November and December were tough on me. Despite good intentions and a true attempt at planning, my holiday efforts were hurried and sloppy and I won’t bore you with details. I know I’m not alone. As Allison Carter so perfectly wrote about in her blog, I Failed at Christmas, the holiday is no longer about me. My responsibility now is to be the person who’s creating memories for my family and I’m honored to do it – even if it literally kicks me in the ass. On December 26th, I woke up a new person. Quite literally, I felt lighter.
We took a mini road trip over the New Year’s holiday to Charlotte, Asheville, and Chattanooga. It was fun and gave me some time (while R. was driving) to catch-up on my blog reading. I got a little pumped after reading posts about New Year’s resolutions and wrote a blog post in my head for the New Year. I should have written it right then, because within a few days the gremlins got into my head.
I’m friends with a lot of writers on Facebook. I primarily use FB for connections to blogs and writing websites, and as a result my newsfeed is usually populated with writer updates. Consequently, January brought many notifications of lofty goals. Big ones. I panicked, because so many of us want the same things. I know, I know. We’re writers, why wouldn’t every writer want to write a book? And get published by sites that would make our friends and families sit up and take notice. Yet, everyone’s burst of ambition hit me hard. I compared my goals and writing ability to my fellow bloggers and came up short. I fear I’m not good enough.
Still, it could happen…
But probably not for me…
Unless I work really hard….
But I do work hard….
But really, not hard enough…
Rather than feel inspired by all the enthusiastic optimism of my fellow writers, I became intimidated. I was overcome with a massive wave of insecurity and I’m still not over it. I’m questioning whether or not I can write material that’s worthy of being published by the same venues as writers X, Y, Z. There are some incredibly good ******* writers out there. I swear I’m not looking for complements or platitudes. I’m not even sure why I’m sharing this here, other than one resolution I did make this year was to be more authentic with this blog. To be the real me, not the me I want to be. And the truth is, I’m sacred. I’m scared that all my “faking it till I make it” is just that – fake. Delusional. Unrealistic. And I’m wasting my time. I think that “Writer Allie” may be a wee bit bi-polar.
This year I’m going to finish a manuscript. Get an agent. Get published. I’m going to have bylines that are HUGE. I’m going to break out of the mommy/autism blogger label. This year I will make money that is more than pocket change. This will be my year! Wait a minute. I’m a small blogger. I ramble on too much. I have a love-hate relationship with commas. I’m terrible with imagery. I constantly submit comments on blogs that have typos and it makes me look incompetent. I’ve never written a viral post. I have a small email list. My numbers on social media are pathetic. Most of my real-life friends don’t even read my blog, why would anyone else? I had a book party for writing a chapter of a book. Who does that? Someone who knows she’s hit her peak that’s who. Quit dreaming and get real. You have accounting degrees, you can get a job and stop stressing about getting published and feeling guilty about not making enough money to cover things like your road trips and college funds.
And on and on it goes. I constantly struggle with organization and time management. The kid’s schedules put me in a snappy mood every day. Every day. Lately, I’m no fun to live with. I beat myself up for not making exercise a priority. I used to be so disciplined and once upon a time, I had fantastic legs. I used to be soooo good about monitoring what goes into my mouth, and come to think about it, I used to be better about what comes out of my mouth too. Damn, I’ve gotten grumpy. And don’t even get me started on the anxieties I battle about being middle-aged. I don’t want to be middle aged. And I call bullsh** on the people who say the forties are the best time of your life.
I think I’m a happy person, I really do. And yet, I seem so unhappy. Maybe it’s hormones, or the diminishment of hormones. (Damn! What’s up with that?) I look to the past for the answers and to the future for solutions. I do believe in the “this too shall pass” philosophy. But now I worry about the time wasted waiting for my gremlins to chill. I don’t have much time to waste. For crying out loud, I’m forty-six. I’ll be old by next week. You know what? I used to laugh at the term, mid-life crisis. Hello? Clearly I’m having one. Yes?
SO as you can read, I’m really not in a good place to write an inspirational word-of-the year post. And that sucks.
In what I can only assume was one of my manic writing periods, I volunteered to co-host Finish the Sentence Friday this week. What in the world was I thinking? To prepare, I read last year’s “Word of the Year” post and was pleasantly surprised by how I rocked my essay and equally disheartened by how the word I chose did not represent how I lived 2015. I chose “better.” Here’s an excerpt from that essay:
I still want to be a better person, I do. I’m just not there yet. Not even close.
I don’t know what got into me when we put away the Christmas decorations this year, but I went a little mad. After everything was wrapped up, packed away, and ushered to the basement, I decided to do some furniture and picture rearranging. I moved every piece of furniture in three rooms and strangley, it did wonders for me. It was like I’d moved into a new home. When I was girl, I used to rearrange my room every few months. Throughout my twenties and thirties, I moved so often, that there was no need to change things. I knew there’d be a new abode in the not too distant future to cheer me up. I guess I’ve always needed to spice things up.
That fact that moving my furniture around made me instantly happy led me to conclude that I’m in a rut. I’m stuck. If all I had to do was rearrange some furniture to improve my mood, perhaps we don’t have to move out west after all (although, really, I’d love to do that – it’s a long story). Could it be that simple? No, of course not. But maybe if I can start making small little changes in all areas of my life: motherhood, marriage, household, exercise, diet, writing. I don’t know, I just wish I had more conviction about what it is I want to do with my life. I need a sign!
I want clarity. I want contentment. I want joy. Blah, blah, blah. I want all the words that have been beautifully and eloquently written about. But first I need to get unstuck. I want to be unmoored. So, that is the word I’ve chosen. Unmoored. From what? Once I know, I’ll be free to fly.
Happy New Year, friends.
This post was cobbled together for Finish the Sentence Friday. This week is I’m co-hosting with our lovely leader, Kristi Campbell of FInding Ninnee and Mardra Sikora, who came up with this weeks prompt. “My 2016 word of the year is…”.
If you’re on WP.com: