4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.
Confession. I know nothing about blogging. True story.
I’d never read a blog let alone posted on one before I began writing my own. I was shocked when I got my first follower, and stupefied when that person turned out to be more a weird self-help program than a person; then a man who wrote really terrible things about women started following. Seriously. And a travel agency. I didn’t know travel agencies still existed. Or that they’d ‘follow’ a blog about a woman who is an okay mom who loves her kids but messes up most days and gets the chokey voice when she’s sentimental. What does that have to do with travel?
I wrote a post and then another. Sometimes people commented, sometimes not so much. I started reading other blogs and was blown away. Hey, I’m doing this thing too! I’m with you guys!! But wait, they have so many followers… and badges… and advertisements. Where’d they get all that?
The blogosphere is a world unto itself. It is 7th grade, but a 7th grade of witty word play and alliances. There’s the cool chick, the nurturing big sister type, the class Le Clown and the new girl (and this one is beautiful, sharp, smart and funny… with tattoos– who can compete with that I ask you?) Sigh. I was such a dorked out dorkwad dork in 7th grade. And who am I kidding? Most days I feel like I’m that same girl.
I guess I’m not in it for the blogiverse, the fame and fortune, the joy in conjugating the word ‘blog’. I’m in it for the writing.
It wasn’t until college that I realized how much I love to write. I was sitting in a creative writing class first semester freshman year and we were writing these papers about ourselves, about people we knew, about places we’d been, and we were sharing them with one another. I loved it. LOVED. IT. It was so scary and exhilarating. I wrote an essay about my brother and my professor actually asked to meet me outside of class to talk about it, he liked it that much. I still have the original essay with his notes.
There was a contest at the Yale Daily News for best fiction and non-fiction writing and I entered it. And it won! The contest seemed so big and important and awesome until I won. And then I realized it must have been a lame contest, because otherwise, how could I have won it? I did use that winning essay to push my way into a full seminar with the author, Ved Mehta. After reading my essay, he said I should write a book, that I would write a book. And of course, I figured he must say that to all the girls.
That semester he tore my writing apart, and it wasn’t one of those that-which-doesn’t-kill-us-makes-us-stronger things. I was in a place where people said things to me like, “You probably recognize my from the movie Dead Poet’s Society?” (I did!) and “You know, my grandfather? Elie Wiesel?” (I didn’t.) I was totally out of my element. Usually I could plug away in classes like Calculus or Art History, stay up later, push harder. But I ended up with a C+ in that writing class, and that is what I believed. I was a C+ writer. Slightly above average in the real world, and in the world of gentleman’s B’s, I knew I had failed.
I didn’t write much after that. Not really. I wrote thousands of student comments while teaching, I wrote in my kids’ baby books, sometimes I wrote long (winded) letters. I wrote in journals that were started but never finished.
It’s crazy, right? Because I’m a confident Mama. I can decorate a hardcore Woody and Buzz Lightyear birthday cake with fondant, make and upholster furniture for Barbie (hey, life’s a compromise), rock skinny jeans (sort of), run a (half) marathon and get four kids into snow gear in under 8 minutes. Most days I even put on deodorant. You know what? I’ll never be prom queen, but I was on the homecoming court. (That last part’s not a metaphor. I was just looking for a way to fit homecoming court AND Yale into the same blogpost…)
In the end, it’s hard not to feel like 7th grade me all the time. “The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?” (as Julia Roberts said in the feminist manifesto, Pretty Woman.)
But I think it’s time now. It’s time for all our 7th grade selves to shut up, or at least to move on. I know I’m not alone in this. I have too many Mama friends on the edge of great things but feeling like 7th grade them (or 11th grade or 4th grade or sophomore year of college.)
Some days you write the post that means the most and… crickets. Or you volunteer for the thing or apply for the job or ask to join that running group and… well, crickets. And that’s okay, I guess. Because I think now maybe it’s time to do the things we’ve always wanted to do, take a chance, ignore the crickets. Live a little.
“Vivian: Tell me one person it’s worked out for.
Kit: What, you want me to name someone? You want like a name? Oh, God, the pressure of a name… I got it. Cinda-f-in’rella.” (Pretty Woman)