Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reputation



I don't often sit down to wonder what it is that people think of me. To be quite frank, I'm not too incredibly concerned with it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not gallivanting around town making enemies and burning bridges, I just don't sit around and think to myself, "Gee whiz, I hope they like me." .

Recently, I've been hearing a couple of the same questions again and again, which got me thinking. That must say something about what folks think of me. If a diverse collection of my friends and associates are coming with the same inquiries then clearly there are specific compartments that folks associate with me. Which can be funny when you sit down to really think about it. Try it, sit down and consider, 1. What is it people ask/talk/connect with you about, 2. What do you think that says about you?

The two questions I hear most often, are you ready for it?

1. At least weekly, if not more:  "Where should I go~date night, family in town, bored of your favorite~brunch, lunch, dinner, soups, brews, juices, vegan, burger~in other words where are the good places to eat and or drink?" Does this surprise me? No, my job after all revolves around either eating and writing about food or serving food so if there is anything I'm familiar with it's probably food.  Does this contribute to my pillow-y like mom figure. You betcha. That and my aversion to the gym. Speaking of the gym, has anyone else noticed how stinky the Morgan Family YMCA is? Like, Bog of Eternal Stench quality stank. But I digress.

2. Asked far less often because, duh, only former coworkers can make such a request: "I'm looking for a job. Can I put you down as a reference?" Now, to be fair I have LOADS of coworkers. Not necessarily because I can't keep a job but because I have a habit of keeping several at the same time and in the service industry I tend to move on within a two year period. It keeps me from becoming complacent and unhappy. My job is to provide a pleasant experience, the last thing you want is an unhappy, complacent server.

So what do I think these things say about me?
Well........

I'm loyal and posses  a iron clad work ethic that is equally applied to paid positions as it is those with those with no promises of monetary compensation. If I commit, you can bet it's going to be done. This makes me appear as responsible (I mean, I totally am) and therefor a good reference on a job application.
I can be agreeable at times and also brutally honest, maybe that makes me trustworthy, at least on the most superficial of levels.
I am an open book.
And I like to eat.
That's just my biased translation.

Questions I don't anticipate in the near future:
"How do you get some epic abs?"
"Do you give make up tutorials?"
"Do you want to come clean my house too?"

Okay, your turn. What are the two questions you hear most?


Monday, January 26, 2015

Dirty Little Secrets

To write or to snuggle. The grand struggle of all writer mamas.


Today I was going to confess all my dirty little secrets.

Step into my little blog space here and use it like a type of confessional, unloading all of the ways I have failed in life. As a mother, wife, writer, friend, feminist.  I am all of these things and not particularly great at any of them. I wanted to try to elaborate on all of these things that haunt me day to day. To discuss all of the things I let slip as each day finds a way to get away from me. Lay it in front of me to find some master plan to victory, self discovery and a release of guilt. Say 10 "Hail Marys" and an "Amen," or whatever it is folks do after a confessional, I'm sorry to say I'm na├»ve about such things as I've only seen them in the movies.

Instead I took a nap.

Not intentionally mind you. I meant to just lay my head down with the little miss to comfort her to nap herself. Gulping down a bottle nestled close to me with one hand down my shirt and on my boob, the standard snuggle position for the two of us. I was listening to her "gulp, gulp, exhale, inhale" (repeat) rhythmic ways and then before I knew it, I reopened my eyes and an hour had passed.

Just like that.

I could sit her and ruminate on the irony of it all. Maybe wag a pointed finger at my subconscious for it's self destructive ways.
Or, I could just call it how it is. I was a tired mama. Up early after a restless night to take Connor to his Occupational Therapy appointment and just plain pooped. Sometimes coffee isn't a cure all for what ails you. The hours catch up to you and your body tells you to slow down. So instead of catching up on laundry and minding my deadlines.

I took a nap.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lean In


 
I've always considered myself a creative type.
At times I've lost my way, allowed distractions and obstacles along life's journey to make me forget the importance of the creative process to my very being. It's toxic, not finding time to create. Lush scenery begs to be placed into a story whether by way of words, or paints, or photographs--the scenery demands to be a part of the narrative with silent whispers and grand gestures.

 In recent years I found myself with a growing animosity. Not towards any one thing or person but that kernel of self-doubt grew, doubled in size and began to consume me. I couldn't decide if it was my lack of professional success that triggered it after a series of unsuccessful attempts at finding an appropriate home for my specific skill set or if it was the transition into stay at home, work from home motherhood status that left me feeling less valuable as a person. There's no reason that these things should affect me on such a negative scale, but they did and it was not only affecting my well-being but the dynamics of my family life.

 Something had to change.

Knowing this, I've been elbows deep in the journey of finding myself as a creative again. Writing more words, encouraging other artists to do the same and I have come to a conclusion. For myself and many others, in order to grow one must make themselves uncomfortable. Find the discomfort and lean in.

I've captured glimpses of my own discomfort peeking over my shoulder in the last year, making the leap with me to try something new and place myself in the midst of it all. This is an unfamiliar feeling. It is a scary feeling. It is uncomfortable most of all. A voice that shakes to match my quivering hands and a racing heart drumming the foundation of a soundtrack that throws up red flags and commands me to run for my life. I recognize this in some of my peers as well.

Upward and onward I strive to journey.

So I,

 Lean in.

It's like a workout. When you work out your muscles you break the tissue down, tear it, stretch it and it mends together stronger, more resilient. Leaning into the discomfort emotionally and psychologically is no different. As a sensible person I've placed things that make me uncomfortable into compartments, stored them in tidy bins, mentally tucking them away where they cause me zero discomfort. In the process of writing my memoir, (something I've decided to do after reading "The Rules of Inheritance" and listening to author, Claire Bidwell Smith talk during my first retreat experience Write: Doe Bay) I began to peel back the lids of some of those bins, peer inside and rediscover things that I had felt as though I'd come to terms with them. Little did I know how much revisiting those moments would affect me.

I found myself reliving a memory, a painful moment in my childhood that has seemed like hardly an issue since its occurrence. Pen to paper, in a room ocean side surrounded by my peers, I found myself with a sob stifled, stuck in my throat on the cusp. Too large to be swallowed down, the room too full to let the tears flow. Instead I stood up, walked outside to take in the fresh air and realized that this is a part of the creative process. These moments are a prerequisite to the journey of genuine creation.

It'll blindside you.