soon after.

    I figure everything happens for a reason so maybe you were meant to step away from blogging. Maybe something even better will come of it.

  2. You did what you had to. You know that in your heart.

    Sure you stepped away, but really was there any other choice?

    Look at you now. Now you are back and stronger and awesomer than ever.

  3. Dearest Jenn,

    I want you to know that you are loved for you. Not for what you do (or don’t do), not for what you write (or don’t write), but for you. You are wonderful as you are. You need no excuses. You just need to be. Seeing your blog name in my feed reader, regardless of whether there is a new post, gives me a warm feeling about you, your life, your words and your world. You are loved. For being you.


  4. You’re still an inspiration to me. Walk away? Whatever. I’m guessing that the opportunities would still be there for you if you opened up for them. You did what you needed to in the circumstance.

    The beauty of our “want/get it now” culture is that most won’t remember that you ever left.

    I applaud your honesty because if you haven’t noticed? I’m stuck on the forgiveness ones in this stupid meme. Do I be really honest? Or do I find something trite to write about just to get through that day? Gah!

  5. There will always be regret and hindsight in anything that we do, the choices we make. But we can only trust that we’re doing the best things for us and our families. You are such an incredible role model, Jenn. I’ve read your blog for so long now – before I even knew what a blog really was. I read both yours and Melissa’s since I kind of knew you already and thought that what you guys were doing was incredible. Something that I could never, ever imagine doing. That’s part of what you and the other bloggers back then did – you inspired so many of us to say, well maybe we CAN do that.

    You still are and always will be a rock star when it comes to blogging for me. 🙂

  6. Jenn, you are amazing. Always. And you’re not alone in stepping back. John Lennon did it. He was at the top of his fame and he retreated to the Dakota to be a househusband and dad. John showed us that life is more important than work or art. And people were thrilled when he started recording again – like I am when I see you blogging again or just hanging out at a conference. Stopping by your blog is like a homecoming since you were one of the first mom blogs I found six years ago when I started down this path. Big hug!!

  7. I totally get this. I left a fantastic career with a Big 4 Accounting firm after I had my daughter. I was in the game. I was an “expert” in my field. They loved me and I was on the rise. Then I got pregnant after seven years of desperately trying and my world changed. I gladly walked away because the level of travel and a baby didn’t go together. But five years later I still look back and think of the successful career I had and mourn for what isn’t anymore. It has taken me that long to find another job that makes me feel like I have a small portion of the worth I did before.

    Starting over is hard.

  8. There is a testament to your strength in here. The ability to walk away when you needed to. That is huge!

    It doesn’t make those feelings go away though.

    I think that writing and loving the writing can feed your soul. The rest may come back one day, and I really hope it does….but in the meantime, your soul will be fed.

    And in my world-a book and the beginning of a second book is a REALLY big deal!

  9. I’m glad you came back, even if in a “smaller” way. Your writing is great. The important part is that you’re still writing!

  10. I read this earlier today on my phone and have been thinking about it ALL DAY. Holy crap, I didn’t even know where to start but wrote a post anyway:

    I hate that life gets in the way of blogging…OK, really, I don’t hate that. I do hate that blogging could take over and no one would hear from me again unless they stopped by my blog which would have much better stats if I devoted my life to it which would then not be a life.

    I can’t even imagine being where you were and then walking away. All I can say is that I am back to where I started…I have no idea where to start.

  11. One of my favorite quotes is from Marianne Williams. It goes a little something like this: “I cannot control the outcome of any situation, only every decision I make along the way.”

    You made the best decision for yourself at the time. You have to believe that everything happens for a reason, even if that reason isn’t clear right now. Chin up!

  12. First of all, you rock. Period. No matter what time you’ve been “away” or what you’ve stepped back from. You have amazing insights — ones that you’ve shared with me, but that I wasn’t quite ready to hear when you said them. And I’ve learned the hard way some of the lessons I’m guessing you did, too.

    But here’s the thing — the art of being genuine is forever. And the ability to be a real person who’s there for her friends is an amazing quality. And those are two things I often find lacking, even though there are other many wonderful things about the blogosphere.

    As for you book, you KNOW I can’t wait to read it!\xxoo

  13. Jenn,

    seconding buffi & Ms. Jen, here…you’ve made a huge impact on your readers. I always feel a little surge of “yay!” when I see you pop up on my feed reader. I see you as one of the ‘originals’–a ‘classic’, if you will, and I never miss an entry. There are more of us out there, I’m sure.

    Sometimes I think taking a step back (from anything, not just blogging) is essential to maintaining a measure of clarity. The problem with stepping back sometimes is the fact that the game keeps on rolling along, and you can’t help but see that happening and feeling like you’ve been left in the dust.

    But you’re getting back into the game–step by step. Keep going! We’re cheering you on, so excited to see more writing from you…and yes, still admiring your strength and your great writing skills.

    I’m glad that the “30 Days” meme has spurred you to posting recently.


  14. Hi Jenn,

    Blogging and writing and expressing oneself should be for the love of it, because when all the commercial furor around blogging & mommy blogging dies down, I have more than a hunch that you will still be writing.

    At some point one has to take care of oneself, one’s muse, and one’s family/friends and let go of any perceived ‘missed’ opportunities.

    Keep writing, keep being Jenn, and drink some more coffee…


  15. Buffi- You have no idea what your words mean to me. You have NO idea. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sincerely. Thank you.

  16. I have always thought that you are (not *were*) amazing. You are one of my heroes for lots of reasons, Jenn even though I very rarely comment. (sorry…) I think that you have always done what is best for you and your family as far as blogging goes. And that is really all anyone can ask or hope for. So don’t beat yourself up too much. You still ROCK.

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